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    Motherwell 3 – 1 Celtic

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    Norris in charge for Celtic clash

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    TV: Hammell pays Higgy tribute

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    TV: McCall hoping to continue form

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    New home kit for 2013/14

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    Shoot for glory with Weatherseal

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    Higdon nominated for PFA award

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

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    TV: Johansson hails best of the season

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    St Johnstone U20s 0 – 4 Motherwell U20s

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    Motherwell 3 – 1 Celtic

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell completed a rare home double win over Celtic to ensure a place in next season’s Europa League.

    After falling behind to a Gary Hooper goal, the Fir Park side stunned Neil Lennon’s men with three goal inside twelve minutes either side of half-time.

    Motherwell sportingly welcomed the newly crowned SPL champions on to the pitch with a guard of honour, but it was the ‘Well players who took all of the plaudits after a terrific ninety minutes.

    Despite resting four players, Celtic made the brighter and more determined start with Tony Watt shooting over the bar within a couple of minutes.

    An early booking for Shaun Hutchison put the defender under a bit of pressure for the remaining 87 minutes but, despite having to contend with the Greek International Georgios Samaras, the central defender was commanding throughout and might even have opened the scoring after seven minutes.

    Nicky Law’s inswinging cross flashed across a begging goal and just beyond Hutchison’s lunge. Then, amidst a first half downpour, James McFadden brightened up the proceedings, weaving past a couple of defenders before driving his right foot shot narrowly past.

    On the half hour mark, Samaras fell to the ground 25 yards out allowing Charlie Mulgrew to produce a trade mark curling free kick which Darren Randolph leapt to palm away.

    The ‘Well keeper then produced a fabulous save spreading himself to block Gary Hooper who looked certain to sidefoot the ball home form four yards.

    ‘Well had strong appeals for a penalty after 34 minutes when Henrik Ojamaa’s drive into the box was glanced by Keith Lasley onto Thomas Rogne’s arm but a spot kick would have been harsh on the Norwegian.

    Six minutes from half time Celtic took the lead. Watt raced away from Simon Ramsden and as Randolph elected to leave his line the ball was chipped over him to the waiting Hooper who crashed his header off the cross bar before hooking the rebound into the net.

    A minute before the break the sides were back on level terms. Lasley’s incisive pass sent Ojamaa darting between Mulgrew and Rogne before drilling a superb finish inside Forster left hand post.

    In an incredible turnaround, Motherwell grabbed the lead four minutes into the second half. Ojamaa tussled with Mulgrew for the ball just inside the box and as the Estonian fell to the ground Euan Norris pointed to the spot.

    Although Forster saved Tom Hateley’s penalty at Parkhead in January, the Celtic ‘keeper had no chance this time as Michael Higdon confidently swept his kick high over the diving Foster to claim his 25th league goal of the season.

    In an amazing spell, ‘Well made it three after 55 minutes. Rogne’s glancing header from Hateley’s cross almost cost him an own goal but his effort rebounded off the foot of the post and back off Foster and into the net.

    As Celtic threw on forwards to try and recover the game the Parkhead defence was carved open as ‘Well chased more goals.

    A terrific run and drive from Humphrey took a wicked deflection off Mulgrew and only an acrobatic save from Foster prevented the ball from dipping under the bar.

    Ojamaa the sent McFadden stealing in behind the visitors defence but with plenty of time to pick his spot he hammered the ball off the keeper.

    Another great save from Foster denied Higdon a second goal but the points and European football were well wrapped up before an Anthony Stokes shot bounced off the post in the final minute.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    Coming Soon


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “You demand energy and commitment, but some of the football was outstanding,

    “I normally say you have to score the first goal to win against the Old Firm; what character to go behind, come back and put in a performance like that.

    “I could go through the team. There were some huge performances. I said to the lads ‘enjoy that but don’t get carried away with three games to go’. But they’re special moments, to play as well as that against Celtic.

    “It’s a really proud moment. We beat Celtic a few years ago, 2-0. One was a mistake by them and one was a dodgy penalty, but today I thought we won in style.

    “As a coach, as a person and as a player, you always want to try and improve.

