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    Rangers draw in pictures

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    Rangers 0 – 0 Motherwell

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    Job vacancy at Fir Park

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    Hutchinson nets monthly gong

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    TV: Murphy relishing Euro nights

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    TV: McCall proud of third-place finish

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    Randolph named in PFA team

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    Motherwell clinch third spot

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    TV: Reserves see off Thistle

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    Collum’s in charge at Ibrox

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    Rangers draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 0-0 draw with Rangers in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Ibrox.

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

    [svgallery name=”rangers050512″]

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    Rangers 0 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    twitter Kris Jack at Ibrox

    Despite creating a number of excellent chances, Motherwell were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at Ibrox this afternoon.

    ‘Well got into good positions all throughout the match and could have gained their first win over Rangers in Govan for exactly 15 years had the right decisions been made in front of goal.

    The draw capped a fine away season for The Steelmen, which contributed to the achievement of premier European football for next term.

    Michael Higdon, who had all but secured the Euro dream with his winner against Hearts, missed out due to injury allowing Henrik Ojamaa to start in his place. Rangers made one change to the team that thumped Dundee United 5-0 on Wednesday with Lee McCulloch starting for Ally McCoist’s men.

    Estonian Ojamaa got his first effort of the match away early on, after being played in at the edge of the box by Keith Lasley. However, his shot was too tame and too direct at Allan McGregor to open the scoring. The ever dangerous Sone Aluko then skilfully set up Lee McCulloch, but his shot was cleared by the head of Tom Hateley.

    Rhys McCabe then blazed over when an opportunity arose on 13 minutes, before Aluko once again made in roads to the ‘Well goal, but his low effort was easily saved by Darren Randolph.

    With neither side really gaining the upperhand, Motherwell could and should have taken the lead. Ojamaa sprung the offside trap and rounded the outcoming McGregor. His touch took him wide of goal, and with two defenders back on the line, he opted to pass to Murphy at the penalty spot instead of taking the shot on. His pass was just behind his striker partner, and the chance went begging. It was a huge let off for Rangers, but an even bigger opportunity blown for the Steelmen.

    Without Higdon in attack, Motherwell looked to exploit Rangers with the pace of Murphy, Ojamaa, Law and Chris Humphrey, and the latter almost carved another opportunity for the visitors to take the lead.

    His direct running took him past Carlos Bocanegra and Lee Wallace, but his low cross was ushered out by Bartley, with Murphy waiting to tuck home.

    The impetus was now with the visitors, and only the linesman’s flag and some early runs prevented Motherwell from taking their chances. Neat play amongst the midfield found Murphy and Ojamaa ready to pounce on three separate occasions, but each time they were flagged offside.

    As pacy as they were going forward, Motherwell needed to be resolute at the back and a great block from Stevie Hammell on the cusp of half time prevented McCulloch from making the most of a tidy ball from Aluko.

    Motherwell made a really positive start to the second half and impressive Estonian Ojamaa, who had scored at Fir Park against Rangers, burst in to the box and played a ball back which Murphy dummied, but Lasley’s first time shot was straight at McGregor. Rangers had been pinned back from the start of the half, but a McCulloch header from a deep Whittaker cross, almost crept in at the back post on 53 minutes.

    Motherwell’s second gilt edged chance of the match came about when Ojamaa once more played provider to Humphrey, who bore down on McGregor. The Jamaican probably should have shot, but instead chose to pass but his touch toward Murphy was cleared by Perry with the goal gaping.

    Rangers broke straight up the park and when Lee Wallace burst past Shaun Hutchinson from McCulloch’s knock down, it looked like he would score. However, Darren Randolph spread himself to make a great stop at his feet, to maintain the goalless scoreline.

    The visitor’s hat trick of missed opportunities was completed when Ojamaa evaded a lunge by Bocanegra to hare in to the box. This time his cut back was perfect for Tom Hateley, but the right back blasted over McGregor’s bar, when he should have at least got his effort on target. Humphrey then got in behind Bocanegra yet again, but he pulled his shit wide when he could have squared.

    From there on in the game played out like an end of season match, with a weak penalty shout raised when Rangers sub Andrew Little fell when challenged at the end of the box but Lasley emerged with the ball, as referee Collum waved play on. Bocanegra volleyed over from an Edu header off a corner, before Bartley waltzed in to the box past Jennings, but fluffed his lines.

    Andy Little almost snatched a win for Rangers in injury time when he got past Clancy on the edge of the box but Randolph kept him out easily.

    It was to be the last action of an entertaining if otherwise goalless afternoon…

    [tab:As it happened]

    twitter Alan Burrows at Ibrox

    Full time – Rangers 0 Motherwell 0

    90mins – 2 minutes of time to be added on here at Ibrox.

    89mins – Not long to go here. Still 0-0 at the moment.

