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    Hammell hoping to end hoodoo

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    TV: Saunders delighted to be back

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    ‘Sign-Up’ Night tonight

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    Rangers tickets still on sale

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    Thomson’s in charge for Rangers

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    TV: Goals from Rugby Park

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    TV: McCall upset at Killie defeat

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

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    Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell

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    TV: Humphrey glad to be back

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    Hammell hoping to end hoodoo

    Fir Park full-back Stevie Hammell hopes Motherwell can finally end a ten-year winless run against Rangers and draw level on points with the Ibrox side.

    The Steelmen haven’t taken three points off Rangers since a solitary James McFadden goal was enough for a 1-0 victory back in Boxing Day 2002.

    36 games have passed since then, Rangers have won 28 of them but Hammell, a sole survivor of that victory a decade ago, is determined to finally reverse that stat and insists there is no mental barrier preventing them from delivering the right result.

    “I think the belief in the squad is there, we believe we are good enough,” he said.

    “I don’t think we have taken anything off either side of the Old Firm this season and the record against Rangers in the last ten years, I’m told, is really poor.

    “But if we want to be considered one of the best teams in the league, it’s about time that we changed it.

    “It’s a test of character for the boys. We find ourselves in a position that we’re not used to in terms of league position and challenging a team for second.

    “So I think the character in the dressing room is there. It’s up to us to show other people what we know and believe in the dressing room – that we can beat Rangers.

    “It’s going to be very difficult and we know they are getting stronger but the belief is definitely there.”

    [pullquote]I think the belief in the squad is there, we believe we are good enough.[/pullquote]

    The 30-year old former Scotland International, who has played 420 times in Claret and Amber, is out of contract at the end of the current campaign.

    However, the former Southend man has indicated a strong desire to remain at the club and insists the prospect that third place in the SPL could possible carry a Champions League slot is an additional benefit.

    He added: “There have been talks between the club and my agents, just in the early stages just now. A few of the boys are in the same position.

    “If we can keep most of the squad together, I think we can have another strong season next year.

    “I would be keen to stay anyway but what an incentive [Champions League football] would be to come back next year.

    “To be honest, we haven’t really spoken about it as a goal – but it is there for everybody to see.

    “I don’t know if it’s cut and dried with Rangers yet if they’re going to be in Europe. But, if third place gets you into the Champions League, it’s a great incentive. You’re not going to get any better than that although we’ve still got a lot of hard work to do with teams chasing behind us.

    “Ever since I’ve been playing, it’s not a position we have been in so we need to strive to get over the line and make sure we finish at least third,” added Hammell who spoke as he promoted ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s game

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    TV: Saunders delighted to be back

    Steven Saunders today spoke of his delight at making his return to action after seven months on the sidelines.

    The Scotland International ruptured his Achilles in early August and has, following an operation, worked with club physio John Porteous on his rehabilitation ever since.

    After joining in with training a few weeks ago, he finally stepped back onto the pitch this afternoon in a 2-2 draw with Livingston at Dalziel Park.

    “It’s good to be back playing; I have been training for three weeks but what I really need is bounce games,” he told MFC TV.

    “There was a bit of nerves, that’s understandable for anyone out for seven months with a serious injury, but JP reassured me and that’s good enough for me.

    “It certainly was some day to come back. Everyone wants to play in the sun, the old summer football argument rumbles on, but it was good for me; it made me sweat.”

    -WATCH THE INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    ‘Sign-Up’ Night tonight

    The ‘Well Society is close to reaching the initial £250,000 target and to help us ‘Get over the line’ we’re having another sign-up night tonight.

    Like last time, the players and management will be there. It’ll be another informal drop in, complete with finger buffet and a fully stocked pay bar, which will allow you to ask any questions you may have regarding the Society to the people that matter – the board.

    But this time, the Junior Steel members have a chance to actually get on the park with the lads, have a kick around and experience the thrill of the hallowed turf.

    Remember though – we’ve got a big match against Rangers on the Saturday after so no studs – just trainers please! Tonight, 6.30pm to 8.30pm!

    So join us; this is the perfect time for you to join our revolution – a once in a lifetime chance for the fans to not only have an influence in the club, but eventually run it.

    For further information on the Well Society, including membership forms, CLICK HERE or phone Alison Wallace on 01698 333333.