    “We looked at the points tally of 62 we got last season – the highest we’ve ever had in the SPL. We’re on 60 now with three games to go. So I can’t speak highly enough of the group of players we’ve got.”

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon:

    “I don’t know where that came from. I felt we dominated the first-half and could have been two-up but a really poor call has cost us a goal. And then, for some reason, we didn’t come out the traps in the second half and lose it with a penalty and an own goal.

    “From an attacking point of view, I thought we were really good and dangerous; defensively we were poor. Some players knew that there are Cup final places up for grabs but I am not too sure they took that today. A few of them looked as if they had switched off in the second-half and that is unacceptable.”


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    Norris in charge for Celtic clash

    Referee for tomorrow’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Celtic here at Fir Park will be Euan Norris.

    The 35-year old will be handling his second Motherwell game of the campaign having previously been the man in the middle for the 1-1 draw with St Mirren at Fir Park back in August.

    It should be his third; he was all set to handle our home match with Dundee Utd back in early October but a local electrical fault put pay to the match ten minutes before kick-off. Alan Muir took charge of the rearranged fixture a month later.

    Euan will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having officiated 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 the 6-0 demolition of Morton in the Scottish Cup in early February.

    He also handled two games the previous season…

    The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Today’s opponents Celtic were beaten 2-0 at Fir Park, former striker John Sutton netting a brace.

    Going back a further year to 2009-10, 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 poor 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-six cautions handed out in all those games, with ten flashed at a ‘Well players.

    He had only produced one red to a player wearing Claret and Amber and that was Shaun Hutchinson for a second bookable offence the last time he was at Fir Park.

    Euan will be ably assisted by Francis Andrews and Graeme Leslie with Euan Anderson on fourth official duties.

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    TV: Hammell pays Higgy tribute

    Stevie Hammell has paid tribute to teammate Michael Higdon after the striker was listed as a candidate for the PFA Player of the Year.

    Motherwell’s top-scorer, who has surpassed Willie Pettigrew’s record for top-league goals in one season, was named alongside Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn, Inverness’ Andrew Shinnie and Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths.

    And the former Scotland International is hopeful the Liverpudlian hitman can go on win it and create more history, becoming the first ever recipient from Motherwell in the awards’ 36-year history.

    [pullquote]He’s been excellent and although we have a team that create a lot of chances for him, he tucks them away.[/pullquote]

    “I’m delighted for big Higgy,” Hammell told MFC TV.

    “He’s been excellent and although we have a team that create a lot of chances for him, he tucks them away.

    “He’s scored all kinds of goals; the two he scored last Friday against Dundee Utd were excellent and he’s playing with so much confidence.

    “Hopefully he goes and wins it. He’s been a standout and scored 25 goals so far which is a fantastic achievement.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall hoping to continue form

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has challenged his side to continue their recent good run of form when Champions Celtic visit Fir Park on Sunday.

    It was actually the win against Neil Lennon’s men back in February that kick-started the recent run, which has seen ‘Well collect seventeen points from the last twenty-one available.

    And now McCall has called on his players to replicate that recent success and further cement second place, as the Scottish Premier League season draws closer to its conclusion.

    [pullquote]At home we always try to win the game and that will be no different on Sunday.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “Not many people outside our dressing room would have thought we’d have got anything from the last game [against Celtic in February] but on the night we played really well and took our chances.

    “It was a terrific performance and a big win which bred confidence. Individually and collectively, our confidence is high after a run of five wins and two draws.

    “This is the first game they’ve had since they were crowned champions and although it looks likely they’ll rest a few players, they come here with some incentive to win, especially considering the last result.

    “At home we always try to win the game and that will be no different on Sunday.”


    MFC TV

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    New home kit for 2013/14

    Motherwell kit

    Motherwell Football Club are delighted to showcase the new PUMA home strip for the 2013/2014 season.

    It is Motherwell’s fourth year with the manufacturing giants and the third with principal sponsors Cash Converters.

    The kit retains our traditional look and feel with a return of white shorts and claret and amber hooped socks.

    The kit will be available to pre-order from this coming Monday (29 April) and will go on full sale on Sunday 5 May.

    Motherwell’s retail manager Alan Provan said: “We are delighted to be able to launch the new 2013/14 home kit so early.

