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    Rangers 2- 0 Motherwell

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    ‘Convert for Cash’ returns…

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    ‘Convert your seat’ begins on Saturday

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    TV: McCall up for Ibrox test

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    TV: Kerr in confident mood

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    Celtic Tickets on sale until kick-off

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    TV: Highlights from Dens Park

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    TV: JJ pleased with Dens Park win

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    Dundee U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

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    Statement from the Board

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    Rangers 2- 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Ibrox

    Second half goals from Lee McCulloch and Dean Shiels were enough to knock Motherwell out of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

    Despite going in to the interval at 0-0 and looking good for the second half, Rangers upped their game and Motherwell never really got going, lacking the killer touch in front of goal that could have made all the difference.

    Stuart McCall named an unchanged side to that which drew 3-3 with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Sunday. In form striker Michael Higdon was looking to add to his seven goals in his last four games, supported by the tricky Henrik Ojamaa in attack and both Nicky Law and Chris Humphrey on the flanks.

    Ally McCoist’s starting eleven was a mix of familiar and unfamiliar faces, with starts for Neil Alexander, Dean Shiels, Fran Sandaza and Lee McCulloch. Ian Black missed out for the hosts through injury, as both teams looked to kick on to the next round of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

    Rangers started the game at full speed, getting right in the visitors’ faces from kick off, but despite some balls bouncing about in the box, the ‘Well defence remained intact.

    It took the Steelmen about five minutes to settle and began to carve out some opportunities, with Tom Hateley testing Neil Alexander from 25 after neat wing play from Henrik Ojamaa and Keith Lasley played him in.

    Steven Hammell was on the receiving end of a late challenge from Lewis McLeod, and was then booked where McLeod wasn’t for a far less forceful challenge on Dean Shiels just five minutes later. From the free kick, Lee McCulloch blazed Shiels’ quick pass over the bar.

    McCulloch then gave Darren Randolph his first touch of the game with a 25-yard smash that was straight enough for the Irish International to gather easily enough. Down the other end and Nicky Law had two chances in quick succession to put the Fir Parkers ahead, but came up just short on each occasion.

    He weaved in from the left after a neat interchange with Steven Hammell, shot across Alexander and past the far post. Minutes later, he reacted quickest to a free kick on the half-way line to race clear of the defensive line. He got to the loose ball before the outrushing Alexander, only for the Rangers’ keeper to nick the ball off his toe before he could round him.

    A clash of heads between Shaun Hutchinson and Fran Sandaza led to the former St Johnstone man leaving the field on the stretcher, while the first half became stop start as Hutchinson received treatment for a bloody head wound.

    The signs were encouraging going in to the second half after a decent showing in the first period, but within four minutes of the restart, Rangers took the lead in somewhat inevitable fashion.

    A short quick corner between Fraser Aird and Shiels was tossed in to the box, right on to the head of the towering Lee McCulloch, who crashed header beyond Randolph to send Ibrox in to raptures. The concession of similar goals against Aberdeen on Sunday had not been heeded, and McCall’s men found themselves behind at Ibrox yet again.

    The home side had their tails up, Aird almost doubling the score after he jinked his way in to the box past Fraser Kerr.

    It was only a brief wait for the home fans to see their side score a second, and again it was down to some poor defending from the visitors.

    A ball from the left made its way across the box to the unmarked Agriyou and with six Claret and Amber shirts watching, he picked out the unmarked Dean Shiels who placed the ball beyond Randolph from sixteen-yards.

    As the Motherwell players trudged back to the halfway line, they knew that pulling a two goal deficit back was going to need a monumental effort, which unfortunately never materialised.

    The best opportunity to get back in to the game came from a Hateley free kick from the left corner of the box which had Alexander scrambling to push the ball away, but with no one following in, the chance was wasted.

    With Shiels going off injured, Rangers reverted to one man up front, which bar a few runs from Aird and substitute Barry McKay; found them shooting from distance, with Kyle Hutton and Lewis McLeod trying speculative efforts.

    Try as they might, Motherwell could not find a final touch in and around the box, as intricate play from Law, Ojamaa and substitutes Omar Daley and Jamie Murphy, could not create the chances required to get back in to the game.

    The home side almost snatched a third at the death when McKay drove in to the box and had a shot which cannoned off Randolph’s shins, before McCulloch missed the target with the rebound.

