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    TV: Leeann thrilled at Society success

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    O’Reilly’s in charge this Sunday

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    ‘Well Society reaches first goal

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    TV: Goals from Fir Park

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    TV: Randolph admits to fortune

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    TV: McCall gutted with defeat

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    Rangers defeat in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 2 Rangers

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    TV: Youths crash at Rangers

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    TV: Lasley itching to return

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    TV: Leeann thrilled at Society success

    Chief Exec Leeann Dempster tonight spoke of her pride that the first hurdle of the ‘Well Society had been surpassed.

    The club today announced that almost 1,000 members had joined, raising £335,375 so far which smashed the initial target of collecting £250,000 by 31st March 2012.

    And Leeann, who along with her fellow board members started the process last summer, couldn’t her delight when she spoke to MFC TV this afternoon.

    “I’m absolutely delighted we have managed to meet our initial target with more than a bit to spare,” she smiled.

    “But I’ve said this to others, and it is worth reiterating many times over, this is merely the beginning. That being said, it’s worth celebrating that even although economic times are tough, that we launched over Christmas and pitched this in probably the most difficult three months of the year, we have managed to achieve our initial target.

    “It’s great credit to Motherwell supporters, who have put their hard-earned money up early as opposed to sitting back to see if the whole thing takes off. We should be proud of each one of them.

    “But the Society is for everyone. We understand people might not be in a position to contribute right at this very moment. My message is clear; this is an on-going process. We will be looking to recruit new members each and every day. Together, fans and the club, we can make this into something really special.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    O’Reilly’s in charge this Sunday

    Referee for this Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hibernian at Easter Road will be Stevie O’Reilly.

    It will be Stevie’s third Motherwell match of the season having previously overseen the 1-0 win over Hearts in August. Both teams ended the match with ten men; Keith Lasley ordered off for the home side with Ian Black taking an early bath for the visitors.

    His other match was the 1-1 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice in January. The Arabs had taken the lead via a Stephen Craigan OG but a late leveler from Michael Higdon gave ‘Well a point.

    O’Reilly, promoted to the Category 1 list over five years ago, will be a familiar face to Motherwell fans having overseen five games last term.

    After previously handling the 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Fir Park back last September, the 1-2 home defeat by Hearts in December, the New Years Day 0-0 draw with Hamilton at New Douglas Park and the 1-0 home defeat by Kilmarnock in early February, the last SPL Motherwell appointment came in early April as the Steelmen ran out 2-1 winners over Saturday’s opponents Dundee United at Fir Park.

    He also had the honour of being the fourth official at the Scottish Cup Final last May when McCall’s men took on Celtic.

    O’Reilly’s overall record in charge of the ‘Well is a bit of a mixed bag. Of the nine games has officiated, Motherwell have won three, drawn two and lost four.

    Twelve goals have been scored and eleven conceded. Seventeen players have been cautioned in those nine games; five were wearing Claret and Amber with two sent off, Steve Jennings in the game against Hearts back in December of 2010 and the aforementioned Keith Lasley one against the same side earlier this season.

    Stevie will be ably assisted by Raymond White and Francis Andrews with Steven McLean on fourth official duties.

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    ‘Well Society reaches first goal

    The board of Motherwell FC is delighted to announce that by the close of business on Saturday 31st March the membership of the society stood at 927 members including 263 Junior Steelmen and 664 full voting members. The funds raised to date are £335,375.

    This means that the initial target for the society has been hurdled and the vision of fan ownership can become a reality.

    The next steps will be the formal constitution of the society and the organisation by its membership of its affairs, supported by the club’s staff. The society will also now have a right to elect two new members of the board.

    The board also announced the next set of goals for the society project:

    The society must organise itself well and conduct an orderly election of two people of ability and integrity who can pass all ‘fit and proper’ tests to be a director of a company and this great football club.

    Once the above hurdle is met the next target will be to attract over 1000 voting members.  At this point the board will consider further director elections and further enhancements to the society’s balance of control of the club’s decision making.

