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    Celtic 2 – 0 Motherwell

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    TV: Ainsworth aims to be impact player

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    TV: No case of fatigue for McCall

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    IRN-BRU agree SPFL partnership

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    Young to leave Academy post

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    Quarter Final prices confirmed

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Ibrox

  • Archive

    TV: Johansson proud of Ibrox win

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    Rangers U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

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    September’s Goal of the Month

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    Celtic 2 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at Celtic Park

    Motherwell failed to capitalise on Celtic’s midweek European exertions as the Parkhead side cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win.

    Sadly, for the Fir Park fans in the stadium, they watched their side surrender a seven game unbeaten run with little fight, with the Celtic ‘keeper Fraser Forster not required to make a single save until five minutes from time.

    With only three points separating the teams at kick-off, and both sides enjoying great league form, a close encounter was anticipated. Injuries to James McFadden and Henri Anier forced Stuart McCall into making two changes with Iain Vigurs and Lionel Ainsworth coming into the starting line-up.

    Undoubtedly the loss of the Estonian striker was a blow as John Sutton was asked to lead the attack on his own. But with five players across the midfield, the ploy was for Ainsworth and Zaine Francis-Angol to push forward on the wings and supply Sutton.

    However, after an early break when Sutton used his strength to get past Efe Ambrose at the edge of the box then failed to find Francis-Angol, play was contained to the visitors half. A series of crosses tested the ‘Well back four but there was nothing for the home fans to get excited about.

    Indeed most of their attention and boos were directed at Keith Lasley after his strong blocking tackle on Adam Matthews resulted in the Celtic full back being stretchered off with a shoulder injury.

    Then after 22 minutes, and out of nothing, Celtic took the lead. James Forrest’s cross was bouncing away from goal as Lee Hollis came out to punch clear. But as he attempted to get beyond Teemu Pukki, the ball took an awkward bounce and he only succeeded in playing the ball in front of Anthony Stokes.

    Although the angle was tight, the on-form Celtic striker lashed the ball high past the stranded ‘keeper and into the unguarded goal.

    The goal forced ‘Well to be a bit more adventurous and up until half time, the Fir Park players looked much more comfortable as they passed the ball around and pressed towards the home goal.

    However, It took a fabulous save from Hollis on the half hour to deny Kris Commons what would have been a killer second goal.

    At the other end, Ainsworth was causing Emilio Izaguirre some problems and after two hefty challenges from the Honduran full back, referee Iain Brines produced his yellow card. From the resultant free kick, Simon Ramsden found Sutton but his knock down bounced around the penalty box with no takers.

    Motherwell’s first attempt at goal came a minute from the break but the ball wouldn’t come down quickly enough for Ainsworth 20 yards out and his volley sailed high over the cross bar.

    Hopes of a more promising second half from ‘Well were dashed after only four minutes when Celtic doubled their lead.

    A careless pass gave possession to Commons in the middle of the park and he headed for goal almost unchallenged, skipping round Stevie Hammell at edge of the box before dinking the ball past the advancing Hollis to double ‘Well’s task.

    And Celtic might have added more as Hammell blocked Virgil van Dijk’s shot and Hollis denied Forrest with his feet. Just short of the hour mark Stuart McCall took the gamble of bringing on a less than fully fit Anier for Vigurs.

    Minutes later Ainsworth limped with Fraser Kerr taking over in midfield. It might not have changed the game but a high challenge from Izaguirre on Fraser went unpunished by the referee, fully aware that a foul would have resulted in a second yellow for the Celtic player.

    In the closing stages Motherwell looked busier in and around the Celtic box.

    Stuart Carswell’s cross forced Forster to punch clear but although the ball landed in front of Anier his quick return was blocked.

    In the 85th minute the Celtic ‘keeper produced a stunning save to deny Sutton his sixth goal of the season.

    Francis-Angol delivered a terrific cross into the six yard box and Sutton’s downward header looked certain to give ‘Well a late consolation goal until Forster dived low to his left to palm the ball away.
    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at Celtic Park

    FT: Celtic 2 – 0 Motherwell

    90mins: 3 minutes added on

    86mins: Motherwell sub, Lasley off for Lawson. Also a Celtic sub, Izaguirre off for Balde

    85mins: Forster finally called into action with a great save to deny Sutton from 8 yards. Seconds later, Sutty volleys just past the post!

    82min: Right, another corner………front post delivery headed clear then returned by Carswell and punched clear by Forster

    80mins: Another ‘Well corner comes to nothing. Frustrating day at the office as we’ve not troubled Forster once.

