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    Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell

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    Devlin returns to Sons on loan

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    TV: Murphy aiming for goals

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    TV: McCall hoping for win at Killie

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    Finnie’s in charge at Killie

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    TV: U20s Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: Jenks disappointed at defeat

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    Motherwell U20s 1 – 3 Celtic U20s

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    ‘Well reject double offer

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    Levante tickets on sale Tuesday

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    Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Kris Jack at Rugby Park

    A Jamie Murphy double gave Motherwell their first win of the season, in an excellent game at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park.

    Murphy struck either side of a fine Gary Harkins solo effort to take the three points back to Lanarkshire.

    Indeed, the scoreline could have been more emphatic in Motherwell’s favour as they warmed up for the visit of Levante in the best way possible.

    It was two in and two out for Stuart McCall’s side in the Ayrshire sunshine, as Zaine Francis-Angol made his first SPL start, filling in for the suspended Steven Hammell and Chris Humphrey returning from injury to replace Omar Daley in attack.

    Last week’s goalscorer Bob McHugh would start from the bench yet again, hopeful of making a similar impact this week.

    Kenny Shiels opted to use the same starting eleven which had drawn up at Inverness the week before. Former Real Madrid youth player Borja Perez, signed only this week, was named as a sub as both sides looked to earn their first wins of the season.

    The game was wide open right from the start, and only a last ditch challenge from Francis-Angol stopped Liam Kelly from giving the hosts the lead from six yards. Up the other end Michael Higdon hit a sweet volley form 25-yards which only just cleared Cammy Bell’s upright. However, Murphy made no mistake in Well’s next attack.

    Michael Nelson was careless in possession 30 yards from goal, as Murphy dispossessed him, before jinking past Pascali and Fowler to slide the ball under Bell. It was a fine first of the season for Murphy, who looked to have the beating of Nelson all game.

    Higdon should have doubled the lead when Randolph’s long kick bounced over Ojamaa, but his left footed effort drifted wide of the far post. Humphrey was then just too short in stretching to divert Higdon’s flick on past Bell, from a deft Francis-Angol cross.

    It was all Motherwell at this stage and Humphrey had a rare effort from distance after being played in by Nicky Law which spun away from the top right corner.

    Killie tried to get back in to the game through Liam Kelly, but his effort after being played in by Matt Kennedy went just the wrong side of Randolph’s post.

    Former Partick Thistle and Dundee man Gary Harkins looked to be the one most likely to make the home side tick, and a fine piece of individual play brought his side level on the half hour.

    Winning the ball in midfield, he strode forward unchallenged, all the way in to the box before unleashing a left foot effort low across Randolph and in to the bottom corner.

    The home fans had barely stopped celebrating the leveller when ‘Well took the lead for the second time again through Murphy.

    Pascali and Fowler got their angles wrong trying to catch Ojamaa offside and failed to notice Murphy bursting through to pick up Higdon’s threaded ball. With the whole Killie half at his mercy, he sprinted in on Bell, rounded him and coolly slotted in to the empty net.

    As the half ended, Simon Ramsden was replaced by Adam Cummins, after the defender picked up a hamstring injury making him a doubt for the Europa Leae tie on Thursday.

    The second-half started as frenetic as the first, with Murphy unlucky not to secure his hat trick after Ojamaa capitalised on a poor pass out of defence from Pascali to play him in however, the former Scotland U21 forward blazed over.

    Killie settled and came back into things and Darren Randolph, fresh from being part of the Republic of Ireland squad in midweek, made a great save from sub Danny Raachi, when the midfielder pulled the trigger from 25 yards.

    The big keeper got down low to his right to keep it out, before grasping the ball as it bounced back up.

    Stuart McCall wrung the changes bringing on Stevie Hetherington and Fraser Kerr for Chris Humphrey and Nicky Law, preserving them for Thursday.

    The former’s first contribution was to almost set up Ojamaa for a goal with his first touch but the Estonian fired over after working space in the box. He then barged through the Killie defence, only to have his low shot deflected wide.

    Kenny Shiels’ side were bereft of a decent final ball, as their possession couldn’t be turned in to decent opportunities. Instead, Motherwell looked like they would extend their lea, and they thought they had when Ojamaa played Murphy in on the left. His cross was stood up to the back post where Higdon volleyed over when a burst net was expected.

