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    Officials appointed for Hearts clash

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    SPL Statement: Rule Changes

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    Free buses to Tynecastle

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    GOALS: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

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    TV: McCall content with a point

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    St Mirren draw in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

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    St Mirren Programme preview

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    TV: Ask Michael Higdon

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    TV: Black hoping for home comforts

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    Officials appointed for Hearts clash

    Referee for this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hearts will be the experienced Crawford Allan.

    It will be Crawford’s third ‘Well game of the current season, his first was the instantly forgettable 3-0 home defeat at the hands of St Johnstone in September and the other was the 3-2 win in Inverness a month late, goals coming from Shaun Hutchinson, Keith Lasley and Tom Hateley.

    He’ll no doubt be a familiar face to Fir Park fans, having handled three games last season too.

    He was the man in the middle for the 4-0 win over St Johnstone last November thanks to a hat-trick from Nick Blackman and a single John Sutton strike.

    Three months later he was back at Fir Park when a John Sutton penalty was enough to give ‘Well a 1-0 win over local rivals Hamilton Accies. He also handled the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in May when Steve Jones’ opener was cancelled out by Willy Aubameyang.

    The season previous, he was the man in the middle for the 3-1 success early in Jim Gannon’s reign when John Sutton, Ross Forbes and Shaun Hutchinson gave the ‘Well all three points over Kilmarnock.

    Monthly later he officiated the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen when Gary McDonald, who would later be ordered off, cancelled out a Lukas Jutkiewicz opener.

    Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.

    Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler, a Grade 1 official for eleven seasons, but he won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach is and was appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club.

    In another twist of fate, Allan is only one of two referees to have ever refereed a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.

    His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly decent one, with the Fir Parkers winning six, drawing four and losing one (the aforementioned defeat by St Johnstone three months ago) of the eleven games in total. In those games, 28 players have seen yellow, thirteen in Claret and Amber, whilst three have been sent for an early bath.

    Allan will be ably assisted by Alasdair Ross and Willie Conquer with Frank McDermott on fourth official duties.

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    SPL Statement: Rule Changes

    At today’s SPL General Meeting, clubs approved changes to SPL rules on safe standing and Unacceptable Conduct.

    The SPL Board will now have the ability to approve requests from clubs to pilot safe standing areas for use in Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches.

    The amendments to the existing Unacceptable Conduct rules were put forward following discussions within the Joint Action Group and are part of football’s commitment to protect and maintain the good reputation of the game in Scotland.

    The definition of “Unacceptable Conduct” within the SPL Rules has been extended to include ‘using words, conduct or displaying any writing or other thing which indicates support for, or affiliation to, or celebration of, or opposition to an organisation proscribed in terms of  the Terrorism Act 2000’.

    A number of amendments to the accompanying guidance notes which set out the minimum standards expected of SPL clubs in relation to tackling Unacceptable Conduct will also be introduced.

    Where a charge is to be laid that a club has not met the requirements of the Unacceptable Conduct rules, the case will be heard by an Independent Commission.

    Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPL, said: “Since I joined the SPL in 2009, there has been widespread support amongst fans to re-introduce safe standing areas. I am delighted that we have been able to respond positively to supporters’ views on improving the match day experience.

    “Changes to our rules on Unacceptable Conduct ‘raise the bar’ in terms of what is expected of clubs and shows our clubs are committed to playing their part in tackling Unacceptable Conduct.”

    Further information

    Safe Standing

    Approval for safe standing areas will also be required from local Safety Committees and the Police.

    Unacceptable Conduct

    The amendments to the accompanying guidance notes will place requirements on SPL clubs to:

    • Bring Unacceptable Conduct to the attention of the Match Commander;
    • Take reasonably practical steps, including consultation with police, to identify those who engage in Unacceptable Conduct;
    • Once identified, to apply proportionate sanctions against a supporter, or person exercising function for a club (other than as an official or an employee) who engages in Unacceptable Conduct;
    • Include requirements in all SPL clubs’ match ticket conditions, season ticket conditions and in Ground Regulations that supporters must adhere to a Fans Charter/Code of Conduct (once finalised);
    • submit interim and annual reports to the SPL Secretary detailing actions taken to prevent Unacceptable Conduct by supporters and what steps have been taken to address Unacceptable Conduct that does occur;
    • Maintain records of requests for police assistance, and or police interventions in relation to incidents of Unacceptable Conduct and the responses given.