    75mins: Celtic sub: Pukki off for Biton

    71mins: Kerr hacked down by Izaguirre but nothing given?! Can only assume ref thought he didn’t have the ball under control?

    69mins: Commons gets a bit of space between our defence and midfield, turns and shoots well over the bar.

    63mins: Corner to Motherwell….Celtic clear.

    62mins: Motherwell sub, Ainsworth off for Kerr. Lionel looked to be carrying s knock

    58mins: Stokes should have burst the net there after a quick break from Celtic. Blasted well over though!

    57mins: Motherwell sub, Anier on for Vigurs

    54mins: Hollis with another good block with his feet from Forrest. Under a lot of pressure now.

    50mins: Van Dijk afforded too much space around our box and manages to weave his way through. Thankfully Hammell is on hand to block

    48mins: GOAL – Commons makes it 2-0 with a fine individual effort to be fair.

    47mins: Forrest cuts inside Hammell then back outside and gets a shot away. Straight at Hollis.

    46mins: Second half underway. COYW

    HT: Celtic 1 – 0 Motherwell

    45mins: Francis-Angol’s cross is headed to the edge of the box where Ainsworth is lurking. Volley’s well over from 20 yards though.

    44mins: Last 5 minutes have been ‘Well’s best spell of the game. Still to test Forster though.

    39mins: Izaguirre booked for a reckless tackle on Ainsworth

    35mins: Izaquirre fires just past the post from 25 yards

    33mins: Corner to ‘Well……set piece cleared with ease

    29mins: Great save from Hollis 1v1 with Forrest!

    24mins: First sort of chance there for ‘Well. Ramsden found Sutton in the box but his touch is heavy and Van Dijk clears.

    22mins: Almost two there as Commons gets on the end of Izaguirre’s cross and heads inches past the post!

    20mins: GOAL! Stokes makes it 1-0. Ball takes a bizarre spin away from Hollis and Stoke finishes well from a tight angle

    17mins: Struggling to get any sort of meaningful possession here. Camped in our own half and defending resolutely.

    13mins: Forrest replaces the injured Matthews

    9mins: Matthews goes down under a heavy challenge in the box from Lasley. Las got the ball, however Matthews is now being stretchered off

    3mins: Danger as Izaguirre’s cross causes some indecision in the box. Hollis gathers at the second attempt.

    1min: Game is underway. COYW!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “Once we grew into the game I was fairly happy, but both goals are poor from our point of view.

    “We gave them a little bit too much respect.”

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon:

    “Against a very good Motherwell team, it’s an exceptional performance.

    “Looking at the players yesterday, you could see they were all in good condition, and I think they were just looking forward to getting out there and playing again.

    “We controlled the game and some of the chances we created were great.

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”162”]

  • Archive

    TV: Ainsworth aims to be impact player

    On-loan Rotherham winger Lionel Ainsworth hopes to make a big impact at Celtic Park, even if it’s from the substitutes bench.

    The former Watford and Derby man has looked impressive in recent outings, including a wonder goal at Tannadice and three assists in wins against both Livingston and Ross County.

    And now the 25-year has last season’s Champions in his sights and reckons ‘Well will make the short journey down the M74 in confident mood.

    “The manager is obviously going to pick the strongest side he can but, regardless of whether I start or come off the bench, I hope to make an impact,” he told the gathered media at ‘Well’s pre-match news conference.

    [pullquote]The manager is obviously going to pick the strongest side he can but, regardless of whether I start or come off the bench, I hope to make an impact.[/pullquote]

    “People might think we will be on the back foot for long spells but we hope to give them problems too.

    “With the team the manager is able to field, we are confident in our abilities.

    “We don’t want to go there and sit back, what’s the point? We’re only three points behind them and this is an opportunity to try and pull level.

    “Sure, it will be a tough match but, if everyone sticks to their task, works hard and gives 100% then who knows what can happen.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: No case of fatigue for McCall

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall says Celtic’s midweek European exploits will play no part in the outcome of tomorrow’s match in Glasgow.

    Neil Lennon’s side battled hard in midweek Champions League action but lost 1-0 to Spanish giants Barecelona courtesy of a Cesc Fàbregas header.

    However, the Motherwell gaffer doesn’t believe that will have any influence and cited their large squad and experience.

    Speaking to the broadcast press and the Steelmen’s pre-match news conference, McCall said: “It might have been an advantage to use had Celtic played on Wednesday night, in Barcelona!

    [pullquote]We’ve been beaten there in recent years, but the games have always been tight. I think we’ve lost 1-0 on our last three visits but won the last two at home.[/pullquote]

    “But the truth is, Celtic have a squad to cope and they will be ready, I am certain of that.

