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    Craigan: More to come from Murphy

  • Archive

    McCall wants more away day success

  • Archive

    Play fair with Higgy

  • Archive

    Youths take on Rangers

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd Tickets & Travel

  • Archive

    Officials appointed for United clash

  • Archive

    McHugh has the last laugh

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    McCall lauds McHugh’s attitude

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    Aberdeen win in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 0 Aberdeen

  • Archive

    Craigan: More to come from Murphy

    Stephen Craigan has backed Jamie Murphy to put his Scotland snub behind him as Motherwell travel to Tannadice this weekend.

    The former Scotland under-21 starlet has once again been overlooked by current national boss Craig Levein ahead of the Scots crunch ties against Leichtenstein and Spain, despite regularly starring for the Steelmen in the last couple of seasons.

    But the current ‘Well captain believes Saturday’s encounter gives the 22-year old the perfect chance to shine – in front of Scotland assistant manager Peter Houston’s Dundee United side.

    “I’d love to see my team-mates get involved with international football,” Craigan admitted. “And the fans would love to see their players playing for their country.

    “He’s [Craig Levein] watched Motherwell and thinks a lot of Jamie. Maybe he thinks there are parts missing to his game or doesn’t know his best position. I think Jamie is adding to his game all the time – maybe he just needs a little bit of consistency.

    “I’ve no doubt that he’ll keep progressing and keep doing well.

    “Sometimes when you work with players at clubs you know their weaknesses and strengths and exactly what they can bring. He’s done that with Craig Conway, David Goodwillie and, now, Danny Swanson.

    “He’s the man who picks the squad and decides who is up to scratch, and if he thinks there are other players that can do a better job then fair play to him. If Craig doesn’t want to pick a Motherwell player then that’s just the way it is.”

    [pullquote]I’d love to see my team-mates get involved with international football and the fans would love to see their players playing for their country[/pullquote]

    In recent weeks Houston’s Terrors have begun to string together results and performances befitting a team which has been one of the most expansive and successful sides out-with the Old Firm in the past two seasons.

    Despite the loss of David Goodwillie, Prince Buaben, David Robertson, Morgaro Gomis and several other key players, United have managed to string together a run of results which has seen them only lose once in five outings – an unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Rangers.

    Perhaps more unnerving for the Steelmen is the fact the Tangerines have scored three goals in three of their last four Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches. There is little doubt a tough trip to Tayside awaits Craigan, Murphy and co.

    “Dundee United have shown in the last couple of years that they are one of the top sides in the country,” Motherwell’s most capped player praised.

    “It’s been tough for them as they’ve lost a lot of players. The European campaign, for example, saw them about four or five players down from where I think they’d like to be.

    “But they have shown that they can score goals. Yes, they conceded three to St. Johnstone, but they scored three. They scored three against Hibs and Inverness. They undoubtedly carry a threat, and with Jon Daly, Johnny Russell and Danny Swanson they will be a real threat.”

    A win at Tannadice would be a huge fillip for the ‘Well, especially heading into the upcoming international break. Indeed, a win would guarantee Motherwell go into that break with at least a four-point cushion in third place.

    And while other players may be dreaming of international call-ups, the former Northern Ireland skipper admits that he will be enjoying some down-time as the scramble to reach Euro 2012 reaches its conclusion.

    He smiled: “That’s why I retired; the fact that you do get a little bit of down-time to recover. I’ve been able to book some time away with my wife and little ones.

    “We’ve had a busy spell with tough games and for me to try and play well for Motherwell I’ve got to be fresh – fresh in the mind and the body.”

  • Archive

    McCall wants more away day success

    Stuart McCall has challenged his Motherwell side to continue their marvelous away form as they travel to Tayside to face Dundee United on Saturday.

    Motherwell have been to St Mirren Park, Rugby Park, Broadwood and East End Park without tasting defeat. Indeed, even as we move into October, the Steelmen have only lost once away from Fir Park this season, as an in-form Celtic swept aside McCall’s men 4-0.

    The ‘Well boss is under no illusions just how tough it will be to retain that away record at Tannadice, but he has backed his attacking stars to cause United – who have shipped eight goals in their last four SPL outings – some serious problems.

    “I look at my own team,” the manager mused. “If we can carry on our away form and go there and carry on the away form we’ve produced up to now then we have a chance.

