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    Motherwell 2 – 4 Newcastle Utd

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    Newcastle tickets still on sale

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    TV: McManus is signing number six

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    TV: Highlights from Keepmoat Stadium

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    TV: McCall pleased with Donny workout

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    Doncaster 0 – 0 Motherwell

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    TV: McCall reviews pre-season trip

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    TV: Cummins keen to progress

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    Fan Information: Doncaster Rovers

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    Steelmen in Spain: Day 4

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    Motherwell 2 – 4 Newcastle Utd

    Motherwell lost 4-2 to a strong Newcastle United side as preparations for the new season continue.

    The visitors made a blistering start when Haris Vuckic and Yoan Gouffran put the Toon in a commanding lead.

    Iain Vigurs reduced the arrears with a blistering strike on 26 minutes but the Magpies restored their two-goal advantage before the break, Moussa Sissoko striking a shot under Hollis.

    ‘Well got themselves back into things when James McFadden chipped a cheeky penalty into the back of the net after Stuart Carswell had been fouled.

    But Newcastle’s quality shone through and Sylvain Marveaux added a fourth from close range.

    Having captured the signature of Stephen McManus earlier in the week, the former Celtic captain sat out this match with a small niggle, as did John Sutton who was nursing stitches after a head clash at Doncaster on Saturday.

    Gunnar Nielsen was listed amongst the subs, along with “trialist” James McFadden. Iain Vigurs and Paul Lawson, the other two new signings, started in the midfield with Stuart Carswell and Keith Lasley. The backline looking the most familiar, made up of Simon Ramsden, Adam Cummins, Shaun Hutchinson and Stevie Hammell.

    The Steelmen started the match with trialist striker Henri Anier up front and he was in the mix early on, turning Yanga-Mbiwa at the edge of the box before firing just over the bar. However, it didn’t take long for the Premiership side to take the lead when Haris Vuckic opened the scoring on eight minutes.

    Gouffran seized on a loose ball by Shaun Hutchinson and advanced towards goal. Lee Hollis narrowed the angle to save, but Vuckcic was in hand to slot in to an empty net from sixteen yards.

    Motherwell responded with a well delivered Iain Vigurs corner, but Adam Cummins’ header was saved at the front post by Rob Elliott. However, the Newcastle fans were the ones to applaud the next goal, as French international Gouffran extended the visitors lead on 14 minutes.

    Vuckic turned provider this time, as he strode unchallenged from the midfield to play in the striker, who slotted through Hollis’ legs to double the advantage. At the stage it looked like Newcastle could score at will as the ‘Well defence failed to cope with the away side’s pace. Sammy Ameobi saw a great effort from distance crash back off the post as they began to turn the screw.

    Estonian Anier almost halved the deficit for the Steelmen after bullying his way past Mike Williamson, but was thwarted by Elliot at his near post, just before Iain Vigurs got the Steelmen back in to it in style.

    Steady build up play resulted in a ball lofted in to the box for Anier, who did enough to touch it back to the former Ross County man who smacked a volley low in to the bottom corner from the edge of the box. It was a stunning way to open his Motherwell account and lifted the home crowd.

    As McCall’s side hunted a leveller, it was a cruel blow that saw them fall two goals behind once more. Moussa Sissoko expertly manoeuvred a shot from 25-yards that cruelly squirmed under Hollis and rolled agonisingly into the net.

    The visitors led 3-1 at half time in what had been an action-packed opening period. The second-half started with a bang, mainly due to the introduction of ‘Faddy’.

    Given a rapturous welcome when he ran out, he pulled his side back in to the game within minutes of the restart.

    Stuart Carswell was tripped inside the box by Sissoko, with referee Wullie Collum pointing to the spot. McFadden placed the ball and with the coolness you would expect from the ‘Well legend, dinked the ball Pirlo style down the middle to make it 3-2.

    The appearance of the 48 times capped maestro brought with it his goal and the trickery that Motherwell fans are hoping to see on a regular basis for the coming season. Along with the introduction of Zaine Francis-Angol, the second-half saw the Steelmen play with much more width, with the Antiguan linking up well with Anier in particular down the left flank.

