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    TV: Game of the day for Law

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    Murray in charge against Inverness

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    Highlights from Newtongrange

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    TV: Johansson thrilled with comeback

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    Hibernian U20s 1 – 4 Motherwell U20s

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

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    TV: McCall rues missed chances

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

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    Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell

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    TV: Higginbotham chomping at the bit

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    TV: Game of the day for Law

    Midfield maestro Nicky Law reckons tomorrow’s Fir Park clash against Inverness is the SPL’s match of the weekend.

    Caley are second in the SPL with the Steelmen one point behind in third.

    There’s added spice from the previous two matches with ‘Well winning handsomely both at Fir Park and the Caledonian Stadium; former ‘Well management duo of Butcher and Malpas will certainly have their troops fired up.

    Although the Highlanders have hit a sticky spell in recent weeks in terms of results, their performances have still been of a high standard.

    The 24-year old former Sheffield Utd and Bradford City man expects a tough match.

    [pullquote]It’s second against first and arguably game of the day, so it is one we’re looking forward too.[/pullquote]

    “It’s second against first and arguably game of the day, so it is one we’re looking forward too,” he told the broadcast media at ‘Well’s weekly news conference.

    “We always have good games against them, and they are always tough. I’m sure tomorrow will be no different.

    “People think we’ve had a good season, but they’re a point ahead of us, so that’s a demonstration of how good they’ve been, especially considering they have probable one of the lowest budgets in the league.

    “When we played them here, 4-1 probably flattered us. They played well and missed a penalty and the game was probably closer than the scoreline suggested. Everything just clicked for us that day. In the league, their consistency has been superb, and they do not concede much, apart from us so far.

    “They’re a big threat with the three stand out players of the season so far in Shinnie, Doran and McKay. I’m sure tomorrow won’t be as high scoring as the last two games have been with maybe just the odd goal in it.”


    MFC TV

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    Murray in charge against Inverness

    Referee for Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Inverness at Fir Park is Calum Murray.

    The experienced Murray has already taken charge of two Motherwell matches this campaign, the instantly forgettable 2-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox in the Scottish Communities League Cup and the 3-2 victory over Ross County at Fir Park.

    Motherwell fans will also be familiar with the 45-year old; he handled three ‘Well game last season.

    The first was a 2-1 win at Pittodrie with goals from Michael Higdon and Omar Daley.

    The second was a 1-1 draw with St Mirren last December, Michael Higdon grabbing

    Motherwell’s goal and the last was the 3-2 win over St Johnstone, Keith Lasley and a Henrik Ojamaa double separating the sides.

    He was the man in the middle four times the previous season, including the Scottish Cup Final last May.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen is fairly decent. Of the 20 games he has taken charge of, Motherwell have won nine, drawn four and lost seven. The Fir Parkers have scored 28 whilst 27 have hit the back of the ‘Well net.

    58 players have seen yellow on those fourteen matches, 31 of which were shown to a player wearing Claret and Amber. Only one player has been sent for an early bath, Bob Malcolm in the famous 1-0 win over Celtic back in early 2008.

    Calum will be ably assisted on the day by Gordon Middleton and Francis Andrews with Barry Cook on fourth official duties.

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    Highlights from Newtongrange

    Extended highlights from Newtongrange as a treble from Bob McHugh and a late Josh Watt goal gives Motherwell an impressive 4-1 victory over Hibernian.


    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson thrilled with comeback

    Under 20s boss Jonathan Johansson paid tribute to his side after coming from behind to beat Hibs 4-1 at Newtongrange.

    The home side took the lead after just thirteen minutes when Caldwell scored from just inside the area.

    But a Bob McHugh hat-trick and a late Josh Watt cross-cum-shot rounded off the result of the season so far against a side battling for second.

    Johansson was thrilled with the way his side played the conditions to record such a convincing victory.

    [pullquote]Before the game I saw the pitch and was worried about how it would go, but I am proud about the way we played and the way we fought.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC FC: “I’m delighted with everything about the game.

