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    TV: Hetherington gutted at draw

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    TV: McCall frustration at late goal

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    St Mirren draw in pictures

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

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    TV: McCall looks for a reaction

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    TV: Domestic focus for Cummins

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    Norris to ref Saints clash

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    Levante away tickets on sale

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: McCall disappointed in defeat

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    TV: Hetherington gutted at draw

    Young midfielder Stevie Hetherington was left deflated after his full debut was tainted by a late St Mirren equaliser.

    The English midfielder was making his first competitive start in Motherwell colours, getting the nod to sit at the bottom of a midfield diamond.

    And the former Rangers youngster acquitted himself very well, battling hard for the full ninety minutes in the face of some talented St Mirren midfielders.

    Just when it looked as if he could celebrate with all three points, Saints sub Thomas Reilly popped up with a leveller just seconds before the full-time whistle.

    [pullquote]We were on the back foot for most of the second half. We all dug in and worked for each other and it took a lot out of us.[/pullquote]

    “It feels like a defeat,” the 19-year old said.

    “We were on the back foot for most of the second half. We all dug in and worked for each other and it took a lot out of us.

    “They’re a decent side and may have deserved a draw for how they played their football

    “It was a very young side and I thought everyone did well. You come to training on a Monday morning and work hard hoping you’ll be involved at the weekend.

    “The two appearances I’ve made this season made me hungry and the gaffer gave me my first start today and I hope I haven’t let him down with my performance.”


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    TV: McCall frustration at late goal

    Stuart McCall was left disappointed as a 93rd minute goal from sub Thomas Reilly denied ‘Well three points and a place at the summit of the SPL.

    The Steelmen went ahead with just a minute of the game gone, Michael Higdon capitalising on some hesitancy in the Saints rearguard to nip in and score his first of the season.

    In fairness, St Mirren dominated large periods of the match and a young ‘Well side, containing no fewer than five teenagers and eventually ten-men after Hutchinson’s red card, had to dig in and battle for everything during a rain-soaked ninety minutes.

    Cruel then that a contentious refereeing decision and a late, later leveller would deny the youngsters what would have been a very hard-fought three points.

    [pullquote]Our possession of the ball wasn’t good enough but the other side of it; the defending and the digging in, was excellent.[/pullquote]

    “I’m really disappointed,” McCall admitted to MFC TV after the match.

    “We haven’t played great today, there’s no doubt about it but there are lots of ways to win football matches. We’ve dug deep and had players out there who are not fully fit.

    “Our possession of the ball wasn’t good enough but the other side of it; the defending and the digging in, was excellent.

    “I think everybody in the ground could see it was our throw-in but unfortunately the referee has made a quick decision and ultimately without big Shaun in the centre of defence, we’ve lost the goal.

    “There is no doubting St Mirren deserved a point for the possession they had but I thought that the grit, determination and defending; we did that part well.”


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    St Mirren draw in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-1 draw with St Mirren in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.

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

    [svgallery name=”stmirren260812″]

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    Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Fir Park

    A late leveller from St Mirren sub Thomas Reilly denied 10-man Motherwell top spot in the SPL at a rain-soaked Fir Park this afternoon.

    A goal in the first minute from Michael Higdon against his former side looked to be enough heading in to injury time before the young Buddie rescued a deserved point.

    Shaun Hutchinson saw red for the second time in as many games following two controversial bookings in the final 10 minutes.

    After a tough defeat to Levante U.D. in the Europa League in midweek, Motherwell looked to bounce back with a decent performance against St Mirren.

    Stuart McCall handed a first SPL start to both Steven Hetherington and Fraser Kerr, as Chris Humphrey dropped to the bench and Tom Hateley missed his first game in 143 appearances. The front line of Murphy, Ojamaa and Higdon would be charged with breaching a St Mirren defence, which proved stubborn in last season’s encounters.

    Danny Lennon was forced in to one significant change, with Darren McGregor suffering another cruciate injury in the defeat to Hibs last week. Sam Parkin and Steven Thompson spearheaded the St Mirren attack, with David van Zanten given a defensive start for the Sunday kick off.

    Having lost the coin toss, ‘Well kicked off facing the Davie Cooper stand, and within 67 seconds had taken the lead. A long ball up the left channel from Stevie Hammell bounced over Henrik Ojamaa and Lee Mair. As the St Mirren defender looked to usher the ball back to his goalkeeper, Higdon stole in to dispossess him and slot under the advancing Craig Samson to give his side the ideal start.

    The early goal spurred the Steelmen on and Jamie Murphy almost added to his goals against Kilmarnock last week but dragged his shot wide of the far post after good build-up from Ojamaa.