    The best chance for a third goal for Motherwell fell to sub Fraser Kerr. A centre-back to trade, the on-loan Birmingham youngster was deployed on the right. Picking up twenty-five yards from goal, he shimmied past two men in the box before forcing Cammy Bell to palm a blasted effort over the bar from 12 yards.

    It would have been a fine goal to cap a great performance and win for Motherwell, but 2-1 was enough to seal the win and put the Steelmen second in the SPL on goal difference after three games.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Rugby Park

    FULL TIME: Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell. Fantastic 3 points for the Steelmen.

    91mins: Can’t blame Murphy for that. He has options in the middle but 30 yards out opts to go for goal. Well wide.

    90mins: Into the final minute. Edgy finish.

    88mins: Oh what a save from Bell! Mazy run from Kerr and as he’s about to burst the nets, Bell somehow turns it over.

    85mins: Hutchinson booked for a tactical foul just inside our half to stop a counter attack.

    83mins: And straight after, Murphy whips in a cross which evades the Killie defender at the back post. Higdon caught it on the volley but fires wide

    82mins: Ojamaa finds himself with one defender to beat and Higdon to his right. He went himself and his shot was blocked.

    77mins: Rory Boulding looked to be in behind the defense as he latched onto Fowlers pass. Linesman’s flag goes up though.

    74mins: Half chance for Motherwell. A great ball in from Kerr fizzes across the box with no takers.

    69mins: Looks like Kerr has slotted straight into Humphrey’s position at right midfield.

    69mins: Motherwell sub: Humphrey makes way for Kerr.

    67mins: Motherwell Sub: Law off for Hetherington.

    64mins: Backs to the wall defending from ‘Well now! Bodies flying in everywhere to keep Killie out. Home side getting a lift…

    60mins: …corner. Just wide. Up the other end, Randolph gets a strong hand onto a long range drive and collects. Danger averted.

    60mins: So very nearly 3! Ojamaa finds himself just outside the box. As he creeps in, he opens his body up and curls one towards the top…

    54mins: Unlucky Murphy! He overlaps Ojamaa on the counter-attack and the Estonian slides him in. Blazes just over from the just inside box.

    52mins: ‘Well looking confident on the ball. We’re keeping possession well without creating any real chances.

    46mins: Ojamaa and Lasley kick off the second half. Will Murphy get his hat-trick?

    45mins: Late first half chance for Law there! He ghosted into the box and nodded Humphrey’s cross goalwards. ‘Well over the bar though.

    43mins: Motherwell sub: Cummins on for Ramsden.

    41mins: Ramsden receiving treatment for what looked like a muscle strain. Looks to be getting subbed off.

    36mins: Murphy springs the offside trap wonderfully on the half-way line and after sprinting the entire half, rounds Bell and cooly slots home.


    30mins: GOAL KILLIE. It’s 1-1 after Harkins mazes past the defense and finishes well.

    23mins: Higdon booked for an ill-timed challenge

    19mins: ‘Well really starting to turn the screw. Chris Humphrey this time trying his luck on his weak foot from 25 yards. Well over the bar.

    15mins: It’s almost 2 for the Steelmen! Higdon with a left footed effort after a defensive mistake. Dragged it just past.

    12mins: We’re a goal up but in the early stages so far, Killie have looked dangerous going forward.

    11mins: Murphy skips past his man just outside the box and shows enough composure to slot past Bell into the bottom right corner.

    11mins: GOAL MOTHERWELL!

    9mins: Almost a world class goal from Higdon there! Caught a volley sweetly from the edge of the box and had Bell beaten. Just past.

    5mins: It’s that man Francis-Angol’s again. This time in his own box he slides in to make a vital challenge as a goal looked inevitable.

    4mins: Hateley’s delivery looked goal bound until the Killie defender dived in to clear with his head,

    4mins: The busy Francis-Angol has now won us a free-kick in a dangerous position out wide…

    1min: ….Hutchinson heads Hateley’s delivery well over.

    1min: Good work from Francis-Angol wins us an early corner….