    “Before the game I saw the pitch and was worried about how it would go, but I am proud about the way we played and the way we fought.

    “The pitch was not ideal, but it’s part of the players learning process to be able to play on all surfaces.

    “We had to go more direct, and although we were a little bit naive in the beginning the more the match went on, the more we got into it. It was a battle, but one we fought well.

    “Bob did great with his hat-trick, but for me Lee Hollis, when the game could have gone either way, pulled out some fantastic saves and really shone.”


    MFC TV

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    Hibernian U20s 1 – 4 Motherwell U20s

    A Bob McHugh hat-trick helped Motherwell U20s pick up all three points in a super 4-1 win against Hibs at Newtongrange.

    The hosts took the lead on the thirteenth minute but a treble from the in-form McHugh and a late Josh Watt goal secured just the fourth victory of the campaign.

    Jonatan Johansson made eight changes from the side that played well but lost against Celtic in Glasgow three weeks ago.

    Out went Stewart, Kerr, Cummins, Hetherington, Carswell, Daley, Higginbotham and Moore and were replaced by Hollis, Devlin, Murray, Ashgar, Leitch, McCafferty, Shirkie and McHugh.

    Indeed, only Saunders, Francis-Angol and Watt kept their place for the match, which would be played on a very heavy, bobbly pitch at Newtongrange.

    It was a fairly even opening to the match with both teams struggling to get any rhythm.

    It was the hosts who posted the first opportunity of the match on twelve minutes; Dean Horribine’s low shot deflected just wide of the post. The midfielder was to prove vital a minute later though as it was his forward pass that paved the way for the opening goal.

    Euan Murray’s attempted clearance cannoned off Ross Caldwell, allowing the striker a free run at Hollis. The Bellshill-born 19-year old kept his composure to stroke it beyond the outrushing ‘Well keeper and into the net.

    ‘Well had to weather a bit of a storm and Pa Kujabi almost doubled the advantage on the 20th minute. However, the Gambian was thwarted by the first of many excellent Lee Hollis saves at the expense of a corner.

    As the first-half wore on Motherwell were growing into things, and McCafferty signaled intentions with a bouncing shot from the edge that forced a smart save from Sean Murdoch.

    With ten minutes left until the interval, Asghar must have though he had brought his side level with a curling shot from the edge that landed just the wrong side of the post, courtesy of a slight deflection off a Hibs defender.

    Motherwell would draw level from the resulting corner.

    A well-worked move came to an end with a lovely reverse ball into the left channel by Watt had McHugh. Opening up his body, he coolly tucked it past Murdoch and into the net.

    Hibs had an incredible opportunity to get themselves back ahead just two minutes later, but Caldwell, normally ruthless, missed a glorious opportunity. Kujabi got himself to the touchline and his square ball across the face found the young striker but instead of grabbing his brace; he blazed it over when a goal seemed certain.

    It was the last real chance of the first-forty five, but it was the Steelmen, through Scotland cap Steven Saunders, who posted the first chance of the second. An out-swinging corner from Josh Watt landed at the feet of the former Queen’s Park man, but his half volley flew high over the bar.

    After that early scare, Hibs began to exert their authority. Forster close-range headed flew over the bar from close range, Jack Leitch hooked another header off the line and Kujabi fired wide of target after finding himself with acres of time and space inside the area.

    The game changed with the introduction of Lee Erwin, the striker making his return after six-months on the sidelines.

    The Scotland Youth International showed a hunger and desire to pull Motherwell up the park, and he was to play an influential part in the Steelmen taking all three points.

    His first piece of action shortly after coming on was to almost set-up strike-partner. A lovely mazy run, leaving three in his path, eventually spun to McHugh, but the shot was fizzed wide.

    Kujabi had a driving run of his own shortly after but he lacked composure and fired a shot over the bar from the edge when he should have worked the ‘keeper.

    At this stage, it was all Hibs and Hollis was again in top form to deny Gold’s near post flick after Kujabi’s whipped cross towards the near post.