    St Mirren looked to get a hold on the game and could have levelled when Imrie’s pacy cross was diverted over by the boot of Adam Cummins when poked toward goal by Steven Thompson.  Paul McGowan then stung the palms of Darren Randolph as Saints looked to haul themselves back into the match.

    Randolph then made an unorthodox stop from Thompson when the goalie was drawn out under a cross to the far side of his box. As he scampered back, the ball broke to Thompson, but his effort was stopped by the Irishman’s heel before pouncing on the loose ball. The Paisley side were coming more and more in to the game and Parkin should have tested Randolph when he had a free header from a Carey ball, but headed it wildly over.

    Murphy was looking impressive in the break and after being forced from left to right, he fed Ojaama inside the box, but the Estonian shot wide of Samson’s left hand post. Saints replied via Kenny McLean who passed up a glorious chance to tie the game when played in by Thomson, but he badly miscues from eight yards, and the chance was gone.

    The first half ended with Higdon falling short of bagging a brace, when Murphy found him on the edge of the box but his low drive was too straight to flummox Samson.

    Randolph was the first keeper called in to action in the second half, diving to push away an effort from 25-yards from McGowan. Kenny McLean then almost caught Randolph out with a cross cum shot, as the second period raged from end to end.

    Ojaama’s trickery was tying up Carey on the left and after ghosting past him to the byline, the Estonian’s cutback for Higdon was cleared by Lee Mair.

    St Mirren sensed an equaliser was imminent and continued to come at Motherwell with Jim Goodwin given space at the edge of the box to crash a low drive just wide.

    Both managers made substitutions, with Murphy, Law and Ojamaa replaced by Humphrey, Carswell and Francis-Angol for Motherwell, while Gary Teale replaced the ineffective Imrie.

    Higdon could have put the game to bed when Humphrey picked him out on the 18 yard line, but his first time effort was blasted over and in to away fans, who jeered their former striker.

    With ten minutes remaining, the game became scrappy with a flurry of bookings, most notably for Shaun Hutchinson, who complained vigorously that Steven Thompson had illegally blocked him off, injuring the defender in the process. As he received treatment, he pointed an accusatory finger at Thompson to show his displeasure and picked up a booking from Mr Norris for letting his frustration boil over and not leaving the pitch quick enough.

    Steven Hetherington then went in to the book for a late challenge on McGowan, before Hutchinson received a second yellow and had to head for an early bath. A ball played to the feet of Reilly was knocked away in a challenge from the big Geordie defender; however, the sub hit the deck to draw the foul.

    Norris had no hesitation in brandishing a yellow followed by a red for the challenge, which seemed harsh. The former Wallsend player did win the ball but caught the youngster in the process. A foul? Yes. A bookable offence; probably not!

    Visibly distraught, he trudged off the park to applause from the home fans, but the supportive chants turned to boos directed at the officials as St Mirren grabbed an equaliser deep in to injury time.

    Hammell and Teale came together with the ball spinning off the Wigan man for what should have been a home throw. Before the ball had even gone over the line, referee Norris was point for a Saints throw despite not having a great position.

    A hanging ball from Teale was met by Thompson, whose downward header was brilliantly kept out by Randolph, but Reilly was first to react to slam home a cruel, but deserved leveller. It was a controversial ending to an entertaining game, but the result deprives Motherwell from taking top spot in the SPL ahead of their trip to Valencia on Thursday.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FULL TIME: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Mirren

    93mins: GOAL, St Mirren equalise. Dejection as Reilly slams home from 5 yards after a scramble.

    90mins: 4 minutes added on.

    89mins: Backs to the wall stuff now as ‘Well look to cling onto the three points.

    87mins: RED CARD: Hutchinson off for a second booking. Didn’t look like much in that.

    83mins: Hutchinson booked for dissent after he went down clutching his face. Hetherington also carded for a tackle on McGowan.

    81mins: Into the last 10 mins….feels like there is still a goal in this one.

    77mins: St Mirren sub; Parkin off for Reilly.

    76mins: Great chance there! Higgy looked like he was going to burst the net from Humphrey’s pass but scooped over.

    75mins: Motherwell Sub: Ojamaa off for Francis-Angol

    72mins: McGowan booked for what looked like a wrestling clothesline on Lasley

    70mins: St Mirren with a penalty claim there. McAusland went down under slight contact from Hammell. Ref was having none of it.

    68mins: St Mirren sub, Teale on for Carey. And a Motherwell sub: Law makes way for Carswell.

