Pictures from the 0-0 draw with Hearts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Pictures from the 0-0 draw with Hearts in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.
Alan Burrows at the Fir Park
Motherwell and Hearts were both forced to accept a point after playing out a scrappy 0-0 draw at Fir Park this afternoon.
Neither side really took a foothold in the game albeit Ryan Stevenson brought out a decent save from Darren Randolph early in the first-half, whilst Michael Higdon’s header forced Jamie MacDonald into a good save low to his left.
The Steelmen upped the tempo and probably just about shaded the second half, Chris Humphrey having the best chance with a stinging low effort that was well saved by the Hearts number one.
It wasn’t a game that will live long in the memory and both sides would perhaps accept a share of the spoils.
McCall named the same starting eleven that tore strips off Inverness last weekend but it was the visitors Hearts who started brighter and Darren Randolph had to be on his toes inside the opening minute to deny one-time Motherwell signing target Ryan Stevenson.
Shaun Hutchinson was adjudged to have felled Jamie Walker on the edge, allowing the midfielder to hit. His curling effort looked goal bound but for the outstretched hand of the Irish International to turn it round for a corner.
Higdon replied for the Steelmen shortly after but his header from a teasing Chris Humphrey cross bounced wide of the post.
Shortly after referee Crawford Allan waved away Hearts protest after a clash between ‘Well keeper Darren Randolph and Hearts striker Callum Paterson. The Steelmen stopper appeared to catch the youngster when coming out to collect a deflected through ball. Referee Crawford Allan was only yards away and waved away the protests.
The hosts were coming more and more into it as an attacking threat, but it proved a tough task against a well-oiled and disciplined Hearts defence. Chris Humphrey did manage to penetrate the Maroon rearguard with a terrific cross into the area for Higdon, but he was denied by MacDonald who got a great hand to turn it away.
As the game moved towards the break, it was the Fir Parkers who looked most likely to get themselves in front but, in truth, neither side created much in the way of guilt-edged chances.
Hearts full-back Danny Grainger, the difference between the sides at Tynecastle last month, appeared to pick up a nasty knee knock before the break. He lasted no more than five minutes of the second half before being replaced by Moroccan Mehdi Taouil as John McGlynn switched his side around.
The majority of the second half was played in midfield with both teams working hard but not producing much in the way of quality.
The game’s only real moment of quality came with ten minutes to go when, after collecting a Keith Lasley pass, Jamaican international Humphrey got to the edge of the area, cut inside and smashed a low shot that forced MacDonald into another good block.
Both sides searched for the winner but it wasn’t forthcoming. Ryan McGowan could have nicked it for the visitors deep into injury time when he got on the end of a Novikovas corner but his header bounced narrowly wide of Randolph’s left-hand post.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 0 – 0 Hearts
93mins: Corner to Hearts…. Headed just past by McGowan! Phew!
90mins: 4 minutes added on.
88mins: Motherwell sub, Francis-Angol on for Hammell.
85mins: Uh-oh, Hammell and Paterson clash heads. Hammy looks hurt. Thankfully he is up and moving.
81mins: Hearts sub, Holt off for ex-Motherwell star John Sutton
80mins: From the resulting corner, the ball falls to Higdon whose half volley is blocked. Encouraging!
80mins: Humphrey cuts in off the right and drills at MacDonald who palms wide.
74mins: Corner to Hearts… Finds its way to Holt who cracks a shot off from the edge of the box. Blocked by Hutchinson.
68mins: Off the bar from Humphrey! Frightening pace down the right flank gets him past McGowan and his cross comes back off the top of bar.
67mins: Hearts sub, Novikovas for Walker
63mins: Dangerous ball in from Taouil headed by Stevenson from 8 yards. Didn’t quite connect and Randolph is untroubled.
56min: Frustration as Murphy slides Higdon in who is only just beaten to the ball by MacDonald. Murphy’s shot then deflected wide.
55mins: Danger as McGowan drives into the box and angles a shot towards goal. Good sliding block from Hateley clears for a throw in.
53mins: Lasley releases Murphy with a clipped ball over the top. Wrongly ruled offside though!
