Pictures from the 0-2 defeat to Dundee United in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Pictures from the 0-2 defeat to Dundee United in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Kris Jack at Fir Park
Motherwell signed off the 2011-12 SPL season with a 2-0 home defeat to Dundee United, but neither the fans nor the players were too despondent, as the game took a back foot to the celebrations of qualifying for the Champion’s League.
Goals from Johnny Russell and Jon Daly were the difference, but the home fans outsang their opponents all day long, as they partied in the stands ahead of The Well’s adventure in to Europe. The game also signalled the final game of Stephen Craigan’s career, after announcing his retirement from the game in midweek. The home fans were more than gracious in their tributes and chants in his honour, as he captained the side for the final time.
Indeed his inclusion in the side came at the cost of Tim Clancy, with Michael Higdon also returning to the starting line up, after missing the draw at Ibrox last week. Before the game, with the team walking on to the Champion’s League theme tune, Craigan received a plaque from Chairman Derek Weir in appreciation of the Northern Irishman’s tenure at Fir Park, as the stadium filled with chants of “One Stephen Craigan”. In the 5th minute, the fans were on their feet once more to show their respects to Motherwell’s most capped player.
It was the most exciting part of the opening minutes, as the blustery conditions made the game a bit of a mess from the off, with little in the way of goal mouth action. After the Craigan chants had died down, however, Dundee United took their best opportunity of the first half to go 1-0 up.
Stuart Armstrong burst down the right hand side and after cutting in to the box, unleashed a hot which Darren Randolph did well to parry away at his front post. The ball broke back to Armstrong and his cross deflected up on to the bar, before bouncing back to Johnny Russell, who poked home from close range. It briefly led to the United fans outsinging their hosts, but parity was restored amongst the Well faithful soon enough.
Steven Hammell was unfortunate to be stretchered off after a tussle with Danny Swanson after 12 mminutes, with Tim Clancy coming on in his place. Swanson then almost set up a second for the Terrors, when he released Russell on the right. The nippy frontman’s cross evaded all along the 6 yard line, before Jon Rankin hit the outside of the post, from an acute angle.
Motherwell’s cleanest chance of the half fell to Nicky law, who cracked a low drive from 20 yards low to the bottom corner, which Dusan Pernis managed to palm away for a corner. From a lter corner, Craigan almost capped his final game with a goal, but his header sailed just over from Hateley’s deep cross.
Chris Humphrey was looking lively on the right wing, and had a number of crosses after getting the better of Paul Dixon, but no one was looking lively to get on the end of them. Michael Higdon came closest to converting one when Humphrey robbed United captain Jon Daly in the box, but his centre bobbled up and over off Higdon’s thigh.
The half ended rather scrappily with United having two free kicks on the edge of the box in quick succession, with Dixon then Ritchie Ryan firing them just over.
It wasn’t the scoreline the home fans would have been wanting, had it been an important match, but given the occasion, there weren’t too many glum faces in the home support at half time.
After the restart, things threatened to boil over after a late challenge by Clancy provoked a similar reaction from Swanson on the half way line. Steve Jennings let his frustrations show, blootering the ball of Swanson as a small melee ensued, with only the United man booked. A few moments later, he was lucky not to he have seen a second yellow, when he took Clancy out of the game once more. As the home fans chanted for referee Euan Norris to send him off, the man in the middle decided to let it slide.
Peter Houston sensed Swanson w s in danger of leading his side down to ten men, and he quickly replaced the battling midfielder with Ryan Dow. The youngster’s first involvement was to blast over from inside the box, when he should really have tested Randolph. The big goalie was soon calle din to action when Rankin’s cross was touched on at the front post by Russell, and Daly powered a header goalward, only to be denied by the reflexes of the big Irish goalie.
Humphrey was continuing to get in behind Dixon and only a great claim by Pernis prevented a low ball across goal from reaching Murphy, before the Jamaican played a neat 1-2 with Hateley, which resulted in a cross just too high for Higdon.
The impressive Armstrong for Peter Houston’s men then tested Randolph woith a low fizzer, which was deflected in to the waiting arms of the keeper. Dow then shot wide at the near post after Dixon got past Humphrey to fire a low ball in. Motherwell seemed to invite United on, and Rankin almost capitalised with another long range effort which had Randolph at full stretch, which drifted just by.