    The game ended 2-0 to Rangers, and once more the 900 strong travelling fans could not leave having seen their side come away with a victory.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Ibrox

    FT: Rangers 2 – 0 Motherwell.

    90mins – Free-kick from Motherwell but it’s straight into the arms of the keeper. ‘Well fans in fine voice – thanks to all who travelled…

    88mins – Good save again by Randolph to keep it at 2-0. McCulloch flashes the ball wide of target.

    87mins – It’s been a difficult second half for Motherwell. Tough watching. Enough of the ball in the final third but lack a cutting edge.

    75mins – Attendance here tonight is 29,413.

    75mins – Rangers sub. Crawford on for goal scorer Shiels.

    72mins – Another change – Omar on for Chris Humphrey. PA announcer at Ibrox is having one…

    70mins – Another shot form Ojamaa but his neat turn and hit is well saved again by Alexander. Motherwell need a goal quick here.

    69mins – Ojamaa goes down in the box under a challenge. Hard to see from here but Calum Murray not interested.

    66mins – Dean Shiels takes advantage of space in the Motherwell defence (Hutchy off again). Shot is saved by Randolph.

    65mins – Another change for Motherwell. Francis-Angol on for Hammell. Assume that must be an injury to the full-back.

    63mins – Murphy comes on for Hateley!

    62mins – Ojamaa does his best to control a difficult volley inside the box but it’s fairly comfortable for Alexander to pluck out the air.

    60mins – Free-kick by Hateley is very well saved by Alexander. Still 2-0 Rangers.

    60mins – its all Rangers at the moment. ‘Well just need to get back to playing the football they did in the first. Lost their way a bit.

    55mins – GOAL Rangers. Dean Shiels makes it 2-0 to the home side. Unmarked from just inside the box. Nightmare for ‘Well!

    GOAL Rangers – Lee McCulloch with a close range header. Poor marking from Motherwell!

    46mins – Early half chance for Higdon but his flicked header doesn’t trouble Alexander at all.

    45mins – Teams are back onto the pitch and Motherwell will get this second-half underway. C’mon the Steelmen… Good luck lads!

    HT: Rangers 0 – 0 Motherwell. Fairly even so far. Both teams had some half chances but nothing to really write home about,

    45mins – Neat little passing move from Motherwell. Higdon’s shot from the edge of the box lacks pace and runs wide of the post.

    44mins – Game has got a little scrappy. Match official is giving free-kick after free-kick which isn’t helping the game flow at all.

    41mins – Motherwell have forced a couple of corners but nothing to really trouble the home defence.

    34mins – Great chance for Law. Through one on one with Alexander but the goalkeeper wins the race and clears the ball.

    29mins – Motherwell go right down the park and have a dig themselves but Law’ shot from distance flashes wide of the post.

    28mins – Rangers have their first real shot on target. McCulloch from the edge of the area but it is comfortable for Randolph.

    25mins – Ojamaa runs with the ball for what seemed like hours. Eventually crossed but it’s a little over-cooked and spins out for a goal kick

    23mins – Rangers make that change. Kyle Hutton comes on to replace the groggy Sandaza. Hutchinson still off the park.

    22mins – Hutchinson still off the park – both teams down to ten men at the moment.

    21mins – Looks like Sandaza is going to have to come off. Real sore one there! Hopefully the big striker is ok. Hutton going to come on!

    19mins – Hutchy has to go off for stitches. Nasty head cut. Leaves us short at the back for this corner…

    19mins – Hutchinson and Sandaza both down after a nasty clash of heads. Hopefully both players ok. Doctors are on the pitch at both players,

    17mins – Hooked ball into the middle bu Hutchinson heads towards Higdon. He can’t get enough on the ball and it drops easily for Alexander.

    14mins – Hammell booked. His foul almost identical to a foul on him seven minutes earlier that went unpunished. Frustrating stuff.

    10mins – Nice ball down the flank from Hateley has Ojamaa in. His first touch takes him a little wide though and his shot is easily blocked.

    5mins – First shot on target in the game comes from Tom Hateley. 30-yarder is no trouble for Alexander in the home goal.

    3mins – Free-kick for Motherwell 40 yards from goal – Rangers make a hash of the defending and it’s a corner to the Steelmen. Cleared though

    1min –  Rangers have started very much on the front foot. The home fans are rocking here. Boys need to calm down into the match.