    “For the first time in a number of years, we are also able to launch the kit at the clubs’ Open Day on 5th May.

    “We are very excited about this event and are looking forward to seeing as many fans as possible on the day.

    “PUMA have once again done a great job in giving the kit a fresh new look and a sample of the will be in store from this Saturday for fans to get a good look at.

    “I particularly like the traditional white shorts and hooped socks. Thanks again must go to manufacturers and our sponsors, Cash Converters, for their assistance with the early launch of the home kit.”

    Roger Harrison, Marketing Director, PUMA UK, added: “Motherwell is a good club at the heart of its community. We are currently in our third season with the club and we are really pleased to extend our partnership into the 2013/14 season.

    “We are happy to be associated with Motherwell, and look forward to continuing working with them in delivering technical kit and training wear.”

    The relationship between PUMA and Motherwell is managed and delivered by Genesis Sports.

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

    New Motherwell Kit

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    Shoot for glory with Weatherseal

    The SPL’s newest competition is set for Fir Park during half-time when Motherwell face Ross County on May 12.

    You can be a part of the Weatherseal Home Advantage Challenge – on the pitch in front of a big-match crowd!

    Three lucky winners will face the toughest of challenges – to score through our Weatherseal windows in front of thousands of supporters and win some big Well prizes including:

    • Home SPL match tickets
    • A signed home shirt
    • Hospitality for four at a home SPL game

    So, do you fancy the ultimate shot at glory?

    For your chance to win a pair of tickets to Motherwell v Ross County (Sunday 12th May, kick-off 4.05pm) and your big moment on the park at half-time simply visit www.facebook.com/weatherseal.

    The closing date is Thursday 2nd May at 12pm. Winners will be notified by Monday 6th May at 12pm.

    Weatherseal is a proud supporter of Motherwell FC as official home improvement partner of the SPL. Visit Weatherseal’s website – www.weatherseal.co.uk.

    This competition is open to Motherwell FC supporters only. Entrants must be 16 years or over.

  • Archive

    Higdon nominated for PFA award

    Michael Higdon has been named on the shortlist for the Scottish Professional Footballers Association’s (PFA) Player of the Year for 2012/13.

    The 29-year old striker has been in sensational form this campaign, netting 25 times already, including 24 in the SPL, breaking Wullie Pettigrew’s 36-year record for top-flight league goals in one season.

    Higdon was officially named on Wednesday, alongside fellow candidates Leigh Griffiths (Hibernian), Niall McGinn (Aberdeen) and Andrew Shinnie (Inverness Caley Thistle) with the winner announced on May 5.

    He told the press on being named as a candidate: “What are the keys to my success this season? Confidence, playing in a good team and having a manager who believes in me.

    “All those ingredients make you want to play football. This has been the best season of my career. My goals-to-games ratio is better than one in two, so you can’t complain with that.

    “That’s what I’ve been striving for, a season like this. I want another like this next year.

    “As the season was progressing I was getting closer to the record then got two on Friday to surpass it and I’m delighted to do it, because it’s been there for 30 years or so.

    “Hopefully I can get a few more over the remainder of the season and stretch it out a bit more.”

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

    Extended highlights from McDiarmid Park as Motherwell U20s thrash St Johnstone 4-0.


    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson hails best of the season

    Jonatan Johansson praised his players in the wake of their fantastic 4-0 win at McDiarmid Park.

    The Steelmen were excellent and ran out worthy winners against Saints.

    Jack Leitch and Dom Thomas both scored in the first-half, with Bob McHugh and Adam Cummins completing the scoring in the second.

    And after what has been a difficult campaign for the Fir Parkers, Johansson was visibly delighted that his young side have now taken seven points from the last nine.

    [pullquote]We were really good today; it was the best performance of the season.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV after the match: “We were really good today; it was the best performance of the season.

    “I’m so pleased for the players and it is really enjoyable to be a coach today.

    “We had a really solid back four and Lee Hollis, which gave us a really good platform and, from my point of view, I was really pleased with my four young midfielders who were all outstanding.

    “In the first half we were the better side and were very effective, scoring two good goals. We dominated the second and were well worth our win.”