    “We have to be disciplined and organised and work hard as a unit. But we want to combine that with being energetic in the middle of the park and creative up top with clinical finishing.

    “We know it will be an extremely tough game – but we have the players to make it a tough game for Dundee United.”

    [pullquote]We have to be disciplined and organised and work hard as a unit. But we want to combine that with being energetic in the middle of the park and creative up top with clinical finishing[/pullquote]

    While acknowledging the potency of his own attacking options, McCall has conceded that Motherwell’s defensive unit will have to be at its very best against the fearsome attacking trio of Johnny Russell, Jon Daly and recent Scotland call-up Danny Swanson.

    ‘Well registered a welcome clean sheet last time out against Aberdeen, and more of the same would do the former Bradford boss just fine.

    He continued: “In the main we’ve defended well, and we’ll need to do so again. It’s not just the centre-backs – it’s the team as a whole unit. I’ve said before that I’d rather win 5-4 than 1-0 but you need a strong basis at the back and defend soundly.

    “Jon Daly will always score you goals and Johnny Russell is looking to step up to the plate after David Goodwillie leaving.

    “It’s always a hard place to go, Tannadice, and they undoubtedly have individuals who can hurt you.”

    A win would see ‘Well go into the international break at least four points ahead of their nearest challengers for third spot – a remarkable achievement considering the budget and comparative paucity of the squad at Fir Park compared to some other sides in the SPL.

    “It would be a massive boost,” the 47-year old said, looking at the possibility of a win ahead of the hiatus.

    “After the break we then have Hibs away, and that takes us to our first sort of split – with the first eleven games of the season finished.

    “We are very happy with the points we have at the moment, but a few more before the first round of eleven matches would be very welcome indeed.”

  • Archive

    Play fair with Higgy

    Good evening ‘Well fans – I hope you are all well.
    I am writing this update before I rush off on a scouting mission to the Rangers versus Kilmarnock match ahead of our game against Kenny Shiels’ men in a few weeks time. Staff at the club will send it out on my behalf so hopefully it will reach you all okay.
    It has been a few weeks since I last sent out an email so I will get my apologies in early for that. I felt it important to type this out as there is quite a bit happened over the last few weeks and one or two things I am keen to say.
    It was great relief to get the win against Aberdeen after what was, unquestionably, a difficult week for everyone here at Fir Park.
    The St Johnstone game was probably the most disappointing performance we have had since I arrived at Motherwell last December. We were poor in possession, we lacked a cutting edge and there wasn’t enough urgency about our play.
    When I looked back on it, I don’t think, as a unit, we defended too badly. It was two individual, and uncharacteristic, errors (an own goal and a pass back) that really sealed our fate. However, more disappointingly, we created next to nothing and had no spark or energy which is most unlike us.
    It was important that we bounced back in the Cup a few days later. Reviewing it again, offensively we were excellent. I have watched the full 120 minutes back or two separate occasions and there is little doubt Hibs deserved to take us to extra-time after the chances they created during the second half. In extra-time, I thought we dominated and had five or six great opportunities to win and I have no doubt that if the assistant referee gets that big call right, which he should have, or we go through on penalties, people would have left Fir Park seven days ago buzzing after a terrific game of football.
    The ironic thing is that collectively, we defended much worse against Hibs than we did against St Johnstone. The Saints game was lost, as I’ve said, from two errors from two top professionals – and please be assured I am not having a go at either Tim Clancy or Stevie Hammell – it could have been anyone in those circumstances. Whereas against Hibs, our general defending allowed them too many chances throughout the match.
    It was sore to go out the Cup as the whole staff, the players and I were desperate to give you all another memorable run to Hampden.
    We then faced Aberdeen three days ago and I felt we defended much better as a team and restricted them to half chances, mainly from set-pieces. We perhaps didn’t click into gear as much as we would have liked going forward but still managed to hit the woodwork twice and eventually won the game through an excellent Bob McHugh winner.
    So a mixed bag – the usual highs and lows. But if you step back and look at the bigger picture, it has been a fantastic start to the SPL season. If you will forgive me for taking the two defeats from the Old Firm out of it – from the other games against the teams in and around us, we have played seven, won five, drawn one and lost one; a great record in anyone’s book.
    With that success comes the added weight of expectation and people were disappointed that we did not beat St Johnstone. Yes, we had a bad day at the office, but outwith the Rangers and Celtic, anyone can beat anyone; there is such a fine line! For us to be sitting third, with sixteen points, is a credit to the players. We can’t let a couple of disappointing defeats detract from that.
    I nearly choked on my Fruit and Fibre when I read in one of the Sunday papers, following the St Johnstone defeat, that our “title credentials” had been severely dented. That’s just ridiculous! We are under no illusions, our aim from the start of the season hasn’t changed and that is to fight hard to be in the top six against a number of good sides in the SPL this year.

