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    Hibernian 0 – 1 Motherwell

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    TV: McCall wants good start

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    TV: Lawson hoping for Capital gains

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    New PA Announcer required

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    Under 20s kick off at Killie

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    Hibs ticket information

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: It’s Déjà vu for McCall

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    Motherwell 0 – 2 Kuban Krasnodar

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    Cissé wary of McFadden threat

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    Hibernian 0 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Kris Jack at Easter Road

    Estonian International Henri Anier scored a late winner for Motherwell, as the Steelmen grabbed an opening day victory against Hibernian at Easter Road.

    The summer loan signing latched on to a Hutchinson headed clearance, raced clear of Michael Nelson and kept his composure to slide it past Ben Williams to give Stuart McCall’s side the ideal start to the Scottish Premiership season.

    Anier’s first competitive strike for the club was the only real moment of quality in a game full of half chances for both sides.

    However, as much as Hibs huffed and puffed, they were to be outdone with seven minutes left, as the loanee from Viking Stavanger stole the points

    Stuart McCall made one change from the side that lost to FC Kuban Krasnodar in midweek, with Bob McHugh coming in for Zaine Francis Angol to give the side a 4-4-2 shape. Lawson, Vigurs, McFadden and Lasley made up the diamond shaped midfield, while the back line of Hollis, Hammell, McManus, Hutchinson and Ramsden remained.

    Hibernian gave a debut to former Shrewsbury and Swindon striker James Collins and in the early going it should have paid off for Pat Fenlon’s side.

    The hosts, who had paid tribute to former striker Lawrie Reilly before kick off, started the game on the front foot, with Alex Harris and Liam Craig at the heart of most of their forward movement.

    As good as their build-up play was, their final ball and distribution often let them down, with Fraser Mullen’s wayward strike the only real effort on goal in the opening twenty minutes.

    The first save of the game came at the other end, when Keith Lasley received a raking pass from Paul Lawson at the edge of the box, but his volleyed shot was acrobatically held by Williams in the Hibs goal.

    Bob McHugh headed wide from a dinked McFadden ball a few moment later, as ‘Well looked to establish a foothold on the game.

    Scott Roberston then dispossessed Iain Vigurs to set up Alex Harris for the hosts, but the young winger’s effort sailed well past Lee Hollis’ goal. Paul Lawson then got caught in two minds at the edge of the area after linking up with John Sutton, as his shot was on target, but too soft to trouble Williams.

    A shot in to the side netting was as close as James Collins came to opening the scoring for Hibs, after getting in behind Simon Ramsden as the half wore on.

    Ramsden then found himself in space 20 yards from the home goal, but his shot rose in to the crowd as he was caught off balance.

    The second half began in the same vein as the first, with Hibs starting on the front foot. Harris fizzed a ball across the six-yard area that Liam Craig couldn’t connect with, while Fraser Mullen posed some danger from the right hand side, but could not carve out an opening.

    Lawson and Hutchinson found themselves in the book for fouls on Craig and Harris, before McCall’s game changing substitution. Zaine Francis Angol and Henri Anier replaced McFadden and McHugh, with the young Antiguan immediately finding space on the left, winning a corner with his first touch.

    John Sutton thought he had grabbed the opener with about fifteen minutes remaining when Vigurs’ ball over the top saw the returning striker outpace Michael Nelson, only to see his low drive palmed inches wide by Williams. From the resulting corner, Stephen McManus leapt highest to power a header goalwards that was spectacularly stopped by the in-form Hibs keeper.

    It looked like that was to be as close as either side would get to a goal, before Anier made himself an instant hero with seven minutes remaining.

    Hutchinson won a looping header at the half way line, which dropped over the heads of Nelson and Hanlon in the Hibs defence. With Anier on the shoulder of Nelson, the Estonian outpaced his man to bear down on Williams, prodding the ball past the onrushing goalie and in to the net.

    As the clock ticked down, Hibs could not find a way back as ‘Well kept the ball in the far corner. Bobby Madden blew for full time, giving Motherwell their first three points of the Scottish Premiership season.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at Easter Road

    FT: Hibernian 0 – 1 Motherwell. Great result for the Steelmen. Three points to kick off the season at Easter Road.

    90+1mins: Tell you what, wee Hibs penalty shot. Push in the area. Seen them given I have to say. Two minutes to go. Hibs on the attack.

    90mins: Three minutes of time to be added…

    86mins: Motherwell bois have once again been magnificent. Singing, chanting, noise and support. Best about… Well done lads!

