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    Officials appointed for Dons clash

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    McCall gutted at Cup exit

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    Hibs defeat in pictures

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    Motherwell 2 – 2 Hibs (6-7 pens)

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    Cooper bar open at 6pm

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    McCall looking for instant reaction

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    Officials appointed for Cup tie

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    Law wins Player of the Month gong

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    McCall angry at home defeat

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    St Johnstone defeat in pictures

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    Officials appointed for Dons clash

    Referee for this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Aberdeen at Fir Park will be Alan Muir.

    It will be Muir’s second Motherwell match of the campaign after previously taking charge of Celtic’s 4-0 win two weeks ago.

    He managed four matches last season too, having overseen the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in Paisley last November, January’s 2-0 home win over Hibs, February’s 6-0 capitulation at Ibrox and at Celtic Park as an unfamiliar side crashed to a 4-0 defeat with Stuart McCall resting players ahead of the Scottish Cup Final.

    He’ll be a familiar face to Motherwell fans having handled three games the season before last as well.

    A 4-0 defeat by Celtic in Glasgow eighteen months ago was instantly forgettable. He also took charge of the 3-2 extra-time with over Inverness Caledonian Thistle in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Fourth Round and the lively 2-2 draw against Dundee United back in late November 2009.

    In all those games he has produced 36 yellow cards, 17 of which were shown to a player in claret and amber, and two red cards, the first given to former defender Paul Quinn for a professional foul on David Fernandez in a 1-0 defeat to Killie and the most recent to Michael Higdon, then an opposition player, in that game with St Mirren last November.

    The 36-year-old has taken charge of four SPL games in this campaign, including Kilmarnock’s 1-1 draw with Dundee Utd, Rangers’ 2-0 win at McDiarmid Park and, most recently, St Mirren’s 2-1 success at Easter Road and the aforementioned 4-0 reverse at Celtic Park.

    Alan will be ably assisted on the day by Brian McGarry and Graham McNeillie, with Greg Aitken on fourth official duties. Referee observer is Brian Cassidy and the SPL delegate is Frank Coulston.

  • Archive

    McCall gutted at Cup exit

    Stuart McCall was left ‘bitterly disappointed’ by Motherwell’s exit from the League Cup, as the Steelmen succumbed 7-6 on penalties to Hibs after an utterly enthralling 2-2 draw.

    Despite the cruel defeat there was a marked improvement in the ‘Well’s performance from the weekend, with McCall’s side coming within four minutes of a place in the quarter-final.

    Indeed, if it wasn’t for an erroneous linesman’s flag – as Bob McHugh had his 116th minute goal wrongly chalked off – Motherwell would still have been likely to go on and claim the victory.

    The Steelmen boss was happy to get a response, if not the desired result.

    [pullquote]I’m bitterly disappointed to be not in the next round of the Cup – to make it even sorer Bob McHugh’s goal was onside. I’ve seen it again and it looks as though it was a yard onside[/pullquote]

    “I thought in extra time we made chances to win the game,” Rued McCall. “I’m bitterly disappointed to be not in the next round of the Cup – to make it even sorer Bob McHugh’s goal was onside. I’ve seen it again and it looks as though it was a yard onside.

    “I thought we didn’t start great and Hibs started well but once we got into our stride we played some great stuff. We just needed to get that third goal.

    In fairness to Hibs they deserved to take it to extra time, Darren Randolph had two or three excellent saves.

    “My worst four games last season were followed by our four best games, therefore I had no doubts there would be no question about the commitment after the weekend. Both teams went at it and we had chances to get the third just before half time.”

    The former Everton and Rangers midfielder was typically reluctant to criticise the assistant referee who disallowed Bob McHugh’s strike, but admitted ‘pain’ while watching the goal back.

    Michael Higdon – while not interfering with play – was coming back from an offside position as the ball was delivered, but young McHugh was clearly onside as the delivery was whipped in.