    63mins: Motherwell Sub, Chris Humphrey on for Jamie Murphy.

    61mins: And again Randolph has to react quickly to tip a McGowan effort over the bar. St Mirren piling on the pressure.

    59mins: Solid hands there from Randolph to hold Carey’s rasping 30 yard free-kick.

    56mins: Sensational tackle from Hutchinson there. Just as they are about to burst clean through, the big man throws himself at it and clears

    53mins: McLean with a specualtive effort from 35 yards. Almost looked to have caught Randolph out but it sails just over.

    51mins: Murphy, switched to right mid, cuts inside on his left foot but shoots wildly over from a good position.

    48mins: Motherwell starting the brighter of the two sides but Randolph has just made a fantastic reaction save from a long effort at goal.

    45mins: Parkin and Thompson get the second half under way.

    45mins: It’s half-time. Motherwell 1 – 0 St Mirren

    39mins: The busy Fraser Kerr wins a free-kick 30 yards out on the angle. Law to whip in….Nothing comes of it sadly.

    36mins: Bit of a half chance. Ojamaa’s effort from just outside the box is neither a shot nor a cross and Samson happily collects.

    33mins: Ojamaa goes close. Best chance since the goal. Murphy jinks the entire length of the St Mirren half and with the help of Kerr…slides in Ojamaa. The angle is tight but he gets his shot away and it flashes just past.

    30mins: It’s a wet pitch which is helping neither side as when it gets to the final pass,it’s always going wayward. Entertaining game so far

    21mins: St Mirren have had a good spell of possession. They’re throwing in crosses but the ‘Well defence is standing firm.

    18mins: Randolph going for a bit of a wander there. It’s unortodox as he sprints about his box after the ball. Still 1-0 though.

    17mins: Great chance for St Mirren. McGowan gets in behind Hammell and his effort is beaten away by Randolph straight to Thompson…..Thankfully Cummins gets in to clear for a corner.

    9mins: Mair booked for a clumsy challenge on Murphy. Looks a dangerous position for the free-kick. Hammell floated it in but Cummins couldn’t get enough power in his header and Samson collects with ease.

    7mins: Up the other end, Imrie whips in a cross and Thompson gets in front ot Cummins to divert goalwards. Somehow goes out for a corner.

    5mins: Murphy being utilised in the hole behind Ojamaa and Higdon and he’s already causing problems. Looks dangerous.

    4mins: Kerr with some neat play with Lasley wins a corner. Samson spills Hetherington’s delivery but mops up at the second attempt.

    1min: GOAL!!!! Michael Higdon opens the scoring! Bit of a nothing ball up front which Ojamaa flicks on. Higdon shows his strength and brushes off his man before sliding the ball home.

    1min: Teams switching ends. The Steelmen shooting towards the Cooper Stand in the first half. Game now underway.


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was disappointed for the lads and didn’t want to see them around (referee Euan) Norris at the end of the game,” he said.

    “There’s no doubt that St Mirren deserved a share of the points but we’re disappointed in the way that it came about.

    “Overall we weren’t good enough in possession and struggled to keep the ball.”

    St Mirren manager Danny Lennon:

    “It is a very difficult place to come and this was a very valuable point.

    “We can look at Motherwell and aspire to reach the levels of consistency they have in order to qualify for Europe.

    “We got off to the worst possible start and that’s two weeks in a row we’ve been punished for brave defending, but the response we got after that was great.

    “We certainly deserved something from the game and I was thinking before the end that we would take something from it regardless of the result.”


    [poll id=”112″]

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    TV: McCall looks for a reaction

    Well boss Stuart McCall has challenged his players to bounce back from midweek regret to build on encouraging early-season domestic form.

    Despite an unbeaten run in the league, including a good draw in the Highlands and an excellent showing at Rugby Park, ‘Well have not been able to make inroads in continental competitions.

    Back to back defeats by Greek giants Panathinaikos was followed by a disappointing 2-0 reverse at the hands of La Liga side Lavente leaving McCall’s men with it all to do if they are to extend their Euro adventure.

    The 40-timse capped former Scotland International is glad his side have a game so soon after Thursday’s defeat and has called for a reaction from his players.

    [pullquote]Speaking from experience, when you’ve had a poor game, you just can’t wait for the next one to get it out of your system and we’ve got that with the game on Sunday.[/pullquote]

    “I’m looking for a reaction and a positive one,” he told MFC TV.

    “Speaking from experience, when you’ve had a poor game, you just can’t wait for the next one to get it out of your system and we’ve got that with the game on Sunday.

    “Looking back (at the games between the sides last season) and talking from our point of view, Samson has had a couple of great games against us with some outstanding saves.