    “We’ve got a couple of doubts and one or two who will definitely miss out through injury so there will be changes to the side.

    “That said, the lads are in decent form. We’ve been beaten there in recent years, but the games have always been tight. I think we’ve lost 1-0 on our last three visits but won the last two at home.

    “We are certainly in confident mood and will go there looking to get all three points.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    IRN-BRU agree SPFL partnership

    IRN-BRU and the SPFL have agreed the biggest signing of the summer as the nation’s favourite soft drink is announced as the Official Soft Drink of the SPFL.

    The agreement between A.G. Barr and the SPFL means that IRN-BRU’s long-standing association with the national game will continue, having already enjoyed six phenomenal years as title sponsor of the Scottish Football League.

    Adrian Troy, Head of Marketing at A.G. Barr, said: “IRN-BRU is very much part of the fabric of Scottish football and we’re proud that our deal with the SPFL lets us extend our support to the clubs across all four divisions.

    “We have a great relationship with football fans in Scotland, so we’re looking forward to working with the SPFL to support the clubs and their communities throughout the length and breadth of the country.

    “We’re excited to share the big matchday experience with every football fan in the country, no matter who they support.”

    Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of the SPFL, said: “The SPFL and our member clubs are delighted to have IRN-BRU on board as the Official Soft Drink of the SPFL for the next three seasons.

    “It is a very positive sign to the market that such a strong brand has invested in the new SPFL set-up.

    “IRN-BRU has been a fantastic supporter of Scottish football over the years, bringing its unique personality to the game. We’re excited for the future as we start to work together, in partnership with all 42 professional clubs in Scotland.”

    With IRN-BRU now the Official Soft Drink Partner of the SPFL, fans can now enjoy the perfect match day combination of IRN-BRU and football.

  • Archive

    Young to leave Academy post

    Motherwell Football Club regrets to announce Academy Director Gordon Young will leave the club to take up a new post with a club in England.

    Gordon replaced Chris McCart as Head of Youth Development in the summer of 2008 and has served the club with distinction in that time, overseeing the recruitment and progression of several players currently featuring in the first-team, including Stuart Carswell and Zaine Francis-Angol.

    He was also Under 19s manager for three years, twice finishing runners-up to Celtic in the Clydesdale Bank Under 19s table.

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said: “We would like to put on record our acknowledgement and thanks to Gordon for all his hard work in the last five years, particularly his two stints as interim manager of the first-team.

    “We are obviously sad to see Gordon go, however this is a new chapter in his career and also an exciting opportunity for the club to appoint a successor.

    “I plan to meet with a few candidates over the course of the next ten days or so.”

  • Archive

    Quarter Final prices confirmed

    Motherwell Football Club are pleased to confirm prices for the SPFL League Cup Quarter Final tie against Aberdeen on 30th October.

    Tickets for the match, which Motherwell fans can purchase from 9.15am tomorrow morning (Thursday 3rd October), are priced at:

    ADULTS:   £12 
    CONCESSIONS:                       £6
    • Concessions are listed as Under 16s, Over 60s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745 494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    Season Tickets will be valid for this match using the Special Cup Voucher from the book.

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said: “We have once again worked closely with Aberdeen Football Club to keep prices for this Cup tie as competitive as possible.

    “We hope the prices, coupled with the excitement around the match, will make for a healthy crowd and a great atmosphere inside Fir Park.

    “I would encourage fans of both clubs to pre-purchase tickets when they go on sale. Not only will they ensure entry to the game but it will also ease the pressure on the turnstiles on the night of the match.”

    Away fans should check with Aberdeen FC for information on ticket sales and distribution.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Ibrox

    Highlights from Ibrox as Motherwell Under 20s produce a fine performance to see off Rangers 2-1.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    TV: Johansson proud of Ibrox win

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson spoke of his pride at his team’s best showing in his thirteen months at Fir Park.

    The young Steelmen were up against a more experienced Rangers side on their own patch, but performed excellently to take all three points back along the M74 to Lanarkshire courtesy of first-half goals from Craig Moore and Dale Shirkie.

    It’s now three consecutive victories for the Fir Parkers and the 106 times capped former Finnish International has challenged his players to repeat that sort of performance at less glamorous surroundings.

    Speaking to MFC TV, he said: “I’m very proud of them and, as a team, that’s best they’ve played since I’ve been at Motherwell.