    The ‘Well boss sighed: “That’s football, I know how tough it is to be a referee or a linesman.

    “I thought the ref handled the game well, but it just adds to the pain when you see the goal again. But there are lots of positives; it could’ve ended up another 6-6 in as open a game of football as you’ll see.”

    The Motherwell boss also took a moment to single out Garry O’Connor for special praise.

    The former Locomotiv Moscow striker hasn’t always been in the headlines for the right reasons this campaign, but showed his class with a bustling performance and composed finishing.

    McCall admits the player proved his quality, but has charged his own players to cut out the errors which handed the Scotland interational his chances.

    “O’Connor is an International striker and he showed what he was capable of,” he continued. “But an individual error shot us in the foot just like Saturday, and if we want to win games we need to cut those out.”

  • Archive

    Hibs defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the penalties defeat by Hibernian in the Scottish Communities League Cup at Fir Park.

    These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”hibs200911″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 2 – 2 Hibs (6-7 pens)

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Fir Park

    Motherwell crashed out of the Scottish Communities League Cup to Hibernian  after a hugely entertaining game was decided on penalties, following an enthralling 2-2 draw.

    A Garry O’Connor double either side of goals from Keith Lasley and Michael Higdon sent the game to extra time before the cruel lottery of spot-kicks saw ‘Well crash out.

    True to his word, Stuart McCall stuck with the same eleven which were defeated 3-0 against St Johnstone in disappointing fashion at the weekend.

    Hibernian made three changes to the side which surrendered a two-goal lead to Dunfermline. Graham Stack, Isaiah Osbourne and Calum Booth made way for Mark Brown, Ian Murray and David Wotherspoon.

    The fans in attendance would have been hopeful of a repeat of the magnificent 6-6 all game of May 2010 and, remarkably, it was to be a game of just as many chances as the 12-goal thriller.

    Hibs were first to attack when Leigh Griffiths was put through by Martin Scott. Coming from an angle, Randolph made a neat stop with his feet to prevent the opener.

    Besides that effort, the opening exchanges offered little in the way of goalmouth action. Griffiths had a 35-yard free kick deflected wide, while Nicky Law tried to get in behind the Hibs defence on a couple of occasions to no avail.

    Hibs deservedly took the lead on 19 minutes. Griffiths took on Stephen Craigan on the left flank before playing a telling ball to the penalty spot for O’Connor to prod home.

    Hateley then delivered a smashing ball in to the corridor of uncertainty, which Higdon couldn’t quite reach as he slid in between two defenders.

    Motherwell were getting back into the encounter and only a desperate Sean O’Hanlon clearance at the back post prevented an equaliser. Lasley sent Humphrey free on the left and his whipped ball across goal was brilliantly cleared by the former MK Dons defender.

    The Steelmen did get their leveler on the half-hour mark. Hateley’s corner kick was knocked down by Higdon and Keith Lasley swept home; the talismanic midfielder stroking the ball in to the bottom-corner from around the penalty spot.

    Humphrey had a half-shout for a penalty when he looked to be felled in the box by Murray. The ref was decisive in his opinion that the ball was won and no spot kick was given.

    Nicky Law gave Brown his first real test when Higdon’s knockdown fell to Murphy. His quick feet released the former Rotherham man, whose 20-yard effort was tipped round the post for a corner.

    Motherwell then took the lead in glorious fashion. A free kick between Law and Lasley saw the English midfielder reach the edge of the box. His cutback was then dispatched with power in to the bottom left corner by Higdon, for his first goal at Fir Park.

    Murphy and Higdon both brought out decent saves from Brown as ‘Well looked to increase the lead. Murphy hit a stinging volley that was punched clear before Higdon had time to bring the ball down at the back-post, only to be denied by Mark Brown’s knee.

    The second half began at a slightly less frantic pace than the first, but Hibs almost equalised when Scott found space in the box, but fired straight at Randolph when it looked easier to score.