    Despite being more adventurous going forward, the Well fell further behind when Newcastle substitute Sylvain Marveaux made it 4-2, tapping in from close range after good work on the left by former St Mirren loanee Paul Dummet.

    As both sides wrung more changes, the tempo of the game died, with chances few and far between for either side. Both Anier and Keith Lasley dragged efforts wide for the hosts, while Adam Campbell and Sammy Ameobi passed up chances to make the scoreline more emphatic.

    The match finished 4-2 to Alan Pardew’s side, but the home side’s performance was a decent one, with some fine goals and decent performances from both the new and old heads.

    Next up is a trip to the seaside of Morecambe on Saturday where Stephen McManus and John Sutton are likely to feature.

    Motherwell: Hollis (Nielsen 45), Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, Anier (Erwin 81), Lawson (Francis-Angol 45), Vigurs (Moore 74), Lasley (Murray 74), Cummins (Kerr 45), McHugh (McFadden 45), Carswell

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    Newcastle tickets still on sale

    A reminder that tickets for tonight’s pre-season friendly match with Newcastle United are on sale at the Fir Park Ticket Office.

    Although you can also pay at the gate on the night, fans can pre-purchase tickets for the match if they wish.

    Tickets are on sale now for all stands (with the exception of the Centenary Lounge see separate pricing below).

    • Adult: £15
    • Concessions (60+ & FT Students): £10
    • Under 16s: £5

    The Cooper Bar will be open as normal to the public so get along early to enjoy the atmosphere – no ticket required for entry and dress code is casual claret and amber.  Hot rolls will be available on the night.

    As this is a pre-season friendly and the demand for our traditional formal hospitality in the Centenary and Millennium has been light, we’ve have the opportunity to open the Centenary Lounge (in the Phil O’Donnell Stand) as a regular bar also.

    A ticket will be required for entry as priced above but included in this price is access to the lounge and our half-time tea package, which includes a hot drink, pie and cakes.

    This is priced at an additional £5 on normal gate prices but a pre purchased ticket will be required.  Dress code for this area is also casual claret and amber.

    To book you ticket call the Fir Park Ticket office on 01698 333 333 (option 2) or visit the Chapman Building in person – Click Here for opening times.

    As a reminder, the match will take place at Fir Park tonight, Tuesday 16 July 2013, kick-off is 7pm.

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    TV: McManus is signing number six

    Motherwell Football Club are today delighted to confirm the capture of Scotland International defender Stephen McManus.

    The 30-year old joins on a one-year deal after his previous contract at Middlesbrough expired in the summer.

    McManus came through the youth ranks at Celtic and made his debut in a 4-0 win at Easter Road back in March 2004.

    He was eventually made captain of the club in July 2007 following Neil Lennon’s exit from Celtic Park.

    All in all, he would play 202 times for the Hoops, scoring 20 goals before departing for the Riverside Stadium in the summer of 2010 for a fee of £1.5 million.

    His time in the northeast didn’t go as well as ‘Mick’ would have liked, a change of manager and injuries certainly didn’t help. He did spend a brief spell on loan at Bristol City, which was cut short due to an injury crisis at his parent club.

    The defender has also amassed 26 caps for Scotland, including time as captain.

    [pullquote]From the minute I came in the door for the first time, there was a real family atmosphere and that is what drew me to the club. I always had an idea then that I was going to come here; even though it was a hard decision given other clubs were interested.[/pullquote]

    He earned his first cap back in October 2006, coming on as a substitute in the 2–0 defeat to Ukraine at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

    His first start in the dark blue of Scotland was against Georgia in the first match of the Alex McLeish era; a 2–1 win for Scotland with Craig Beattie hitting a dramatic late winner.

    McManus scored his first goal for Scotland in a 3–1 win against Lithuania on 8 September 2007, acrobatically turning a Shaun Maloney cross into the net to put Scotland 2–1 up. He also scored a 96th minute winner to spare the blushes against minnows Liechtenstein at Hampden in 2010.