    [pullquote]At the end of the day, surely you as supporters, and me as a manager, all want to see every player doing the very best they can to try and win the game for Motherwell. Lads have much more chances of achieving that if they have support as opposed to constant criticism and heckling.[/pullquote]
    I have one other thing to address before I finish. During the Aberdeen game I wanted to introduce Bob and I decided that he would replace Jamie Murphy. I knew it wasn’t going to be popular taking Jamie off but managers aren’t in football to be popular, you have got to make what you think is the correct decision and thankfully, it turned out to be the correct one.
    I will try and give you an insight into my thinking; I did touch on it when I spoke to the Press after the match. Cast you mind back to April 2nd this year when we last faced Aberdeen and Vujadinovic scores from a corner to make the last few minutes more than nervous. Last week, Aberdeen are 2-0 down to Kilmarnock and haul themselves back into the game with goals from a free-kick and a long throw.
    They have a big team with Gonzales, Mawene, Considine, Vernon, Arnason, Fallon, Osbourne and Magennis, all six foot plus. Compare that to us, we only have Randolph and Higdon who are in that category and Craigan and Clancy who are six foot exactly – not great when defending set plays.
    Although Higgy was going through a sticky spell, it was important that he stayed on for us because I felt that was the only way they were ever likely to score. We have the likes of Hammell picking up Vernon and Jennings marking Considine. We don’t have a tall team so we have to try and defend the best we can and I wouldn’t have been comfortable taking off our biggest guy – who had already one his fair share of flicks inside our box – with fifteen minutes left to play with the match so evenly poised. That doesn’t mean to say that if a similar scenario arises in future, Michael is immune to being substituted. He is not. We will have to take it game by game, and each opposition at their own merits, strengths and weaknesses.
    I understand there were some disgruntled voices and I don’t mind that coming to myself in terms of team selections, substitutions, whether I’ve got ginger hair or wearing shorts, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been in football now for forty years, watching, playing, scouting and managing, and I have never, ever – not even once – seen any situation where a crowd are getting on top of a player and it doing him any good.
    I didn’t enjoy hearing it when I stood on the terraces at Elland Road as a kid, I hated it when one of my teammates was getting abuse when I played the game and certainly don’t enjoy it when I am a manager and one of my players is getting it to the point where it is putting him off his game.
    If you use your common sense, and I know it is frustrating, there is no logical way that any individual will respond positively to personal abuse.
    At the end of the day, surely you as supporters, and me as a manager, all want to see every player doing the very best they can to try and win the game for Motherwell. Lads have much more chances of achieving that if they have support as opposed to constant criticism and heckling.
    I am not stupid, I know it goes on at every club but I want us here at Motherwell to rise above it. This is our team, we all want to win a game of football and the very best way is to get behind the lads and support them when things aren’t going well.
    Our support in general this year has been absolutely terrific, both home and away, and I appreciate that it is only a small minority. But sometimes that minority can be loud and it becomes like a domino effect. We are a small, tight-knit club from the players on the park and the management to the staff who work behind the scenes. We are all disappointed when we lose or feel the pain of any individual when things are going wrong and, importantly, we all take pride in doing well and winning and I include the fans in that.
    There are not many of us; it’s us against everyone else so let’s get right behind everyone in the team. Let’s give every player the backing and the encouragement they need, particularly when things aren’t going well because I can guarantee you that to a man, we have a squad of battlers who will put it all on the line for each other.
    Look forward to seeing you at Tannadice this Saturday.
    All the best,

  • Archive

    Youths take on Rangers

    Motherwell Under 19s return to action this Saturday when they face Rangers at Bathgate’s Creamery Park.

    Rangers, perennial challengers for the Championship at youth level, find themselves in the rather unfamiliar position of second bottom of the table, only saved from the basement by Inverness Caley Thistle.

    However, no one at Murray Park will be panicking just yet as the side still have three games in hand. Maximum points would take Billy Kirkwood’s men into second place, two behind leaders Celtic.