    Moments later Griffiths and the ‘Well keeper seemed to be competing for the TV cameras’ attention as a thunderous effort from the Hibees forward produced a sensational one-handed stop from the Irish international.

    Indeed the popular goalie was proving to be the bane of Leigh Griffiths’ night, also denying the former Dundee man in a one-on-one confrontation.

    Lasley and Humphrey carved out an opportunity for Higdon on 62 minutes, with the Jamaican’s inviting cross being headed over by the impressive former St Mirren striker.

    O’Connor thought he had levelled the tie after capitalising on a slack Jennings backpass. Griffiths played his strike partner in, but the ref adjudged he had punched the ball in to the net and booked him for his troubles.

    The ‘Well goal was leading a charmed life as the action raged from end-to-end, but Humphrey was continuing to give Murray a torrid time. A lung bursting run down the right ended with a cutback to Lasley, whose powerful drive flew inches over the bar.

    Hateley was next to try his luck, running onto a nicely weighted Jamie Murphy pass. His shot was too tame though, and trickled comfortably wide.

    Humphrey was replaced by Daley with ten minutes left after pulling up with an injury. His impact was almost immediate, latching on to Higdon’s knockdown, before having his shot deflected wide.

    His second touch was a crucial block on the edge of the box, leading to Palsson testing Randolph from distance.

    Just as Motherwell were looking to see the game out, Hibernian equalised with just four minutes to go. Craigan was caught in possession on the halfway line allowing Griffiths to release O’Connor, who finished past the onrushing Randolph – the goal sent the game to extra time.

    Bob McHugh came on for Steve Jennings as extra time began. The young forward set up the Well’s first attempt of the period, laying off for Law, who had Brown at full stretch again.

    Another swerving ball in from Hateley had no takers as the home side kept pressing to regain their lead. Law then sent Murphy through on Brown but his dinked effort was grabbed by the keeper.

    It was soon Junior Agogo’s turn to bring out a fine stop from Darren Randolph. After working space on the edge of the box, he fired in a goal-bound effort, matched magnificently by the diving save.

    At the start of the second half of extra-time young Bob McHugh did well to race clear of his man at the halfway line. He made it to the 18-yard line and teed up Lasley who fired wide from the edge of the box.

    Griffiths was once more foiled by Randolph from a 30-yard free kick as the two continued their enthralling running battle.

    Down at the Cooper end, Murphy could only steer wide at the back post from Hateley’s delivery. Murphy then got to the byline, finding Nicky Law with a cross – but his shot from just inside the box blazed over.

    Then, amid the drama, there was a cruel twist. The lively McHugh thought he’d grabbed the winner with a diving header, as did the Well faithful. However the diminutive striker was flagged for offside – despite the pictures showing that he was indeed onside and the goal should have stood.

    Law could have wrapped the game up after Daley’s incisive ball had him one-on-one with Brown, but the former Well stopper made the save to keep the game level.

    That was to be the last action before the game went to penalties.

    O’Connor, Higdon and Palsson all showed excellent composure to slot home their penalties before Jamie Murphy’s effort was stopped by Brown’s shins.

    The Hibees scored their next two kicks, through Agogo and Griffiths, while Hateley and Forbes kept ‘Well in a nerve-wracking contest. And, with the game on the line Motherwell were thrown a lifeline, as Calum Booth’s effort was kept out by Randolph.