    He becomes Motherwell’s sixth signing of the summer after Paul Lawson, Iain Vigurs, John Sutton, Fraser Kerr and Gunnar Nielsen.

    Speaking exclusively to MFC TV, McManus, who will number 6 this season, said: “I am really glad to get it done and dusted. There was a fair bit of interest from the manager (Stuart McCall) early on so I am pleased it has now finally been finalised.

    “From the minute I came in the door for the first time, there was a real family atmosphere and that is what drew me to the club. I always had an idea then that I was going to come here; even though it was a hard decision given other clubs were interested.

    “I just can’t wait to get started, I will give it my best shot and we will see how it goes.

    We have a really good squad and the manager will probably add some more new faces too.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: Highlights from Keepmoat Stadium

    Highlights from the Keepmoat Stadium as Motherwell kick-off their pre-season programme with a 0-0 draw with Doncaster Rovers.


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall pleased with Donny workout

    Stuart McCall was satisfied with his team’s workout against nPower Championship side Doncaster Rovers today.

    The match ended all square but Motherwell had good chances through Vigurs and McHugh and kept the ball very well at times.

    The only downside to the game was a knock to John Sutton which forced him off for stitches after just 22 minutes.

    McCall told MFC TV after the match: “I’m really pleased, other than the injury to John Sutton again.

    [pullquote]Donny have played three games in the last week so have had a little bit more football than us but, I was pleased with the way we went about the game and with some of the football we played during it.[/pullquote]

    “Iain Vigurs came of with a tight groin but other than that we had four of the lads play the full game so it was a good workout for them.

    “I’m pleased with the defensive shape, which we’ll probably look at for the European games, and they were very comfortable.

    “In the early part of the first half we looked threatening. Bob has pulled a great save from their ‘keeper and Vigurs has hit the bar from way out.

    “Donny have played three games in the last week so have had a little bit more football than us but as I say, I was pleased with the way we went about the game and with some of the football we played during it.”


    MFC TV

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    Doncaster 0 – 0 Motherwell

    Doncaster and Motherwell drew a blank in a fairly low-key friendly match at the Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon.

    In a game of few clear-cut chances, the closest either side came was an outrageously audacious 45-yard chip from Iain Vigurs that came back of the crossbar.

    New signings Gunnar Nielsen, Iain Vigurs, Paul Lawson and John Sutton were all named in the starting eleven, although Sutton’s match would barely last twenty minutes before he would be forced off after a clash of heads with Donny defender Jean-Yves M’Voto.

    Doncaster lined up with former Steelmen skipper Paul Quinn in their starting eleven. He was joined by former SPL’ers Rob Jones (Hibs), Mariàn Kello (Hearts) and Dean Furman (Rangers).

    Motherwell just about shaded an otherwise uneventful first half, restricting the hosts to very little.

    Indeed, the only effort of the whole period was Billy Paynter’s long-range effort on the half-hour that sailed way, way off target.

    There was just one change for the Steelmen at the interval, Lee Hollis replacing the otherwise underworked Gunnar Nielsen.

    The 150 or so ‘Well fans in the sun-soaked East Stand would have been hoping for a goal from their side and they almost got it with a fantastic piece of play from Vigurs.

    Bob McHugh did well to win the ball in the middle of the park, quickly knocking it to the former Ross County man. He took a touch to steady himself, a quick glance to spot Kello off his line, before striking a cracker from all of 45-yards.

    It looked as if it was going to sail in, but the 25-year old was cruelly denied by the crossbar; the home goalkeeper relieved, his blushed spared.

    Donny had already created a half-chance before the Vigurs effort when David Syers turned a Paul Keegan cross over the bar from close range.

    Paul Dickov’s side were getting the upper hand and David Cotterill tested Hollis with a stinging low drive that the former Airdrie stopper did well to clutch low to his right. However, they were almost caught on the counter and only a super Kello save prevented the opener.

