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    Dundee United programme preview

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    TV: McCall expects improved United

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    U19s game with Inverness postponed

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    ‘Well help kids get safety message

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    TV: Young opts for youth

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    TV: Law keen to extend good form

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    TV: Craigan expects tough Arabs test

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    Craigan at the ‘Craig

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    Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival

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    O’Donnell tribute to be unveiled

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    Dundee United programme preview

    ‘Well host Dundee Utd tomorrow and if you are coming to the match, don’t forget to pick up a matchday programme.

    With a new editorial team and a new producer in Curtis Sport, the 64-page magazine has been a hit with fans in our nine home games and this edition should be another not to miss.

    What’s inside? Well, manager Stuart McCall talks about the difficulties of facing Dundee United, his desire to improve on performances at Fir Park and the aims for the up-coming weeks and months.

    Skipper Stephen Craigan gives an excellent topical view of Scottish football and examines recent highs and lows in the SPL from a players’ point of view and there is a superb interview with midfield maestro Steve Jennings. Andy Ross caught up with the Scouser, discussing matching the exploits on the road in North Lanarkshire, his decision to stay at Motherwell last summer and catching up with an old pal…

    There is a special 12-page section dedicated to our visitors, Dundee Utd. Not only is there a rundown of the current squad and a review of the season so far, we get the views of Arab Evan Rattray and Peter Elder remembers a 4-2 win against theTerrors from 2004.

    And that’s not all. As well as match reports from both the Celtic and Aberdeen matches, regular features such as The Travelling Fan with Yir Elder, On This Day with Graham Barnstaple and we also look at Stephen Craigan at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge and a further look at the Scottish Cup draw.

    Wait, there’s more! Andy Meek is the latest to take part in our ‘FANATICS’ series. We have the latest from the Under 19s, The Ticket Office, the Commercial Department and the latest stats, facts and figures for the 2011/2012 campaign.

    The programme is available for £3 and is currently on sale from the Club Shop and Jack Daniels as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

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    TV: McCall expects improved United

    Stuart McCall has told MFC TV he expects an extremely tough test against a much-improved Dundee United tomorrow.

    The Arabs went through a transitional summer, losing quality players such as David Goodwillie, Prince Bauben, Morgaro Gomis and Craig Conway. That made for a somewhat inconsistent start to the season as Peter Houston set about rebuilding his side.

    However, in recent weeks, they look back to their best with their attacking players getting goals and the defence, led by former ‘Well loanee Gavin Gunning, proving much more assured and stubborn.

    “This is a Dundee United side much improved in recent weeks,” McCall said.

    “I was at their last away game at Ibrox and although they lost the game, they were unlucky not to win, never mind pick up a point. Actually, since Houstie was getting that ridiculous criticism a month or so ago, with rumours in the paper of him leaving United, they’ve had a great win against Dunfermline, an excellent performance at Ibrox and a really solid win over Hearts.

    “They will come to Fir Park today full of spirit I am sure of that.

    “But we have to be on the hunt for all three points, there’s no doubt about that. I said after the Aberdeen game, when people asked me about Rangers dropping points that we’re looking to consolidate where we are and identify teams who could challenge for that spot. Dundee united come in to that category, so three points today are desirable to keep them further behind us.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    U19s game with Inverness postponed

    Motherwell’s U19s match away to Inverness has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

    Heavy overnight rain all across Scotland has made conditions at the Highland Football Academy very difficult and the match was called off just after 9am this morning.

    No date has, as yet, been scheduled for the rearranged fixture.

    The U19s are back in action this coming Tuesday when they face another away trip, this time to Hibs’ training camp. Kick-off is at 1pm.

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    ‘Well help kids get safety message

    An interactive website highlighting internet safety to children has been developed by Motherwell Football Club and North Lanarkshire Council.

    The site features an animated boy who takes children through five golden rules to stay safe on-line, as well as advice and tips on other web activities including social networking, chat rooms and cyber bullying.

    Motherwell FC developed the web site as part of their Community Programme in partnership with the council’s child protection team.

    Stevie Kirk, former MFC player and now Business Development Manager with the club’s Community Trust, features on the web site.