    Excellent spot kicks followed by McHugh, O’Hanlon, Wotherspoon, Clancy, Hammell and Towell as the contest entered sudden-death and – as is the cruel nature of penalties – there had to be a villain. It was to be Nicky Law, arguably Motherwell’s player of the season so far, who had his kick saved by Brown, giving Colin Calderwood’s side a 7-6 win on penalties in a real cup classic.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park

    PENALTIES: Towell scores, Law sees his effort saved , Hibs win 7-6 on pens

    PENALTIES: Wotherspoon makes it 6-5, Hammell keeps it going

    PENALTIES: O’Hanlon scores, Clancy makes it 5-5

    PENALTIES: Randolph saves Booth’s pen, McHugh scores to make it 4-4

    PENALTIES: Giffiths makes it 4-2, Forbes keeps us in it – come on Darren

    PENALTIES: Agogo scores for Hibs, Hateley makes it 3-2

    PENALTIES: Higdon scores as does Palsson for Hibs 2-1, Murphy’s saved

    PENALTIES:  O’Connor scores – Higdon for us

    Pens being taken at Cooper End, O’Connor up first

    Full time – Pens here we come – what a game, it has had everything, great advert for Scottish game.

    119mins – Law denied by Brown again, as Forbes replaces Lasley.

    116mins – McHugh has ball in the net from a close range header but flagged offside.

    116mins – Don’t how players are coping but I am suffering from cramp as Murphy shoots into side netting.

    115mins – We go on break and McHugh sets up Lasley but he drags his 18 yards shot wide.

    105mins – Hibs replace sub Galbraith with Booth as we get underway again, and Hibs start with a corner.

    105mins – Half time in extra time – Pens looming??

    103mins – This is going from end to end its not good for the nerves, as Randolph saves from Agogo.

    99mins – Law released Murphy but Brown reads his attempted dink over him to palm the ball away.

    94mins – Law denied by diving save by Brown at expense of corner.

    90mins – Well change ahead of Extra Time – McHugh comes on for Jennings.

    Full time – We are headed for Extra time, it’s been a great game so far, with Hibs probably just edging it over 90 minutes, all to play for.

    90mins – Two minutes being added on before we head to Extra Time.

    87mins – 2-2, Craigan doesn’t deal with a long ball – O’Connor goes through to poke ball past advancing Randolph – no more than they deserve I am afraid.

    81mins – An injured Chris Humphrey limps off to be replaced by Omar Daley.

    80mins – Tonight’s crowd is 3909 – who have been well entertained.

    74mins – Hibs make a change with just over 15 to go, Agogo on for Murray, meaning a bit of a re-shuffle for Hibees.

    72mins – Only the keepers have stopped this being another 6-6 tonight!! Great stuff, although heart in mouth sometimes for a non neutral.

    70mins – Humphrey bursts down the right cut back for Lasley but he strikes a shot just over.

    67mins – Out of jail there, Hibs had ball in the net but O’Connor spotted using his hand and getting a yellow for his troubles.

    65mins – Humphrey could be the key here for us tonight, he is a great out ball and is leaving Murray for dead when he gets the ball.

    63mins – Lasley sends Humphrey to bye-line but his cross is headed narrowly over by Higdon

    60mins – We are riding our luck a bit here, Griffiths once again denied by Randolph after he had shrugged off Clancy to go clean through.

    54mins – Stunning 25 yard shot from Griffiths is only matched by the save from Randolph low at his right hand post; same start as first half.

    51mins – Scott sent clean through but takes too long and is denied by Randolph.

    45mins – 2nd half underway, Hibs make a change with Sproule off and replaced by Danny Galbraith

    Half time – What a contrast from the first twenty mins to the last 25mins, didn’t see comeback coming after 20 minutes.

    43mins – Two more saves for Brown, first from Muprhy then Higdon low down at his far post – a half of two halves!

    40mins – GOOOOAAALLLLL – 2-1 Well, Lasley sends Law clear and his cut back is side footed in by Higdon from about 12 yards out, fans happy.

    39mins – Brown makes a full length save to keep out a bending shot from Nicky Law.

    33mins – Wee half shout for a penalty there with Humphrey tumbling under pressure from Murray as he cut in from the right, nothing given.

    30mins – GOOOOAAAAAALLLL – 1-1, Hateley corner headed down by Higdon for Lasley to strike home from about 15 yards out.