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    Rangers tickets still on sale

    Tickets for both home and away fans are available for this Saturday’s match with Rangers from the Fir Park Ticket Office.

    The match will kick-off at 12 noon with prices as follows:

    ADULTS:   £25 / £20
    CONCESSIONS:                                     £17 / £15
    JUVENILE:   £14 / £10
    FAMILY:   £32 / £27
    • Concessions are listed as Over 60s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.
    • Family tickets consist of 1x Adult and 1x Juvenile.
    • The cheaper priced ticket is for the East Stand only.
    • If you are new to Fir Park, check our handy ‘New Fans’ section that will detail everything you need to know about matchdays.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 01555 870122 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.
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    Thomson’s in charge for Rangers

    Referee for this Saturday’s ESPN live Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Rangers at Fir Park will be Craig Thomson.

    39-year old Thomson will be handling his fourth Motherwell game of the current season. The previous three were also live on television as Rangers ran out 3-0 winners back in mid-August, a 0-0 draw with Kilmarnock back in October and the controversial defeat by Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup three weeks ago.

    Craig will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having been a top-flight official for a decade and taking charge of three league matches last season.

    Thomson was the man in the middle for the SPL opener against Hibs when goals from John Sutton and Jamie Murphy wasn’t enough for the victory as Hibs ran out 3-2 winners thanks to goals from Antony Stokes, Paul Hanlon and Liam Miller.

    His next appointment was the 1-0 home defeat by Hamilton Accies in the Lanarkshire derby. Then Accies striker Nigel Hasselbaink separated the sides with a 15th minute curler from the edge of the box.

    He also took charge of the 0-0 draw with Hearts last April when an unfamiliar ‘Well side did well to take a point at Tynecastle.

    His record in charge of the Steelmen isn’t great with just nine wins from 33 matches. There have been sixteen defeats and eight draws too.

    Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second-half.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 40 and conceded 45. 116 players have gone into the book, 57 were wearing claret and amber, while five players, including Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley, have been dismissed. The skipper saw red in the 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park six years ago and Lasley was ordered off the last time the whistler was at Fir Park.

    Thomson will be ably assisted by Derek Rose and Graham Chambers with Brian Winter on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is Gerry Evans and SPL Delegate is Alan Dick.

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    TV: Goals from Rugby Park

    A double from Paul Heffernan gives Kilmarnock all three points at a sun-soaked Rugby Park this afternoon.

    -WATCH THE GOALS ON MFC TV-

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    TV: McCall upset at Killie defeat

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was left upset as his side crashed to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Rugby Park this afternoon.

    After a fairly even first-half, Motherwell went behind early in the second half when Paul Heffernan fired the hosts ahead.

    The same player scored the second from the penalty spot after Tom Hateley was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area.

    Such a flat performance has been a rarity for the Steelmen this campaign and McCall is hoping his men can bounce back next week against Rangers at Fir Park.

    “It was a shocker and I can’t put my finger on why, neither can the players,” the former Scotland midfielder admitted.

    “We had everything to play for today, and we still have. I don’t want to be over-critical because they’ve been a credit to the club this season with the consistency they’ve shown but today was a bad day.

    “We said at half time there wasn’t much in the game; they had a little chance right before the end but we were reasonably comfortable. We had a lot of possession but our final pass let us down. Second half we came out and never got going and it was a really, really disappointing performance.

    “It’s over now and it’s all about how we react to it.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-0 defeat by Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Rugby Park.

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

    [svgallery name=”kilmarnock240312″]

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    Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    twitter Andy Ross at Rugby Park

    Motherwell’s hopes of moving into second place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League were dashed after falling to a 2-0 defeat against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

    Paul Heffernan blasted home at the second attempt after a good stop by Darren Randolph and the Dubliner added his second from the penalty spot to complete a miserable day for the Fir Park side.

    Reduced ticket prices and recent good fortunes made for a big game atmosphere and the Steelmen were roared on by a large travelling support in the Chadwick Stand.

    The Kilmarnock players were applauded on to the park by Stuart McCall’s men, following their League Cup triumph last Sunday.

    A minute’s silence was perfectly observed in tribute of Kellie defender’s father, Jack Kelly, who tragically died after suffering a heart-attack just after the full-time whistle at Hampden.

    The opening ten minutes of the game saw the play swing from end-to-end without either keeper being tested.