50mins: Hearts sub, Grainger’s game is over as he comes off for Taouil. Looked like he was carrying a knock.
47mins: And that pressure almost paid off when Murphy whipped in a sublime ball to the back post. No takers though.
47mins: Good early pressure from Motherwell. Camped in the Hearts half.
46mins: Midfield duo Lasley and Law kick-off the second half.
HT: Teams are back out!
HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 Hearts. Goalless at Fir Park after 45mins.
45mins: Two minutes added on to the first half.
39mins: Grainger down holding his knee Looked like an awkward landing.
37mins: Stevenson tries his luck from 30 yards. Shot flies harmlessly past the post.
30mins: And straight up the other end, Ojamaa sees his shot bobble just past the post.
30mins: Patient build up from Hearts allows Paterson some space to shoot. His effort from 20 yards is straight to Randolph though.
28mins: Murphy looking sharp on the counter-attack. He dribbled 50 yards before laying off to Humphrey who overcooks the cross.
25mins: Hammell booked for hauling down his man to prevent a breakaway.
24mins: best chance of the game! Another great ball in from Humphrey which Higdon directs goalward, Tipped past by MacDonald.
19mins: Dangerous ball across goal from Paterson almost found Walker lurking at the back post. Hateley on hand to clear.
16mins: Bit of a slow start from Motherwell. Jambos on top so far.
11mins: Bit of a let off there! McGowan burst through between Cummins and Hammell. His touch was a bit heavy and Randolph collected.
7mins: First good chance for ‘Well. Humphrey with a fantastic whipped cross which Higdon lept and met with his head. Just past.
3mins: Early chance for Hearts. Stevenson with a drilled free kick. Great save from Randolph to tip past.
1min: And we’re off. Come on!
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“It was typical of what we thought might happen, a stalemate. They were probably slightly better in the first half, but in the second half we upped the tempo a bit and early on we had a couple of opportunities.”
“Their keeper made a few decent saves. I think a draw is a fair outcome. I believed them to be strong defensively and so it proved.
“When it’s a tight game you are hoping for that one chance to fall. The pleasing thing is we got a clean sheet.
“We were better in the second half and a draw is probably a fair result. It was always going to be a tight game.
“We maybe could have nicked but it wasn’t to be. There will be no doom and gloom.”
Hearts manager John McGlynn:
“If you make sure your opponent’s scoreline reads zero then you’ve obviously got a chance of winning the game at the other end.
“It was a hard-earned point for us. We had to ensure we didn’t open up and give early ammunition to Motherwell.
“There wasn’t too much goalmouth action but defensively we were very good. I thought we stifled them very well.”
“We’ve got to take the positives from that and we’ve found it difficult here in the past. A point’s not a disaster.”
Motherwell are back in SPL action when they take on Hearts at Fir Park today – kick-off is 12.45pm.
The Teams will appear here just after 11.45am.
Tickets are still available on the gate at Fir Park. Admission is priced at:
ADULTS: £22 / £18
CONCESSIONS: £15 / £14
JUVENILE: £12 / £9
FAMILY: £28 / £24
PAYMENT OPTIONS: You can either pay cash at the turnstiles 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.
There are no anticipated travel problems between Edinburgh and Motherwell and the area in and around Fir Park is fairly clear.
There is sunshine forecast until around lunchtime. It will be cloudy and will feel cold so wrap up warm. Temperature highs in Motherwell will be around 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit).
FOLLOW THE MATCH:
Motherwell Media will bring you all the action from Fir Park. Graham Barnstaple and Alan Burrows will call every kick off the ball live on MFC TV.
Motherwell FC are delighted to confirm dates for the next two events in celebration of Steven Hammell’s Testimonial year.
The Davie Cooper Suite will host a Race Night on Saturday 9th February 2013, at 7.30pm and that will be followed by the ‘Steven Hammell Testimonial Dinner’ at the Strathclyde Hilton Hotel on Saturday 23rd March.
You can be involved in the celebrating Steven’s wonderful service to the club, the left-back has played well over 400 games in Claret and Amber and this summer signed a two year extension on his deal at Fir Park.
Tickets for the Race Night are available on a first come first served basis, priced at just £5.
