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    Motherwell 0 – 4 Dundee Utd

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    Vigurs proves every little helps

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    TV: Black’s hope for injured pair

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    Motherwell FC will remember

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    Dundee Utd Magazine Preview

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    McLean in charge for Dundee Utd test

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    TV: Highlights from Excelsior Stadium

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    TV: Johansson content with draw

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    Motherwell U20s 0 – 0 Dundee Utd U20s

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    Scott Leitch makes Fir Park return

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    Motherwell 0 – 4 Dundee Utd

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    A depleted Motherwell slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season as Dundee United scored four at Fir Park.

    Stuart McCall commended the Tannadice side by saying it was the best away performance he had seen from any team at Fir Park in his time as manager – it was a punishing afternoon for the Motherwell players and fans.

    Although it would be easy to use the absence of the ever present defensive trio of Simon Ramsden, Stevie Hammell and Shaun Hutchison missing through injuries and suspension, undoubtedly United took to the field with Motherwell’s untried back four in mind.

    And it was a testing afternoon for them. Although after a couple of early threat from the visitors, ‘Well fans were given some hope when inviting crosses from Iain Vigurs and Lionel Ainsworth just eluded John Sutton in front of goal.

    But it all started going wrong after fourteen minutes when Adam Cummins, short of first team match practice, thumped into the back of Ryan Gauld. And while the United youngster looked dazed, he was still alert enough to volley Gunnar Nielsen’s punched clearance home from the edge of the box.

    Two minutes later United were two up after Zaine Francis-Angol, covering at left back, lost possession allowing Gauld to cross and Paul Paton to head home from inside a packed penalty box.

    The Fir Park goal had a few narrow escapes before half-time but John Sutton almost pulled one back when his angled drive was touched beyond his post by Radoslaw Cierzniak.

    Encouraged by the introduction of James McFadden at half time, there was some faint hope that Motherwell might get back into the game but, in truth, the second half was a case of solid defending by Stephen McManus and some outstanding saves from Nielsen to keep the score respectable.

    Gauld grabbed his second and United’s third while Stuart Carswell was off and Euan Murray waited to take his place. But the Tannadice side were not content and Nielsen produced great stops to deny Graham and then Goodwillie making the scoreline even worse.

    Substitute Craig Moore came close to giving ‘Well fans some consolation with a dipping volley which wasn’t far off the target.

    But it was Andy Robertson who rounded off the scoring in injury time, lashing the ball high past a helpless Nielsen to end a terrific afternoon for the fans from Dundee but a miserable one for the home fans.

    As a disappointed McCall pointed out the ‘Well players now have two weeks to lick their wounds and prepare for the visit to Kilmarnock.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 0 – 4 Dundee Utd

    90mins: GOAL! Robertson makes it a miserable day for ‘Well with goal number four.

    90mins: Three minutes left to play here at Fir Park. It is sadly going to be our first home league defeat in three months 🙁

    87mins: Great save from Nielsen to deny Goodwillie low to his right!

    86mins: ‘Well counter and Moore see’s his volley drift wide of the right hand post

    85mins: Graham has a tame effort straight at Nielsen from distance

    82mins: Moore gets on the end of Ainsworth’s cross but heads wide.

    79mins: Dundee Utd sub, Ciftci off for Gomis

    71mins: Dundee Utd sub: Armstrong off for Goodwillie

    66mins: Utd sub as well, Graham on for Gauld

    66mins: Motherwell sub: Anier off for Moore

    64mins: Euan Murray makes his senior debut, introduced for the injured Stuart Carswell.

    63mins: GOAL! Gauld makes it 3-0

    58mins: MacKay-Steven hits the bar with a cross from the right. No sign of any sort of revival from ‘Well

    56mins: Great save from Nielsen to tip the ball onto the bar from Gauld’s effort which looped up off Kerr

    49mins: Ball falls nicely to Lasley about 25 yards out. He takes it on the volley but it’s just past

    46mins: Utd win a corner which falls to Paton. He shoots just wide of the post

    46mins: Second half underway

    HT: Half-time sub for ‘Well, McFadden on for Cummins

    HT: Motherwell 0 – 2 Dundee Utd

    45mins: Ciftci fires just past with a good effort from 28 yards

    36mins: Sutton flashes a shot across the face of goal. Unlucky.

    33mins: Robertson has the ball in the net but thankfully the linesman’s flag is up!!

    25mins: ‘Well searching for a way back into this. Vigurs slides in Sutton who gets tackled as he’s about to pull the trigger. Corner ‘Well

    21mins: Utd running us ragged at the moment. Ciftci drags his shot just wide from 12 yards on the angle

    18mins: GOAL! Utd go 2 up after Paton heads home from 10 yards

    15mins: GOAL! From the free kick Nielsen punches clear but Gauld was on hand to stick it in the net

    14mins: Cummins booked for barging into Gauld

    12mins: Corner to ‘Well….McManus heads just over!

