Action shots from the McDiarmid Park as Motherwell lose the last game of the season 2-0 to St Johnstone.
Action shots from the McDiarmid Park as Motherwell lose the last game of the season 2-0 to St Johnstone.
Stuart McCall insisted a disappointing final day defeat by St Johnstone will now overshadow what has been an sensational campaign for his side.
The Steelmen suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Saints after goals from Liam Craig and Nigel Hasselbaink enough to give Steve Lomas’ men a spot in the Europa League.
McCall was unhappy with the result but keen to focus on the positives of the campaign that has seen them finish as runners-up in the SPL.
He told MFC TV after the match: It’s always disappointing to lose no matter which game you, play.
[pullquote]My disappointment is balanced out by my pride at the whole season[/pullquote]
“I knew as soon as we had a kick-around on the park before the warm up that the pitch was going to be the worst we’ve played on all season although that is not making excuses.
“You’ve got to hold your hands up and admit it was a great strike by Craig and that gave them the impetus for the second-half.
“We didn’t create a great deal and they defended well. They are a strong, physical side and when we tried to play football, it just didn’t come off.
“My disappointment is balanced out by my pride at the whole season, the fantastic backing from supporters at both ends of the stadium and although it would have been nice to end with a victory, I’m actually delighted with the way we’ve finished the season overall.”
Phil McGhee at McDiarmid Park
Motherwell ended the season with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to euro-chasing St Johnstone at Perth.
A tremendous 1000 plus “Well fans crammed into the Main Stand at McDiarmid Park, with an overspill behind the goal, intent on celebrating the conclusion of a fabulous season.
But it was Saints who deservedly took the points to secure the last European slot with goals from Liam Craig and Nigel Hasselbaink.
In the end it was a disappointing afternoon for the Steelmen who never managed to match the hunger of the home side or acclimatise to a very difficult playing surface.
Lee Hollis took over in goal from Darren Randolph and with Tom Hateley and Chris Humphrey both injured, Fraser Kerr and Stuart Carswell made it into the starting line-up.
And while it was a chance for those three to shine, in truth, ‘Well hade few bright moments in an otherwise forgettable afternoon.
The pitch made football difficult for both teams and the play, like the surface, was very patchy. Incredibly as every pass bobbled up off the surface, and both the players and referee looked for a solution, the match ball was replaced four times in the opening 20 minutes.
By that stage the only football thing of note was when Steven McLean slid the ball past Hollis and into the net only for the Saints celebrations to be curtailed by an offside flag.
“Well’s only threat came when James McFadden, wide on the right fed in Nicky Law who blasted his shot high and wide.
After half an hour though Saints looked much more intent and a great move and cross from Callum Davidson found Chris Miller whose side foot volley smacked off the face of the post.
‘Well’s luck did not carry much further though and in the 35th minute, the Perth side took the lead.
Simon Ramsden did well with a double block outside the box but when the ball fell in front of Liam Craig, he unleashed a superb left foot drive which gave Hollis no chance.
Saints fans were cheering again minutes later as news came through that Inverness Caley were a goal down placing the Perth men in pole position for Europe.
That nearly changed on the stroke of half time when ‘Well almost equalised. Law’s corner found Higdon and his powerful downward header was blocked by Alan Mannus but from six yards, Henrik Ojamaa hoisted the rebound over the bar when a leveler looked likely.
Saints reply to that scare was almost immediate and two minutes after the break they grabbed their second goal to make the points secure. Nigel Hasselbaink, who has a habit of scoring against ‘Well, collected the ball with his back to goal, turned Shaun Hutchison and guided his shot just inside the post.
That lead might have been increased when a dipping volley from Murray Davidson crashed off the cross bar.
Hollis then produced a fine one handed save to push away a low drive from substitute Mehdi Abeid.
With Saints content to protect their lead, Motherwell never looked like getting back into the game and the best they had to offer a subdued travelling support was a Hutchison header which was held by Mannus and a Kallum Higginbotham shot which was deflected just outside the post.
Undaunted by the result, the Motherwell fans joined the Saints fans on the pitch at the final whistle to celebrate both side’s European qualification and an otherwise sensational 2012/13 drew to a close.
[tab:As it happened]
Alan Burrows at McDiarmid Park
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I was disappointed we lost the game.
“There are no excuses. St Johnstone had the bit between the teeth. I don’t like losing anything but we have to take a reality check.
“It’s not been about today, it’s been about the season.”
St Johnstone manager Stevie Lomas:
“I thought it was a day of excellence. We carried out our gameplan to perfection and it could have been by a lot more.
“The boys were excellent. We just had to do what we could do.
“The lads were fully focused and you saw that from their effort and commitment and the quality of play.”
Stuart McCall insists his side have it all to play for when they finish the season at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.
The Steelmen have already confirmed their runners-up spot in the Scottish Premier League and a return to Europa League action in 2012/13.
Saints, on the other hand, will go right to the wire with Inverness in the battle for third with the Highlanders facing a tough away battle against fierce rivals Ross County at Victoria Park.
And although the Fir Parkers have nothing to play for on paper, the 40-times capped McCall is adamant his squad will be doing everything they can to win.
[pullquote]For a few of our boys, it will be their last time playing for Motherwell and there is likely to be a good travelling support going to Perth so we need to be at our best.[/pullquote]
“I was at a dinner on Monday night and Stevie Lomas was telling me that, as a fellow ginger, I have to look after him and play a weakened side whilst at the same time, Terry Butcher’s staff are texting me every day to say I had better not or the big man will be coming to get me,” he joked.