The first team players will be in attendance on the night, giving fans a a great opportunity to meet and chat to the squad in a social environment, whilst showing your support for our long-serving full-back.
You or your company can support Stevie’s Testimonial and get involved before the event by sponsoring a race and/or a horse, whilst getting exposure in the event programme, testimonial website and Facebook/Twitter pages.
There are eight races in all to be sponsored, at £50 per-race, or you can be the named owner of a horse for only £10, with the winning horse owner in each race receiving a prize.
Tickets, sponsorship and horses will all be sold in advance. In the first instance you can reserve these by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Steven Hammell Testimonial Dinner’ at the Strathclyde Hilton promises to be a star-studded affair with appearances from a number of well-known faces, two fantastic speakers and an excellent meal served in a fantastic venue.
Tickets are on sale now from Fir Park priced at £50, or a table of ten for £500
Tam Cowan will host what is sure to be a wonderful evening and you will also have the chance to bid on a range of unique football memorabilia and prizes in the auction.
Jamaican winger Chris Humphrey says he is in a good place after a recent run of good form.
The two times capped former Shrewsbury flying machine has turned in some excellent displays in recent weeks, even if results haven’t matched that endeavour.
Last Sunday’s resounding 5-1 win at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium has given everyone at the club a much needed boost going into a busy festive period.
However the 25-year old did admit that it has been difficult to deal with playing so well with such little reward.
[pullquote]We have great coaching staff here, particularly the manger who always keeps training and the analysis positive. To have people of his experience reassures the squad.[/pullquote]
“Heads can go down,” he admitted.
“If you are creating chances and they don’t go in for you; you look at the league table and you are starting to slip, it can get difficult.
“But we have great coaching staff here, particularly the manger who always keeps training and the analysis positive. To have people of his experience reassures the squad.
“We want to try and build on the win last week against a good Hearts side tomorrow and everyone is in a good frame of mind.”
‘Well boss Stuart McCall is hoping his side can recreate the form of last Sunday when they take on Hearts tomorrow.
The Steelmen put five past Inverness at the Caledonian Stadium to move up to fourth in the table, four points behind joint leaders Hibs and Celtic.
The Fir Parkers have enjoyed some terrific results on the road this term with wins at Rugby Park, Dens Park, McDiarmid Park and the aforementioned success in the Highlands.
Now McCall hopes he can reproduce some of that success in the Sky live game tomorrow afternoon.
[pullquote]Between us and Hearts three or four weeks ago, it was a 25-yard screamer that split the teams; there was nothing between the sides. So it would be nice to nick a 1-0 when it was a tight game.[/pullquote]
He said: “Looking back at games against Hibs, Dundee United and Dundee, we had excellent opportunities to take the lead but didn’t, be it through bad finishing, good goalkeeping or decisions against us.
“But we know home results have not been good enough and we have got to look to change that.
“It’s not as black and white as getting the first goal but it would certainly help; there is no doubt about that.
“I think we had 72 per cent possession against Dundee and chances and they break down the park and score and all of a sudden the crowd get a bit tense, the players get slightly anxious so it would be nice to go ahead in games at home.
“That wouldn’t mean to say we would down tools and think it was all over because that wouldn’t be the case, the games are that tight.
“Between us and Hearts three or four weeks ago, it was a 25-yard screamer that split the teams; there was nothing between the sides. So it would be nice to nick a 1-0 when it was a tight game.”
Another exciting edition of the 68-page Steelmen Matchday Magazine returns against Hearts this weekend.
‘Well boss Stuart McCall and Captain Keith Lasley both return with the regular columns. The manager talks about pitting his wits against a talented Jambos side and the skipper chats about replicating excellent away form at Fir Park.
The feature interview is with English midfielder Nicky Law. The former Sheffield United and Bradford star reckons Motherwell’s win in the Highlands can prove the catalyst for a return to the form which took the Steelmen to the Champions League last term.
But that’s not where the features stop!
There is a 13-page section dedicated to our visitors, Hearts.
Kris Jack goes through four players to watch from opponents, as we as a player-by-player breakdown of their squad.