    KICK-OFF: It’s game on! C’mon yea ‘Well!


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I’m really pleased for that kid, he’s a cracking lad and is totally committed to do his best for Motherwell.”

    “I was hoping Jamie would come back from his summer break fresh and energised and that has been exactly the case.

    “We tried him out in a different position today behind Henrik (Ojamaa) and Higgy (Higdon), it worked well and he got two terrific goals.

    “He’s had a lot of pressure over the last two seasons in regards to will he move? Will he be picked for Scotland? And for a young guy that can be a lot of pressure, so he has just got to focus on his football.”

    Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels:

    “I think it could have went either way, we were playing against a counter-attack team and we knew going into the game that Motherwell are a dangerous team away from home.

    “It was poor play for the first goal and the second the player wasn’t tracked, we have to look at the imagination side and work on that in the next week.

    “We need someone to hold up the ball a bit better and link it up, we are missing Heffernan and you can see how it has an impact on our performance.

    “It’s early yet and too early to make assessments, it could have so easily been a draw today but I still feel if you take Harkins out then we lack creativity.”


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    Devlin returns to Sons on loan

    Young full-back Nicky Devlin has re-joined his former side Dumbarton on a short-term loan deal.

    Devlin, 18, joined the Steelmen last summer but his season at Fir Park never really got going after a knee injury early in the season ruled him out for several months.

    The former Scotland U19 International spent the last few months of the campaign on-loan at Stenhousemuir where he collected the Irn-Bru Young Player of the Month award for April in his first full month at the club.

    He has not yet managed to break into the Motherwell first-team and will re-join his former colleagues at The Bet Butler Stadium for an initial 28-day period.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall said, “Nicky was very unlucky last year with injury but did very well whilst out on loan towards the end of last season.

    “It’s vital for his development he is playing competitive football on a regular basis which is why we have allowed him to join Dumbarton.

    “He knows the place very well having come through the ranks at the club and played for their first-team during the 2010-10 season.

    “We will monitor his progress very carefully whilst he is on loan and I intend to get along and watch him as often as I can.”

  • Archive

    TV: Murphy aiming for goals

    Jamie Murphy is hoping to get amongst the goals and shoot Motherwell to their first victory of the new 2012/13 SPL season.

    The Steelmen take on Kilmarnock at Rugby Park not having beaten the Ayrshire club for nearly two years.

    But Murphy, Motherwell’s all-time leading European scorer hopes the Fir Parkers can put that right tomorrow, setting things up nicely for the visit of Levante U.D. on Thursday in the Europa League.

    [pullquote]We know it’s up to us to put in a performance tomorrow and hopefully score some goals.[/pullquote]

    “It’s obviously an important game tomorrow, he said. “They’re a good side but hopefully if we do enough we’ll get the three points.

    “I wouldn’t Killie were a bogey team but we had a bit of trouble playing against them last season that’s for sure.

    “We didn’t play to our best against them, particularly down at Rugby Park, so we know it’s up to us to put in a performance tomorrow and hopefully score some goals.”


  • Archive

    TV: McCall hoping for win at Killie

    Stuart McCall wants to go one better and pick up a three points against Killie for the first time in his tenure at Fir Park.

    The Steelmen haven’t managed to take three points at Rugby Park since a Nick Blackman strike gave Craig Brown’s ‘Well the win almost two years ago.

    There were two 0-0 draws last season and Killie won the other match 2-0 in the same week they scooped the Scottish Communities League Cup.

    [pullquote]It’s a big park down there and we’d like to think we have players who could use that to its maximum[/pullquote]

    “They were the only side last season we never managed a goal against,” said the former Scotland International.

    “We had two really entertaining nil-nil draws. If it wasn’t for some excellent goalkeeping both sides could have scored lots of goals in those games. Then we had probably our most inept performance of the season after Kilmarnock won the league cup, going down there and getting beat two nil.

    “That was a really poor performance so we certainly need to be better than we were last time out.

    “We’re trying to find out some information on the new signing they’ve made and we don’t know what he’ll be capable of but I expect a tough game as always. It’s a big park down there and we’d like to think we have players who could use that to its maximum.

    “The last outing at Ross County we had lots of possession without the cutting edge so that is something we’ll be looking to improve on.

