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    Inverness CT 4 – 3 Motherwell

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    Open Day: Sunday 5th May 2013

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    TV: Ojamaa delighted with award

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    TV: McCall wants momentum

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    Ojamaa is Young Player of the Month

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    Four named in SPL Team of the Year

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    Collum takes charge at Inverness

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    Steven Saunders ‘Steelmen’ Interview

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    Last chance to shoot for glory

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    McCall gets PFA nomination

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    Inverness CT 4 – 3 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Alan Burrows at the Caledonian Stadium

    Despite a stirring comeback, ten-man Motherwell lost 4-3 to Inverness Caley Thistle at the Caledonian Stadium this afternoon.

    The Steelmen were poor in the first forty-five and found themselves 3-0 down inside the opening half hour, goals coming courtesy of Andrew Shinnie and a Billy McKay double.

    James McFadden pulled one back shortly before the interval and that gave the Fir Parkers something to build on at the break.

    And, three minutes after the restart, Henrik Ojamaa won his side a penalty, which Michael Higdon converted for his 27th of the season.

    Unbelievably, fifteen minutes later, McFadden drew his side level with a well-taken strike from just inside the box.

    The game would turn on the red card to Ojamaa, the Estonian sent for an early bath for a second bookable offence.

    The sting in the tail was still to come, McKay latching on to a rebound to poke beyond Randolph for all three points.

    Understandably, Stuart McCall opted to go with the same starting eleven that beat Celtic last week. Inverness, with Chris Hogg making his comeback after 18 months out with a knee injury and Owain Tudur Jones benched, had an unseasonably strong wind at their backs from kick-off and took just over three minutes to exploit their advantage.

    Graeme Shinnie’s 20-yard free-kick hit the wall but Aaron Doran retrieved the ball and lifted it over to Josh Meekings, who was in yards of space as the Motherwell defence looked in vain for an offside flag.

    Meekings sent a low cross into the six-yard box and McKay got there first to stab home.

    Motherwell soon had a penalty claim turned down by Willie Collum after Nicky Law went down under the close attention of Danny Devine after beating Inverness goalkeeper Antonio Reguero to Keith Lasley’s through-ball.

    But the home side were soon back on the front foot and Richie Foran hit the post after winning the ball and playing a one-two with Andrew Shinnie.

    Caley Thistle were pressing Motherwell aggressively high up the park and the visitors survived some more nervous moments amid a succession of blocked shots. Inverness doubled their lead in the 25th minute after Motherwell failed to cope with a long free-kick from Meekings.

    McKay held the ball up before Andrew Shinnie pounced on the loose ball 12 yards and guided a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

    The front pair combined again two minutes later. Shinnie ran clear on to Foran’s ball down the right wing and had all the time he needed to pick out McKay who supplied another sliding near-post finish.

    It almost got worse before it got better for Motherwell as Doran was soon sent clean through but he hesitated after taking the ball round Randolph.

    A stunned Motherwell got a goal back in the 36th minute when McFadden collected the ball from Ojamaa 20 yards out and swerved a powerful low drive with the outside of his boot into the bottom corner.

    Motherwell almost pulled another one back inside the first minute of the restart when Higdon volleyed Tom Hateley’s high cross inches wide.

    They only had three more minutes to wait. Ojamaa ran on to Higdon’s and got in front of Hogg, who was too close and took him down. Higdon sent Antonio Reguero.

    Ojamaa got in front of Hogg moments later and went down again, this time just outside the box, but Collum booked him for simulation.

    The Estonian was soon played through twice in quick succession but Reguero was out sharply to foil him both times.

    Motherwell were on top at this stage but they were caught on the break and Humphrey pushed Nick Ross inside the box for the second penalty of the afternoon., McKay hit the resulting penalty too straight and Randolph saved.

    Motherwell were level 60 seconds later after Inverness failed to defend a set-piece. Ojamaa stabbed the ball through for the unmarked McFadden and he finished in off the post.

    Both sides soon had chances. Shaun Hutchinson and Randolph combined to deny McKay after Shinnie had played him in over the top and Law fired just over from 12 yards after Ojamaa had got in behind.

    Yet another flashpoint came in the 73rd minute when Ojamaa stretched to tackle Andrew Shinnie after a heavy touch and was shown a second yellow card after getting there too late.

    Motherwell appeared to be coping well with ten men but McKay struck again in the 84th minute after Randolph had parried a powerful long-range strike by Meekings.