    Vigurs was again involved, dinking a neat little ball over the top of the defence for the supporting McHugh. The ball just wouldn’t drop quickly enough but when it did, the striker sent a stinging effort at goal that the Slovak international did fantastically well to tip over.

    The hour mark was the signal for both teams to make wholesale changes – Adam Cummins, Stuart Carswell, Fraser Kerr and Lee Erwin were all introduced in place of Simon Ramsden, Iain Vigurs, Stevie Hammell and Bob McHugh.

    Paul Lawson was having an impressive debut in the centre of the park and he had a shot on the 65th minute that looked as if was going close, only for a deflection to take it inches over the crossbar.

    Down the other end, a scramble inside the Steelmen six-yard box looked as if it had led to the first goal but Hollis blocked the initial point-blank shot and was quick to smother the rebound.

    Motherwell had another fair decent chance when Erwin slipped in Craig Moore but his low dragged shot was fairly easy for Kello to save.

    The home side pushed for a winner in the last ten minutes but a Keegan volley that sailed horribly wide, and a Chris Brown header that went straight at Hollis was all they could really create.

    In the end, a draw was a fair result and both teams would have been satisfied with the workout.

    Motherwell: Nielsen (Hollis 45), Hammell (Cummins 60), Ramsden (Kerr 60), Hutchinson, Trialist, Lawson, Sutton (Moore 22), Vigurs (Carswell 60), Lasley (Murray 75), McHugh (Erwin 60), Francis Angol

    Subs Not Used: Stewart

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    TV: McCall reviews pre-season trip

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has lauded the clubs’ week in Spain as the Steelmen prepare to return to the UK and start a programme of pre-season friendly matches.

    The 18-man squad has spent the last four full days at their Costa Blanca training base, doing nine sessions in the sweltering Spanish sunshine.

    And the 40-times capped former Scotland international is hoping it will set his side in good stead for the forthcoming assault on both Europe and the SPFL.

    In a wide-ranging interview which covers topics such as the current squad, fitness levels, transfer targets like James McFadden and others, pre-season friendlies as well as hopes and expectations for the new season, McCall told MFC TV: “I am really pleased with the amount of work we have managed to get in.

    [pullquote]It has been pleasing to see just how well the new lads have bonded and have integrated with the rest of the boys. [/pullquote]

    “When you go abroad to these types of camps, you usually get three sessions in per day and we have certainly utilised that. Other than a clash of heads on Tuesday, no one has really missed any of the sessions either.

    “It has been pleasing to see just how well the new lads have bonded and have integrated with the rest of the boys. Last year we took a few of the young lads to Portugal and we’ve done that this year with Lee Erwin, Euan Murray, Craig Moore and Ross Stewart. It’s vital for them as it lets them feel part of the first-team squad.

    “All in all, it has been really beneficial. We didn’t take a match over here, (we) just wanted to concentrate on the training side of things; not only fitness but also getting the rustiness out the legs when we get the footballs out.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: Cummins keen to progress

    Scouse youngster Adam Cummins is hoping to build on his successful debut year at Fir Park with a regular spot in the starting eleven next season.

    The departures of club-captain Stephen Craigan and Tim Clancy and another serious injury for Steven Saunders meant that Cummins was in contention for a place right from the beginning of the 2012/13 campaign.

    The 20-year old former Evertonian defender grasped the opportunity with both hands, turning in a series of impressive displays both domestically and in Motherwell’s European fixtures.

    He finished the season having appeared 28 times (23 starts) in Claret and Amber, scoring once at Inverness in a 5-1 win.

    He was rewarded with a new deal until the summer of 2015 and will now battle it out with the likes of Shaun Hutchinson, Fraser Kerr, Simon Ramsden and Euan Murray for a starting berth in Stuart McCall’s eleven.

    [pullquote]My aim has got to be at least to play the same amount as last season and improve my performances from those six out of tens to seven or eight out of tens.[/pullquote]

    Cummins is certainly up for the challenge of bettering what was a super campaign both personally and for the club.