Jambos striker, and former ‘Well ace, John Sutton is the man in the spotlight in our opposition Q&A. Liam Corbett gives a view from Tynecastle and we also have a scout report from Hearts’ last SPL match when they ran out 1-0 winners against St Mirren last week.
The features and big names keep coming…
In our Interview Alumni section, Graeme McGarry caught up with former Steelman and Maroons full-back Rab McKinnon who looks back at missing out on the title in 93/94 and some of the European exploits at the time.
Press & Media Manager Alan Burrows adds his thoughts in ‘The Last Word’ near the back of the publication and bemoans the modern football fashion of sacking managers. Gavin McCafferty’s ‘From the Press Box’ feature makes a welcome return – the Press Association scribe wonders what’s next for the game in Scotland.
Antiguan International Zaine Francis-Angol is the latest to give his top five’s in the iPlayer feature and goalie Darren Randolph tells us his ‘First and Last’.
Graham Barnstaple’s Cult Heroes this week focuses on Owen Coyle and that famous day in May 1997!
But wait, there’s more! We take a look back at the draw with Dundee and the fabulous win in Inverness, the latest news section as well as an in-depth statistical look at referee Crawford Allan.
We have the latest from The Ticket Office and the Commercial Department and the latest stats, facts and figures for the already busy 2012/2013 campaign.
The programme is available for £3 and is currently on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.
You can also order back editions or take a season-long subscription to the magazine by visiting the website of our publishers – Curtis-Sports – http://www.curtis-sport.com/
Prepare for a unique session of the most talented live bands Lanarkshire has to offer as Fir Park goes acoustic next Thursday night.
With live music from the Isotones, the Protons and the Ashtones it’s going to be a sure fire way to kick-off your weekend.
It all happens next Thursday night, 29th November, in the Cooper Suite at Fir Park.
The doors will open at 7.30pm with a £3 entry fee. There will be drinks promotions with Tiger Beer just £1.50 and shots just £1.
To find out more and keep up to date with the latest developments, check out the Facebook page.
Referee for this Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hearts will be the experienced Crawford Allan.
It will be Crawford’s first Motherwell match of the current 2012/13 season. He will be a very familiar face to ‘Well fans though having handled five matches last season.
His first was the instantly forgettable 3-0 home defeat at the hands of St Johnstone in September.
The second was the 3-2 win in Inverness a month later, goals coming from Shaun Hutchinson, Keith Lasley and Tom Hateley handing McCall’s men all three points. Next was the disappointing 2-0 defeat at Tynecastle against an on-form Hearts on Christmas Eve followed by the 1-0 defeat at Celtic Park at the tail end of February.
His most recent came again Kilmarnock – a poor 2-0 defeat at Rugby Park costing the Steelmen second in the table at that time.
He took charge of three games the previous season too.
He was the man in the middle for the 4-0 win over St Johnstone last November thanks to a hat-trick from Nick Blackman and a single John Sutton strike.
Three months later he was back at Fir Park when a John Sutton penalty was enough to give ‘Well a 1-0 win over local rivals Hamilton Accies. He also handled the 1-1 draw with Kilmarnock in May when Steve Jones’ opener was cancelled out by Willy Aubameyang.
Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.
Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler, a Grade 1 official for over a decade, but he won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach will be forever appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club.
In another twist of fate, Allan is only one of two referees to have ever taken charge of a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.
His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly decent one, with the Fir Parkers winning six, drawing four and losing four (which all came last season) of the thirteen games in total. In those games, 41 players have seen yellow, 23 in Claret and Amber, whilst three have been sent for an early bath.
Allan will be ably assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Raymond Whyte with Alan Muir on fourth official duties.
Tonight’s Under 20s match with St Johnstone has been rearranged to the 15th January 2013.
With heavy rain forecast in the lead up to kick-off and the rest of the week, both clubs have agreed on the move to protect the Fir Park pitch ahead this weekend’s Sky live match with Hearts.
Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “Whilst the pitch is looking fantastic at the moment, we were obviously conscious of what a game played in heavy rain could do ahead of a big first-team match at the weekend.
“The common sense approach was to move it to early in the New Year and we thank St Johnstone and the Scottish Premier League for their assistance in this matter.”