    The visitors were not finished and piled bodies forward in the closing stages but the hosts survived.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at the Caledonian Stadium

    FT: Inverness CT 4 -3 Motherwell

    90mins: 3 minutes added on

    89mins: ICT sub, Shinnie off for Jones

    85mins: Motherwell sub – Ramsden off for McHugh

    84mins: GOAL! – ICT 4-3 up, McKay hat-trick.

    82mins: Motherwell sub – Humphrey off for Fraser Kerr.

    72mins: RED CARD – Ojamaa receives his second booking and his marching orders.

    71mins: Great play from Ojamaa to get a cross in for Law. Somehow he blazes over from 12 yards!

    68mins: What a game this is! Great save by Randolph to deny McKay 1 v 1!!

    64mins: GOOOOAALLL!! Faddy makes it 3-3 with a superb finish on his right foot inside the box!!!

    62mins: Saved by RANDOLPH!!!!!!!

    61mins: Penalty to ICT!

    58mins: Fantastic block from Ramsden there to deny Shinnie!! Foran blasts the rebound well over.

    56mins: YELLOW CARDS – Law and Draper booked after some handbags

    54mins: Should have been 3-3! Ojamaa with a great chance but Reguero gets enough on it to block from close range!

    52mins: Some great pressure from Motherwell. 2 corners in a row and then Hateley delivers a great cross which unfortunately has no takers

    50mins: Ojamaa bursts through on goal and hits the deck again. Ref says it was a dive!

    48mins: GOAAALLLLL!!! 3-2 Higdon slots the Penalty home!

    48mins: PENALTY! Ojamaa hauled down and the ref points to the spot.

    46mins: Almost a good start there! Hateley looped in a cross which was met by Higdon. His volley looked like it bounced fractionally past!

    45mins: Second half underway.

    HT: Players are back out. No changes for either team. ‘Well with the wind behind their backs and in need of goals, goals, goals.

    HT: Inverness CT 3 – 1 Motherwell

    41mins: YELLOW CARD – Hammell booked for a tug on Doran’s shirt

    35mins: GOAALLL!! Faddy gives ‘Well some hope! Left footed strike from 20 yards into bottom corner 3-1

    32mins: Better. Humphrey and Hateley combine to set up Higdon. Reguero blocks at his near post then stops Humphrey’s header on rebound.

    30mins: Could easily have been four there! Doran was through 1 on 1 but thankfully Randolph did enough to narrow the angle and help clear.

    27mins: GOAL! – Somehow it’s 3-0 to Caley! McKay bundling home Shinnie’s cross

    25mins: GOAL – Shinnie makes it 2 for Caley with a left footed strike just inside the box.

    16mins: Fantastic sliding challenge from Hutchinson there to deny Draper inside the box. ICT turning the screw bit now….

    9mins: Foran strikes the ball off the post from the angle inside the box. Looking a bit slack here, wind not helping though

    7mins: Well, Law goes past Reguero and looks to be hauled down in the Caley box. No pen!

    5mins: YELLOW CARD – Foran booked for a wreckless challenge on Lasley

    3mins: GOAL! McKay puts Inverness 1 up! Motherwell failed to deal with the FK and he slotted home Meeking’s cross

    2mins: Free-kick right on the edge of the ‘Well box. Ramsden ruled to have hauled down Shinnie.

    1mins: Just seconds in and The Steelmen break into the box. Lasley fires McFadden’s cut-back well over form 18 yards

    Teams just coming out. Usual colours for both sides, Lasley and Foran captains. ‘Well shooting away from the ‘Well fans in the first half


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I’m hugely disappointed on a few aspects and obviously because we lost the game. The first half performance was really poor, not just in a defending sense about how we lost the goals but also in an attacking sense where we created very little.

    “We were really poor on the ball and although the pitch and conditions wasn’t conducive to good football, too often we made the wrong decisions.

    “You’ve got to give Inverness credit. McKay works the front  line  very well and Shinnie was on form today

    “At half time there was no ranting and raving.

    “They knew they had let each other down and at I expected them to come out and win the game; I genuinely believed we would do that because I think when we get our attacking game going we’re a match for anyone, and we almost did.”

    Inverness manager Terry Butcher:

    “Twenty-three goals is phenomenal from a player from Northampton. His season has been absolutely spectacular.

    “You look at his work rate as well. Him and Andy Shinnie worked their socks off, it’s our first line of defence.

    “He is a pest, he is a wasp, he gave their two centre-halves a hard time and chased everything. He is a lovely kid and just wants to work hard.

    “But I must praise Chris Hogg especially. The boys wanted to win it for Chris because it’s his first game in 18 months. His experience and voice helped a lot. He gave away a penalty right enough, I’ll speak to him about that.