    84mins – Motherwell hanging on a bit now. Low ball across the ‘Well box was begging to be slammed home but no takers for Rangers.

    83mins – Bob McHugh is coming on for the Steelmen. He replaces Henrik Ojamaa who put in a right decent shift!

    82mins – Attendance today is 45,962. Not too sure how many ‘Well fans – few 100 I would say.

    81mins – Rangers have another wee half chance but a close-range toe-poke is saved by Randolph.

    80mins – Wee chance there for Bocanegra there but his shot blasts way over. Rangers are just starting to turn the screw slightly….

    75mins – Yellow card for Hutchinson for a lunge on Edu. No complaints with that one I don’t think….

    68mins – Edu should score from the corner…. His header is blocked by Bedoya and Randolph gathers… Let off….

    68mins – First bit of sloppy defending there gives Rangers a corner…

    65mins – Rangers make a double change. Little and Bedoya on for Ness and McCabe.

    65mins – Yet another chance for ‘Well. Ball slipped to Humphrey on the flank. His low shot goes just wide of the post.

    63mins – Another great chance there for Motherwell. Ojamaa does brilliant on the flank. Cut back for Hateley but he blasts over…

    59mins – Lee Wallace almost puts Rangers ahead with a low shot well saved by Randolph….

    58mins – Another great chance for Motherwell similar to Ojamaa’s in the first half. Killer pass lets us down at last second…

    53mins – Motherwell fail to get the ball clear despite a few chances to do so. Ball into the box is flicked on by McCulloch but drops wide.

    51mins – Another wee half chance for ‘Well. Ojamaa’s cut back is missed by Murphy. Las picks up but low shot is saved by McGregor…

    49mins – Low shot from Whittaker is comfortable enough for Randolph to grab! Still 0-0 here at the moment…

    46mins – The Steelmen get us underway for the second 45. Good luck to all the ‘Well players out there. COYW!

    45mins – Motherwell are back out for the second half. No changes in Claret and Amber….

    HT: Harri Ojamaa is tucking in to his first ever Scotch Pie. I think it’s a culture shock for him but seems to be enjoying it…

    Half Time – Rangers 0 – 0 Motherwell. Fairly even stuff in the first half. Motherwell with the best chance via Ojamaa!

    43mins – Fairly even stuff at the minute. Both teams knocking it about but breaking down at final third at both ends…

    35mins – Really good football from Motherwelll but a sweeping move breaks down with Murphy just offside. Still 0-0 at the moment!

    29mins – Goian going off for Rangers. Looks to have picked up a knock. Ross Perry will replace him.

    28mins – Shot from Murphy forces McGregor into a low save although the former Scotland U21 star was a few yards offside.

    26mins – Henrik somehow manages to feed Humphrey on the flank. Low ball wins Motherwell’s first corner of the afternoon…

    23mins – Interesting that ‘Well leave three men up at a Rangers corner. Barca tactics from McCall :-p Trying to force Rangers on back foot.

    20mins – Clever play from Aluko on the edge of the box there but with Hammell closing the angle, the Nigerian blasts way over…

    16mins -GREAT chance for Motherwell. Ojamaa rings McGregor but his cut-back for Murphy is a yard out and the chance is gone…

    16mins – Hateley winds up a thunderous shot that Wallace takes square in the chest… Ouch!

    15mins – Low bouncing shot from Aluko was well held by Randolph. That was a harder save than it may have looked.

    13mins – Rhys McCabe tries a half volley from distance which sailed a mile wide of goal…

    11mins – Motherwell are doing their best to take the sting out of the Rangers tail. Using the full park to knock the ball about,,,

    8mins – Clancy is forced into giving away a corner as Aluko bursts towards the box. Randolph collects the kick when it comes in,,,

    7mins – Rangers follow that up with a curling shot from Kyle Bartley that goes a yard over with Randolph at full stretch…

    6mins – Down the other end, McCulloch looked as if he was going to score but his effort was blocked on route by Tom Hateley.

    6mins – Wee half chance for Motherwell. Humphrey bursting forward, his pass finds Ojamaa but low shot lacks venom to trouble McGregor.

    5mins – Nice wee ball into the channel for Henrik but McGregor is off his line quick to clear.

    3mins – Motherwell knocking the ball about nice in the opening few minutes but nothing of note so far…

    1min – And we’re off! Motherwell attacking left to right if you are looking from the Main Stand side…

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “We wanted to come here and prove why we are the best of the rest and I thought we did that.

    “We saw what Rangers did to Dundee United the other night and I thought we acquitted ourselves well. It was a deserved point.”

    Rangers manager Ally McCoist:

    “It’s really difficult to be too critical of the players but, at the same time, you’ve got a job to do.We didn’t play well at all. We looked a little bit heavy-legged and a little bit tired.

