Pictures from the 1-0 defeat by Celtic in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Celtic Park.
Pictures from the 1-0 defeat by Celtic in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Celtic Park.
Phil McGhee at Celtic Park
A brave Motherwell returned from Celtic Park empty handed after losing out to a Gary Hooper goal eleven minutes from time.
Having withstood a whirlwind opening ten minutes from the home side, Stuart McCall’s men contributed greatly to an open match which could have gone either way.
Indeed had Tom Hateley not been denied from the penalty spot by a fabulous save from Fraser Forster fifteen minutes from time, ‘Well might have taken all three points to reduce the gap at the top.
It was appropriate that the two on form teams met in the first match of the New Year in a top of the table clash.
Injury and tactics forced ‘Well into two changes. Shaun Hutchison failed to overcome his hamstring injury and Fraser Kerr partnered Simon Ramsden at the back with Tom Hateley deployed in front of a back three.
Michael Higdon started on the bench as McCall preferred the speed and movement of Jamie Murphy and Henrik Ojamaa up front. In what is likely to be his last appearance in a Motherwell jersey Murphy had the honour of wearing the captain’s armband.
Having finished Saturday’s game laying siege to Kilmarnock’s goal, ‘Well started this one on the receiving end of a phenomenal opening from the hosts. For fully ten minutes the visitors failed to get out of their own half as the Parkhead side pressed for the opening goal.
And Motherwell could have conceded a few as Samaras nodded home from an offside position before Darren Randolph had great saves to deny Hooper, Charlie Mulgrew and Kris Commons.
It was eleven minutes before Chris Humphrey broke upfield but having raced past Emilio Izaguirre, Commons slid in to guide the ball back to his ‘keeper.
Gradually the intensity of the home side’s attacks decreased as Motherwell found time and space on the ball.
The visitors also started to find some gaps in the home rearguard and Murphy’s low drive from the edge of the box forced the first save from Foster after 37 minutes.
A minute later Motherwell created their best chance of the half when Murphy slipped the ball past Kayal at the angle of the box but with a gap emerging to the Foster’s left he curled the ball beyond the keeper and post.
Having worked their way back into the game the Fir Park side almost conceded a cheap goal on the stroke of half-time. Mulgrew’s corner was headed back into the six yard box by Victor Wanyama. It looked a comfortable catch for Randolph but he let the ball slip from his grasp and was greatly relived as Efe Ambrose from a couple of yards hoofed the ball over the bar. The big keeper deserved the bit of luck given his performance to that point.
Five minutes after the break slack defending in the home side allowed Zaine Francis-Angol’s cross to find its way to Murphy but his snap shot was blocked by Wilson.
As Celtic flirted around the ‘Well goal, Kerr produced some timely blocks and Randoph a couple of routine saves.
With 20 minutes remaining Motherwell continued to look comfortable in possession after a steady build up Hateley flashed a shot wide from 25 yards.
As the game opened up for both sides Celtic brought on Tony Watt, who made such an impact when he came on at Fir Park last season.
But it was Motherwell who had the best chance to break the deadlock after Kelvin Wilson tripped Murphy as he dragged the ball into the box. With regular taker Higdon on the bench and Murphy having missed the last penalty, Hateley stepped forward.
A bit of gamesmanship from Forster earned him a booking but it paid off when the ‘keeper threw himself to the right to brilliantly beat away what was a well struck penalty from Hateley.
Motherwell paid the ultimate penalty three minutes later when Celtic grabbed the only goal of the game. Georgios Samaras sped down the left and when he squared the ball across the six yard line Hooper prodded it under Randolph.
‘Well refused to lie down though and they might have had a second penalty. A great one – two with Ojamaa sent Murphy through only to fall as he raced past the keeper, with Celtic relieved as the referee awarded a corner.
It was all Motherwell in the closing stages and the introduction of Omar Daley and Bob McHugh put more pressure on the home defence and Keith Lasley passed up a couple of half chances as the clock wound down.
Significantly it was nervous groans from the home fans as the fourth official signalled four additional minutes. However, Motherwell couldn’t grab the equaliser they deserved and captain for the day Jamie Murphy was left to take an emotional bow in front of the pocket of travelling fans.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Celtic Park
FT: Celtic 1 – 0 Motherwell
90mins: 4mins added on
83mins: Celtic subs: Rogne and McGeough on for Commons and Ambrose. Daley and McHugh on for Ojamaa and Francis-Angol too
79mins: GOAL: Hooper makes it 1-0, Gutting for the Steelmen.
PENALTY!!!! Missed by Hateley!!! Good save from Forster though!
71mins: Celtic sub, Watt on for Kayal
58mins: Up the other end Kayal drags his 25 yard effort just past,
56mins: Good footwork from Lasley on the edge of the box creates some space. Just leaning back as he shoots so it goes straight over.