    “There’s been a lot nil-nil’s and really tight results. They are probably similar to us in the fact they’ve got good experienced pros with a mixture of young talent. They have individual players who can open you up and we’ve got to be aware of that.

    “It can go a couple of ways but we’ve just go to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we do the basics right.”


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    TV: Domestic focus for Cummins

    Young defender Adam Cummins is adamant ‘Well must put Euro disappointment to one side and concentrating on domestic matters.

    The Fir Parkers turned in a below-par performance and were comfortably beaten 2-0 at home by La Liga side Levante on Thursday, leaving the tie hanging by a thread.

    But former Evertonian Cummins, who made his first-team debut late last season against Aberdeen, hopes the Steelmen can bounce back against Danny Lennon’s men whilst at the same time maintaining his own level of performance.

    [pullquote]Tomorrow will be a different test to the European games but it’s a test I’m looking forward to[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “A win on Sunday would be a very good result and do-able if we play well.

    “We’ve just got to put the European stuff to bed and concentrate on the league now. We had a great win at Kilmarnock last week and got a few of the younger lads on including myself so I think we’re playing well in the league and we’ve got to push on and get the three points tomorrow.

    “Tomorrow will be a different test to the European games but it’s a test I’m looking forward to and hopefully I can perform as I did in the previous games and hope to do in the future games.

    “I think I’ve had a bit of luck and a bit of the gaffer showing faith in me. I’ve been happy with the way I’ve been playing and hopefully I can keep going and push for a start every week.”


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    Norris to ref Saints clash

    Referee for this Sunday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren at Fir Park will be Euan Norris.

    The 34-year old will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having taken charge of four matches last season.

    He started with the 4-2 away success against Dunfermline at East End Park in late August, the 1-0 win at Easter Road in October, the 3 – 0 defeat at Ibrox in January and, most recently, the 6-0 demolition of Saints’ big rivals Morton in the Scottish Cup in early February..

    He also handled two games the previous season too…

    The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Motherwell beat Championship-chasing Celtic 2-0 at Fir Park; former striker John Sutton netting a brace.

    Going back a further year, Euan also handed two matches. He was the man in the middle when Motherwell edged out Falkirk 1-0 at Fir Park. Lukas Jutkiewicz got the only goal of the game, heading home a corner from the left after 18 minutes.

    His other game that campaign was also at Fir Park; a stormy affair between Motherwell and Hibs.

    The Steelmen won the game 1-0 thanks to a Jamie Murphy goal eight minutes from time but the game was marred by a red card for Liam Miller for a challenge on Jim O’Brien midway through the first forty-five.

    Thankfully, FIFA referee Norris usually likes to keep his cards in his pocket with only twenty-two cautions handed out in all those games, with nine flashed at a ‘Well players.

    Euan will be ably assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Gary Cheyne with Iain Brines on fourth official duties.

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    Levante away tickets on sale

    Tickets for the Europa League Play-Off Round, Second Leg with Levante U.D. at the Estadi Ciutat de València are on sale from the from the Fir Park Ticket Office priced at:

    ALL TICKETS:                                     €35 / £28
    • Anyone purchasing a ticket will be required to display photographic ID (i.e. Passport of Drivers Licence).
    • Anyone purchasing multiple tickets with the one ID will be responsible for all tickets purchased.
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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Goals from Juanlu and sub Nabil El Zhar give La Liga side Lavente U.D. a 2-0 first-leg lead to take back to Spain.


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    TV: McCall disappointed in defeat

    A deflated Stuart McCall couldn’t hide disappointment as Motherwell lost out to La Liga side Levante in the Play-off Round of the UEFA Europa League.

    Despite playing well in patches and giving 100% effort from the first minute, Motherwell were largely outclassed by a superior side from a superior league.

    A goal in either half gave the visitors a commanding lead to take back to Spain for the retun leg and McCall knows his men face a mammoth task to turn the tie around.

    [pullquote]They were the better side technically and kept the ball really well but having said that we weren’t as good as I’d have liked us to be.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “We’re disappointed that we never got the heights that we did against Panathinaikos.

    “They were the better side technically and kept the ball really well but having said that we weren’t as good as I’d have liked us to be.

    “We’re playing a side that beat Real Madrid so we aren’t playing mugs. They’re a class outfit not only on the ball but defensively very strong.

    “The first fifteen minutes we got ahead of steam with some balls across the box. Henrik’s had a chance but the defender has made a really good last ditch tackle but in fairness our possession of the ball wasn’t good enough and they were far better than us.”