    “We had chances to win the game and possibly could have, and should have, had a penalty. It just looked like an end of season game to be quite frank.” 

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”102″]

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    Job vacancy at Fir Park

    The Motherwell Football Club Community Trust currently has two vacancies for Football Development Officers.

    The Trust delivers the SPL’s most innovative and diverse community programme. Our community football programme provides a fun and nurturing environment for young people to develop their skills and recently we awarded the Scottish Football Associations coveted Quality Mark as a Development Club.

    Players in our community teams regularly attract attention from professional clubs and our Astroturf pitch is being upgraded to a FIFA 2 surface thanks to a raft of funding from bodies keen to invest in our vision

    Our social programmes use the power of Motherwell Football Club and football to teach literacy and numeracy skills, rebuild family relationships, and improve people’s employability. Our fitness and diversionary programmes feature other sports including boxercise and cheerleading.

    We currently have two vacancy for Football Development Officers to work across these various programmes.  To fill one of these posts you will have excellent people skills, be motivated, enthusiastic, hardworking and able to work on your own initiative.

    You will also have experience in sports coaching and hold the Scottish Football Association’s Children’s Award at Level 3 as a minimum.

    Both vacancies are 25 hours per week.  Salary according to experience.

    Closing Date is May 11th 2012. Interviews will take place May 14th 2012

    Please apply in writing or by email to:

    Graeme McArthur
    Community Programme Manager
    Motherwell Football Club Community Trust
    Fir Park Stadium
    Motherwell
    Lanarkshire
    ML1 2QN

    T:01698 239926
    E: Graeme.McArthur@motherwellfc.co.uk

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    Hutchinson nets monthly gong

    Steelmen defender Shaun Hutchinson has been named the Clydesdale Bank Premier League Young Player of the Month for April. 

    Motherwell had a mixed month recording a win, a draw and a defeat in April, however Shaun Hutchinson was a key performer for his side throughout. 

    ‘Well began the month with a 1-1 draw away to Hibs with Hutchinson constantly breaking down the oppositions attacks as he helped his side pick up a  hard earned point at Easter Road.  Motherwell then suffered a disappointing 3-0 loss at home to Celtic before going on to secure a comfortable 5-1 win at home to St Johnstone.

    Hutchinson’s performances throughout the month were pivotal in helping Motherwell secure their highest ever points total in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and with it secure a place in the Champions League qualification round next season.

    It was Hutchinson’s commanding performances from defence along with his ability to break up the opposition’s play that led the panel to vote him as their Clydesdale Bank Premier League Young Player of the Month.

    A panel of Scottish football experts chose the award winners from a shortlist which included the top three fans’ nominations from Clydesdale Bank’s football website, www.cbfootball.co.uk.

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    TV: Murphy relishing Euro nights

    Motherwell’s all-time European top scorer Jamie Murphy says he is already dreaming on more fabulous Fir Park nights.

    The former Scotland U21 hitman has seven Euro strikes for the Steelmen, including the first ever player to net a hat-trick in the newly created Europa League back in 2009.

    And with Motherwell confirming a spot amongst Europeans top clubs again next term, the 22-year old is already itching to get involved.

    “I can’t wait,” he said. “I love playing in Europe.”

    “It’s a great feeling with all the preparation behind it, going to another country and playing in new grounds. Then obviously playing at a full Fir Park on a summers night; it’s a great atmosphere.

    “Hopefully we can draw a right big name that the supporters will really relish watching and do well against them. It’s a different level of football and I have had some success in the past. It would be great to score more in the future.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

    Season Tickets

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    TV: McCall proud of third-place finish

    Steelmen gaffer Stuart McCall has today spoke of his pride after Motherwell confirmed third place in the Scottish Premier League.

    ‘Well went to Tynecastle on Tuesday and recorded a magnificent 1-0 victory which forced Dundee United into a position where they required all three points at Ibrox on Wednesday night to keep the race alive.

    Rangers’ victory confirmed Motherwell’s spot as the league’s third best side, the second time the club have finished in that position in the last five seasons.

    Former Scotland International McCall met the media at Fir Park this afternoon and was visibly beaming.

    “There’s a lot of talk about Champions League and things but at the moment, the biggest achievement is finishing third in the SPL,” he told MFC TV.

    “To have 61 points, which is a record for Motherwell in the SPL, fills me with great pride.

    “Football is a game for fans and supporters but it is about the players and how they perform. If they are not at it then you will never have success so all the credit must go to our small, but tight-knit, group.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    Randolph named in PFA team

    Republic of Ireland International goalkeeper Darren Randolph has been included in the PFA’s SPL Team of 2011/2012.

    The 24-year old former Charlton stopper has been sensational for the Steelmen in his two years at Fir Park, keeping an astonishing 34 clean sheets in 92 appearances in Claret and Amber.