    ‘Well have been out of action since beating Inverness Caley almost two weeks ago. Steve Hetherington’s deflected strike separated the sides that day and the former Rangers midfielder would no doubt settle for a similar outcome against his former side this weekend.

    The match will take place at Bathgate Thistle’s Creamery Park this coming Saturday (1st October 2011) with an 11am kick-off.

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd Tickets & Travel

    Motherwell travel to the City of Discovery this Saturday hoping to build on last week’s victory of Aberdeen.

    After an excellent start to the campaign, McCall’s men suffered back to back defeats at the hands of Celtic and St Johnstone before crashing out the Cup on penalties at the expense of Hibernian.

    However, the Steelmen ground out a hard-fought victory over Craig Brown’s men and go into Saturday’s clash in third place, four points clear of nearest challengers Hearts.

    United have also returned to form recently, losing just once in their last five matches and that was a narrow 1-0 reverse at home to Rangers.

    With former ‘Well loanee Gavin Gunning in their ranks, it’s sure to be a stern test against the Tangerines.

    Tickets for the match are available on the gate at Tannadice with admission as follows:

    ADULTS:   £21 / £19  
    CONCESSIONS:                                                   £12 / £10
    • Concessions are listed as Over 60s, Under 18s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • The more expensive price of for the top tier. The cheaper priced ticket is for the lower tier.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact John McCaskie on 01555 870122 or email sharon.mccaskie@sky.com.



    The bus for Dundee will leave the Bentley Hotel at 1pm. Phone Jim on (01698) 299650 or e-mail Christopher on christopher_hutton@btinternet.com.


    The Wishaw bus to Tannadice Park will leave at 12.45pm. To book seats please call Anne on 01698 470601 or email andrew.sim48@btinternet.com.


    The Dundee Utd bus will pick up at the Fir Park Club, Motherwell at 10.30am, then the Carousel Bar, Bellshill at 10.40am and finally the Holytown War Monument at 10.45am. Spaces are limited so to book your seat, contact Brian Worton on 07763 061821.


    BY CAR

    The stadium is located less than 200 yards from Dens Park, home of their city rivals Dundee, and is well signposted for travelling fans.

    Head towards Perth on the A9 and then follow the A90 into Dundee, leaving at the junction with the B960 to turn right on to Clepington Road (signposted Football traffic).

    Continue along Clepington Road for one mile and go through a roundabout before turning right on Arklay Street. The stadium will be clearly visible on the right.

    Street parking is available on numerous streets around the ground.

    BY BUS

    Several operators run buses to Dundee, departing every hour from Buchanan Station in Glasgow city centre.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.citylink.co.uk.


    Dundee station is over two miles away from the ground, although frequent bus services run throughout the city.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.scotrail.co.uk.


  • Archive

    Officials appointed for United clash

    Referee for Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Dundee United at Tannadice will be Steven McLean.

    McLean, brother of former ‘Well defender Brian, will be handling his second ‘Well game of the current campaign having previously taken charge of the league opener against Inverness Caley back in July.

    The 30-year old will be a familiar face to ‘Well fans having overseen three matches during the 2010/11 campaign.

    His first was his Motherwell ‘debut’ – a 2-1 win over Saturday’s opponents United at Fir Park one year ago. A couple of own goals gave The Steelmen the points despite David Goodwillie slamming home a penalty after McLean had adjudged skipper Stephen Craigan to have handled inside the area.

    His next was at Pittodrie when Motherwell took on Aberdeen for the first time since Craig Brown’s departure. A scintillating display from Stuart McCall’s men gave the Steelmen all three points after coming from behind to win 2-1.

    It was a difficult game for McLean to handle but, despite howls of protest from the home stands, the young official had an excellent evening and showed composure in the face of difficult circumstances.

    Finally, he was the man in the middle for another clash against Aberdeen, this time at Fir Park. A game more remembered for things that happened off the park after the final whistle; on the park the Steelmen won 2-1 again thanks to goals from Chris Humphrey and Shaun Hutchinson.

    McLean began his refereeing career back in 1997, aged just 16, but had to wait six years before being promoted to the SFA Senior List. It took him a further four years (June 2007) to get promoted to a Category 1 where he has spent the last three years handling SFL and ALBA Challenge Cup games as well as gaining experience as a fourth official at SPL matches.