    Any Independent Commission will be chaired by an advocate or solicitor of at least ten years standing.

    Should a club be found to have failed to meet the requirements of the Unacceptable Conduct rules, the Independent Commission will have the power to apply a wide range of sanctions, including warnings, fines, annulment of results, points deductions, prohibitions from supporters attending matches and playing of matches behind closed doors or at other venues, amongst others.

    Click here to find out more on current SPL rules.

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    Free buses to Tynecastle

    Motherwell Football Club are delighted to offer fans the opportunity to travel to Tynecastle this Saturday free of charge.

    The Christmas Eve fixture is vital for Motherwell in the race to secure a top-six position and, as a thank you to supporters who have followed the club in such numbers, with such noise, colour and passion, the club will fully subsidise all Supporters Association coaches travelling to Edinburgh.

    “2011 has been an exhilarating year for Motherwell fans and in return the fans have stepped up for the team,” said Chief Executive Leeann Dempster.

    “Attendances are up, atmosphere is superb home and away and the spirit of the club is growing. We are about to launch our new membership scheme and we have huge optimism for 2012.

    “As a club we know we have to strive every day to do more for our fans and to attract new ones. We also know that times are tight financially and there is only so much we can ask our fans to do. The Board met with the management team this week to thank Stuart and Kenny sincerely for all they have done so far. Almost as important as the results on the pitch is the team spirit they have given us off it.

    “We are now calling all Motherwell fans to show up in the best numbers you can for Saturday’s game against a talented St Mirren side.

    “Today we also announce that we will put on free buses for all fans for the Christmas Eve game at Hearts. These are two huge games that could set us up for a busy holiday season calendar.

    “The Board want to thank the fans, including the Supporters Association for their assistance with this initiative, for all they have done for the club so far, and put a marker down for 2012 that we will do all we can to make this the premier family and community club in Scotland.”

    To secure your seat to Tynecastle, get in touch with your local branch.

    Click Here for Supporters Association contact details.

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    GOALS: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    All the goals from Fir Park as Motherwell and St Mirren shared the points in an entertaining 1-1 draw – Michael Higdon and Jim Goodwin grabbing the goals.

    -CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE GOALS ON MFC TV-

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    TV: McCall content with a point

    Stuart McCall was quick to praise both sides in an entertaining 1-1 draw with St Mirren at Fir Park this afternoon.

    Motherwell opened the scoring shortly after the interval when Michael Higdon rose to meet a Nicky Law cross to head home his ninth of the campaign.

    However, eleven minutes later, Jim Goodwin struck a thunderous long range effort high past Darren Randolph to level.

    Both teams battled as play swung from one end to another. However, neither team could get a decisive second forcing McCall to settle for a point.

    “It was a terrific game of football, there were no lulls, there were quick free-kicks, quick throw-ins,” he said.

    “Both sets of players deserve an awful amount of credit, not only for making it a competitive game, it was a hard one to referee, but end to end. Both teams in the last 10 minutes were looking to win the game.

    “I thought it would be cruel on any side to have lost. We scored a really good goal, great move and their goal was a terrific goal. It would have been nice once we got one to kick on and at times we played some really good stuff, but likewise so did they.

    “It was a really good advert for Scottish football. I enjoyed it, if you can as a manager.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    St Mirren draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-1 draw with St Mirren 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=”stmirren171211″]

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    [tab:Match report]

    twitter Kris Jack at Fir Park

    A Michael Higdon header against his former club wasn’t enough to earn Motherwell a win, as Jim Goodwin’s thunderbolt ensured a share of the spoils for St Mirren.

    The big striker was on hand to nod home just minutes into the second half after superb build-up play from midfield maestro Nicky Law.

    However, the Steelmen’s lead lasted only eleven minutes when former Hamilton Accies midfielder Jim Goodwin unleashed an unstoppable thirty-yard rocket leaving Darren Randolph helpless.