50mins: Uncertainty there as Ambrose and Wilson both leave the ball to each other. Murphy nicks in but his shot is blocked
46mins: Second half underway.
45mins: HT Celtic 0 – 0 Motherwell
37mins: Murphy skips past Ambrose and tries to place his shot into the bottom right hand corner. Just past!
30mins: Having survived that first 15 minute bombardment, ‘Well are getting a little more possession and looking more comfortable
23mins: Just to update, Celtic still on top, 3g connection still terrible!
20mins: First half chance of the game falls to Murphy. Blazes his half volley well over the bar from 18 yards though
15mins: Samaras has been at the heart of most of Celtics attacks and this time the Greek scoops well over the bar from 16 yards
8mins: Randolph has to tip Mulgrew’s close free-kick just over the bar!
6mins: Samaras finds Hooper unmarked at the front post but he aims straight at Randolph. Good stop from the Irishman.
5mins: Commons is set-up on the edge of the box by Hooper. He goes for power and drags his shot just past.
2mins: Samaras has the ball in the net but the linesman has his flag up!
1min: Celtic kick the action off! #SIWY #COYW
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“The writing was on the wall when we missed the penalty. With Forster, when you look at him in goal, if he goes the right way, he’s such a big frame.”
“I think it’s a great save. It [Hateley’s penalty] is quite high, I don’t know how far in the corner it was.
“Then we had a good shout for a second penalty. Jamie says Forster’s brought him down, but you won’t get two here.
“I am really proud of the way we played, especially second half. The first 20 minutes we were a bit nervous and edgy.
“But we grew into the game and I thought for good spells in the second half we had chances and opportunities which we don’t normally get here.
“I thought with the blocks we got and the defending, all round it was just a really good spirited effort and [I’m] bitterly disappointed not to get something from the game.”
Celtic coach Gary Parker:
“We’ve played very well, we created a number of chances. We just couldn’t break them down – they defended well.
“We had 18 shots on goal and we broke them down late on. We deserved the goal and we deserved the three points.”
“We just wanted to win the game and go nine points clear. We’ve got that game in hand over Inverness and we’ve just got to keep going and winning games.
“Everybody’s beating everybody – we lost last week, so it’s difficult.
“They’ve played a lot of football, we’ve had a lot of games. We’re in a position where we want to be and it’s a good time to have a break.”
Motherwell make the short journey along the M74 to take on league-leaders Celtic at Celtic Park.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hoping to have defenders Charlie Mulgrew and Adam Matthews fit for Motherwell’s visit.
Midfielder Kris Commons, winger James Forrest and striker Anthony Stokes remain out through injury.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall is “very confident” that defender Shaun Hutchinson will recover from a tight hamstring suffered against Kilmarnock.
It could be Jamie Murphy’s last game for the club after the forward held talks over a move to Sheffield United.
Tickets are available from the Fir Park Ticket Office between 11am and 1pm priced at:
ADULTS: £26 / £23
UNDER 16s: £17 / £14
OVER 65s: £17 / £14
There are no anticipated travel problems between Motherwell and Glasgow. Please note that access to London Road, outside the ground, is closed. Please bear that in mind when planning your journey, parking etc.
It will be cloudy, overcast day in Glasgow. It will feel warmer than the last few days with temperature highs 11 degrees Celsius (52 Fahrenheit).
FOLLOW THE MATCH:
Motherwell Media will bring you all the action from Fir Park. Graham Barnstaple and Kris Jack will call every kick off the ball live on MFC TV.
Tickets for Wednesday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League match with Celtic at Celtic Park are still on sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office.
Tickets are priced at:
|ADULTS:||£26 / £23|
|UNDER 16s:||£17 / £14|
|OVER 65s:||£17 / £14|
Please note the following Ticket Office opening times over the New Year period:
Sunday – Closed
Monday – 10am – 2pm
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – 11am – 1pm
Celtic will not be selling tickets from the ground on the day of the match.
Stuart McCall insists Motherwell will go to Celtic Park on Wednesday to have a go as that’s the only way they know how to play.
The Steelmen have scored 37 times this campaign, the third highest in the league behind Inverness Caley and Celtic, and have conceded 29.
With attacking options like Michael Higdon, Jamie Murphy, Henrik Ojamaa, Chris Humphrey, Bob McHugh and Omar Daley, the Fir Parkers are certainly set-up to go at the opposition.
And whilst hoping his team can remain tight at the back, McCall hopes his attackers can get on the ball and cause the league leaders some problems.
[pullquote]Our lads are full of confidence, we will try and get our attacking players on the ball and if we can, I am hopeful we can cause Celtic some problems.[/pullquote]
He told MFC TV: “It doesn’t get any more difficult than Celtic away but we’re going to go and have a go as we have players that can cause teams problems although it’s always the same in that we have to be at our best.
“Celtic will have to not be at their best; certainly not like how they played when they came here to Fir Park and beat us two-nil.