    Only a good clearance from Michael Nelson prevented Michael Higdon profiting from good build up play between Henrik Ojamaa and Chris Humphrey.

    Tom Hateley’s dangerous corner on 25 minutes was nodded on by Ojamaa but the Killie defence easily dealt with the danger.

    Dieter Van Tornhout saw his effort deflected past the post by Steven Hammell as the hosts began to show some attacking intent.

    The Belgian striker then forced Darren Randolph to race from his goal as he raced in on goal following a neat through ball by James Fowler.

    Van Tornhout managed the first shot on target of the first-half when he rolled an effort at Randolph on 35 minutes.
     
    Killie came agonisingly close to opening the scoring on the stroke of half-time when Paul Heffernan’s shot drifted just wide of Randolph’s right-hand post.

    Kenny Shiels was forced into a change at half-time when he brought on Welsh keeper Kyle Letheren in place of Bell.

    The home side made a bright start to the second half and they were rewarded four minutes after the restart when Heffernan bagged the opening goal.

    Randolph initially managed to block from Killie’s top-scorer but he recovered well to slam home the rebound.

    Gary Harkins twice went close as the hosts looked to extend their advantage and ‘Well looked clearly rocked after falling behind.

    The task facing McCall’s men was increased when Hateley was adjudged to have to have handled Garry Hay’s shot and Crawford Allen quickly pointed to the spot.

    Heffernan coolly converted the resulting spot-kick low beyond Randolph, leaving the Steelmen with a mountain to climb.

    Ojamaa finally registered Motherwell’s first shot on target after 63 minutes, but it Killie who continued to control proceedings.

    Harkins went close again before McCall made a triple switch.

    Nicky Law, Ojamaa and Higdon all were withdrawn with Robert McHugh, Omar Daley and Jamie Murphy introduced to the action.

    Hateley flashed an effort well over the bar as Motherwell as the visitors tried to find a way back into the match.

    Substitute Chris Johnston saw his effort comfortably gathered by Randolph as the hosts looked to build on their lead and Harkins failed to hit the target with his powerful free-kick.

    The closing stages of the game saw little in the way of goal-mouth action and the hosts held out for a comfortable three points.

    It was a disappointing setback in what has been a fantastic season for the Fir Parkers, however the players have the perfect opportunity to recover from their disappointment when they meet Rangers at Fir Park next Saturday.

    [tab:As it happened]

    twitter Alan Burrows at East End Park

    Full Time – Kilmarnock 2-0 Motherwell

    90mins – Almost time up here. Focus must move on to Rangers next week. Poor day at the office I am afraid.

    86mins – Looks like it’s going to be Killie’s day. Hutchy is the latest Motherwell player to go into the book!

    83mins – Motherwell’s best chance. Omar D and Humphrey combine. Ball across the face is missed by everyone! Humph has been ‘Well’s standout.

    75mins – Results elsewhere make it a terrible day all round really. Killie almost score again but ‘Well defend it somehow…

    74mins – Not long left on the clock. Motherwell have been poor. Nothing has really worked at all for McCall’s men.

    70mins – Fowler and Jennings both booked. That’ll be the midfielder suspended now I think – 6th card of the campaign.

    67mins – Three subs for the Steelmen. Off goes Nicky Law, Henrik Ojamaa and Michael Higdon. Daley, Murphy and McHugh all on!

    66mins – Another penalty shout for Killie. That one looked clearer cut than the one that was given. That’s football I suppose?

    63mins – Ojamaa shot from the edge of the box is Motherwell’s first on target I think? It’s been poor from the Fir Parkers…

    61mins – Coolly slotted into the bottom corner by Heffernan. Is that game over now? It’s as poor as ‘Well have been for a while!

    GOAL Kilmarnock!

    Penalty Killie. Handball in the box by Hateley I think. Looked a wee bit harsh I think!

    58mins – Motherwell haven’t really started this half truth be told. Nothing is sticking up top…

    58mins – Motherwell give away a foul on the edge – Killie to have a strike at goal but it falls just wide.

    55mins – Play is swinging from end to end. Harkins (I think) finds space on the left. His low shot is well saved by Randolph.

    54mins – Humphrey shows great pace on the right flank but it breaks down at the final minute for the Jamaican.

    50mins – Attendance here at Rugby Park is 6878

    50mins – Motherwell apply a bit of pressure but Killie gets it clear.