    The board reiterate that the overall financial target for the club remains financial sustainability anchored by a ‘Strategic Reserve’ of £1.5 million, a total which the board will keep under review given the prevailing trading and strategic position of the club and the league.

    The trustees of John Boyle’s equity stake (Jim McMahon, Derek Weir, Andrew Wilson and Leeann Dempster) will remain directors as the transition period proceeds. The first task of the Board with its new members will be to consider the election of a new Chairman to replace John Boyle at the appropriate time.

    Commenting on the success to date, Motherwell’s Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said,

    “The supporters of Motherwell Football Club have stepped up and shown they have the passion, desire and self belief to make Motherwell a successful, sustainable fan-owned club. The support for the Society idea has overwhelmed us and we are hugely proud of the success to date.

    “But it is only stage one. We need to emphasise to everyone that we need to keep recruiting and keep raising funds. Crucially, every fan will also agree that we must demonstrate an exemplary ability to run orderly elections to the board and to bring forward candidates of ability and integrity that can be entrusted with the future of the club.

    “We have come a long way however and our optimism as a board remains. It is a tough trading environment but our club is improving its position. We have complete belief in this idea but will retain a laser focus in ensuring it is implemented in a way that will secure Motherwell’s best future.”

    If you would like more information on the ‘Well Society then CLICK HERE.

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    TV: Goals from Fir Park

    Despite going ahead through Henrik Ojamaa, Motherwell lost 2-1 to Rangers courtesy of goals from Steven Whittaker and former ‘Well striker Lee McCulloch.

    -WATCH THE GOALS ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Randolph admits to fortune

    Irish goalkeeper Darren Randolph admits he got lucky after catching Sone Aluko inside the box midway through the first-half.

    With the game poised a 1-1, Aluko burst into the box and appeared to be caught by the leg of the former Charlton stopper.

    Referee Brines waved away the claim though and cautioned the Nigerian for simulation.

    “I was very fortunate,” he admitted.

    “Even people in the stand heard me kick his shin-pad. I thought I was gone and was waiting to see the red card but it never came and I just got on with it.

    “If players have been involved in an incident before where he was deemed to have dived it can stick with him and if the referee is not sure, he’ll go with what happened in the past. If the referee thinks it was a little theatrical then sometimes they don’t give it.

    “In terms of the game, I thought we were unfortunate. We played well and deserved at least a draw but they got a bit of fortune with the goal. I was waiting for a whistle when Clancy was pushed but it never came and we were punished.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    TV: McCall gutted with defeat

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was left disappointed as a brave Steelmen side went down after a late, late Lee McCulloch goal.

    Motherwell played well throughout and took the lead early on when Henrik Ojamaa tucked home a Chris Humphrey cutback.

    Rangers equalised when Steven Whittaker curled him a long-range effort before former ‘Well striker McCulloch netted the winner.

    McCall looked visibly deflated afterwards but was proud of his troops and challenged them to repeat their performance in the last six games of the season.

    “I’m gutted to lose the game,” he said “There’s different ways to lose football games, as I’ve said before, but that hurt.

    “The performances against Rangers this season certainly haven’t been good enough but we asked for a performance today and I think we got that. We certainly didn’t get what we deserved and I thought it was really harsh on the players and the fans and everyone at the club that we’ve not taken something out of that game.

    “I thought our lads were terrific and we matched them toe-to-toe and if it hadn’t been for McGregor pulling off a world class save from Higdon, we could have won the game

    “But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got six games left and if we produce that level of performance I’m sure we’ll get enough points to get where we want to be.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    Rangers defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-1 defeat by Rangers 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=”rangers310312″]

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    Motherwell 1 – 2 Rangers

    [tab:Match report]

     Kris Jack at Fir Park

    Motherwell’s hopes of finishing in second place in the SPL took a further blow, as a late, late Lee McCulloch goal saw Rangers steal a 2-1 win, in a game that the Steelmen did not deserve to lose.