    The game got stretched towards the end with the visitors probably having the better of the chances but it finished all square with both teams sharing the spoils in an entertaining match.

    After last week’s convincing victory in Perth, Stuart McCall stuck with the exact same squad that dispatched St Johnstone 3-0 on their home turf. Omar Daley’s goal and performance kept him in the starting eleven, and would be hoping to be as much of a threat and provider as last week.

    Jamie Murphy and former Buddie Michael Higdon were hoping to be the benefactors of his wing play, with the former looking to add to his brace last week, and the latter aiming to get on over on his former employers.

    Danny Lennon made just one change to his starting line up that came back from two goals down against Aberdeen to salvage a draw last time out. Nigel Hasselbaink came in for former Scotland international Gary Teale, to give the Paisley side a speedy option up front.

    While losing one game away from home all season, ‘Well were hoping the Christmas period would gift them a home performance to fill the fans with festive cheer.

    Both sides set out to attack and create from the off. Inside the opening two minutes, Daley managed to sneak in behind Tesselaar, only to have his pass cleared out for a corner, which Hateley over hit.

    St Mirren then caused panic in the home box, when Graham Carey cut in from the right and fired a shot at Randolph, which the big keeper spilled before the ball was hacked to safety. Motherwell were using their wide men to good effect in the early stages, with Hammell, Daley and Hateley directing balls in to the Buddies box, but with no takers.

    The game was given a bit of an edge when Jennings was booked for a foul on Carey in the middle of the park. A bit of a melee ensued, with Jim Goodwin also carded for their involvement. ‘Well were then awarded a free-kick; it was Tom Hateley range, but the right back couldn’t emulate his last minute winner from St Mirren Park.

    Instead, the visitors broke up the park and won a corner, but McGowan’s volley from the cross was blasted well over. The former Celtic youngster earned the same result when he thundered a free kick form 35 yards in to the Cooper stand a few moments later.

    The game became littered with niggly fouls and Motherwell were fortunate not to concede a penalty midway through the half. Hutchinson looked to bring down Tesselaar as he romped in to the box for what looked a stone wall spot kick, Referee Calum Murray pointed the spot but was reversed the call in favour of an offside call with the help of his linesman. 

    Michael Higdon then flashed a header wide from the penalty spot, diving to connect with Jamie Murphy’s cross. Murphy then went on a mazy runs, picking the ball up midway in the Saints half and galloping past man after man in to the box. Instead of shooting, he squared to Higdon, whose shot was blocked my McAusland, before Daley blazed an effort in to the stand from an angle.

    St Mirren were also searching for the opener, and only some composed defending from Craigan prevented Hasselbaink from pulling the trigger after winning a tussle with Hammell in the box. Michael Higdon was desperate to get a goal against his old club and only a Goodwin clearance stopped his bullet header crossing the line from Hateley’s corner. Omar Daley was then booked for delaying a St Mirren free kick by kicking the ball away. Kenny McLean then let fly with a thunderbolt from 35 yards which shook Darren Randolph’s upright before being cleared.

    St Mirren seemed happy to allow Motherwell to run at them, and Nicky Law almost made them pay just before half time. In almost a repeat of Murphy’s run from earlier, he strode from halfway in to the opposing box, but his final ball to Michael Higdon fell too short. It was an entertaining first half, with chances for both sides and some spicy challenges, but severely lacked a goal.

    It took all of three minutes in the second period for that goal to materialize, and did so for the home side. Murphy latched on to a long ball up the left flank and fed Nicky Law, whose composed and weighted cross found the head of Michael Higdon, who nodded the ball down in Samson’s bottom left corner. It was Higdon’s seventh SPL goal of the season and gave ‘Well the lead versus his previous club.

    Lasley was next to have a crack at the St Mirren goal, firing just over from 30 yards following a cleared corner.  It was a spectacular attempt which Jim Goodwin not only tried to copy, but bested, a few moments later. The St Mirren captain was fed the ball 25 yards from goal, looked up and magnificently thundered a drive in to the top right hand corner.

    1-1 with an hour played and the visitors could have snatched the lead with their next attack. A great ball over the top found McGowan in acres of space before he rounded Darren Randolph, only to fire well over from a tight angle. It was a let off for Motherwell, who until that point looked good for their lead.