“But in all seriousness, we have our own targets. If we can win, it will mean we will have won 19 matches; 50% of our games and that would be incredible for Motherwell. A win would also take us into double figures in terms of away wins so we’ve got a lot to play for.
“For a few of our boys, it will be their last time playing for Motherwell and there is likely to be a good travelling support going to Perth so we need to be at our best.”
Motherwell Football Club are today (Friday) pleased to confirm Simon Ramsden has signed a new two-year contract at the club.
RAMSDEN arrived last summer from Bradford City and has enjoyed an excellent debut season at Fir Park, forming a formidable partnership with Shaun Hutchinson at the heart of the Steelmen defence.
That has been rewarded with a contract extension that will keep the former Sunderland stopper in Claret and Amber until June 2015.
[pullquote]To make my debut in the Champions League, then play a part in this team finishing second in the table has been fantastic.[/pullquote]
Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference, Ramsden, who has played thirty times this campaign, said: “I am really happy to be staying at the club and pleased that the contract has been sorted out.
“My family and I are really settled in Scotland and I am pleased how things have gone on the field too.
“To make my debut in the Champions League, then play a part in this team finishing second in the table has been fantastic.
“We might be losing some players but I am sure the manager will already have replacements lined up and, hopefully, we can have another good season next year.”
Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph has today signed a two-year deal at English Championship side Birmingham City.
Randolph arrived at Fir Park in the summer of 2010 and has made a huge impact in his three years at the club.
He will leave and join up with his new teammates at St Andrews on 1st July having played 136 times in Claret and Amber, keeping 46 clean sheets including a club record 19 in one season back in 2010/11.
During his time in North Lanarkshire, he broke into the Republic of Ireland squad under Giovanni Trapattoni and made his debut earlier this season as a second-half substitute against Oman in London.
He has represented the Steelmen in both the Europa League and the UEFA Champions League and will be rightly considered amongst Motherwell’s best ever goalkeepers.
The 26-year old wanted to thank the Fir Park faithful for their backing during his spell.
[pullquote]I can’t thank the fans enough, they’ve been great to me from my first game to my last and that is something I won’t forget.[/pullquote]
He said: “Following three fantastic years at Motherwell, I wanted to put on record my sincerest thanks to the staff and fans at Fir Park for their great support during my stay at the club.
“With my contract due to expire at the end of the month, and after discussing my future with close friends and family, it now feels like the right time to seek a fresh challenge.
“I will be taking some great memories with me and hope that I will still be welcomed back to the club in the future. I will certainly keep an eye out for Motherwell’s results next season and beyond.
“When I joined the club in 2010 from Charlton Athletic, I was told on day one that I had big gloves to fill with the departure of John Ruddy, and looking back over the past three seasons, I hope the fans feel I achieved that.
“As widely reported, I have decided to start a new chapter of my career down south with Birmingham City where I will be replacing another great goalkeeper in Jack Butland.
“I’ll no doubt have a new set of fans to impress and that is a challenge I am very much looking forward to taking on.
“Once again I can’t thank the fans enough, they’ve been great to me from my first game to my last and that is something I won’t forget. The club is in good hands moving forward and I would like to wish the board, staff and players the best of luck for next season and the years ahead.
Everyone at Motherwell Football Club would like to thank Darren for his immense contribution during his three years at Fir Park and wish him every success at his new club next season.
For the first time ever, Motherwell fans have the chance to vote on our club Goal of the Season for 2012/13.
The Steelmen have netted 69 times this campaign, 67 of them coming in the Scottish Premier League – a record that stretches back to 1960.
In amongst them have been some classics that will be remembered for a long time.
We’ve narrowed it down to twelve goals and you can vote by watching the clip above then selecting your favourite goal.
The winner will be selected when the poll closes on Sunday night at 10pm.
Stuart McCall has been named the Clydesdale Bank Manager of the Year for season 2012/13.
The Steelmen had enjoyed an astonishing season, achieving a points total that is unmatched for 81 years and a goals tally that rivals some of the legendary sides during the ‘Ancell Babes’ era of the 1950 and 60s.
After taking Motherwell to ‘best of the rest’ and into the Champions League in 2011/12, McCall has gone one better with the Steelmen confirmed as league runners-up and with another shot at the UEFA Europa League to look forward to.
And his achievements and contribution was recognised by the league sponsors at a dinner at Glasgow’s Hilton Hotel last night.
He said: “It was documented at the beginning of the season that we had lost three or four players and Aberdeen, Hearts and Dundee United and other sides were tipped for second spot.
“We weren’t mentioned and rightly so. Top six was our aim and to finish second with a game to go and beating last season’s point’s tally, is a tribute to the players.
“So the award is a great honour for the club.
“It is down to the players and the staff. I have been very fortunate and they have made my life easier. But the players have been outstanding.”
It was double award success for the club with the club securing the ‘Best Club Media Relations’ gong for the fifth successive season.
Press & Media Manager Alan Burrows added: “It has been a tremendous season for the football club, one that I am sure will live long in the memory for everyone.
“I am delighted to collect the award again, but I do so as a figurehead of a hardworking team at Motherwell who constantly strive to be better and improve.
“I would like to dedicate the award to Bill Henry, who has worked with me on matchdays at Fir Park for the last five-and-a-half years and before.
“He sadly and unexpectedly passed away last Saturday night and he will be very much missed. He was always asking about the awards and took great pride in being a part of the team – this one is for him.”
Highlights from Fir Park as Motherwell triumph 2-0 over Ross County in their last home game of the season.
Pictures from the 2-0 win over Ross County in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park.