    “It would be nice to get a win but on their day Kilmarnock can play well.”


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    Finnie’s in charge at Killie

    Referee for Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park is Stephen Finnie.

    It will be the first time Stephen has taken charge of a Motherwell match in almost two years; his previous appointment was the Steelmen’s narrow defeat to Celtic in Glasgow the day before Stuart McCall took up the hot seat at the club.

    In the same season, he was also the man in the middle as ‘Well crashed 4-1 at Ibrox. Nick Blackman had actually put the Fir Parkers ahead but second half strikes from Steven Naismith, Steve Davies, Kenny Miller and Vladimir Weiss gave the home side a comfortable victory.

    In actual fact, since taking matches in the top-flight of Scottish football, Stephen has only ever officiated five Motherwell matches.

    Other than those Old Firm defeats, there was a 3-1 home win over Hearts in March of 2010 (Goals from Mark Reynolds, John Sutton and Jim O’Brien), a 1-0 defeat at Tannadice in October 2007 (Darren Dods heading home the games’ only goal) and a 2-0 win over Dunfermline in March 2007 courtesy of a Scott McDonald brace.

    In those five matches, he has delt25 cautions, five of which flashed at a player wearing Claret and Amber. Only one player has been sent for an early bath and that was Scott Brown for a second bookable offence in that match at Parkhead in 2010.

    Stephen will be ably assisted on the day by Alan Mulvanny and Joseph Lawson with Steven McLean assigned as fourth official.

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    TV: U20s Highlights from Fir Park

    Despite an accomplished second-half goal from Craig Moore, ‘Well crashed to a 1-3 home defeat at the hands of Celtic at Fir Park.


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    TV: Jenks disappointed at defeat

    The U20s caretaker boss Bobby Jenks was left frustrated as Motherwell crashed to a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Celtic.

    The Fir Park side contained the likes of Lee Hollis, Jon Page, Stuart Carswell and Bob McHugh but came unstuck against a talented and vibrant Celtic side.

    First half goals from Bahrudin Atajic and Darnell Fisher gave the visitors a commanding lead at the interval although Craig Moore reduced the deficit with 25 minutes left on the clock.

    It was left to Denny Johnstone to seal the win for John Kennedy’s men with a sublime finish from just inside the area.

    [pullquote]A lot of the boys obviously lack game time but we haven’t had the personnel to arrange more games.[/pullquote]

    Jenks told MFC TV: “It was a hard first game to play in.

    “A lot of the boys obviously lack game time but we haven’t had the personnel to arrange more games.

    “I actually enjoyed the game but it slipped away from us in the first half. We didn’t compete in the middle of the park or get the ball up to the striker’s feet.

    “We came out in the second half, changed the shape a bit, and did a lot better and got ourselves back into it. We could have had an equaliser when Nicky Devlin went through but unfortunately we didn’t and they went on to win.”


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    Motherwell U20s 1 – 3 Celtic U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s lost 3-1 to Celtic in their first game of the new 2012/13 season.

    A free-kick from Bahrudin Atajic and a counter attack goal from Darnell Fisher had the Bhoys 2-0 up at half time, before Craig Moore pulled one back midway through the second half.

    However, a sublime piece of skill from Denny Johnstone ended the game a contest with a third goal ten minutes from time.

    Motherwell started brightly against John Kennedy’s young side and we’re first to threaten when Josh Watt’s direct running conjured up a corner kick. From Stevie Hetherington’s delivery, Jonathan Page headed wide of target.

    Celtic started to find their way in to the game with Patrik Twardzik testing Lee Hollis from distance, before the ‘Well goalie made a smart stop at the feet of Kirwan after spilling an effort from Jack Kirwan.

    Swedish striker Atajic then blasted a free kick over the bar from edge of the box having gone down under a challenge from Stuart Carswell.

    The visitors eventually took the lead on 34 minutes from a similar position, after Darnell Fisher hit the deck following challenge from Zaine Francis-Angol, which drew a booking for the former Spurs full-back.

    Twardzik fired the set piece in to the wall, but Page was penalised for encroaching, allowing a retake. This time Atajic found the target, as his right footed effort nestled in Hollis’s bottom left corner.