    Talking to MFC TV and ‘Well’s Spanish training camp, he said: “I spoke to my dad, my agent and a few friends at the beginning of last season and the realistic target for me was probably playing between ten and fifteen matches for the first-team.

    “I ended up smashing that so my aim has got to be at least to play the same amount as last season and improve my performances from those six out of tens to seven or eight out of tens.

    “The training is great here and we’ve got some real quality in the squad. Obviously there is a level of expectation on us this year, but that something both I personally and all the boys are looking forward to and we are all going to work as hard as we can to stay up in the top two or three in the league.”


    MFC TV

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    Fan Information: Doncaster Rovers

    ‘Well fans travelling to Doncaster should note that tickets need to be purchased from the Ticket Office adjacent to the away turnstiles.

    Motherwell supporters will be located in the East Stand at the stadium and can purchase their tickets on the day from the “Soccer Centre Reception”, located opposite the 5-a-side pitches, just around the corner from turnstiles 2-5 where they will enter the stadium.

    It’s a set-up similar to those Motherwell fans would expect at away trips to the likes of St Mirren at Hibernian. There will no cash admission on the turnstiles.

    Fans should also note that there is a bar externally at the Keepmoat Stadium for use by both sets of supporters.

    Anyone wishing something to eat could use the Lakeside Beefeater restaurant which is just a short walk from the ground.

    Ticket prices are as follows:

    Adults: £12
    Concessions: £5
    Under 12s: £1

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    Steelmen in Spain: Day 4

    It is day four of five in Oliva as Stuart McCall’s men continue to prepare for the new season.

    Thursday is the last full day here in Spain (the squad leave tomorrow night for Manchester) and it got off to another forceful start.

    8am for breakfast, 9am on the pitch ready to go again for what would be the seventh session in 62 hours…

    The majority of the Kenny Black-led intense running of the trip was carried out in the first two days, so training now looks to be geared towards games. Doncaster Rovers, who already have a few friendlies under their belt, are the opponents on Saturday afternoon and the coaching staff are trying to give the lads as much ball time as possible.

    One of the pitches looked like a full-on assault course by the time Kenny had set everything up. Cones, disks and poles almost as far as the eye could see. In actual fact, it was a variety of stations designed at getting various elements of the body working hard ahead of the very busy schedule in the next six weeks.

    From an onlooker’s point of view (and someone who doesn’t watch training every day), the possession drills were perhaps the most impressive. Both ‘teams’ were scoring points for keeping the ball for a designated period of time or pass. Hopefully it bodes well.

    Summer recruit from Birmingham City Fraser Kerr had already spoke to the two Scottish journalists who made the trip; Stuart McCall and trialist Craig Reid did similar at the end.

    Another dip in the Mediterranean as a cool down was followed by lunch. The lads will be back at again later in the afternoon too after the usual lunch and break to let the temperature drop.

    The 6pm session was based around crossing-and-finishing drills. Some superb crosses, some brilliant shots and goals as well as some top saves by Gunnar, Cheesy (Ross Stewart) and Hollis. One finish in particular, by a certain Mr S McCall, will no doubt make the ‘highlights of the trip’ video cut.

    A nine-a-side game followed, with the manager again taking part. He was certainly in amongst it, doing superbly well to head a Faddy strike up and over the bar from the goal line. The 48-times capped former Scotland hitman McFadden almost pulled off the goal of the week with a cheeky chip over Cheesy but the young goalie had the post to save his blushes.

    In the end, a Bob McHugh penalty – referee Kenny Black controversially pointing to the spot as Hutchinson was adjudged to have felled Sutton inside the area – was enough to settle the score. 1-0 to the non-bibs.

    The last night in Spain will no doubt be spent with the biggest card game of the week. Easier to list who isn’t involved than who is.

    Keep up to date with additional information via Twitter and some behind-the-scenes pictures on Instagram. Action shots from training can also be found on our official Facebook page.

    If you miss anything from the pre-season trip to Spain, don’t worry, we also send daily summaries view our e-newsletter. Make sure you’re involved by signing up here.