    “We’ll be taking the internet safety message out to all primary schools in North Lanarkshire as part of our community programme,” Stevie explained. “We hope that through kids’ interest in football, we can help promote the importance of staying safe on-line.

    [pullquote]We hope that through kids’ interest in football, we can help promote the importance of staying safe on-line.[/pullquote]

    “Chat rooms, gaming and social networking sites are now so popular with children of all ages and there can be dangers out there if children aren’t careful in how they use the technology. Our web site gives practical tips on protecting yourself, like using a nickname, never arranging to meet people they have ‘spoken’ to on-line and not giving out personal details.”

    Speaking at the launch of the web site, Gavin Whitefield, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council, said internet safety was a key priority for the council’s Child Protection Committee.

    He said: “With mobiles, laptops and electronic games all giving children instant access to the internet, parents and professionals are concerned about their safety on-line. This has been reflected in the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010 which identifies online safety as part of the safeguarding agenda for all child protection committees.

    “We have worked closely with Motherwell FC on various issues, including the Choose Life suicide prevention campaign. So when we approached them about our on-line safety work, they immediately offered their support. It is a great opportunity to use football to get these important messages across to children and parents and I would like to thank the Club for its support.”

    Take the MFC Internet Safety Course to learn more.

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    TV: Young opts for youth

    Gordon Young has told MFC TV he intends to take one of the youngest ever squads on the long journey north to Inverness tomorrow.

    The Under 19s have been severely hampered by injury, illness and player promotion in recent weeks, making for inconsistent results and performances.

    However Young, Motherwell’s Head of Youth Development, choose to focus on the positives as many youngsters, still capable of turning out for the U17s, will have their chance to shine.

    “I wish the stats were readily available to hand as I reckon this will probably be one of the youngest squads we will have fielded in the SPL U19s league,” Yound said.

    “That’s a combination of a few things but it’s a fantastic opportunity for others. I am really excited about the match. Off the top of my head, I think we’ve have five 16-year olds, six 17-year olds and the rest made up of second years.

    “These lads have trained really well and deserve their shot. Obviously things have been somewhat forced but no matter the situation, these are the chances that don’t come around all that often and the platform is there for these boys to step up to the plate and make a claim for a regular berth.”

    -WATCH GORDON’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Law keen to extend good form

    Midfielder Nicky Law reckons putting further distance between ‘Well and the chasing pack is vital as the SPL heads into the busy festive period.

    The former Sheffield United and Rotherham midfielder has enjoyed a sensational start to his Motherwell career, and is one of one the early season success stories for the Steelmen.

    However, the Englishman is under no illusions about the size of the task that face the Fir Park side.

    Although McCall’s men have managed to open up a nine-point gap on nearest challenges St Johnstone and St Mirren, Law admits that the priority at the minute is to extend that by as many points as possible, as quickly as possible.

    [pullquote]Dundee United will be one of the sides who will be looking above as opposed to below so the further we can pull ahead of them the better.[/pullquote]

    “At the minute we’re taking everything one game at a time and not looking too far ahead of ourselves or getting too carried away,” the 23-year old said.

    “Our aim is to try and create as much of a buffer as possible. We know, at some point, or at least you would assume, that we won’t always be winning games and we might hit a sticky patch. If that does happen, then there’s a nice gap to fall back on. It’s about taking advantage of things when it is going right.

    “Dundee United will be one of the sides who will be looking above as opposed to below so the further we can pull ahead of them the better.”

    -WATCH NICKY’S FULL INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Craigan expects tough Arabs test

    ‘Well skipper Stephen Craigan today admitted he expects a rejuvenated Dundee United to pose a significant threat at Fir Park this Saturday.

    Peter Houston’s men have only lost once in their last five matches, and that was at Ibrox, and picked up an excellent three points against Hearts last Saturday.

    And 54-times capped Craigan, speaking as the Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival in the Ravenscraig Sports Facility, knows ‘Well are in for a tough encounter.

    “If Peter can get his best eleven on the pitch, and he has just added Robbie Nielsen to the squad, then they are a threat to anyone,” he said.