    84mins: Hibs sub – Danny Handling comes on for Thomson. Hibs will go for it now you would think.

    82mins: The Estonian gets his first for the club. Latches on to a long ball. Keeps his composure to slot it past Williams. 1-0 ‘Well!

    82mins: GOOOOOOOOOALLLLLLLLLLL ANIER!!!!

    81mins: Motherwell have the ball in the Hibs area. Zaine can’t get the shot away, neither can Las when the breaks to him!

    79mins: Two excellent saves by the Hibs stopper to keep it at 0-0. Fair play to him; top goalkeeping.

    79mins: Corner from Vigurs finds McManus but another brilliant block from Williams. Another corner for the Steelmen.

    78mins: Ball over the top has Sutton in one on one with Williams. Shot is tipped agonisingly wide by the Hibs goalkeeper.

    77mins: Hibs change. Tom Taiwo is on in place of Scott Robterson.

    74mins: Carswell comes on in place of Paul Lawson. Sensible from McCall as the midfielder was treading a thin line after being booked.

    71mins: Just under twenty minutes left. Hibs had the better chances in the second half but it’s still all square. Anyone’s game here.

    69mins: The Estonian’s first touch is a difficult bouncing ball that squirms away from him on the half-way line. Still 0-0 here.

    66mins: McFadden is coming off and is replaced by Zaine Francis-Angol. Anier is also coming on and replaces Bob McHugh.

    66mins: It was actually Harris who got fouled. Similar boots. He is replaced by Sam Stanton. Looks like ‘Well will make a change to.

    66mins: Hutchy is booked. Takes the ball to begin with but his follow through wipes out Thomson (I think). Free-kick Hibs on the left wing.

    64mins: McFadden is screaming for a free-kick after getting blocked outside the box. Referee Bobby Madden having none of it.

    62mins: Another Hibs chance. Strike from Robertson is brilliantly turned away by Lee Hollis. Hibs’ chances are coming from ‘Well slackness.

    61mins: Faddy robbed and Hibs break quickly. Great cross but Stevie Hammell does incredibly well to get round and put the forward off…

    58mins: Vigurs is robbed on the half-way line by Thomson. He drives forward and takes shot on but it’s comfortable for Hollis to hold.

    56mins: Hibs’ best move of the half so far. Mullen collects on the flank – his drilled ball finds Collins but he flicks header just wide.

    55mins: Decent ball into the box again from Lawson finds his former Ross County teammate but his header drops floats over the bar.

    53mins: We almost get a lucky break there. Ball hits off Lasley and falls perfectly in space. Cross is overhit though and the chance gone.

    51mins: Liam Craig takes the kick – goes low under the wall but it’s straight at Hollis who gathers without any trouble.

    51mins: Hibs free-kick on the edge of the area. McManus not happy with the award. Again, hard to tell from way back in the stand. TV?

    49mins: Pull back from McFadden for McHugh. He doesn’t get a good connection but even then, Sutton can’t help it on. Good chance gone.

    47mins: It’s one booking each side as Paul Lawson is cautioned for a late challenge. Don’t think he can complain too much there.

    45mins: Second half is back under way. Signal was a little late in joining us but back now…

    HT: Hibernian 0 – 0 Motherwell. Not a classic by any means. ‘Well maybe just shaded it on chances, but if so, only just.

    44mins: Nice ball into the box – Sutton cushions it down for Vigurs but his half volley flashed way wide of the post. Good move though.

    42mins: Thomson is booked for a tackle on Lasley. Going for the ball but looked as if he caught the skipper. Home fans not happy.

    40mins: Hibs immediately go on the counter but the attack fizzles out with the ball smashed into the side net.

    40mins: Corner eventually lands at Lawson but his stinging drive is superbly blocked by the charging Hibs defence.

    39mins: Nice little ball over to the left has Hammell in space. His cross is knocked out for a corner to the Steelmen.

    34mins: It’s not great stuff so far in truth. Loads of effort from both sides but nothing too much to report thus far.

    31mins: Another wee effort from ‘Well. Lawson tries to dink it over Williams from the edge of the box but no trouble for the Hibs number 1.

    30mins: Hibs’ first venture near Motherwell’s box in the last five/ten minutes sees Harris blaze over from the edge of the area.

    28mins: The ‘bois’ even have a song now for @StuCarswell18 – he’ll be delighted! 😀

    27mins: Another wee half chance there. Ball from McFadden finds McHugh in the area but he loops header a few yards wide of the post.