    He has provided the backbone for Motherwell’s third-place finish in the league this year and remains, without doubt, one of the most talented keepers in the country.

    Although he has been included in several Republic of Ireland squads, he has yet to make his full debut for Giovanni Trapattoni but remains in contention for a place in the party heading to Poland and Ukraine this summer for Euro 2012.

    He told motherwellfc.co.uk, “It’s an honour to be named in a team selected by my fellow professionals.

    “It has been an unbelievable season at Fir Park and this is a great way to round it off. I should also pay tribute to the rest of the lads in the squad; it has been a collective effort from everyone at the club.”

    The SPL team is:

    Darren Randolph (Motherwell)
    Adam Matthews (Celtic)
    Gavin Gunning (Dundee United)
    Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic)
    Paul Dixon (Dundee United)
    James Forrest (Celtic)
    Steven Davis (Rangers)
    Gary Mackay-Steven (Dundee United)
    Johnny Russell (Dundee United)
    Jon Daly (Dundee United)
    Gary Hooper Celtic)

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    Motherwell clinch third spot

    Following last night’s SPL matches, Motherwell have clinched third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

    In what was a momentous night, Rangers’ emphatic win over Dundee United at Ibrox means the Tannadice club can no longer better Motherwell’s current 61-point haul (The clubs’ best post-war points return).

    It’s an outstanding achievement from manager Stuart McCall, his coaching staff and all the players at Fir Park who have been magnificent all season long.

    The prospect of top European football returning to Fir Park is already exciting every Claret and Amber fan

    We will have reaction from the manager, players and supporters both on the official site and MFC TV later this afternoon.

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    TV: Reserves see off Thistle

    A Motherwell reserve side outclassed Partick Thistle to win 4-0 at Fir Park this afternoon.

    Ten of the Steelmen’s starting eleven could count on first-team experience and it showed as the scoreline, particularly on the first-half showing, actually flattered a youthful Jags side.

    Steven Lawless opened the scoring early on and the goal had some fortune attached to it. Jamie Pollock’s attempted turn inside the area was blocked with the ball rebounding into the path of the former Albion Rovers loanee. His shot deflected off the defender and spun into the net.

    Motherwell quickly made it two; Ross Forbes’ corner wasn’t properly cleared and when the ball spun invitingly towards the back post, Scotland International Steven Saunders was on hand to head home from close range.

    Jamie Pollock added a third midway through the second half with a neat finish around the goalkeeper following some smashing build-up play. Ross McKinnon added a fourth, smashing home a low drive after Keiran McGachie had teed him up.

    Motherwell: Hollis, Saunders, Craigan (Brownlie), Page (McKinnon), Halsman, Forbes, Pollock, Watt, Lawless, McHugh (McGachie), Smith

    -WATCH HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV-

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    Collum’s in charge at Ibrox

    Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Rangers at Fir Park.

    Regarded as one of Scotland’s best officials, it will be Willie’s second Motherwell game of the current campaign. His other match was Motherwell’s last home meeting with Hibs; Colin Calderwood’s men progressing through to the Quarter Final of the Scottish Communities League Cup on penalty kicks.

    He did handle the abandoned Friday Night Football experiment when Motherwell took on Hibs but Steven McLean handled the re-arranged fixture.

    He will be a very familiar face to Motherwell fans having taken charge of three games last year too.

    He was in charge of the Co-operative Insurance Cup Quarter Final clash with Dundee United at Fir Park; Alan Gow’s late goal booking ‘Well’s spot in the Semi Final. He was the man in the middle for the Semi Final too as Rangers scraped past a brave ‘Well side 2-1; Keith Lasley grabbed the goal for the Fir Parkers.

    He also took charge of the 3-3 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle in late April as ‘Well roared back from 3-0 down to secure a point.

    The season before last, Collum took charge of three Motherwell matches. Jim Gannon’s side crashed to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at St Mirren in the Co-operative Cup and followed that with another defeat; by the same score line, at Tannadice some five months later.

    However, the most memorable, by far was the 6-6 draw with Hibs at the end of that season.

    Incredibly, Motherwell have never won a league game with Collum in charge. The only victories recorded whilst the Bellshill based whistler has been the man in the middle was the then CIS Cup win against Raith Rovers at the start of the 2007/08 season,  a Scottish Cup success at Inverurie the following season and the aforementioned win over Dundee Utd last October.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads three wins, eight defeats and three draws from fourteen matches. In those games, Motherwell have scored 23 and conceded 29. 27 players have gone into the book, 14 wearing claret and amber, while two players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road a few years back and Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk two seasons ago.

    Raymond White and Alastair Mathers will run the lines with Alan Muir on fourth official duties. Martin Clark will be the Referee Observer and Kevin Collins will be the SPL delegate.