    An early goal from Henrik Ojamaa was cancelled out almost as quickly by a swerving Steven Whittaker strike, and it looked like those goals would see the match out as a tie.

    However, despite playing some neat football, and being on the right end of some refereeing decisions, ‘Well fell to a late lapse in concentration, extending their run of games without beating Rangers to 37.

    Keith Lasley returned to the starting eleven at the expense of Stuart Carswell after suspension, while Ross Perry and Kyle Bartley were the only two additions to Ally McCoist’s line up after last week’s Old Firm win.

    The home side got off to the ideal start, in their quest to rewrite history.

    Five minutes had gone when Chris Humphrey played a one-two on the right hand side and took advantage of a slip from Lee Wallace to get to the by-line. As Allan McGregor looked to close him down, he dinked the ball in to the path of the onrushing Henrik Ojamaa who slid the ball in to the empty net.

    Rangers were taken aback by the goal but were not to be deterred in looking for a quick response. A foul on Steven Davis allowed Sone Aluko to whip a ball in to the box, but Steven Whittaker’s header dropped just wide from the delivery.

    However, Whittaker wasn’t to let that miss phase him though as he scored a glorious equaliser moments later. A vital but inaccurate clearance from Lasley on his own by-line fell to Sasa Papac who teed up Whittaker with a square ball. The Scotland full-back unleashed a vicious swerving effort in to the bottom corner leaving Darren Randolph rooted to the spot.

    It was a goal of high quality but Estonian Ojamaa’s header drifted wide of Allan McGregor’s post after a decent Humphrey cross.  The Scotland goalkeeper then made the first of three excellent saves, when Ojamaa played Nicky Law in on goal. The former Rotherham midfielder bore down on McGregor only to see his effort stopped by the feet of the man between the sticks.

    Buoyed by creating the opening goal, Jamaican Humphrey was keen to make a further impact, first sending in a cross that was just too long for Ojamaa, before cutting in from the right and flashing a left foot effort just wide of the post.

    Play was roaring from end to end with both teams slugging it out. Rangers should have had the opportunity to go in front from the penalty spot when Sone Aluko was brought down inside the box by Darren Randolph. It looked, and even sounded, like a penalty but referee Iain Brines opted to caution the Nigerian and award Motherwell a goal-kick.

    The teams went in level at the half way point, with Motherwell perhaps the better of the two sides but riding their luck a little with the penalty call.

    Rangers were first to threaten in the second half, when Steve Jennings fouled Aluko midway in his own half. Davis’ free kick evaded all in blue and hit Higdon’s shins before Randolph cleaned up the danger.

    Motherwell got themselves together and a great interchange between Law and Ojamaa allowed Keith Lasley to have a dig from 20 yards but his effort was well tipped over by the gloves of McGregor.

    Law then saw a shot drift just wide when the ball broke to him at the edge of the box, after a melee in which it looked like Higdon had been bundled over on the penalty spot, just before the hour.

    McCoist made his first change of the game, bringing Lafferty on for Papac to try and carve out the next goal, but it was a great cross from Edu, which set up Steven Davis, unmarked in the box. The Ulsterman’s first time volley was spectacular in technique but lacking in execution as he sliced his effort in to the side net.

    Steven Hammell was alert to thwart Lafferty on the by-line after the striker had freed himself from Law’s attentions at the corner flag as Rangers looked to be going for the win.  Moments later, an Aluko turn and had a shot from 18 yards was blocked by both Clancy and Hutchinson, resulting in a goalmouth stramash but Motherwell survived when Randolph mopped up a Lafferty dinked ball.

    With seven minutes left, McGregor completed a hat trick of point winning saves when he somehow palmed away a half volley from the penalty spot by Higdon. Despite that save, the belief was still there that Motherwell could be the ones to go on and snatch a late winner.