    It was to prove a vital block from the former Airdrie man as the Steelmen went ahead somewhat against the run of play. A corner eventually worked its way out to Watt on the right. His deep, hanging cross found Saunders who prodded it down for McHugh to smash home from a few yards out.

    Feeling a little aggrieved, Hibs went in search of an equaliser but found Hollis again in super form.

    In fact, it was Motherwell who sensationally added a third and fourth. McHugh completed his hat-trick, collecting a fantastic Erwin pass to slot beyond Murdoch before a Josh Watt cross-cum-shot in the dying seconds looped over the keeper and in to add an exclamation point to the win.

    In truth, the scoreline flattered the young Steelmen side, but with a season full of bad luck, Johansson will have been delighted to see his fortunes changes. The win lifts ‘Well above Ross County and into thirteenth in the SPL Under 20s table.

    Motherwell: Hollis, Devlin, Francis-Angol, Saunders, Murray, Asghar, McCafferty, Leitch (Johnstone 87mins), McHugh, Shirkie (Erwin 62), Watt

    Subs Not Used: Stewart, Green, Thomas, Higgins

    Goals: McHugh (35, 80, 85), Watt (89)

    Booked: Watt, Devlin

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

    Extended highlights from Rugby Park as a goal in each half give Kilmarnock all three points this afternoon.


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall rues missed chances

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall wouldn’t criticise his players despite going down 2-0 away to Kilmarnock this afternoon.

    The Steelmen were on top for large spells and McCall was left scratching his head after his side passed up a plethora of chances during the first-half.

    William Gros hooked the ball off the line on three separate occasions, Simon Ramsden headed a corner off the bar, Keith Lasley missed two guilt-edge changes in front of goal and Michael Higdon headed wide from close range as the Steelmen peppered Kyle Letheren’s goal.

    But an unlucky Stevie Hammell deflection in the first-half and a Gros header in the second separated the sides, before ‘Well lost both Fraser Kerr and Lasley two red cards late in the game.

    Despite the disappointment of losing the game, the former Scotland International was trying his best to take the positives.

    [pullquote]A point today would have seen us clear in second, a point we’d have fully merited but didn’t get, but there is no doom and gloom and we’ll look forward to next Saturday.[/pullquote]

    “I’m deeply disappointed we’ve not taken anything from the game,” he said.

    “We started the first five minutes a bit rusty, which we were trying to guard against, then after that up to half-time I was delighted with how we played both offensively and defensively.

    “We got in about them and won the ball high up the pitch. We played some really good football getting into good areas and but for three or four goal-line clearances and blocks we’d have scored at least one. Even the goal summed up the first half.

    “The ball is going wide with no threat to the goal and Hammy has unfortunately deflected it past Darren.

    “A point today would have seen us clear in second, a point we’d have fully merited but didn’t get, but there is no doom and gloom and we’ll look forward to next Saturday.”


    MFC TV

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 2-0 defeat by Kilmarnock in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Rugby Park.

    [svgallery name=”kilmarnock090213″]

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    Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Rugby Park

    Kilmarnock scored a goal in either half to beat nine-man Motherwell at Fir Park this afternoon.

    The score line does not even begin to tell the story of this game!

    Ultimately an own goal from Stevie Hammell and headed goal from William Gros gave Kilmarnock three points.

    In truth, though, in thirty minutes of first half domination after going behind,  ‘Well produced some great flowing football and created enough chances not only equalise but probably bury the home side.

    And although a mixture of goal line clearances and poor finishing cost Motherwell at least a share of the points, frustration and lack of discipline cost them two sending offs.

    Two straight red cards for Fraser Kerr and Keith Lasley in a crazy closing six minutes left the side with nine men and Stuart McCall with selection problems for next week’s crucial game with ICT.

    After a pretty tame start Killie took a lucky lead after twelve minutes. Ross Barbour out wide on the right aimlessly drilled a low ball into the box only for Stevie Hammell’s outstreched leg to deflect the ball past the helpless Darren Randolph from ten yards.