    He eventually made his bow in Scotland’s top league when he took charge of Aberdeen’s 1-0 away win at McDiarmid Park over a year ago.  A late Darren Mackie goal was enough to give the Dons all three points and McLean had a good afternoon, booking five players in a competitive contest.

    He quickly followed that with another SPL match, this time the six-pointer between Kilmarnock and St Mirren at Rugby Park. A slightly more eventful outing for the young referee with Paul McGowan shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball incident. Killie eventually won the game 2-1; goals from Dayton and Eremenko cancelling out Steven Thomson’s leveller just after the interval.

    A busy debut season; Steven handled ten Scottish Premier League games and is on course to become one of Scotland’s top officials.

    McLean will be ably assisted by Gordon Middleton and Alistair Mather with Crawford Allan on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    McHugh has the last laugh

    Bob McHugh had the last laugh as he turned Craig Brown’s pre match banter in to a reality by scoring the winner against Brown’s Aberdeen side.

    Motherwell ran out 1-0 victors, with the young striker’s 83rd minute goal proving the difference – a goal which McHugh insisted was worth the wait.

    “It has been a long time coming,” said the 20 year old. “I was disappointed in midweek when my goal was disallowed when I thought it should have stood, but I got the important one today.

    “Craig had a little word with me before the game and jokingly said ‘don’t you be coming off the bench to score the winner today’, which I obviously ended up doing.”

    It was McHugh’s first goal in the SPL, despite having been in around the first team squad for the last three seasons.

    The Glaswegian striker has played under three different managers in his short career, but has now set his sight on more first-team appearances and more vital goals for Motherwell under the stable influence of Stuart McCall.

    [pullquote]Craig had a little word with me before the game and jokingly said ‘don’t you be coming off the bench to score the winner today’, which I obviously ended up doing.[/pullquote]

    “I’ve scored some decent goals in other competitions, but this was my first goal in the SPL, so it was always going to be good to get it.” A delighted McHugh said.

    “Under Jim Gannon I was making a lot of starts and then he left. Craig (Brown) and Archie (Knox) coming in set me back a bit, but towards the end of them being here I was getting back in the team and making more appearances.

    “Then Stuart McCall came in and that was another manager I had to prove myself to. I’ve been enjoying playing under him, but I have had to be quite patient.”

    McHugh’s strike was a prime example of the quality the youngster possesses. He beat Ricky Foster to Steve Jennings’ long ball out of the box, before firing low in the Cooper End goal.

    And the 20-year old praised manager Stuart McCall for giving him the freedom to change the game.

    He continued: “The manager has said to me to play positively and I did that when I took my goal.

    “I managed to cut in on to my left foot, I think Keith Lasley was the only other team mate in support, but I just put my foot through it and scored.”

  • Archive

    McCall lauds McHugh’s attitude

    Stuart McCall has hailed the character of Bob McHugh after watching the young striker score his first SPL goal for the club to secure 1-0 win over Aberdeen.

    The 20-year old suffered the midweek heartbreak of seeing a perfectly legitimate goal chalked off against Hibernian – one which would have surely seen the Steelmen progress to the quarter-final of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

    Yet, McHugh showed the mental fortitude to come off the bench on Saturday and score a splendid solo goal to ensure all three points stayed in North Lanarkshire.

    And McCall was keen praise the Motherwell academy product:  “He should’ve scored the winner on Tuesday but he hasn’t let that get him down.

    “He is a strong boy and quick. He has been working hard in training and working on his finishing, and I am delighted for him.

    “I’m relieved and delighted after the disappointment of Tuesday night, we were unfortunate to go out of the cup with Bob McHugh’s goal being disallowed and it’s ironic he gets the winner today.”

    [pullquote]He (McHugh) is a strong boy and quick. He has been working hard in training and working on his finishing, and I am delighted for him[/pullquote]

    The ‘Well gaffer was also keen to praise his side as a defensive unit, after putting a run of nine goals conceded in three games to bed with a fine clean sheet against Craig Brown’s charges.

    It’s was something which the boss admitted he had worked on during the week, and was delighted to see his ‘Well side putting up the barricades and getting back to the kind of frugal defensive display which was so prominent earlier in the campaign.

    “We have been critical of the defending,” McCall conceded. “We had a meeting about it yesterday and we knew we had to defend better as a unit.

    “Defending is a team thing and I thought the central two did well against their big strikers, while the full backs made some crucial blocks which meant big Darren didn’t have much to do.