    McGregor’s counterpart Randolph was then forced into his first real save of the game, when Lafferty had a snap shot from the corner of the box, but the big Irish goalie made the routine stop. His next save was every bit as good as McGregor’s efforts as a whipped ball was glanced goalward by Lafferty again, only to be kept out by the stopper’s stunning reactions.

    However, he was helpless seconds later as Lee McCulloch helped himself to an 88th minute winner.

    The throw in conceded by the clearance from the earlier save took an awkward bounce over the head of Clancy, who looked to be nudged off balance by Aluko. That allowed the former Motherwell and Wigan man to steal in and poke home the winner from four yards out.

    Motherwell’s luck had run out in the cruellest way possible, as the Rangers fans celebrated behind the goal and Hammell and Clancy protested to Mr Brines about the Aluko push. However, the goal stood and deflated the hopes of all in Claret and Amber inside Fir Park.

    It was a harsh end to an entertaining game for the Motherwell fans having seen their side play arguably the best they have against Rangers in the last few years only for the hard work to be undone by the late concession. ‘Well now sit 6 points adrift of second place and McCall’s men will look to bounce back next week against Hibernian at Easter Road in the final game before the SPL split.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    92mins: Full time Motherwell 1-2 Rangers.

    90mins: 4th official indicates 2 minutes added on.

    88mins: GOAL 1-2. Lee McCulloch nips in at the front post to poke past Randolph.

    85mins: Rangers Sub, Little on for Edu.

    80mins: Fantastic save from McGregor from Higdon’s 10 yard volley.

    79mins: Humphrey does well again up against Wallace, beating him to the line and driving into the area. His cut back is blocked this time.

    74mins: Goian booked for dangerously leading with an arm to win a header.

    72mins: Free-kick for Rangers in a dangerous position….. Davis fires over.

    67mins: Steve Davis harmlessly drives a volley past the post after ‘Well got caught exposed.

    62mins: Rangers Sub, Papac off for Lafferty.

    52mins: So unlucky! Las with a 20 yard effort beaten away by McGregor.

    45mins: And the Half time whistle goes. 1-1, which is a fair reflection of the first half.

    39mins: Rangers having a spell on top. ‘Well resilient in their defending though.

    27mins: Humphrey looks full of confidence and was unlucky when he cut inside on his left foot but dragged it just wide!

    22mins: Great chance for ‘Well as Hammell and Ojamaa link up well down the left. The through ball found Law whose shot was saved well.

    19mins: Corner for Motherwell, the ball dropped to Humphrey who volleyed it back into the mixer. Ojamaa’s stabbed effort trickles wide,

    13mins: Clancy and Whittaker both booked after an altercation. Looked a fair booking.

    9mins: 1-1 Whittaker equalises with a 25 yard left footed drive.

    5mins: Outstanding pace from Humphrey as he powers past Wallace and squares the ball to Ojamaa who taps home.

    GOAL! Ojammmmmaaaaaa

    1min: And Jenno and Las kick the game off. Come on!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    A six-point gap is of no interest to me, to be honest. We have never talked about second.

    “Our main aim at the beginning of the season was to be in the top six. At Christmas, we looked at getting into the top four to get European football.

    “With the points we amassed, come February, we were looking at third and since February third has always been our aim.

    “If we can maintain that level of performance today in the six games we’ve got left, I’m confident it will get us enough points to finish third.”

    Rangers manager Ally McCoist:

    “That was a big win for us because it takes us six clear of Motherwell.

    “We’ve still got to play the teams in the top six so it’s never over but it certainly puts us in a better position than we were at 1200 today.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”97″]

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    TV: Youths crash at Rangers

    Motherwell U19s signed off the season with a crushing 6-1 defeat at the hands of Rangers at Murray Park this afternoon.

    Before kick-off, Young’s men sat three points ahead of the light blues in fourth place but the difficult task was made almost impossible when Adam Asghar was sent off after just eleven minutes and Rangers were wrongly awarded a penalty.