    Amazingly, that set back gave the Fir park side a jolt and from then until half time they attacked Kilmarnock down both flanks producing a wealth of great chances.

    A series of crosses and Tom Hateley corners from wings had the Killie defence stretched for the remainder of the half with at least three goal line clearances from the diminutive Gros needed to keep them in front.

    A poor clearance from Kyle Lethernan after 21 minutes gave the ball to Nicky Law but after racing to the goal line his cutback set up Keith Lasley who shot over the bar, much to the ‘keepers relief.

    Three minutes later the keeper had to thank Gros, who popped up on the goal line to clear Shaun Hutchison’s powerful header from a Hateley corner.

    Remarkably it took another clearance from Gros on the half hour to deny Hutchison with a thumping volley eight yards in front of a packed goal.

    Then from yet another Hateley corner Simon Ramsden’s header was palmed onto the face of the bar by Letheren, leaving Gros to once again clear the ball out of the six yard box.

    Four minutes from the end of half dominated by the visitors, Motherwell passed up another opportunity to grab a deserved equaliser. This time Henrik Ojamaa was the provider but after working his way to the goal line he could only watch as Lasley once again scooped his shot over the cross bar.

    Stevie Hammell had a long range strike that Letheren had to block and Michael Higdon sent a close-range header wide that normally he would have nestled.

    Although not as dominant in the second half, ‘Well still looked the more likely to score – until Kilmarnock hit with a sucker punch.

    After 69 minutes ‘Well brought on Kallum Higgginbotham for his first appearance in Motherwell jersey but it was the home side that doubled their lead just two minutes later.

    James Dayton on the left touchline swung over an inviting cross and Gros from 6 yards powered a great header down and into the net past Randolph.

    Motherwell were then reduced to ten-men six minutes from time. Fraser Kerr, having replaced Hatelely only four minutes previously, was first to go for a wild swing at Dayton.

    And three minutes later Keith Lasley capped a miserable afternoon when a frustrated lunge at Dayton led to another red and a sad ending to a match where Motherwell earned a lot of positives for their attacking play but pointless and with two players facing a two-match ban.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Rugby Park

    FT – Kilmarnock 2 – 0 Motherwell. 9 men Motherwell put to the sword by a Killie side who simply took their chances

    90mins: 687 ‘Well fans here today,

    88mins: Tempers lost as ‘Well go down to 9 men. Both late lunges and both dangerous.

    88mins: RED CARD, Lasley sees red.

    84mins: RED CARD: Kerr sent off.

    80mins: Motherwel sub: Kerr on for Hateley.

    79mins: And now Hateley finds himself in the book for a similar incident

    76mins: Humphrey booked for stopping a Killie break just inside the Motherwell half.

    72mins: Lasley slides the ball past Letheren but is ruled to be in an offside position.

    71mins: Motherwell sub: McHugh on for Ramsden.

    70mins: GOAL: Gros heads home to make it 2-0 to Killie.

    68mins: Motherwell sub, Higginbotham on for Carswell. And a Killie sub, Tesselaar off for Racchi

    66mins: Hay spins a tries his luck from 30 yards. Curls the ball well over the bar.

    62mins: Corner to Motherwell after Pascali hooks Ojamaa’s cut back away from Higdon who was lingering with intent.

    62mins: Killie sub, Perez off for Hay,

    57mins: great position for a shot here. Free-kick 25 yards out for ‘Well. Hateley shoots straight at Letheren.

    50mins: Corner to Killie……eventually swept clear by Humphrey.

    46mins: Second half underway – There was a Killie sub at the interval. Barbour making way for Clingan

    HT: Kilmarnock 1 – 0 Motherwell

    40mins: Another chance! This time it’s Lasley heading a fraction over!

    39mins: Hammell zings and effort goalward not unlike Barbour’s goal. Just needed a touch but Letheren gathers at second attempt

    36mins: It’s been a good spell of pressure from Motherwell, only denied by solid and admirable Killie defending at the last minute.