    30mins – Brown finally called into action as he smothers a Humphrey cross at his near post – things are looking better.

    28mins – A bit of pinball from a Hateley corner sees Higdon and Humphrey both have shots blocked.

    24mins – A Hateley cross into the six yard box corridor of uncertainty is just missed by Higdon on the slide – closest we have come.

    22mins – Randolph saves us from being two down as he somehow manages to stretch to palm away a Griffiths lob, Well fans getting frustrated again.

    21mins – Hibs have now had five attempts at goal and we have still to find a way of testing Mark Brown after 21mins.

    20mins – Goal Hibs, Griffiths cross from right is met at front post by Gary O’Connor to toe it past Randolph, sad to say a deserved lead.

    12mins – A 35 yard free from Griffiths is deflected for a corner – bags of confidence to try that….

    2mins – Almost one down on the break but Leigh Griffiths tamely hit Scott’s pass at Randolph.

    1min – Hibs kick off and we are shooting towards the South Stand where the Hibs fans are housed in top tier.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “Hibs started well and we didn’t, but once we got going and into our stride we played some smashing stuff. We needed that third goal after coming in at 2-1 at half-time.

    “There’s no doubt that Hibs deserved to take it to extra-time, as Darren Randolph made two or three excellent saves.

    “We had chances to win the game in extra time.

    “I’ve seen Robert McHugh’s goal and he was a yard onside and that adds to the pain, but that’s football. I understand how tough a job linesmen and referees have and they handled it well tonight.”

     Hibernian manager Colin Calderwood:

    “We showed terrific guts to come back in that situation; we lost the game for 20 to 25 minutes after we got the lead but the way we started the game, we should have got to half-time ahead.

    “As the second half was going on we looked as if we were maybe exposed a wee bit. The players went for it and it was more or less simplicity in the end – when we did that we were better.

    “We had tried too many extravagant balls and ignored easy passes but when we went back to that, were able to move the ball quickly and looked as if we had energy in the team, and we’d have felt aggrieved or anxious if we hadn’t scored in that second half as we created chances.”


    [poll id=”70″]

  • Archive

    Cooper bar open at 6pm

    Motherwell Football Club would like to invite you to Fir Park to join the pre-match fun before the big game tonight.

    The fans’ bar is open early before every single match with kids also welcome.

    Not only will you be able to enjoy the company of like-minded ‘Well fans, but you will be able to watch live football in the big screens.

    And, not only that, patrons of the Cooper Bar will be able to vote for the “Davie Cooper Man of the Match”.

    Polling will take place in the Cooper Suite after the match and the ‘fans choice’ will visit for the presentation, autographs and photographs.

  • Archive

    McCall looking for instant reaction

    Stuart McCall is delighted his Motherwell side have the opportunity to make amends for Saturday’s defeat to St. Johnstone so swiftly, as Hibernian visit Fir Park on Tuesday.

    McCall admitted that the defeat to the Saints at the weekend saw one of the worst performances of his tenure in North Lanarkshire, as the Steelmen struggled to find their typical verve and attacking vitality in a 3-0 defeat to Derek McInnes’ side.

    But the former Everton and Rangers midfielder has backed his ‘conscientious’ stars to bounce back against the Hibees in the Scottish Communities League Cup and show the form which has propelled the men in claret and amber to 3rd spot in the SPL.

    “Saturday is gone and we will learn from it,” said the circumspect ‘Well boss. “Thankfully we have a game straight away, which allows us to bounce back straight away on Tuesday night.

    “We’ve had a chat this morning. We were all naturally disappointed, and angry. I expected a reaction in the second half on Saturday and we didn’t really get one. Looking back – which I have done – I think that’s the poorest we’ve been in possession since I’ve been here.