    The midfielder was correctly ordered off by referee Craig Napier as he denied Tom Skogsrud a goal-scoring opportunity but Gordon Young can feel doubly aggrieved at the call. Not only did the offence take place outside the box but Rangers had earlier escaped an almost identical situation when Keiran McGachie was bundled to the ground by Adel Gaifiti, who would later score, whilst racing through on goal.

    After what seemed like an age, Josh Robinson stepped up and buried the opener low into the bottom left hand corner despite Ross Stewart going the right way.

    Despite going down to ten, Motherwell played some neat stuff and were probably the better team for the majority of the first half. Josh Watt had a half chance on the half hour but he could only hit the side netting from an acute angle.

    Indeed, it was against the run of play when Rangers added their second, and arguably most decisive, goal of the afternoon; it was a hammer blow for ‘Well just before the interval.

    Matty Clarke dinked a ball towards the edge of the area that was flicked on by Robbie Crawford. It fell invitingly for Robinson who looped a clever effort over the outstretched Stewart and into the net.

    The message from Gordon Young at half-time would surely have been to keep it tight for the opening exchanges but it didn’t work out like that as Rangers, and Robinson, added a third seconds after the restart although they wouldn’t have to work had for it.

    It was a terrible goal for the Steelmen to lose. A long, hopeful ball over the top didn’t look to be presenting any trouble whatsoever. Stewart raced from his goal, only to completely miss his kick, allowing Robinson to complete his hat-trick with probably one of the simplest goals he will ever score.

    Rangers made it four just before the hour mark. A free-kick from the right was whipped in at pace towards the front post. Stewart did superbly well to turn away a point blank header from Skogsrud only for it to fall invitingly for Gaifiti who slid the ball home at the back post.

    Four minutes later Rangers made it five as the match threatened to turn embarrassing for the young Steelmen. The goal epitomised the sort of day it was for Motherwell; Robbie Crawford took a magnificent touch on the edge of the area, controlling a long ball out the air, before curling effort off the crossbar. However, in a stroke of terrible fortune, it hit the back of young Stewart on the rebound and somehow crept over the line.

    The score remained that way until the 85th minute when Rangers made it six through Jamie Burrows. A free-kick towards the back post looked comfortable for Stewart but he let it slip and it fell perfectly for the young substitute who slotted it home despite the best efforts of Nicky Devlin on the line.

    The only bright spark in an otherwise black afternoon for the ‘Well was a late consolation through Lee Erwin who netted from the penalty spot. Euan Murray was adjudged to have been fouled inside the area allowing Motherwell’s top marksman for the season the opportunity to get his name amongst the scorers. He duly did, slotting home into the bottom right corner, the last action of the match.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Devlin, E.Murray, Cummins, Francis-Angol, Watt (Brownlie), Hetherington, Asghar, Mboa Mekongo (MacDonald), McGachie (Moore), Erwin

    Subs: R. Murray, Thomas, Leitch, MacDonald

    .TV – Match Highlights

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    TV: Lasley itching to return

    Veteran midfielder Keith Lasley is looking forward to getting back amongst the action after watching the last two matches from the stand.

    The 32-year old was sent off by Craig Thomson as ‘Well crashed out the Scottish Cup three weeks ago, forcing him to miss the Dons league game at Fir Park and last weekend’s trip to Rugby Park.

    Available again, Lasley is likely to return after what has been a sensational season for the former Plymouth Argyle man.

    “It’s always a frustrating time when you are out the team, albeit by my own doing,” he admitted.

    “It’s good to be back in the mix. It’s always a huge occasion when either half of the Old Firm come to Fir Park.

    “With it being late in the season and with us sitting close behind them in the league, it adds a little more spice to the occasion.

    “Rangers showed last week they still have a good squad of players there and there’s little doubt it’s going to be difficult for us. But we’re at home, we’ve got to try and win the match and that’s all we’re focused on.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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