    The equalizer found St Mirren in the ascendancy, with their passing and possession more prevalent than their hosts. In hope of regaining a grip of the game, Stuart McCall made a double substitution with Daley and Lasley replaced by Chris Humphrey and Stephen Hughes.

    Jamie Murphy picked up his sides fourth booking of the match for a tug on Carey. The introduction of Humphrey sparked a flurry of action in front of the St Mirren goal. Firstly, the Jamaican acres of space to run in to, before cutting in to the box and firing just wide via a deflection. He then won two corners for the home side, which were both cleared to safety. Mooy then had a clear run at goal down the left, but his shot was comfortable for Randolph to smother.

    With ten minutes remaining, Steven Thompson almost poked home at the back post for St Mirren, but his opportunistic effort fell well wide. The Republic of Ireland goalie then had to make two sharp stops from Thompson and Mooy, to keep the game level. Kenny McLean then had another fantastical effort, this time acrobatically volleying goalward from the edge of the box. Randolph again denied St Mireen the lead.

    Down the other end, a Murphy header from Hateley’s cross would have burst the net had it not been for the reactions of Craig Samson. Kenny McLean completed a hat trick of spectacular chances without a goal when he broke free of the Well midfield and fired over form 18 yards. He was booked for a cynical foul on Humphrey before referee Calum Murray blew for full time.

    [tab:As it happened]

    twitter Kris Jack at Fir Park

    90 +1mins – McLean booked for cynical challenge on Humphrey.

    90mins – 2 minutes of Added On Time.

    89mins – Carey fires over form edge of the box after breaking past Jennings.

    89mins – Saints sub: Teale on, Carey off.

    86mins – Murphy header almost gives Well lead, but Samson saves superbly.

    84mins – McLean strikes a wonderful acrobatic volley from the edge of the box that Randolph matches, tipping the effort over the bar.

    82mins – Randolph makes 3 saves from, 2 from Thompson and 1 from Mooy, to keep the game level.

    78mins – Corner leads to a goalmouth scramble eventually cleared.

    75mins – Humphrey cuts in, as is his want and fires wide via a deflection.

    71mins – Well double sub: Lasley and Daley off, Hughes and Humphrey on, Murphy booked.

    Today’s Attendance – 4557, cheers for coming folks!

    63mins: Buddies sub: Hasselbaink off, Mooy on.

    Great goal by Goodwin, almost 2-1 Saints but McGowan rounds Randolph and blasts wide. Let off big time.

    Goal: St Mirren: Jim Goodwin blasts a rocket pasts Darren Randolph from 25 yards. 1-1.

    57mins – Daley causing no end of problems on right wins corner. Cleared to Lasley, who shoots over from 30 yards.

    52mins – Lasley booked for persistent fouling.

    48mins – Murphy out left plays in Law, whose weighted cross lands right on Higdon’s head and nestles in the bottom corner, 1-0 Well.

    48mins – GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! MICHAEL HIGDON.

    47mins – McGowan gets in behind Well defence, but is called offside.

    46mins – Daley bursts down the left and in to the box, squares form by-line, cleared for corner.

    Half Time – Motherwell 0- 0 St Mirren. Entertaining game so far, no goals but some meaty challenges ad decent efforts on goal.

    42mins – Nicky Law tries to emulate Jamie Murphy’s run from earlier, but final ball lets him down.

    38mins – Kenny McLean rattles Randolph’s bar with a thundering effort from 35 yards. Good effort.

    36mins – Higdon header cleared off line by Goodwin from Hateley corner. Daley booked for kicking ball away at Buddies free kick.

    31mins – Murphy mazy run ends with Higdon effort blocked and Daley blazing wide from an angle. Mercurial run from the youngster.

    26mins – Higdon flashes a header wide from Murphy cross, after Law does well to dispossess Saints defender on edge of box.

    25mins – Law, Lasley and Daley combine to set up Higdon, but the big man’s first touch lets him down on penalty spot.

    23mins – whole stadium thinks St Mirren have a penalty when Hutchinson brings down Tesselaar, but ref gives offside instead. Phew!

    19mins – …which is swung to back post and headed wide by Hutchinson. Well slightly on top at the moment.