    49mins – Striker goes through. His first shot was blocked, his second deflected over the covering Hutchinson and in. Disaster….

    GOAL Kilmarnock! Heffernan!

    47mins – Just clocked a half-time change – Cammy Bell is off, Kyle Letheren replaces him. He was at FP on trial for ages!

    46mins – Killie have an early chance but a free-kick from the edge is deflected wide for a corner. CK is headed over for another corner!

    45mins – Motherwell will get us started again here at Rugby Park.

    HT: Grub at Killie is decent I have to say. All set for the second half here at Rugby Park….

    Half-Time: Kilmarnock 0 – 0 Motherwell. Not much between the sides at all. Killie had the better chance (singular)

    45mins – Just before the break, Killie have a great chance. Heffernan drags the ball inches wide of the post. Let off their for ‘Well!

    45mins – Killie burst clear – it looks dangerous but Tim Clancy gets back to mop up the dangerous. Top defending from the Irishman…

    41mins – Hammell is booked for dissent after another call didn’t go Motherwell’s way. Steelmen feeling hard-done to at the minute…

    39mins – Another hotly contested corner kick (it’s becoming a recent theme). Motherwell get it clear though but players upset at that call.

    37mins – A slip on the edge of the ‘Well area allows Van Tornhout a dig at goal. Fairly decent effort, comfortable for Randolph.

    32mins – Van Tornhout is almost through on goal but Randolph is off his line quick to smother the danger. Well done the big GK!

    30mins – A turn and shot from Dieter van Tornhout is deflected wide for a corner. ‘Well players not happy with that call (de-ja-vu?)

    30mins – ‘Well half a wee half-chance – Ojamaa fires a low shot that deflected wide of the post. Still 0-0 at Rugby Park.

    27mins – Killie burst down the field and win a free-kick in a good area. Ball in is decent but Nelson fouls and it’s a FK for ‘Well!

    26mins – Good ball from a corner presents Hutchy with a half chance but his header is cleared on route to goal.

    13mins – Game has cooled as a contest. Lots of possession for both sides but nothing much in the way of guilt-edged chances…

    8mins – Another brilliant Humphrey ball across the six-yard box but no takers again for Motherwell. Excellent wing play there from CH.

    4mins – Good ball into the area from Humphrey – no takers for the Steelmen though and the home side belt it clear.

    2mins – Free-kick from Killie forces Hutchy to knock it behind for the early corner. Motherwell force it clear though…

    1min – Killie get us underway here at Rugby Park!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “They far and away deserved it. We started okay but without a doubt we were really poor throughout the team.

    “Apologies to the big support we had down, we just didn’t turn up today. “It was a really disappointing performance, we didn’t even have a shot in anger.”

    Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels:

    “I just asked them to show their respect for Motherwell and their respect for Liam because we have lost one of our family.

    “It is a family club which bonds so closely with the community and that’s what we use as much as we can.

    “Liam is very high in our thoughts today. You could say we did it for Liam.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”96″]

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    TV: Humphrey glad to be back

    Jamaican winger Chris Humphrey has spoke of his delighted at winning his spot back in the Motherwell starting eleven.

    The former Shrewsbury’s man has had to be patient over the last few months with Omar Daley, Jamie Murphy, Nicky Law and even Henrik Ojamaa given the nod in the wide position.

    However, some dynamic substitute appearances eventually led to his first SPL start since 26th November when a patched-up Steelmen side overcame Aberdeen last weekend.

    [pullquote]I’ve been out for three months so to come back now and come back and have a good game last week was important for me; not just for starting, but for confidence.[/pullquote]

    Asked if he was pleased to be back amongst the starts, the 23-year old said: “Yeah definitely, it’s always nice to be playing football and to get starts.

    “We’ve got such a big squad now full of good players so it’s going to be hard to be playing every week. Everyone can’t play well every week and there’s always someone on the bench just ready to come on and take your position.

    “That’s why I’ve been out for three months so to come back now and come back and have a good game last week was important for me; not just for starting, but for confidence. It’s up to my now to keep that spot.

    “As a professional footballer you’ve got it in your head that you’re not going to play every game. It would be nice to, but it is how you prepare for the games you’re not playing and how you deal with it.

    “Even in training you have to keep your head high and when you come off the bench, you have to do what you can do. Whether it is five minutes or twenty minutes, you’ve got to make a difference because that is football.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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