    For all their possession, Motherwell couldn’t carve out an opening, with another Page header from a Nicky Devlin delivery their best the home side could manage.

    In contract, Celtic were clinical and doubled their lead with only three minutes of the first-half remaining. Full-back Darnell Fisher broke up the right and, aided by a fortuitous ricochet off the thigh of Francis-Angol, he slotted the ball under Hollis from twelve yards.

    The second half carried on where the first left off with Celtic soaking up pressure and looking to create chances on the break. They could and should have added to their lead, when Hollis made a great save at the feet of Kirwan, after a sclaffed effort from Twardzik had evaded the home defence.

    Motherwell introduced Adam Asghar from the substitute’s bench was to set up Craig Moore to reduce the deficit. A perfect through-ball inside Fisher made its way to Moore, who had McNally back-pedaling towards the visitor’s box. The pint-sized hitman took another touch to steady himself before smashing the ball low beyond Fasan to make it 2-1.

    It was a deserved goal that galvanized the hosts so much so Nicky Devlin almost leveled shortly after when he ghosted in behind Fisher, only to spoon Josh Watt’s pass wide of the post.

    After losing the goal Celtic eventually settled and started to increase the pressure once again and after Denny Johntone had hit the post form around the neatly spot, he made it 3-1 to Celtic with a brilliant individual goal.

    Collecting the ball on the left wing, he pirouetted past Page, before unleashing a fierce drive high across Hollis. It was a great goal which effectively killed the game a contest.

    A Moore header from Kerr’s returned ball back across goal was the closest ‘Well came to pulling another back but it finished 1-3 Celtic with the youths plenty to work on ahead of the next match against Ross County next week.

    Motherwell: Hollis, Devlin, Francis-Angol (Cummins – 46), Hetherington, Kerr, Page, Watt, Carswell, McHugh (Shirkie – 62), Moore, Leitch (Asghar – 63)

    Subs Not Used: Stewart, Murray, Johnstone, Higgins

    Cautions: Francis-Angol, Page, Moore

    Goals: Moore (65)

    >> U20s League Table

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    ‘Well reject double offer

    Motherwell have rejected bids for both defender Shaun Hutchinson and midfielder Nicky Law.

    21-year old Hutchinson, who is contracted until the summer of 2014, has been in excellent form of late and has been attracting interest from a number of top clubs south of the border before a bid from a Championship club was received late last week.

    Nicky Law has been a star since his arrival at Fir Park from Rotherham last summer but the offer from a League One club was deemed unacceptable.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall said, “Whilst we understand every player at this club has a value, we also need to ensure we protect our interests by getting the right price for our talent.

    [pullquote]Rejecting both offers, which were significant in Motherwell terms, is also a sign of intent from the clubs’ board that they are not prepared to accept any bid that comes our way[/pullquote]

    “Shaun has been terrific for us since I arrived at the club and has been a virtual ever-present in that time. He has all the raw materials you would want from a centre-back; he’s young, big and powerful and the experience of playing in the Europa League and Champions League is standing him in good stead.

    “He is already a top player, I would say he’s one of the hottest young talents in the SPL, and we are certain he’ll mature into an even better defender as his experience grows. That’s why any offer for him needs to be realistic.

    “Nicky has been the cornerstone of a lot of success going forward over the last twelve months and is vital to us. His contribution from midfield was key in qualifying for Europe last term and any offer for him would have to reflect his contribution to our side.

    “Rejecting both offers, which were significant in Motherwell terms, is also a sign of intent from the clubs’ board that they are not prepared to accept any bid that comes our way.

    “Unless a vastly-improved offer comes in then it is business as usual.”

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    Levante tickets on sale Tuesday

    Tickets for the forthcoming Europa League Play-off with La Liga side Levante U.D. will go on sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office on Tuesday 14th August.

    Tickets will go on full general sale but 2012/13 Season Ticket seats will be reserved for seven days to allow holders to sit in their usual spot if they so wish.

    Prices for the match have been set at:

    Adults:   £25
    Concessions:                                        £20
    Juveniles:   £15
    • Concessions are listed as Over 60s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation.
    • Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.
    • 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