Captain Craigan then almost ahd the crowd on it’s feet after more good wing play from Humphrey and Hateley, broke to him at the edge of the box. Despite making a great connection, his effort from 20 yards went agonisingly wide, as The Well searched for a leveller. Henrik Ojamaa replaced Nicky Law as Stuart McCall looked to add some creativity to the attack on 65 minutes. Tim Clancy and Jon daly then picked up bookings for some handbags after the former had fouled United sub Gary Mackay-Steven on the right wing.
Craigan eventually left the field to rapturous applause from the home fans, there to see the man who played over 350 times in Claret and Amber off to retirement. As he lapped up the applause, Ross Forbes came on to make his final appearance for The Well, and could have signed off in style, when given the opportunity to fire in a free kick. However, his ball in didn’t clear the first man, which allowed United to break, before Hately was harshly booked for bringing down MacKay-Steven.
With 8 minutes remaining, Jon Daly doubled Dundee United’s lead, when he bundled home from close range after Robertson’s ball in took a few deflections, teeing up the Tangerine’s captain to score his 18th SPL goal of the season. As loud as the United fans were behind the goal, The Well fan’s grew louder, knowing the match mattered not. As the game petered out, Higdon took a great dummy from Ojamaa in his stride before blasting his shot low and wide of Pernis’ right hand post.
As the referee blew for full time, an almighty cheer went up around the stadium, from both sets of fans, congratulating their sides for ending the season with a European tour. The home fans stayed inside the stadium to take in the player’s lap of honour, led by Craigan and his daughter. The rest of the squad embraced the applause and praise, collecting scarves and inflatables as they landed on the pitch, at the culmination of one of The Well’s greatest season’s in modern history.
The loss meant that StuarMcCall’s side finished with a record highest SPL points tally of 62, having won half of their 38 games. While the players and fans will no doubt enjoy the summer ahead, attentions will soon turn to next season, and the arrival of the Champion’s League at Fir Park.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at Fir Park
1min: Murph and Las kick us off. Lets end the season in style!
5mins: And a minute of applause for retiring captain Stephen Craigan. An acknowledging thumbs up too from the big man!
7mins: Goal, Dundee United- Great double save from Randolph but the hitman was there to somehow scramble the ball home.
11mins: Stevie Hammell on the deck in some pain by the looks of things. A tangle of legs with Swanson….now being stretchered off!
18mins: There’s a few sombreros around and there is a Palm tree somewhere in the East but this weather is far from continental bliss!
19mins: United go close again. This time Hateley is on hand to clear a goalbound shot off the line
22mins: Law goes close with a 20 yard effort. Bounce decieved Pernis who parried out for a corner.
32mins: Great chance there for ‘Well! Humphrey battles down the wing and his cross flashes accross goal with no takers!
36mins: Exact same chance as that last tweet…except this time Higdon was there. The scouser couldn’t keep his shot down though. Still 0-1
39mins: Dixon’s wind assisted free-kick skims the top of Randolph’s bar. Unlucky there
44mins: Steve Jennings booked for a late challenge on Russell. The resulting free-kick is fired just over.
45mins: Now, the teams are back out. Mon the ‘Well!
52mins: Swanson booked for a terrible tackle on Lasley. Last game of the season and entirely unnecessary!
53mins: Swanson flies into another rash challenge…no booking though!
55mins: He’s off now though. Subbed off for Ryan Dow.
59mins: Brilliant save there from Randolph to tip Daly’s header over the bar.
65mins: ‘Well sub – Ojamaa on for Law.
67mins. Stephenn Craigan 20 yards out. On his left foot. Last ever game. Glory awaits……slices it well wide!
7,446 fans here today. Thanks to all as always.
79mins: ‘Well sub – Craigan departs from the Fir Park turf for the last time. Replaced by Ross Forbes.
81mins: Goal Dundee United – John Daly makes it 2-0.
2 minutes added on.
And that’s Full-time. A disappointing 0-2 defeat but what a season that has been! Unbelievable achievement!
Full time – Motherwell 0 Dundee United 2
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
Dundee United manager Peter Houston.
The Fir Park commercial team can reveal the latest offers around the ground for some fun and entertainment.
Cooper Bar Opened 11am
The Cooper bar will be opened at 11am on Sunday 13 May for the upcoming fixture VS Dundee United. Enjoy a drink in a relaxed environment prior to the match.
End of Season Champions League Party!
Following the final whistle on Sunday, Motherwell fans have organised an end of season / Champions League Party in the Davie Cooper Suite. With live music and DJ it’s going to be the place to be post match!