    “But the players wanted to win it for him, it was a special ambition for the players.

    “We’ve had a great chance at 3-0 to make it four and I was thinking: ‘I hope we don’t have to rue that and end up losing 4-3’.

    “At 3-3 I was thinking that might just happen. It was a great comeback by Motherwell in the second half. They have got quality, they have a four-man attack which is tremendous.

    “Obviously the sending-off helped but in the end I think we did deserve it with the chances we made. But it was a wonderful game of football, both teams hammer and tongs at each other and end-to-end stuff.”


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    Open Day: Sunday 5th May 2013

    Making a return by popular demand, Motherwell FC will host a special open day at Fir Park tomorrow (Sunday 5th May).

    It has been several years since the club has run a similar type of event, which allows fans to get a unique insight into the ground and meet the first-team squad at a signing session.

    Excitingly, the new Motherwell FC PUMA home kit will be launched and on sale to buy from the Well Shop in the Davie Cooper Stand on the day – the first images of the new kits can be found on the clubs’ official website – motherwellfc.co.uk.

    The ‘Well Society will have a presence for fans to get involved and you will also be able to renew your Season Ticket on the day.

    But that’s not all… There will be plenty to do, particularly for young ‘Well fans. There will be a bouncy castle, Beat the Goalie, Face Painting and an X-Factor style football skills competition.

    The Fire Brigade will be there with demonstrations and the TA will have an assault course there to try.

    There will be much, much more confirmed before the event – which will be free.  Keep an eye on the official website for further details and they are confirmed

    The event will run between 12 noon and 5pm – Sunday May 5 2013

  • Archive

    TV: Ojamaa delighted with award

    Estonian International Henrik Ojamaa praised his teammates after becoming the latest ‘Well player to collect an award.

    The 21-year old forward has been in terrific form in the last three matches, including goals against Dundee United and Celtic.

    The ten-times capped former Derby hitman was rewarded with his second Clydesdale Bank Young Player of the Month award but was quick to laud the rest of the squad at Fir Park.

    [pullquote]It’s been a great month for me individually and collectively for the team as well.[/pullquote]

    He said: “It’s been a great month for me individually and collectively for the team as well.

    “There’s been some really important games that we’ve managed to win and we’re on an excellent run right now so can’t wait for the Inverness game to try to continue it.

    “For me it’s great to be a part of that. I’ve not scored many goals this season; I’ve mainly been setting them up, but this month I’ve scored two at important times.

    “We have great team spirit and it’s a great bunch of guys to play alongside; we’ll be looking to enjoy the last three games and what better way to enjoy them than to take all nine points.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall wants momentum

    Stuart McCall has urged his side to keep their foot on the gas when they face Inverness tomorrow afternoon.

    The Steelmen have been on a great run in recent weeks, winning six and drawing two of the last eight matches.

    The Fir Parkers have also enjoyed success in recent matches against the Highlanders, but McCall is sure that will add additional motivation to a side battling it out for a spot in European football next term.

    McCall told the gathered press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference: “I don’t know what it is about Inverness, but every time we’ve played them this season we’ve played really well and scored lots of goals.

    [pullquote]We want to carry on our form until the end of the season, and we’ve still got targets as a group and as individuals.[/pullquote]

    “Terry and Maurice will have them fired up for it as it’s a big game for them, as it is for us too.

    “We want to carry on our form until the end of the season, and we’ve still got targets as a group and as individuals.

    “Certainly we’d like to win and get the three points to beat last years total. The lads are enjoying the training and are looking forward to the game. When you’re playing in the manner they are playing in, confidence is high both as individuals and as a team.

    “When the lads are confident they go out and every time they go forward they think they can score and thankfully we’ve been taking those chances recently, and with Inverness always looking to come out and attack to score goals, it has the makings of a good open game.”


    MFC TV


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    Ojamaa is Young Player of the Month

    Motherwell forward Henrik Ojamaa has been named Clydesdale Bank Premier League Young Player of the Month for April.

    Ojamaa was in superb form as Motherwell went unbeaten throughout the month with two wins and one draw.

    The Steelmen began April with a 2-2 draw at home to St Mirren, with Ojamaa a constant threat throughout the match.  The Estonian international player then scored as he helped his side to a 3-1 win away to Dundee United.

    Henrik was again a star performer as Motherwell defeated Clydesdale Bank Premier League Champions Celtic 3-1 at Fir Park with the 20 year old on the scoresheet.

    Ojamaa’s performance against Celtic gained many plaudits as well as helping Motherwell seal a Europa League place next season.