    [pullquote]I think when you’ve had a bad one – in terms of result and performance – everyone, from the staff to the players all just want to get it out of our systems, hopefully with a good, strong, positive performance.[/pullquote]

    “But nobody is more disappointed than the players after a performance like that. It’s not a case of: ‘Oh, we had a poor game, let’s go out for a few beers.’ They are a conscientious bunch and want to make amends.

    “I think when you’ve had a bad one – in terms of result and performance – everyone, from the staff to the players all just want to get it out of our systems, hopefully with a good, strong, positive performance.

    “I’ll be going same again. There is no knee-jerk reaction here. These are the lads who have won us 13 points in the SPL and hopefully it was just a bad day at the office. I have confidence in these players and I’ll be starting with the same line-up.”

    Tomorrow’s opponents Hibs currently sit 11th in the SPL, level on points with bottom side Inverness Caledonian Thistle, having picked up a just five points from their opening seven matches.

    Yet, while the pressure builds on the Hibees and gaffer Colin Calderwood, Stuart McCall is wary of the threat posed by the Easter Road side – particularly the likes of four-goal Garry O’Connor.

    The ‘Well boss is very aware that the attacking threats in green will have to be tamed if Motherwell are to have another magical cup run this year.

    He continued:  “They have good options; that’s for sure, having seen them bringing on two good strikers in Agogo and Sodje off the bench at the weekend.

    “There is plenty of individual talent there too – players like O’Connor, Sproule and Griffiths. They are a team full of attacking options. They are going through a little sticky spell at the moment, but it doesn’t matter who we’re playing tomorrow, I’ll be looking at our reaction.

    “Hibs, unfortunately, are one of the two SPL teams we could have drawn – but at least it’s at home.

    “The boys are determined to get through this round and get to Hampden again. It’s hard to improve on last season’s cup runs – a semi-final and a final – but we have to try.”

  • Archive

    Officials appointed for Cup tie

    Willie Collum will take charge of Tuesday’s Scottish Communities League Cup clash with Hibs at Fir Park.

    Regarded as one of Scotland’s best officials, this will be Willie’s first Motherwell game of the current campaign.

    However, he will be a very familiar face to Motherwell fans having taken charge of three games last year.

    He was in charge of the Co-operative Insurance Cup Quarter Final clash with Dundee United at Fir Park; Alan Gow’s late goal booking ‘Well’s spot in the Semi Final. He was the man in the middle for the Semi Final too as Rangers scraped past a brave ‘Well side 2-1; Keith Lasley grabbed the goal for the Fir Parkers.

    Most recently, he took charge of the 3-3 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle in late April as ‘Well roared back from 3-0 down to secure a point.

    In between times, Collum had another excellent season with highlights including three Champions League games in Greece, Germany and Romania, two Europa League games in Germany and Holland as well as the Euro 2012 qualifiers between France and Belarus in Paris and Bulgaria and Switzerland in Sofia.

    The season before last, Collum took charge of three Motherwell matches. Jim Gannon’s side crashed to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at St Mirren in the Co-operative Cup and followed that with another defeat; by the same score line, at Tannadice some five months later.

    However, the most memorable, by far was the 6-6 draw with Hibs at the end of last season.

    Incredibly, Motherwell have never won a league game with Collum in charge. The only victory recorded whilst the Bellshill based whistler has been the man in the middle was the then CIS Cup win against Raith Rovers at the start of the 2007/08 season,  a Scottish Cup success at Inverurie the following season and the aforementioned win over Dundee Utd last October.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads three wins, seven defeats and three draws from thirteen matches. In those games, Motherwell have scored 21 and conceded 27. 26 players have gone into the book, 14 wearing claret and amber, while two players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road a few years back and Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk two seasons ago.

    Graham Chambers and Andrew McWilliam will run the lines with Steve Conroy on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    Law wins Player of the Month gong

    Midfielder Nicky Law yesterday picked up the very first Cash Converters Player of the Month trophy for July/August.