Corporate Season Tickets
Season tickets for Centenary, Millennium and South Stand are now on sale. Please contact 01698 338008 or 338062 for details.
The club can confirm the following squad changes as of Friday 1st June 2012.
The following player will leave the club after retiring from football:
5. Stephen Craigan
Leaving the club after their contracts expire will be:
18. Ross Forbes, 19. Gary Smith, 21. Jamie Pollock, 23. Jordan Halsman, 25. Steven Lawless, 27. Ross McKinnon, 31. Tom Bradley
The following players have been offered extended terms:
3. Steven Hammell, 8. Steve Jennings, 12. Lee Hollis, 14. Keith Lasley, 22. Tim Clancy
The following U20 players have been offered extended terms:
38. Joshua Watt, 39. Adam Cummins, 40. Nicky Devlin, 43. Zane Francis-Angol, 44. Stevie Hetherington
The following U20 players have signed extended terms:
32. Lee Irwin, 37. Euan Murray
The following U20 players have been released:
30. Herman Mboa Mekongo, 33. Michael Lynch, 34. Keiran McGachie, 35. Keiran MacDonald, 46. Darren Brownlie
Motherwell Football Club would like to sincerely thank all the players who are leaving the club for their efforts whilst at Fir Park and wish them every success in the future careers.
Retiring Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan has revealed he is looking forward to Sundays clash with Dundee United for many reasons.
The inspirational captain plays his last ever professional game against fellow European qualifiers Dundee United on Sunday in what is sure to be an emotional day for the 35 year old who concludes his a 15 year career with Motherwell.
Speaking to MFCTV, Craigan said, “There is no doubt it will be an emotional day. I’ve spent 15 years of my 18 year career here. I came here as a 17 year old kid and spent the majority of my adult life growing up here so you make friendships with people and make rapport with people and I will miss it.
“The mood in the camp is good. We said a few week ago we didn’t want to go into this game having it as a play-off for third in the league so it suited us well that we have got the job done. I think we can now go out and enjoy it. There aren’t many game in football you can enjoy without any pressure and still have had success along the way and hopefully the players can express themselves.
“There should be a huge crowd; £5 a ticket is wonderful, and it should be a day of celebrating the fact we’ve came third and obviously a personal celebration that I’m finishing up. We need people to come back but we need to catch them and get them to want to come back. If they here on Sunday and maybe not see a great performance, but a bit of a celebration then hopefully they will get attached to that and want to come back next season and support the boys.
“If we win on Sunday we will have won half our games which is a phenomenal return for a club of our size.”
Kenny Black spoke to MFCTV today about the forthcoming and final game of the SPL season, where the Steelmen take on Dundee United at Fir Park at 12.30 Sunday 13 May.
The Fir Parkers return to action after a credible 0-0 draw with Rangers last Saturday after already claiming 3rd spot the tempo of the game was of a vibrant nature. Assistant Manager Kenny Black seeks more of the same as he looks to end the season on a high.
“I think it would be nice for the players who have played the majority of the season to go out and put a performance in, to finish the season on a high and get the 3 points at home would be absolutely magnificent.
“I’m sure Dundee United will come here and do exactly what we are trying to do and that is getting 3 points to finishes off the season. We know what Dundee United strengths are and we are hoping to cause them a few problems of their own.”
Talking about how successful the season has been Kenny Black went on to say “I think when you take a step back from the season and you look at the consistency that we had albeit we didn’t do so well against the Old Firm if you look at the rest of the matches I think we only lost four over the piece, so i think that consistency has been key.
“We are looking to achieve a positive result come full time on Sunday.”
Motherwell FC are reminding fans that tickets for the final SPL match of the season against Dundee United have been slashed to just £5!
The final game of the season is now upon us and a packed Fir Park would give Stuart McCall and his backroom staff as well as the players the perfect thank you for what has been a remarkable season.
Entry to the game is only £5 for adults and £5 for children all across the ground and this is a great opportunity for fans to get into full European party mode and give stalwart Stephen Craigan a momentous send off as he concludes a lengthy Motherwell career.
Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “We are keen to try and make Fir Park as busy, colourful and as noisy as possible for the last game of this campaign.
“It has been an exceptional season and the players deserve a great send-off before the summer break. We’ve had some exciting games against Dundee United this season and I am sure Sunday will be the same.