“Having said that, it got to half an hour and it was still 0-0 then they scored two quick goals and Cummins got sent off making it a long afternoon for us.
“I’m sure they will be looking forward to their last home game before the break but it’s a game we have to have a go at and hopefully we can pull something off.
“They lost at the weekend and although Hibs missed some chances, they were a little unlucky. We need to be mindful of them wanting to bounce back.
“However, our lads are full of confidence, we will try and get our attacking players on the ball and if we can, I am hopeful we can cause Celtic some problems.”
Jamaican International Chris Humphrey says Motherwell will travel to SPL Champions Celtic in a positive frame of mind after a recent run of good form.
The Steelmen have lost just once in the last nine SPL matches and have picked up maximum points against Inverness, Dundee Utd, Hibernian and Aberdeen in that time.
Celtic themselves have clicked into top gear and before Saturday’s defeat at Easter Road, had gone eight unbeaten including seven wins.
‘Well haven’t won at Celtic Park since April 2008 when a solitary Simon Lappin strike was enough to give Mark McGhee’s side maximum points.
And whilst Humphrey acknowledges how difficult a prospect Motherwell will face, he is adamant the squad is in confident mood ahead of the match.
[pullquote]Obviously they lost at the weekend and won’t be happy so that won’t bode well for us but I’m sure we can go there and if our heads are right and we play the way we have been doing I think we can give them a good game.[/pullquote]
He said: It’s always going to be a tough game at Celtic Park and obviously past results haven’t been the best but I think form wise we’re doing really well at the minute and a couple of our key players are on top of their game so I’m really looking forward to going there and giving them a right good game.
“Obviously they lost at the weekend and won’t be happy so that won’t bode well for us but I’m sure we can go there and if our heads are right and we play the way we have been doing I think we can give them a good game.
“We’ll go there and give it our best shot and see what happens.”
Motherwell FC today agreed to release defender Jonathan Page from his contact six months before it was due to expire.
The 22-year old has found first-team football hard to come by this season after the arrival of Simon Ramsden from Bradford City, Fraser Kerr from Birmingham City and the emergence of Adam Cummins from the youth set-up.
The former Portsmouth defender did start against La Liga side Levante in the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia during Motherwell’s bid for Europa League qualification and the Scottish Premier League in Motherwell’s 4-1 home win over Inverness CT at Fir Park.
In September he joined Lanarkshire neighbours Hamilton Accies on loan, playing ten times and netting twice including a recent derby goal against Airdrie. He is likely to join the New Douglas Park club for the remainder of the campaign.
Page joined Motherwell from Pompey in the summer of 2008. He played initially in Gordon Young’s Under 19s set-up before Jim Gannon gave him his debut in the 3-0 victory over Llanelli in the Europa League in July 2009.
Further substitute appearances followed in the next round against Flamurtari as he came off the bench in both legs against the Albanians.
Jon scored his first goal for the club just minutes after coming on as a substitute in the 3-0 Europa League win against Aalesund in August 2010 with another two quickly following as he netted two headers as Motherwell eased past Brechin City in the League Cup a few weeks later.
He leaves Motherwell having played 27 times for the first-team. Everyone at the club would like sincerely thank Jon for his effort and endeavour over the last four-and-a-half years and wish him every success in his future career.
Today is the second anniversary of Stuart McCall’s appointment as manager of Motherwell Football Club.
We take a pictorial look back at his tenure so far with such highs as two consecutive top-six qualifications, twelve weeks at the top of the SPL, a third place finish, two Cup semi finals, a Cup Final and the first manager to lead the team in the UEFA Champions League and the lows of some of our frustrating Cup exits this campaign.
It’s been an incredible two-year period for the football club with the former Scotland midfielder in charge. Here’s hoping for many more.
Highlights from Fir Park as goals from Jamie Murphy and Henrik Ojamaa earn Motherwell a deserved point against Kilmarnock.
Stuart McCall was proud of his players as they once again produced a stunning comeback to rescue a point against Killie.
The Fir Parkers trailed by two but goals from Jamie Murphy – his 50th for Motherwell – and a stunner from Henrik Ojamaa brought the sides level.
‘Well dominated for the closing fifteen minutes but couldn’t get that elusive third despite wave after wave of attacks.
It’s the thirteenth point McCall’s men have collected from a losing position and he paid tribute to the never-say-die attitude of his squad.
He told MFC TV: “I’m proud of how the players kept going and in the end I’m slightly disappointed we’ve not won it but really when you’re two nil down to a good Kilmarnock side, you have to accept a point.
“I thought first half we played some good football and down both sides Humphrey and Murphy were excellent all game. They’ve had some great blocks on the line and the keeper has had some good saves.
“Their first goal was a world class effort form Perez then when we went chasing the game, they scored again.
“We changed it and then went on to dominate so I’m slightly disappointed we’ve not got the three points but for entertainment value I thought it was terrific.”