    1min – Rangers are going to get us underway here at Ibrox. Hopefully tonight we can end our 15-year run. Good luck lads!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I was disappointed with the way we played and performed. I said before the game we would have to be at our best to win this game.

    “We didn’t get anywhere near the heights we got on Sunday or have done all season. If you asked anybody who’s watched Rangers all season, they’ve never played anything like that but it was always going to be the case.

    “I was certainly aware of what we would face – it was their biggest game in terms of an SPL club coming here.

    “But I look at my own side and we lost too many battles.”

    Rangers manager Ally McCoist:

    “It was really satisfying. I thought the performance warranted the victory and the two goals were top-class. It’s a wee indicator to ourselves and the support that we can play against teams from the top of the league and higher up in the divisions but we can’t get carried away.

    “It’s a very small step on what’s going to be a long road. I make no apologies for telling the supporters that – we’ve got miles and miles to go.

    “But it shows you, in a one-off game, we can compete with anybody.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”116″]

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    ‘Convert for Cash’ returns…

    The Cash Converters “Convert for Cash” challenge returns for the first time this weekend but there is a new twist.

    Like last year, two fans take part on the pitch at half-time. Fans will go up against each other with the task of being the quickest to complete the challenge.

    However, the Stuart McCall manikins and prize balls have been replaced by giant inflatable Cash Converters balls.

    Fans must use their hands to dribble the Cash Converters ball around the course and across the goal line (no carrying allowed). The winner will take home the £150 prize.

    All participants will be put on a leader board and the person with the fastest time of the year taking home a cool £1,000.

    For your chance to take part this Saturday against Celtic, enter at the Cash Converters SPL Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.

    The draw will close at Noon on Friday 28th September.

    *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.

    Cash Converters

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    ‘Convert your seat’ begins on Saturday

    This season Cash Converters are giving you the chance to ‘Convert your seat’ and sit near your favourite stars next to the dugout at Fir Park.

    Our principle partners have invested in new Recaro seats for the dugouts and are giving fans at every home match the opportunity to take their spot on two of the new seats directly adjacent to the home dugout – starting this weekend against Celtic.

    All you have to do to be in with a chance of this fantastic prize is to fill in your details, along with your seat number, row and stand.

    Click Here to access the Cash Converters SPL Facebook page.

    Terms and conditions apply

    Cash Converters

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    TV: McCall up for Ibrox test

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall insists his side are in high spirits ahead of tomorrow’s Scottish Communities League Cup tie with Rangers.

    The Steelmen haven’t won at Ibrox since 1997, when the current ‘Well boss was a member of the Ibrox playing squad.

    But the even although the Claret and Amber men go into the match on the back of a disappointing late leveller at Pittodrie on Saturday, the former Scotland International insists his team will be right up for the challenge.

    He said: “There are no ill-effects whatsoever from the way the game ended on Sunday up at Aberdeen.

    “We had a run through the goals again today with the players and normally when you lose a late goal there is loads you can pick over that has gone wrong but, in fairness, we’ve played very well and dominated for long periods.

    “We just need to take that positive attacking mentality into tomorrow’s match at Ibrox. Sure, they will have a vocal and vociferous backing and they have players well-versed in SPL football but as always, I will concentrate on Motherwell and how we play.

    “Like every match we play, it is down to us to go and set the agenda and take the game to our opponents. Our aim is to go there, win and progress into the next round of the competition.”

    -WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE ON MFC TV-

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    TV: Kerr in confident mood

    On-loan Birmingham City defender Fraser Kerr reckons ‘Well are in for a tough evening at Ibrox tomorrow but insists the Steelmen go to Govan full of confidence.

    The Fir Parkers are still unbeaten domestically this season and sit at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League after seven matches.

    Rangers are still unbeaten themselves, with the exception of a penalty shoot-out defeat at the hands of Queen of the South in the Ramsden’s Cup last week.

    McCoist’s men have scored a mammoth twenty-three goals in just six games at Ibrox this term and with a team rich with SPL experience and a budget that would be the envy of just about every top-flight club, it’s up for debate just who goes into the match with the “favourites” tag.

    Kerr, 19, is certainly looking forward to the challenge and told the broadcast press at the pre-match press conference: “If you look at Rangers’ team, they’ve got a lot of SPL standard players; It will be a tough game but one I’m very much looking forward to.

    “They want to be playing in the SPL this season so they try and get a ‘scalp’ over us to prove they should still be up there. We’ve just got to be wary of that and go out and play our game.