    35mins: Woah, and again! This time it’s a tremendous reaction save from Letheren to deny Hutch.

    33mins: UNBELIEVABLE! How the ball wasn’t in the net there I’ll never know. Twice Killie bodies were flung in front of ‘Well efforts to deny on line.

    28mins: Barbour scuffs his shot just past then ‘Well rush forward and win a corner.

    24mins: Sissoko clumsy in his attempt to win the ball from Law. Free-kick from wide……falls to Law but his volley is awkward and is saved

    23mins: Hutchinson meets it with his head. Gros clears and danger with his thigh.

    22mins: Make that 3 in a row…..

    22mins: Good spell of pressure now from ‘Well. Second corner in a row coming up….

    20mins: Lasley slides in at the front post to get in the end of law’s pull back. Somehow blazes over from 8 yards!

    19mins: Hateley curls in a free-kick which Ramsden is only inches away from connecting with!

    19mins: Ojamaa being boo’d after he raced though on goal and looked to be impeded by Pascali. Ref disagreed.

    14mins: Humphrey eases past Tesselaar and gets a good ball in across goal. Letheren gathers comfortably though.

    12mins: GOAL: Barbour opens the scoring for Killie. His shot from 25 yards got a wicked deflection which took it past the helpless Randolph

    11mins: Ramsden given a talking to after a firm challenge on Gros.

    8mins: Fowler swings in a great ball which Tesselaar is only inches away from connecting with with his head.

    5mins: Ojamaa wins Motherwell’s first corner. Short corner is eventually squared to Law who tries his luck from 20 yards. Blocked by Pascali.

    1mins: Bit of an early scare. Barbour drills in a low angled cross which narrowly misses Heffernan.

    Formalities complete, it’s time for kick-off. Law and Lasley get us underway #COYW


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “You can’t be too hard on the players today because I thought they were excellent. Our inability to take our chances has cost us, but the way we played I am more than happy.”

    “It’s the old cliché – if it had been a boxing match it would have been stopped at half-time. They got a fortuitous goal, a deflection, which can happen, and I just think our luck was out today.

    “They had valiant last-gasp clearances and you’ve got to give them credit for getting blocks on the line. After half-time I don’t think we played as well as we did in the first half but I still think we were in control of the game.

    “They weren’t causing us any problems whatsoever. And then from a rare breakaway up the park, a good cross, a good header and we were 2-0 down.”

    Kilmarnock assistant Jimmy Nicholl:

    “We had a great start, going at them, stopping them from playing and then we scored a goal and then we stopped playing.

    “We couldn’t get a grip of the game. Fair play to Motherwell, they were passing the ball about and moving and posing us lots of problems.

    “It was swathes of attack and we couldn’t get a grip or hold the ball – and we were playing far too deep.

    “We told the players at half time they couldn’t keep it up for another 45 minutes, so they were a lot better in the second half – and we got a great second goal.

    “Motherwell just lot a wee bit of discipline, so it made it comfortable for us when they went down to nine men.”


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    TV: Higginbotham chomping at the bit

    January recruit Kallum Higginbotham is desperate to sample competitive football again having not featured since November.

    The Huddersfield Town front man last played whilst on loan at Carlisle Utd, a 3-1 home defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers three months ago.

    Now on loan at Fir Park, the 23-year old can’t wait to get involved but admits he might have to bide his time given how well the current starting eleven have performed.

    [pullquote]I have to keep working in training. The boys have been playing really well and winning games so it’s hard for me to come along and get in straight away.[/pullquote]

    He said: “I need to get back playing football because it’s not worked out how I would have liked it at Huddersfield and this was the perfect opportunity for me to come and play my football.

    “I have to keep working in training. The boys have been playing really well and winning games so it’s hard for me to come along and get in straight away.

    “I have to bide my time and when my chance comes I’ll take it with both hands.”


    MFC TV