    The former Rotherham star has made a sensational start to his Motherwell career with four assists and one goal to his name already.

    His presentation, prior to yesterday’s match, was slightly soured by Motherwell’s worst ninety minutes of the season but the 23-year insists ‘Well can bounce back against Hibs in the Scottish Communities League Cup this Tuesday.

    [pullquote]I am absolutely delighted with win this award and I would like thank the fans who voted and the sponsors, Cash Converters, for putting it all together.[/pullquote]

    “We have Tuesday to put it right and everyone will be looking to do that,” Law said.

    “The longer it goes without a game it plays on your mind. But we will go out on Tuesday and that is a big game because we want to do well in the cups this season.

    “We just want to put it right. It’s not a nice feeling to lose 3-0 at home. We feel we can beat anyone at home and we will make sure that doesn’t come round again.”

    On his award, Law admitted he was delighted to be recognised by Motherwell fans for his start to the season.

    The Fir Park faithful have really taken to the Englishman and he is hoping to repay them with more good performances.

    “I am absolutely delighted with win this award and I would like thank the fans who voted and the sponsors, Cash Converters, for putting it all together.

    “St Johnstone match aside, we’ve had a great start to the season and hopefully we can continue to build on that against both Hibs on Tuesday and Aberdeen the following Saturday.”

    For your chance to present the September award, all you need to do is vote for which Motherwell player you think has been our stand-out performer over the last four weeks, and, if you are correct, you could be chosen at random from all entries received to congratulate our star man in person.

    To cast your vote, go to Cash Converters Facebook page – Cash Converters SPL or CLICK HERE.

  • Archive

    McCall angry at home defeat

    A typically honest Stuart McCall admitted he was ‘angry’ and ‘disappointed’ after a shock 3-0 defeat to St. Johnstone.

    Goals from Fran Sandaza and Liam Craig added to a first-half Tim Clancy own goal as the Perth Saints swept away the home side.

    And the ‘Well boss was candid in his assessment: “I’m angry, more than disappointed. We pre-warned the lads that football’s not just about playing pretty football and we lost just about every battle on the pitch.

    “Take nothing away from St Johnstone, they got forward, fought in the midfield and worked well in defence. We were very poor and lost every battle out there.

    “We lost the first goal from a set piece and with the size of our team, it’s always difficult. We haven’t conceded directly – it was the second ball that wasn’t dealt with.

    “The second goal came from an individual error and these things can happen. But we didn’t create many chances.

    “I’m really disappointed in every one of my players today. That’s the worst we’ve been since the defeat to St Mirren about nine or ten months ago. 

    “St Johnstone wanted it more today. We just didn’t seem to have a reaction in us. There are no positives from today, but Tuesday gives us a good chance to show some character and do enough to get to the next round of the Cup. That today was frustrating and disappointing and unacceptable.”

    Despite being clearly disappointed with the nature of his side’s defeat, McCall has backed his squad to bounce back in the coming seven days.

    The last time Motherwell lost a match at Fir Park to a team other than Rangers or Celtic was seven months ago – and the gaffer will be looking for an equally positive response after this latest setback.

    The Steelmen now host Hibernian in the Scottish Communities League Cup third round on Tuesday before welcoming ex-Well boss Craig Brown and his Aberdeen charges to Fir Park.

    And the 47-year old expects improvements after a disappointing afternoon in North Lanarkshire.

    “I’m not going to make a kneejerk reaction,” McCall said. “If these lads had won today we’d be back to second in the league. We don’t become a bad team overnight and we know we can play football but there are other parts to the game.

    “It’s not fair to point the finger at the defence, but it is fair to point it at all of them. As disappointed as we are, we can’t let that detract from the start we’ve had – and by this time next Saturday we hope to be in the next round of the cup and three points better off.”

  • Archive

    St Johnstone defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 3-0 defeat by St Johnstone in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.

    These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.

    [svgallery name=”stjohnstone170911″]