    “I wouldn’t say we are favourites though as they’ve got a lot of good quality players. We can’t look at it as if they’re a Third Division team. We’ll go out there as if they are playing in the SPL and give it our all.

    “But as I’ve said, we’re playing well at the moment and will go there full of confidence looking to progress.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON MFC TV-

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    Celtic Tickets on sale until kick-off

    Tickets for this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Celtic at Fir Park will be on sale right up until kick-off.

    It will be the first time the teams have met at 3pm on Saturday at Fir Park in almost eight years.

    And with both sides near the top of the Scottish Premier League, it’s sure to be a mouth-watering prospect.

    Tickets are still available from the Fir Park Ticket Office with prices set at:

    ADULTS:   £25 / £20
    CONCESSIONS:                         £17 / £15
    JUVENILE:   £14 / £10
    FAMILY:   £25
    • Concessions are listed as Over 60s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.
    • Family tickets consist of 1x Adult and 1x Juvenile.
    • The cheaper priced ticket is for the East Stand only.
    • 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 disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    PAYMENT OPTIONS: You can either pay cash or, if you prefer, via credit or debit card at the Fir Park Ticket Office. Please note there is a 2.5% surcharge on any credit card purchase. Alternatively, you can pre-purchase your ticket by booking online – just click the link below. *The following credit cards are accepted at the Fir Park Ticket Office:

    CC accepted at the FP Ticket Office

    Buy your Rangers tickets now

    ————–

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    TV: Highlights from Dens Park

    Extended highlights from the Under 20s’ 2-1 win over Dundee at Dens Park as goals from Craig Moore and Stuart Carswell hand ‘Well three points.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS ONLY ON MFC TV-
    (No Audio Summary)

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    TV: JJ pleased with Dens Park win

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson was delighted with his side after they ran out comfortable winners at Dens Park despite being reduced to ten men.

    The Fir Parkers created a bucket load of chances and were in a commanding lead thanks to goals from Craig Moore and Stuart Carswell.

    Even although Lee Hollis conceded a penalty, which was scored by former ‘Well midfielder Kevin McBride, and sent packing meaning defender Jonathan Page played the last quarter between the sticks, Motherwell comfortable held out for their first win of the 2012/13 campaign.

    Johansson was delighted with the way his side went about their business and hopes it will be a launch pad his side needs for the rest of the campaign.

    [pullquote]It could have been two, three or even four in the first twenty minutes but in the end we were quite comfortable.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “We’re happy with the three points and to get started in terms of collecting league points.

    “We had a really good team out and for most of the game we played really well. I don’t think the scoreline reflects the game but in the end, considering all the things that happened, maybe we should have been more clinical to get a cushion.

    “The attitude was there and the pressing was there. Moore took his goal well and Dale got into great positions and was unlucky not to score. It could have been two, three or even four in the first twenty minutes but in the end we were quite comfortable.”

    -WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ONLY ON MFC TV-

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    Dundee U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s picked up their first three points of the season following a 2-1 win over Dundee at a rain-soaked, windswept Dens Park.

    In truth, ‘Well dominated for the majority of the ninety minutes and the margin of victory could and should have been much more empathic.

    Ironically, it was the Steelmen who had to shut-up shop in the closing stages of the match after a dubious penalty and red card forced ‘Well to play the last fifteen minutes with ten-men and defender Jonathan Page in goals.

    Jonatan Johansson’s had the luxury of a much more experienced side than two week ago at St Mirren Park.

    Lee Hollis, Simon Ramsden, Omar Daley, Jonathan Page, Stevie Hetherington, Stuart Carswell and Zaine Francis-Angol could all rely on first-team experience.

    There was some unfortunate drama before the game even kicked-off when striker Lee Erwin pulled up during the warm-up with what looked like a knee injury. He was treated on the field before being carried to the dressing rooms; his late replacement was Dale Shirkie who would partner Craig Moore in attack.

    And it was Moore who would set Motherwell on their way with a goal inside the opening two minutes.

    The striker got on the end of a neat Ramsden ball into the channel. He did very well to wrestle his marker off the ball before cutting inside and blasting a low left-footed shot into the far corner; his third of the season.

    That was a taste of things to come as Motherwell dominated the opening twenty-five minutes and created enough changes to win three football matches.