    19mins – Higdon knocks down to Law, who sends Daley wide, cross cleared for corner…

    14mins – Hateley free kick hits wall and cleared, Hasselbaink breaks and wins corner for Buddies.

    11mins – Jennings booked for a foul on Carey, Goodwin for having a bit of afters, bit of a melee to spice things up!

    8mins – Hammell cross for Higdon cleared for corner, after nice passing down left with Jennings, Law and Hammell.

    4mins – Carey cuts in and shoots, Randolph spills it, but ball is humped clear.

    2mins – Daley sneaks in behind and wins a corner off Goodwin, Hateley’s delivery too long and Jennings fouls Hasselbaink.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It was a terrific game of football. There were no lulls, there were quick free-kicks, quick throw-ins.

    “Both sets of players deserve an awful amount of credit, not only for making it a competitive game, it was a hard one to referee, but end to end.

    “Both teams in the last 10 minutes were looking to win the game. I thought it would be cruel on any side to have lost.

    “We scored a really good goal, great move and their goal was a terrific goal. It would have been nice once we got one to kick on and at times we played some really good stuff, but likewise so did they.

    “It was a really good advert for Scottish football. I enjoyed it, if you can as a manager.”

    St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:

    “The players deserve great credit – not only did both teams try to win it but the manner they played

    “The only thing that was missing was more goals. I thought the commitment, endeavour and intensity, it was like watching a game of tennis at times. Both goalkeepers had influential saves throughout the game.

    “We’re always quick to put our own game down but that was a thoroughly entertaining game and something we can be proud of in Scotland. The pitch was a wee bit icy but it shows you if you have the bravery and philosophy to set your team out like that, and that’s credit to Stuart as well, you can play football that way.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”80″]

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    St Mirren Programme preview

    ‘Well host St Mirren 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 ten home games and this is another edition not to miss.

    What’s inside? Well, manager Stuart McCall talks about the success of the season so far and the efforts made to try and replicate some of the excellent form at Fir Park.

    Skipper Stephen Craigan talks about the fascinating battle between two clubs in the SPL who are keen to play good football and there is a superb interview with wing wizard Chris Humphrey. Andy Ross caught up with the Jamaican, discussing his most enjoyable season yet, competition for places and pleasing memories against today’s opponents.

    There is a special 12-page section dedicated to our visitors, St Mirern. Not only is there a rundown of the current squad and a review of the season so far, we get the views of Buddie Chris Marzella and Peter Elder remembers a 3-1 win against the Saints from last season.

    And that’s not all. As well as match reports from both the (abandoned) Hibs and St Johnstone matches, regular features such as The Travelling Fan with Yir Elder, On This Day with Graham Barnstaple and Gavin McCafferty in From the Press Box.

    Wait, there’s more! Gordon Young talks about the U19s trip to Turkey with the Leonardo Da Vinci programme. We have the latest from The Ticket Office and 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: Ask Michael Higdon

    In the second of our ‘Player Q&A’s’, Michael Higdon talks Paul Bearer, Mel B from Bo Selecta and opting for Fir Park over the Bernabeu. #askhiggy

    -WATCH THE BEST AND WORST QUESTIONS ONLY ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Black hoping for home comforts

    Assistant Manager Kenny Black hopes to replicate some of Motherwell’s sensational away form when the Steelmen return to Fir Park tomorrow.

    Stuart McCall’s men have won an incredible eight matches from ten away fixtures, propelling the Claret and Amber men to third place in the SPL.

    However, the story at home has been slightly different with the last win coming in late September – a 1-0 success over Aberdeen.

    St Mirren are the visitors tomorrow and Black hopes that it will be the hosts who come out on top.

    “It’s something we have spoken about as we have fantastic away form, right up there with Rangers and Celtic and it’s obviously something we would like to replicate back at Fir Park,” he admitted.

    “But it’s not quite as big an issue as people are making out. We’ve lost three – Rangers, Celtic and St Johnstone, who themselves are on a tremendous run of away form.

    “We are conscious of the next two home matches though – either side of the Hearts match at Tynecastle – and we would dearly love to sign off 2011 with as many points from those matches as possible.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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