    25mins: Motherwell’s first proper shot on target of the match. Good combination between Las and Vigs. Skipper has a nice shot well saved.

    24mins: Lovely little dinked ball into the area by McManus almost finds Sutton but it just gets away from the striker. Goal kick. Still 0-0.

    23mins: Loving the taps aff chant from the ‘Well bois – throwing their shirts into the air! Entertaining stuff 🙂

    21mins: It has been pretty slack stuff at the moment… Both teams really struggling to get a proper grip on things. Passes going astray.

    16mins: Wee half chance on the edge of the box, neat play between Sutton and McFadden but the ball just wouldn’t sit down for the number 7.

    14mins: ‘Well looked good on the attack there. Came to an end by the assistant’s flag. Hard to tell, but looked close??

    12mins: We’re giving the ball away a little cheaply at the moment. Not quite as fluid as we’ve come to expect. Still 0-0 though.

    10mins: Hibs applying a lot of pressure at the moment. Worked three or four corners in the last two minutes. ‘Well holding firm…

    9mins: Corner causes problems inside the six yard box. ‘Well again forced to give away another kick from the quadrant.

    9mins: Good Hibs move down the left, capitalising and a shot Hutchy clearance. Thankfully Lawson was well placed to knock it behind. Corner.

    8mins: Brilliant ball from Lawson has Vigurs in down the left flank. His shot from just inside the area flashes wide of the post.

    7mins: Down the other end, full-back Fraser Mullan strike a shot from 35-yards the zips high, wide and not so handsome.

    6mins: McFadden has a wee half chance after a sliced Williams clearance. The forward takes an extra touch though and the chance is gone.

    4mins: Hibs counter down the right flank. Hammell does well to get back and block the cross at the expense of a corner.

    2mins: Motherwell bois making a ton of noise in the corner. Fantastic stuff as usual and much appreciated by the management and players!

    1min: Match gets going… Hibs on the early attack and a dangerous ball into the box but ‘Well get it clear via McManus.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I’m delighted. I thought they started better but then I thought we controlled large parts without being dangerous.

    “And I thought in the second half the game on Thursday caught up with some of the lads, I thought we looked leg weary at times and I think the three substitutes helped gives us a bit of freshness.

    “When you make substitutions you want your substitutes to come on and have an impact, and obviously Henri did that.

    “So I’m really pleased with the victory, naturally, and a good start for the campaign.”

    Hibernian manager Pat Fenlon:

    “It’s a sore one to take, I didn’t think we deserved to lose.

    “There was some positive stuff but we lost the game to a poor goal and I’m disappointed that the good stuff will be forgotten.

    “Defensively we were solid. I thought we had dealt with Motherwell’s shape and (James) McFadden coming into the hole to pick things up, and then we got done by a long ball over the top when we were attacking.

    “They were the only two real chances they had, the first came from us losing the ball at our throw-in and then a punt over the top. We were ball-watching and Ben made a good save.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”151″]

  • Archive

    TV: McCall wants good start

    Stuart McCall is hoping for a repeat of some of the previous success at Easter Road when ‘Well kick off in the capital tomorrow.

    The Steelmen have faced the Hibees at Easter Road three times since McCall’s appointment in December 2010 – winning twice and drawing once with the hosts having more joy at Fir Park.

    Both teams will get the SPFL Premiership season’s underway having suffered the disappointment of Europa League defeats.

    But the Scotland coach is fully focused on making a positive start to domestic matters in a game that normally produces goals; 50 have hit the back of the net in the last eleven meetings.

    [pullquote]Easter Road is a big park, a good place to play your football and we will be looking to go there and kick-off the season on the front foot.[/pullquote]

    Speaking exclusively to MFC TV, he said: “We are looking forward to going to Hibs. Since I’ve been at the club we’ve been fortunate enough to pick up some good results there.

    “I remember Jamie Murphy scoring a header in a 1-0 win, Nicky Law giving us a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw and coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 last season.

    “Easter Road is a big park, a good place to play your football and we will be looking to go there and kick-off the season on the front foot.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: Lawson hoping for Capital gains

    Paul Lawson has targeted a good start to the new SPFL Premiership season ahead of the weekend opener at Hibernian.

    The Steelmen have finished ‘best of the rest’ in each of the last two seasons, taking third place behind Celtic and Rangers in 2011/12 and second in 2012/13.