    “They have improved, there is no about that, and there is no doubt they were in a false position. We have to guard against that and improve our own home form and that’s what we are looking to do.

    “Even when you look at the last game at Tannadice, we won 3-1 but got the goals at the right times in the game.

    “We scored just before half-time which knocked the stuffing out of them a little bit but there’s no doubt it will be a tough ninety minutes for us this weekend.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ONLY ON MFC TV-

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    Craigan at the ‘Craig

    Photos from the Ravenscraig’s Regional Sports Facility Children as Stephen Craigan meets local primary school kids at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival.

    [svgallery name=”craiganatthecraig”]

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    Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival

    Children from ten local primary schools from Cumbernauld and Motherwell had an amazing day of football and fun at a Tesco Bank Football Challenge Festival at Ravenscraig’s Regional Sports Facility as Stephen Craigan paid a special visit to over 500 participants.

    The schools are the latest to have taken part in six weeks of coaching sessions as part of the Scottish FA’s flagship participation programme and are now coming together for a finale to remember.

    The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The project introduces football to Primary 2 and Primary 3 children (six to eight years old) across Scotland to help get them engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    Now in its second year 1000 boys and girls in the area have taken part, this year across ten schools.  Overall, more than 36,000 children across Scotland will have been involved in the Tesco Bank Football Challenge by June 2012.

    [pullquote]It was brilliant to see the children have so much fun at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge. I think it is superb programme and I’m really pleased to support it.[/pullquote]

    Nicola Ferguson, head teacher at Woodlands Primary School said: “The children had a fantastic day. The programme fits in really well to the Curriculum for Excellence, but more than anything else gets the children active at the same time as having a lot of fun. I cannot recommend the programme highly enough.”

    Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan added: “It was brilliant to see the children have so much fun at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge. I think it is superb programme and I’m really pleased to support it.

    Former Airdrie and Dunfermline star Andy Smith, now a football development officer in North Lanarkshire said commented: “At a time when participation is a big topic of discussion we are delighted to have the opportunity to get local kids involved in basic football activity through the Tesco Bank Football Challenge, which fits in entirely with the Scottish FA’s Scotland United 2020 strategy. The target to double the number of participants in football this year to 135,000 will be fantastically supported by programmes like this.”

    Adele Mills, Community Investment Manager at Tesco Bank added: “We are delighted our football programme gives children and teachers in the area the opportunity to get active and learn new skills.  It’s great to see the children in North Lanarkshire having such a fantastic time.”

    In the first year of the programme 479 schools across Scotland’s 32 local authorities participated in the programme, involving 19,061 boys and girls. There were 74 regional festivals and over 1000 teachers and volunteers went through the Scottish FA’s in-service programme.

    The primary schools involved in this year’s Tesco Bank Football Challenge in North Lanarkshire are: Woodlands Primary, Auchinloch Primary, Chryston Primary, St Helens Primary, Stepps Primary, Glencairn Primary, Cumbernauld Primary, Whitelees Primary, Holycross Primary, and Cathedral Primary.

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    O’Donnell tribute to be unveiled

    The Motherwell Supporters Trust will unveil the fans’ memorial to Phil O’Donnell at 1.30pm this Saturday (26 November) at Fir Park.

    Along with invited guests from the O’Donnell family, players and staff from Motherwell FC and representatives from Dundee United, the Trust extends an open invitation to Motherwell fans to meet at the Chapman Building where a short ceremony will end with the lighting of the artwork on the North wall of the Phil O’Donnell stand.

    The club captain passed away after leading Motherwell in a home game against Dundee United almost four years ago and it is fitting that they are the visitors to Fir Park this weekend.

    The football community came together united in shock and grief at the loss of a man in his prime.  He was 35 years old and left behind a wife and four children. 

    It was determined that a lasting memorial should be erected in his honour and to that end A Night for Phil was held in the Civic Centre and later a fundraising dinner took place.

    The Gorbals Art Project was asked to design and manufacture a suitable piece that would become part of the fabric of the stadium. 

    The process is now complete and it is hoped that this token of the fans’ remembrance of Uncle Phil will become a treasured part of the club’s history.