    [pullquote]There were a couple of performances at the beginning of the season that weren’t acceptable and then they show a performance like this. It doesn’t matter who we play against; we need to need to keep performing at that level and that is going to be the challenge for everyone.[/pullquote]

    “It’s very pleasing to see the young players growing instead of being scared here. We weren’t scared of getting the ball and kept moving it well to create chances. Rangers put some pressure on near the end but we defended well.

    “The players have set a standard in the last few games, especially today, and it’s about not dropping below that.

    “There were a couple of performances at the beginning of the season that weren’t acceptable and then they show a performance like this. It doesn’t matter who we play against; we need to need to keep performing at that level and that is going to be the challenge for everyone.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Rangers U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s turned in their best performance of the season so far to record a 2-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox.

    The Steelmen came into the match on the back of two wins and were excellent throughout.

    Craig Moore put ‘Well ahead from the spot after 28 minutes only for Rangers to get themselves level three minutes later, David Templeton’s free-kick deflected past the helpless Ross Stewart.

    Motherwell were back in front just four minutes later when Dale Shirkie fired a low effort under Steve Simonsen.

    The second half was end-to-end stuff but the Steelmen held out to record a famous win, the first of any Motherwell side at Ibrox for almost seventeen years and at the same time denying the hosts a return to the top of the table.

    Jonatan Johansson made two changes to the side that beat East Fife at Bayview last weekend. Ben Hall and Steven Higgins dropped out, replaced by Fraser Kerr and Adam Cummins as ‘Well lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

    Rangers had the likes of Dean Shiels, David Templeton, Fraser Aird, Barry McKay and Steve Simonsen amongst their starting eleven.

    The hosts made the better start but took twelve minutes to register a shot on target, Aird curling a shot straight at Ross Stewart who gathered comfortably.

    Kyle McAusland followed that with a low poked effort after a marauding run into the area, but the outstretched foot of Stewart denied him.

    Motherwell weathered some of that early Rangers pressure and gradually worked their way into the match. Adam Cummins flashed a header narrowly wide of the post before Moore headed a Leitch cross over the bar.

    It was Rangers who were looking the more threatening though, particularly on the counter, and Stewart would again deny McAusland before watching an Aird shot fly high over the bar after industrious build-up play from Templeton.

    It would be Motherwell who would break the deadlock from the penalty spot after the referee ruled McAusland had handled Morgyn Neill’s header inside the area. Rangers complained but Moore kept his composure, tucking it coolly into the corner, sending Simonsen the wrong way.

    The lead would only last three minutes though as Rangers got themselves level. Templeton was sent tumbling twenty-five yards from goal. The same player dusted himself down to take the kick that took a wicked deflection off Fraser Kerr and spun cruelly into the net.

    Parity was restored almost as quickly. Rangers went to sleep at a free kick, allowing Moore to roll it to Dale Shirkie. The striker cut inside his marker before firing a stinging drive under Simonsen and into the net.

    ‘Well made a positive start to the second half and only a desperate block by Templeton on the line denied Moore after a tantalising Leitch corner.

    Shortly after, Cummins might have done better inside the box with a close-range header but it bounced wide.

    Moore was then first to a Cummins through ball and beat Simonsen from an acute angle but Luca Gasparotto was on the line to stop it going in.

    There was a shout for a penalty when Moore went tumbling inside the area but it wasn’t given. Leitch was first to react to the loose ball but his low shot was deflected wide of the post.

    The resulting corner found Kerr inside the area but Templeton hooked his header off the line – the third time Rangers had saved a certain goal in a fifteen-minute spell.

    Motherwell continued to attack and Cadden was next to have a go but Simonsen held his bouncing shot.

    Gordon Durie threw on a couple of substitutes and that freshness allowed Rangers to gain the upper hand.

    Telfer fired a low shot down Stewart’s throat and David Templeton fired three long-range efforts way over the bar. Full-back Sinnamon hit a sweet shot that Stewart dealt with again before a fantastic last-ditch Leitch header off his own line saved the three points.

    The win should give the young Steelmen side confidence when they return to Fir Park to face Aberdeen next midweek.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Kerr, Ferguson, Cummins, Neill, Leitch, McCafferty, Shirkie (Anderson – 87mins), Moore, Thomas (Higgins – 83mins), Cadden

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall, McCall, Mackin

  • Archive

    September’s Goal of the Month

    Every month this season, Motherwell fans have the chance to vote on our club’s best goal.

    The Steelmen have netted eight times during September but we’ve narrowed it down to five goals and you can vote by watching the clip above then selecting your favourite goal.

    In amongst them have been some classics that will be no doubt be involved in the league’s best goal of the season.

    The winner will be selected when the poll closes on Friday night at 10pm.

    [poll id=”161″]