    Both teams have already been in competitive action, Pat Fenlon’s men losing to Malmo in the Europa League, Second Qualifying Round and ‘Well slipping up against Kuban Krasnodar last night.

    And the 28-year midfielder wants his side to bounce back in style at Easter Road in the Sunday afternoon Sky live match.

    [pullquote]There is a real determination in the squad to try and repeat the success of the previous two years[/pullquote]

    Speaking exclusively to MFC TV, the former Ross County man said: “It’s two teams with something to prove after European disappointments I guess.

    “With what happened against Malmo, I am sure Hibs will be looking to put on a show for their fans. Likewise, for us, hopefully we can take a good travelling support and bounce back from the defeat to FC Kuban.

    “They will be looking to make a good start, much like they did last term. But we are too. There is a real determination in the squad to try and repeat the success of the previous two years.

    “The manager is determined to do it and everyone in the dressing room is right behind him.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    New PA Announcer required

    Motherwell Football Club are on the lookout for a new Public Address (PA) announcer for the 2013/14 season.

    The club is keen to host a more flexible, modern and fan-friendly environment that will see supporters vote for various playlists prior to the match and at half-time.

    If you have the necessary experience, the enthusiasm to develop the role and are able to commit to every first-team match played at Fir Park, then we would be keen to hear from you.

    To register your interest, please contact press@motherwellfc.co.uk stating your experience.

  • Archive

    Under 20s kick off at Killie

    Motherwell U20s kick off their league campaign with an away trip to Rugby Park this Tuesday.

    Jonatan Johansson’s side will be looking to improve on last year’s thirteenth place finish after a productive pre-season.

    ‘Well lost 4-2 at Rugby Park last season but made up for it with a win at home by the same scoreline.

    The match will kick-off at 7pm with tickets priced at:

    ADULTS:   £5 
    CONCESSIONS:        £3
  • Archive

    Hibs ticket information

    Tickets for the SPFL Premiership match with Hibs this Sunday will be available from the Hibernian Ticket Office at Easter Road.

    Tickets are priced at:

    ADULTS:   £22 
    CONCESSIONS:                       £12
    • Concessions are listen as 18 or Under, 65 or over and Students with a valid student matriculation card.
    • There will be no pay at the turnstile facility.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 01555 870122 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    ————–

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Highlights from the Europa League fixture between Motherwell and Kuban Krasnodar where the Russian visitors ran out 2-0 winners

    -WATCH THE FULL HIGHLIGHTS ONLY ON MFC TV-

    MFC TV

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    TV: It’s Déjà vu for McCall

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was left frustrated as his side once again lost 0-2 at Fir Park in a European tie.

    Similar to last year when the Steelmen slipped up against Panathinaikos and Levante, Russian Premier League side Kuban Krasnodar all but killed the tie with the win.

    And it wasn’t just the scoreline that was identical, the nature of how things panned out will no doubt haunt ‘Well fans who were dreaming of progression to the ‘Play-off’ stage.

    There was no-one more gutted than the ‘Well boss, who had warned his side about the dangers of the counter-attack in the build-up to the fixture.

    [pullquote]The second goal was just so frustrating – even at 1-0 it was an uphill task – but we are still in it.[/pullquote]

    “We got to 74, 75 minutes and the plan was to go 4-4-2 and launch some balls in,” he said.

    “But the second goal – I saw it coming, as soon as it came out and we played the wrong pass. It was déjà vu – exactly the same as last season. We talked about it all week and by the looks of that we didn’t learn. That’s most disappointing aspect.

    “Listen, they were a better side, they were a yard sharper, they created better chances but we were still in the game.

    “We came in at half-time maybe fortunate to be 0-0 but they have not been beaten since November and are difficult to break down.

    “The second goal was just so frustrating – even at 1-0 it was an uphill task – but we are still in it. We can still go and defend well and nick a goal on the break or from a set-piece but the second goal is the most frustrating aspect.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Motherwell 0 – 2 Kuban Krasnodar

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell slumped to a 2-0 home defeat making it almost mission impossible when they head for Krasnodar next week.

    Whilst the Russians were strong opposition and showed a bit of quality in their first Euorpean tie, ‘Well were once again guilty of conceding goals on the counter attack, much to Stuart McCall’s frustration.

    Urged on by a crowd of just short of 7,000, ‘Well were looking for their first European result at Fir Park, after three consecutive defeats without a goal to show for their efforts.

    Stuart McCall had warned of the need to be patient. And aiming to the keep the tie alive after the home leg the ‘Well boss opted for a five man midfield, with Paul Lawson anchored in front of the back four.