    It was Ojamaa’s attacking threat and goalscoring performances that led the panel to pick him as the Clydesdale Bank Premier League Young Player of the Month.

    A panel of Scottish football experts chose the award winners from a shortlist which included the top three fans’ nominations from Clydesdale Bank’s football website, www.cbfootball.co.uk.

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    Four named in SPL Team of the Year

    Four Motherwell players have been named in the Scottish PFA Team of the Year for season 2012/13.

    DARREN RANDOLPHSHAUN HUTCHINSON, NICKY LAW and MICHAEL HIGDON have all been included in the league’s best eleven, chosen by their fellow professionals at other clubs.

    It’s a double success for Randolph who has been named best goalkeeper for the second successive season.

    Celtic are the other team who have four representatives amongst the SPL team.

    Adam Matthews, Kelvin Wilson, Charlie Mulgrew and Victor Wanyama have been included from the Scottish Premier League champions.

    Inverness CT’s Andrew Shinnie, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths are also included.

    All three are also in contention for the main PFA Scotland Player of the Year award along with Higdon.

    SPL Team of the Year: Darren Randolph; Adam Matthews, Shaun Hutchinson, Kelvin Wilson, Charlie Mulgrew; Victor Wanyama, Nicky Law, Andrew Shinnie; Niall McGinn, Michael Higdon, Leigh Griffiths.

    ST 2014

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    Collum takes charge at Inverness

    Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank Premier League meeting with Inverness Caley at the Caledonian Stadium.

    Regarded as one of Scotland’s best officials, it will be Willie’s sixth Motherwell game of the current campaign.

    The first match this season was the 1-0 defeat at Tynecastle in October when Danny Grainger’s long-range effort separated the sides.

    He also took charge of both William Hill Scottish Cup clashes with Aberdeen.

    In the first meeting at Pittodrie, Niall McGinn headed home a late equaliser to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s opener 10 minutes.

    There would be disappointment for the Steelmen in the replay as goals from Rory Fallon and Joe Shaughnessy helped the Dons progress to the next round. Motherwell were handed a lifeline in injury-time when Michael Higdon netted from the penalty spot, however Craig Brown’s side held firm in the final minutes.

    He was the man in the middle for the narrow 3-2 win over St Johnstone in January; Michael Higdon’s hat-trick sealing a terrific three points and also the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ross County.

    Most recently, he was the man in the middle for the James McFadden-inspired 4-1 victory over Hibs in March.

    Collum be a familiar face to most ‘Well fans having officiated at the top level for many years now, including two Motherwell matches last term.

    He took charge of the 0-0 draw with Rangers at Ibrox in early May, Rangers’ last SPL fixture at their own ground. The other match was Motherwell’s Scottish Communities League Cup defeat at home to Hibs; the Easter Road men progressing through on penalties.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads five wins, eleven defeats and five draws from twenty-one matches.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 31 and conceded 39. 41 players have gone into the book, 18 wearing Claret and Amber, while three players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road a few years back, Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk four seasons ago and Paul Dixon at the end of 2009/10.

    Willie Conquer and Martin Cryans will run the lines with Barry Cook on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    Steven Saunders ‘Steelmen’ Interview

    An exclusive interview with Steven Saunders which first appeared in Issue 23 (vs Celtic) of ‘Steelmen’ – Motherwell’s matchday magazine.

    Steven Saunders’ future will lie away from Fir Park, but the former Scotland International insists he will look back on his time at Motherwell with great fondness, despite two-years of injury hell.

    The former Queen’s Park youngster has been told his contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of May, bringing to an end a five-year stint in North Lanarkshire.

    In that time, the 22-year old has played 74 times in Claret and Amber, including ten in European competition, scoring two goals.

    After playing for both the Scotland U19s and 21’s whilst a ‘Well player, he won his first full Scotland cap against the Faroe Islands back in November 2010, introduced as a second-half sub for Phil Bardsley in a three-nil win when Craig Levein was boss.

    Lining up in those games, involved in matches against the likes of AS Nancy, Steaua Bucharest and the Cup Final squad were certainly the high points, but his career at Fir Park will always be tainted with the harrowing tale of a succession of horrific injuries.

    He sustained a groin injury two months before McCall arrived and an ankle ligament injury two months after his appointment,

    At the start of the 2011/12 season, the big defender had just won his spot back in the side when disaster struck – a ruptured Achilles whilst on Scotland U21 duty against Norway kept him out for almost nine months. He would only feature once more that campaign, a last-minute sub appearance against Hibs as the season drew to a close.