    MFC TV

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    St Johnstone U20s 0 – 4 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s turned in their best performance of the campaign to thrash St Johnstone 4-0 at McDiarmid Park this evening.

    It was a scintillating display from the young Steelmen side, with four different scorers, three of them netting their first of the campaign.

    Jack Leitch put ‘Well on their way after nineteen minutes before Dom Thomas doubled the lead just five minutes later with a silky run and shot.

    Bob McHugh added the decisive third from the penalty spot with twenty minutes left to play before Adam Cummins added an exclamation point with a late header.

    Jonatan Johansson made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Hearts seven days ago. Stuart Carswell and Kallum Higginbotham both dropped out, replaced by Antiguan International Zaine Francis-Angol and the returning Frazer Johnstone.

    It was a quiet opening to the match, which only exploded to life in the seventeenth minute.

    Bob McHugh had two great chances to open the scoring but was twice denied by Saints keeper Zander Clark.

    The first came after an excellent pass by Lee Erwin set the former Scotland youth international racing away. Clark did very well to stand big and, eventually, pushed the shot away.

    The chance wasn’t dead though as the rebounded landed at Thomas. He quickly cut it back across goal for McHugh but Clark turned around his effort.

    Motherwell wouldn’t be denied though as, from the resulting corner, they took the lead.

    The cross landed at the feet of McHugh, he held off two defenders only for his blocked effort to land kindly at the feet of Leitch who swept home from close range – his first goal of the campaign.

    The visitors doubled their advantage five minutes later when Thomas grabbed his first of the campaign too. Cutting in from the left and with space opening up thanks to a brilliant decoy run from Francis-Angol, the youngster drifted past two before firing a low shot into the far corner.

    Saints’ reply was a weak shot from Dwayne Coultness, which bounced harmlessly wide.

    Down the other end, Motherwell could and perhaps should have made it three just after the half hour when Francis-Angol’s whipped cross just eluded McHugh and McCafferty before Saints eventually hooked clear.

    Lee Erwin also had a couple of efforts flash wide as the Fir Parkers ended the half on a high.

    The second half started much in the same way as the first ended, with Motherwell well on top.

    They should have extended their lead just minutes after the restart, Erwin cutting it back from the touchline for McHugh only for his effort to be saved well by Clark again.

    Both McHugh and Fraser Kerr fired over the bar as the Claret and Amber men dominated the early exchanges.

    It took the home side an hour to really make Lee Hollis work for his money. Coultress’ shot from just outside the ‘D’ forced the former Airdrie stopper to push away although it was a save you would expect him to make.

    Just as it looked as if the home side were creeping back into the match, Motherwell were handed the opportunity to extended their advantage from the penalty spot when Steeves fouled McCafferty inside the area.

    Bob McHugh stepped up and coolly slotted it home for his fifteenth of the season.

    With the comfort of a three-goal cushion, Johansson’s men went on to dominate the last twenty minutes. In fact, had it now been for Saints stopper Clark, the scoreline might have been very handsome indeed.

    He made a terrific block from Fraser Kerr after the defender had got onto his own rebound to turn it over from close range. The on-loan Birmingham defender claimed for a handball and another penalty but it fell on deaf ears.

    A minute later, he was at full stretch to turn round a shot from substitute Steven Higgins as Motherwell threatened to run riot.

    However, he was helpless to stop Motherwell’s fourth when Adam Cummins netted his first of the season for the Under 20s. Jack Leitch was the architect; another fine delivery from a corner found the former Everton man at the near post and he bulleted a header home from about four yards out.

    Saints had their best chance with virtually the last kick of the ball when substitute Craig Thomson brought out an excellent stop from Lee Hollis. ‘Well’s number two got down well low to his left to deny the youngster and confirm only the Under 20s second clean sheet of the campaign.

    That’s seven points from the last nine available for Jonatan Johansson’s side, who will look forward to the visit of Kilmarnock next Tuesday night.

    Motherwell: Hollis, Kerr (Neill – 83mins), Francis-Angol, Saunders, Cummins, Johnstone (Higgins – 73mins), McCafferty, Leitch, Thomas, McHugh, Erwin (Shirkie – 73mins)

    Subs Not Used: Currie