    With John Sutton as a lone striker chances were going to be limited but within two minutes, Iain Vigurs tried his luck from 30-yards but drilled his shot a couple of yards wide of goal. A minute later a low drive from Sutton forced Belemov into his first save.

    Within a minute, though, Kuban posted a warning of their goal threat when Ibahima Baldé clipped the ball past Lee Hollis and just beyond the post. The Senegal striker then cut in from the left before curling shot just beyond the far post.

    Baldé was proving to be a real threat and after 20 minutes he came within inches of opening the scoring with a thumping 25-yard drive which came crashing back off the cross bar.

    Although James McFadden produced half an opening after a brilliant turn in the box ‘Well were finding it difficult to get in behind the Russian defence.

    Ten minutes from the interval Zaine Francis-Angol found space wide on the left and his low cross found Sutton in front of his marker but his scooped shot was held by Belemov under his cross bar.

    A minute later the Fir Park side had strong appeals for a penalty denied when McFadden’s cross was destined for Sutton’s forehead before he was bundled to the ground inside the six-yard box. The Swiss official was having none of it though.

    Motherwell seemed to grow in confidence as interval approached but there was another scare just before the break when Hollis failed to get to Kaboré’s free-kick and was relieved to see Xandão’s header bounce into the side netting.

    Kuban, deciding to go with only three at the bac,k threatened from the start of the second-half and it was no surprise when they grabbed the dreaded away goal after 51 minutes. Baldé threaded his way into the box unchallenged and when he crossed the ball into the six yard area Ivelin Popov slid the ball beyond Hollis to silence the home crowd.

    Popov almost doubled the visitors tally ten minutes later with a powerful dipping volley which Hollis acrobatically pushed over his cross bar.

    Motherwell responded with a period of sustained pressure on Belemov’s goal. Firstly a Keith Lasley cross found Sutton but his firm head was well held by the ‘keeper. Then James McFadden wriggled away from two defenders only to see his low drive deflect narrowly past the post. Bevelov was then forced into a good diving save low at his post to block Vigurs’ angled drive.

    Former Ross County man Vigurs then linked well with McFadden but once again his left foot shot was deflected wide.

    Just when it looked as if the ‘Well fans were set for a storming final ten minutes, the home side conceded a second goal in the 78th minute which killed the game and probably the tie.

    And similar to last season’s Europa ties, Motherwell were caught on the break when Hammell’s intercepted pass sent Baldé racing upfield before he laid the ball across to Popov who hammered the ball past the helpless Hollis.

    It could have been three when after another swift break substitute Djibril Cissé found himself unmarked but Hollis superbly blocked his drilled shot.

    ‘Well were then cruelly denied an injury time goal which would have given them some hope for next week but after rising superbly to meet Francis-Angol’s cross, Sutton could only watch in anguish as his powerful header rebounded off the post.

    McCall’s men must pick themselves up for the SPFL Premiership opener against Hibs at Easter Road on Sunday.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 0 – 2 Kuban Krasnodar

    92mins: Sutton heads off the post! Just not our night I’m afraid.

    91mins: Wonderful sliding tackle from Hutchinson to deny Urena

    90mins: 3 minutes to be added on

    87mins: Unlucky again for Vigurs. Good effort from 18 yards, tests Belemov low to his left

    85mins: Great save from Hollis to deny Cisse. Would have been a great goal after the quite brilliant through ball.

    85mins: Urena on for Bucur.

    82mins: Balde off for Cisse, Kerr on for McFadden.

    80mins: Motherwell sub, Anier on for Lawson.

    79mins: Kuban Krasnodar sub: Tsorayev makes way for Fidler.

    77mins: GOAL! – A real sucker punch as Popov taps home Balde’s cross. Counter attack, seconds later its in 🙁

    74mins: Again Vigurs finds space and gets a shot on target. It’s way for Belemov but encouraging nonetheless.

    71mins: Good spell. Vigurs the latest to try his luck with a volley from the angle.

    69mins: McFadden wins a corner. Hutchinson connects with it but it loops over!

    67mins: Good chance there as Dutton connects with Lasley’s cross. Straight at Belemov though!

    65mins: Hutchinson booked for crunching down Popov

    63mins: Chance here. Free kick wide on the right for Motherwell……. Belemov punches Lawson’s delivery clear.

    61mins: Fine save from Hollis to deny Popov from the edge of the box. Corner comes to nothing.