    “It wasn’t the greatest game. If you take the Old Firm out of it along with Hearts who have a big squad there isn’t much between the teams. You look through every team and they can all beat each other on their day.”

    Michael Higdon also had his part to pay in a gruelling team effort. The big striker was forced to feed off scraps during a difficult afternoon, but put in a diligent shift with and without the ball – while helping keep the physically imposing Dons side at bay from set pieces.

    While some fans gave the former St Mirren man some stick, McCall is conscious of what The Steelmen’s top scorer brings to the team.

    “I have seen this ever since I was a boy when I went to Leeds and I used to hear Terry Yorath get a lot of stick,” the 47-year old recalled. “There always seems to be a boo-boy. If I am a supporter of a club I can’t understand it.

    “Higgy has just got to get on with it, we are all in it together at Motherwell as players, staff and fans and we need to stick together and get behind each other.

    “You pay your money – but for the benefit of the team we had to keep him on. We are a small team at set pieces. We had Steven Hammell picking up Scott Vernon and Tom Hateley picking up Andrew Considine. If you then take Higdon off we could have been undone.

    “We miss Hutchinson and Saunders and if we would have kicked ourselves if we had lost a goal from a set piece if we had taken him off.”

  • Archive

    Aberdeen win in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-0 win over Aberdeen in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.

    These action shots and more are available to buy online at motherwellPICS.

    [svgallery name=”aberdeen240911″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 1 – 0 Aberdeen

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Fir Park

    Bob McHugh’s first SPL goal proved to be decisive as Motherwell beat Aberdeen 1-0 in a rather lacklustre affair.

    The young forward’s strike seven minutes from time was the only moment of real quality in a game which was scrappy and bereft of many clear chances.

    This game was set up to be an interesting battle, based on the recent history between both sides, with The Dons’ last visit to Fir Park mainly remembered for the altercation between former Chairman John Boyle and former gaffer Craig Brown.

    Three points for Motherwell would see them hoping to pull away from Hearts in 3rd place, while a win for Aberdeen would see them start to pull away from the foot of the table.

    Both teams crashing out of the Scottish Communities League Cup on penalties in midweek meant there was added spice to an already potentially fiery match.

    Stuart McCall named an unchanged starting XI from Tuesday night while Aberdeen made four changes. Yaoule Mawene , Rory Fallon, Isaac Osbourne and Robert Milsom all came in at the expense of Rory  McArdle, Josh Magennis, Peter Pawlett and Darren Mackie.

    Jamie Murphy looked lively as early as the first minute, cutting in from the left and angling a drive just wide of Gonzalez’s far post.  Ryan Jack was the first to trouble Darren Randolph at the other end after drifting in from the right, but his tame effort was smothered comfortably.

    Tom Hateley played a slick ball in behind Andy Considine to Chris Humphrey, but the winger’s cross was deflected in to David Gonzalez’s arms.  Darren Randolph then had to palm away a good effort from Scott Vernon after good link up play down the left between Milsom and Considine.

    Nicky Law responded, making a dart up the East Stand side, latching on to a great ball from Hammell – but his effort was too close to the keeper. 

    The best chance of the half up to that point fell to Chris Humphrey. Michael Higdon sent him clear through the middle, an unfamiliar position for the Jamaican to be in. After fighting off the last defender he rounded Gonzalez, only to smack the bar from a tight angle.  From there, the game became sloppy and a little turgid, with little in the way of goalmouth action. Neither side seemed capable of playing an incisive ball, despite some decent build-up.

    As the second half began, a foul on Murphy led to a great chance for the opener. Hateley’s flighted free kick to the back post was headed brilliantly towards the top corner by Tim Clancy. Only the crossbar kept the ball out, before a foul was given and the danger was gone.

    A quick Lasley and Law corner caused a flurry of excitement in the box, which found its way back to the waiting Law, however he was once again crowded out. 

    Clancy then had to look lively to prevent Vernon getting a shot in at the other end, making a composed challenge on the byline.

    Murphy then could have rounded Gonzalez when played in by Lasley, but he took too long to gain his composure. The ball was worked to Humphrey who crossed for Murphy to head straight at the Dons keeper. Vernon similarly headed straight at Randolph a few moments later.

    Second half sub Pawlett’s first involvement in the game was a woeful cross ball that floated over, after Vernon had done well to send him free.  His second was a horrendous tackle on Darren Randolph, as the big keeper tried to clear the ball just outside the box. A deserved booking was dished out, to cheers from the Well faithful.