    Shirkie in particular was getting himself into great positions and fired both wide and over as the Steelmen continued their onslaught. He had another that looked net-bound but for a great sliding block by Thomson. All this and there still hadn’t been ten minutes on the clock.

    The home goal was leading a charmed life and the woodwork came to the rescue for Alex Baird as Page came within an inch of doubling Motherwell’s advantage. Hetherington’s curling corner found the big English defender but his piercing header cannoned back of the crossbar before being hooked clear.

    Shirkie had yet another chance shortly after but his stinging close-range volley was expertly saved by Baird. The rebound fell to Josh Watt who wasted no time whipping in a cross but Moore could only turn a flicked header over the bar.

    Jamaican International Omar Daley then brought out another decent save from young Baird with a low shot before Watt had a great effort fizz inches wide of the post after some tenacious wing play.

    It took Dundee thirty minutes to even get the ball close to Hollis’ goal but the best they could muster was a daisy-cutter from former ‘Well midfielder Kevin McBride. It was more than comfortable for the ‘Well goalkeeper.

    Just before the interval, Motherwell should have been given the chance to double their lead but were denied what looked like a stonewall penalty kick. Daley’s trickery was again at the heart of the visiting attack and one run in particular was crudely halted by Dundee substitute Reid. Not only did it look like an obvious foul, the sound of the boots clashing could be heard above the howling Dundee wind. Daley’s bemused expression told its own story.

    Johansson’s message at the interval would certainly have been to continue some of the excellent play on display during the first forty-five. His message certainly resonated as ‘Well doubled their lead inside sixty seconds of the restart.

    Moore and Daley combined on the flank before the latter rolled the ball to the supporting Stuart Carswell who had taken up a great spot on the edge of the area. His fizzing low drive zipped past Baird into the net to put the Fir Parkers well on their way to the first three points of the campaign.

    Page, Francis-Angol and Daley all had half-chances to increase the lead further before the hour but none would find the back of the net.

    The second half was petering out with ‘Well creating another couple of chances before a controversial call from the match official turned the game on its head.

    Dundee striker Boyle raced through on goal but he was halted by what looked like a well-timed interception by Hollis in the away goal. The referee took a dim view, pointing to the spot and sending the former Airdrie stopper for an early bath.

    It looked a very harsh decision indeed. Motherwell had already made a trio of substitutions so it was left to defender Jonathan Page to take the gloves and play out the last seventeen minutes between the sticks.

    His first job was to pick the ball out the net as Kevin McBride smashed home the resulting spot kick.

    You may be forgiven for expecting the last quarter of the match to be a backs to the wall exercise for what was now a young Steelmen side after the introductions of Jack Leitch, Paul McCafferty and Adam Asghar from the substitutes bench.

    In actual fact, ‘Well remained in control; Page a virtual spectator aside from dealing with a handful of pass-backs with the back four marshalled by Euan Murray constantly barking instructions.

    Indeed, it was Motherwell who almost extended their advantage with a few minutes left on the clock but Hetherington’s low strike was well saved by Baird.

    It was the last piece of noteworthy action in a very competent and professional performance from Motherwell, a win that lifts them off bottom spot in the table. They are back in action this Sunday against East Fire in the SFA Youth Cup before Lanarkshire derby at Fir Park next Tuesday.

    Motherwell: Hollis, Ramsden (Asghar – 65), Francis-Angol (Leitch – 65), Carswell, Murray, Page, Watt, Hetherington, Shirkie, Moore, Daley (McCafferty – 65)

    Subs Not Used: Green, Johnstone

    Booked: None

    Sent Off: Hollis (73)

    Goals: Moore (2), Carswell (46)

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    Statement from the Board

    The Board of Motherwell Football Club today (Monday) issued the following brief statement ahead of Wednesday’s match with Rangers.

    “The Board, players, staff and fans at Motherwell FC are united behind making the club successful and a positive force for improvement in the Scottish game.

    “This week we are excited to be playing a Scottish Communities League Cup fixture against Rangers as both clubs build for the future. All of our focus should be on the field of play and we look forward to what promises to being a great game.

    “We are pleased to note both the CEO and Board of Rangers recently said they would welcome our staff and fans and we will extend the same courtesy to all clubs ourselves as we seek to create a welcoming family club.

    “The past is done; we now can only influence the future. We are now totally focused on what happens on the field this week. More generally we want to put all our energies into building on the hard work we have done over the last few years to make our club a sustainable success.”