    57mins: Lawson delivers his FK in deep, easy gather for Belemov.

    52mins: GOAL! Popov pokes Balde’s cross home from 8 yards. 0-1

    49mins: Bit of comic relief there as the gaffer looked like he was about to step on and unleash an attack with a quick free kick. 😀

    47mins: Shaky start! Hammell has to be alert and manages to clear at the back post. Danger averted.

    45mins: Second half underway.

    HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 Kuban Krasnodar

    45mins: Heart skipped a beat there as Kabore floated one in, Hollis missed but thankfully was headed past at the far post. Phew.

    36mins: Claims for a penalty as Sutton rose to meet McFadden’s cross. Unclear if Dealbert impedes him, though.

    34mins: Popov inches away from getting onto Balde’s clipped through ball. Would have been a certain goal otherwise.

    29mins: Good football from Francis-Angol, Lasley and Vigurs there. Just lacking the final through ball from Vigs.

    28mins: Tsorayev goes for the top corner from 25 yards but curls it well over.

    25mins: Great tracking from Lasley as he shadows Kabore into the box and knocks it off him for a goal kick

    21mins: Balde strikes the bar from 20 yards. A real warning sign of what he is capable of.

    20mins: Corner to Motherwell…… McFadden heads the deep delivery past at the back post.

    15mins: Quarter of an hour in and ‘Well are coping admirably. Clearly the Russians have quality but ‘Well holding strong.

    10mis: Danger! Free kick from 30 yards…….Popov drills it into the wall!!

    Moments before that, Vigurs slid in Sutton who shot tamely to Belemovs left. Easy gather.

    4mins: Wow! Great chance for Balde, thankfully he clipped his volley inches past Hollis’ post from close range.

    1min: Half chance! Vigurs drags left footed shot just wide from 20 yards.

    And we’re off!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It was the same old story. We’re getting corners and then they break away and, bang – game over.

    “We were still in at 1-0 and the second goal’s just killed it.”

    “We worked really hard, we probably can play better but we’re up against a really strong side. It would’ve been nice if Sutton’s header at the end had gone in.

    “As disappointed as we are, there were some bright individual performances. Zaine was terrific in the second half. He looked excellent going forward for us.

    “[James McFadden] needs another three or four games to be at the top of his game. He won’t play against defenders like that every week, that’s for sure.

    “I don’t like doing this but if you compare budgets and you compare players, our lads gave as good as they could. They are a strong, strong side. They’ve not been beaten since November and you could tell why. They’re very organised and disciplined and a yard sharper.”

    FC Kuban manager Dorinel Munteanu:

    “I congratulated the players after the match but I reminded them that there’s a second game and we have to be extremely focused.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”150″]

  • Archive

    Cissé wary of McFadden threat

    Djibril Cissé admits he is wary of the threat of ‘Well forward James McFadden ahead of their Europa League meeting at Fir Park.

    The pair have previously faced each other in Merseyside derbies and will come face to face again in the first leg of the third qualifying round tomorrow night.

    Former Liverpool forward Cisse, who joined Kuban from QPR this summer, said: “He’s a really good player, a really talented player. He’s quite dangerous.

    “I can’t say that I really know the team but we’re doing videos to get to know them better.”

    Cisse is not certain to start given he joined Kuban midway through their pre-season campaign and an even more recent signing is head coach Dorinel Munteanu.

    The Romanian was only officially confirmed as Kuban’s head coach today after they agreed a deal with his former club Mordovia Saransk.

    [pullquote]He’s a really good player, a really talented player. He’s quite dangerous.[/pullquote]

    Although he has been orchestrating matters behind the scenes during the first three games of the Russian season, the 45-year-old was relieved to face the media for the first time as the club’s manager.

    Munteanu, who won 134 caps for Romania, said: “It was a period of uncertainty and it was quite hard when it wasn’t official.

    “Finally it’s all solved and I’m happy that I can sit on the bench for the European game.

    “It took some weight off my shoulders and I feel more confident. It’s good for the fans too because now we are all one team.”

    Kuban have taken five points from their opening three league games but suffered a blow last week when playmaker Aras Ozbiliz joined Spartak Moscow.

    However, Munteanu is comfortable with the state of his squad.

    “Motherwell have a reputation as a fighting team and they finished second in the Scottish championship, so they are a really good team,” he said. “I have enough information on them.

    “But I am pretty confident about my own team. The first three games were quite difficult, they were a test, but we got through it.”