    A massive shout for a penalty fell on deaf ears when Gonzalez failed to collect Hammell’s lofted free kick. As the ball bounced around, Clancy went down under a challenge from the goalkeeper but no spot kick was awarded. Omar Daley replaced Humphrey on the hour-mark as Motherwell attempted to unlock the Dons defence.

    But Darren Randolph was becoming the busier goalie, and had to punch Pawlett’s corner out from under the bar. He then had to have his wits about him, saving well from point blank range from Vernon.  He then held a thumping effort from the edge of the box from Vernon once more.

    Brown brought on Megginson for Rory Fallon on 75 minutes as McCall swapped Murphy with McHugh.  Scott Vernon was soon replaced by Josh Magennis as Brown changed his attacking options in search of a winner.

    However, it was McCall’s sub that made the most of his late opportunity.

    A long ball from Steve Jennings to Bob McHugh saw him pip Ricky Foster in the chase. As the Aberdeen captain slipped, the little striker ran free and cut in to the box, before shimmying past Arnason and blasting low in to Gonzalez bottom corner.

    It had taken 83 minutes for the game to come to life, but the diminutive McHugh’s goal was worth the wait.

    As a spectacle, it was far from a classic, but the dramatic 1-0 win for Motherwell is all that matters to the Claret and Amber support.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park

    Game over – three points secured it wasn’t pretty but we got there.

    84mins – Bob McHugh’s first SPL goal – good time to get it!! Robs Foster, cuts in and smashes home from about 25 yards. Ya beauty!


    83mins – Another Dons change – Magennis for Vernon.

    75mins – Change for both sides Murphy off, McHugh on, Megginson for Fallon.

    68mins – Humphrey off Daley on, and a Clancy booking.

    66mins – Pawlett booked for late tackle on Randolph, only on 7 minutes and it’s his second offence!

    63mins – Crowd is 4348.

    61mins – Murphy header from Humphrey cross goes straight to the keeper.

    58mins – Aberdeen change – Pawlett coming on for Clark.

    47mins – Clancy’s looping header come off the underside of the bar.

    45mins – Teams are out for second half and we are under way again….

    Half time – 45 minutes that won’t live long in the memory!

    41mins – Law run from midfield ends with a 20 yard shot easily saved by Gonzalez.

    26mins – Humphrey robs Considine at the edge of the box rounds Gonzalez but from a tight angle could only hit the bar.

    20mins – After 20 minutes this game badly needs a goal to liven it up, a lot of nice passing but little in front of goal from either side.

    19mins – Law then cuts in off left but his shot doesn’t really trouble Gonzalez who makes a comfy save.

    18mins – Scott Vernon in space at the edge of the box and his shot pulls out a full length save from Randolph.

    14mins – Humphrey cross deflected by Foster straight into arms of his keeper Gonzalez.

    1min – The match gets underway.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It’s a great win and I’m delighted after that disappointment when were unfortunate to go out of the cup.

    “It was ironic that Bob got the goal after scoring the other night; without bleating on about it again, that should have stood, but it didn’t affect him and it was a great finish.

    “He’s strong and quick but he doesn’t have a left foot so when he cut in on his left foot today I was expecting a goal kick to Aberdeen!

    “It was a difficult game and it’s always a battle; I was thinking that a draw would probably be a fair result but we hit the bar twice and got the better chances, although there wasn’t a lot in it.

    “Looking at this league, any team can beat any team on their day; it wasn’t the greatest game but I think we just about edged it.”

    Aberdeen manager Craig Brown:

    “I don’t think we deserved to lose but I didn’t think we deserved to win. The teams cancelled each other out in a stalemate type of game, and that’s what I think the result should have been.

    “We conceded a soft goal – credit to Motherwell and Bob McHugh for taking their chance and for a good substitution, but we’re obviously disappointed that they scored from our corner with a breakaway.

    “An individual error cost us and that’s been the case in one or two games, and we’ve had very little good fortune.

    “Motherwell hit the bar twice but that’s the first time anyone’s done that against us this season – we’ve hit the bar five times and the post twice, when we make an error we get punished, and we haven’t had any good fortune at all.

    “I thought our performance was solid enough; there wasn’t great flair about the team but it was a workmanlike, solid, conscientious display.”


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