    His luck wouldn’t improve this year when, after feeling a niggle during a pre-season match at Starks Park, a scan revealed he would require a clean-up operation on his knee that ruled him out until Christmas.

    In that time, Simon Ramsden, Shaun Hutchinson and Adam Cummins have cemented their spot in the first-team meaning Saunders’ options have been limited to the Under 20s.

    And although there is a resigned acceptance that he won’t be a Motherwell player beyond the summer, he doesn’t hold any grudges.

    Steven Saunders Interview“I’ve been told my contract won’t be renewed at the end of the current season,” he told ‘Steelmen’, Motherwell’s Matchday Magazine.

    “To be fair, I was expecting it as I have hardly played first-team football in two years and the gaffer was honest enough to tell me that I wasn’t likely to feature ahead of the boys there just now.

    “I certainly wouldn’t change anything about it [the last five years]. I joined a good club and got a really good grounding and played a lot of matches for the first-team when I initially arrived – I made my debut about six months after moving from Queen’s Park.

    “The last two years have been very frustrating but I can see things from the manager’s point of view. I was available for the first few months that he was here but have spent the best part of two years out injured. It’s understandable given he’s not seen a lot of me and has his own ideas and plans which is fair enough.

    “I don’t look back with any anger or regrets though. Injuries are part and parcel of the game and you just need to get on with it.”

    Saunders will now spend the rest of the campaign with Jonatan Johansson’s Under 20s side as he keeps himself fit.

    His next big career goal is to find a new club and kick-start his career, possibly down south.

    “Obviously it has been tough to battle back from two pretty bad injuries but I have been back training every day since November and playing regularly for the Under 20s.

    “When I first got back at Christmas, the weather made things worse for me.

    “I wasn’t able to play on the Astro but I am now almost in double figures in terms of games for the Under 20s and feel sharp and approaching something like my best.

    “I need to keep myself ticking over. I am hoping someone; somewhere will take a look at me, maybe a trial so I can get myself going and get my career back on track.

    “To be honest, I’ve not had any contact from any other clubs. Agents tell you this and that but certainly there has been nothing concrete.

    “I would certainly consider taking a chance and moving down south. I know there was a bit of talk about a few clubs interested in me a while back I am hoping I can maybe reignite some of that.

    “They will all ask the same questions though; are you fit, why have you not featured but I hope to answer all those questions.”

    Saunders will be able to draw on several experiences during his time at Fir Park that he hopes will set him up for his future career.

    The defender has achieved a lot in his five years, and worked with no less than four managers, alongside Academy Director Gordon Young who initially brought him to the club to play with the Under 19s.

    “I’ve enjoyed some brilliant times here,” he recalled.

    “I have worked under four different managers – Mark McGhee, Jim Gannon, Craig Brown and Stuart McCall – and like to think I’ve picked up things from all of them. They have all different ideas about the game and that’s been an advantage.

    “I was part of the squad that got to the Scottish Cup Final but I think the European adventures was probably my highlight.

    “Playing against Llanelli AFC, Flamurtari and Steaua Bucharest was great – I was only 18 and racked up about ten matches in European competition. That experience will hopefully set me in good stead for the future, as will the Scotland cap.”


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    Last chance to shoot for glory

    There is less than 24 hours left for you to win a shot at glory at Fir Park with Weatherseal.

    Make home advantage count!

    The SPL’s newest competition is set for Fir Park during half-time of the next SPL fixture at Fir Park when Ross County come a calling (Sunday 12th May, kick-off 4.05pm).

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

    But hurry, entries closes Thursday at 12pm.

    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.

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    McCall gets PFA nomination

    Stuart McCall has made the PFA Scotland manager of the year shortlist along with Terry Butcher, Neil Lennon and Allan Johnston.

    It’s the second successive season the ‘Well boss has made the shortlist.

    His side sit second in the SPL table having already secured a spot in next season’s Europa League.

    PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said: “Having counted the votes, these are the top four as far as the current managers across the SPL and SFL are concerned.

    “Each manager was asked to vote for the best across all divisions.

    “This was the closest-run contest we have ever had.

    “It speaks volumes about the quality of managers we have in our game in Scotland and, in fact, there are a few more managers who I am sure could also lay claim to the title.

    “All four nominees have had outstanding seasons and thoroughly deserve the accolade of being voted the best by their peers.”

    The winners of both the managers and player awards will be announced at a dinner in Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel on Sunday 5 May.

    Everyone at Motherwell Football Club would like to warmly congratulate Stuart, and the other three candidates.