“We would encourage every Motherwell, and Dundee Utd, fan to come along and enjoy the last game before the summer.”
WE ARE MOTHERWELL FC. TOGTHER WE WILL BE STRONGER. PLAY YOUR PART AND FILL THE STADIUM – GIVE STUART AND HIS PLAYERS A RAPTUROUS FIR PARK THANK YOU!
Any inquires can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fans who have already pre-purchased tickets at full price should contact the Ticket Office to receive the appropriate refund.
Gordon praised the efforts of Motherwell’s U19’s Players Player of the Year Keiran McGachie, saying that “Keiran is someone I have got to know very well over his two years at the club and I’d like to think I’ve contributed in his development as a footballer. His attitude is first class around the club, in training and in matches.”
The industrious striker managed to grab himself 11 goals in all competitions this season and he added, “Personally I think anybody could have got the award as the team have been excellent. I am obviously delighted that the boys have supported me and voted me for the award.”
The young Steelmen have only suffered two defeats since October including a trip to Turkey where they faced off against teams such as Zenit St Petersburg u19’s and Turkish 3rd Division side Emrespor’s first team. Gordon reflected, “The players have matured well throughout the season, we have a young goalkeeper who has established himself in the under 19 team at the young age of 17.
“The back four were very young and inexperienced at the start of the season but have really grown in stature as the season has gone on. The midfield has been consistent throughout the season and the strikers I said I would continue to rotate have all performed well when called upon.
“There have been many highlights this season. I think since we’ve came back from Turkey, everybody drew a lot of strength from the games we played there. We got a fantastic opportunity to train in great conditions and in every game we played there I thought we were excellent and everyone complimented on the style of play we had. While the bread and butter of the season has been good, I’ve been very lucky with their attitude over the season.
“Overall I think they have been a credit to themselves, their family and have represented the club at a very high level.”
The Cash Converters “Convert for Cash” challenge returns this Sunday when Dundee United visit Fir Park and you can win £100.
It’s on STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELMEN!!
The Cash Converters “Convert for Cash” challenge is here again. The event that pits home fan against away fan, confronted by the sight of our very own gaffer Stuart McCall, is back again versus Dundee United this Sunday.
Faced by a life-sized statue of Stuart McCall, fans must run round him 3 times, before composing themselves to score past our mascot, Claret, EITHER from the edge of the box (the £100 ball) or the penalty spot (the £50 ball).
Enter at the Cash Converters SPL Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.
In addition, Cash Converters will also be donating £150 per challenge to their official charity for the 2011/2012 season, Dreams Come True.
For your chance to win £100 in the “Convert for Cash” challenge against Dundee United, enter your details at the Cash Converters SPL Facebook page now:CLICK HERE.
The Facebook page will also give you the chance to win a whole host of other prizes, including tickets and exclusive, money-can’t-buy experiences. Simply “Like” the page, and get entering.
The draw will close at Noon on Friday 11th May
*Please note: You must be aged over 18 to take part, and proof of age will be required on the day. You must also already possess a match ticket.
Club captain and Motherwell stalwart Stephen Craigan has announced he will retire from the professional game after Motherwell’s final game this weekend.
Stephen was offered a new contract with the club but after careful consideration with his family he has decided to end his playing career after Motherwell’s most successful season and concentrate on media work. Steven is currently discussing offers from various TV and Radio stations.
The Northern Irishman, 35, enjoyed an 18 year career, which saw him notch up 378 appearances for the Steelmen and 54 international caps.
Speaking earlier today, Craigan said, “When I joined the club in 1994 I had no idea that I would spend the majority of my adult life and footballing career at Fir Park. My aim was to play football professionally and today I can say I achieved my goal and it’s been a wonderfully satisfying journey.
“I take a lot of pride that I’ve represented the club 378 times and in wearing the claret and amber colours. It was a privilege to follow in the footsteps of some great players who’ve played not just at Fir Park over the years but at centre half.
“I want to thank all the players that I’ve played with throughout my career, past and present. At times I’m sure I was hard work but it was all for a good cause, winning. I’ve learned a great deal from all the managers I’ve worked under and I hope I set a good example for them with my work ethic.”
Everyone at Motherwell would like to thank Stephen for his loyalty and his contribution to many successful years with the Club. While his football career has drawn to a close, we would all like to wish him the very best in his future endeavours.
You can read all of Stephen’s comments in our award-winning match programme on Sunday.