    10mins: Armstrong has a left footed effort from 25 yards which Cummins took the sting out of. Nielsen prevents the corner

    6mins: Vigurs beats Wison to the ball and whips it across goal for Sutton. The Englishman was just inches away from making contact

    4mins: Decent chance for Utd as Ciftci gets in the box. His cut back is gathered by Nielsen though

    1min: Carswell and Lasley kick the game off #COYW


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I’ve had almost three years in the job here and that’s far and away the best away performance that has been here.

    “Days like this can happen. We’ll lick our wounds; we’ll take it on the chin. Obviously, you don’t want to get beat at home and you don’t want to get beat by that scoreline.

    “We wanted to be better. You’ve got to just hold your hands up, take your hats off and say we were beaten by an outstanding young side, who were playing at the top of their game.

    “We’ll put a line through it, you can’t look too deeply into that. They’ve got a really good, talented squad we’ve got to regroup. It’s a sore one but we’ll certainly be in better fettle when we go to Kilmarnock.”

    Dundee Utd manager Jackie McNamara:

    “I thought we were excellent from start to finish. We looked a real threat with the chances we were creating.

    “They have ability and they have a lot to offer. Andrew Robertson, I thought was terrific. He got his just rewards at the end with a fantastic finish.

    “If anything I was a wee bit disappointed just going in at 2-0 at half-time. This is always a hard place to come to. Motherwell had won five out the last six games at home.

    “We had to be on our game and today we were.”


    [poll id=”167″]

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    Vigurs proves every little helps

    Last Monday, local primary school children from across North Lanarkshire had an incredible morning of football, as the Tesco Bank Football Challenge visited the area for a fun-filled festival at Ravenscraig, attended by midfielder Iain Vigurs.

    The 240 pupils from 24 schools are the latest to have taken part in six weeks of coaching sessions as part of the Scottish FA’s flagship participation programme and came together for a finale to remember.

    The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is a four-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The project introduces football to Primary Two and Primary Three children (six to eight years old) across Scotland to help get them engaged in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    A remarkable 61,112 children across 1,562 schools in Scotland have now engaged with the country’s leading football participation programme. Teachers and volunteers continue to enjoy the Scottish FA’s in-service programme with over 3,500 now trained to support the growth of football in schools.

    Isabel Agnew, Head Teacher at St Andrew’s Primary School, said: “The children have had a great six weeks of coaching with the Scottish FA and today marks a perfect end to the programme. They have learnt so many important skills since taking part.”

    Scottish FA Football Development Officer Andy Smith said: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge continues to grow across the length and breadth of the country and we’re pleased to welcome the children to (Motherwell) for this latest festival.”

    Adele Mills, Community Investment Manager at Tesco Bank, added: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge has benefited teachers, pupils and volunteers year on year and has an important aim of promoting health and wellbeing to youngsters in Scotland. It was great to see the children having such a great time today.”

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    TV: Black’s hope for injured pair

    Assistant boss Kenny Black has revealed both Simon Ramsden and Stevie Hammell may yet be in contention for tomorrow’s match.

    It seemed certain the experienced defenders would join the suspended Shaun Hutchinson on the sidelines after being carried off against Hibernian last Sunday.

    However, Ramsden’s hamstring injury wasn’t as bad as first feared and Hammell’s gashed leg has healed well, allowing him to potentially strap it up to start the match.

    Both will go through a fitness tests tomorrow morning with John Porteous with the management team giving them every chance to play.

    [pullquote]We’re going to give Stevie Hammell and Simon Ramsden every chance to be available; the fact we have a fortnight without a match might allow us to get one or even both of them over the line when they otherwise might not have played.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV this afternoon, the former Motherwell midfielder said: “After the Hibs game last Sunday, both the manager and I were thinking about how we would shape up against Dundee United.

    “However, the only player definitely out at the moment is Shaun Hutchinson, who is suspended after his red card.

    “We’re going to give Stevie Hammell and Simon Ramsden every chance to be available; the fact we have a fortnight without a match might allow us to get one or even both of them over the line when they otherwise might not have played.

    “They are two important players as we don’t have the benefit of a large squad to choose from. Obviously Adam Cummins and Fraser Kerr are chomping at the bit for a spot, but we’ll see how they react tomorrow before making any decision.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell FC will remember

    Motherwell Football Club will commemorate Remembrance Day by wearing special poppy shirts against Dundee Utd tomorrow.

    The Steelmen have a close relationship with the Armed Forces and in particular The Royal Regiment of Scotland (both 1 & 2 SCOTS) who receive 30 season tickets for soldiers in Scotland and four season tickets for each of the soldier’s families.

    This weekend, both Motherwell and Dundee Utd will ask fans to join in a minutes of silence prior to kick-off to pay respect to all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd Magazine Preview

    The eighth domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2013/14 is on sale when Dundee United visit on Saturday.

    But what is inside the 68-page issue?

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall returns with his regular column.

    The manager reflects on the importance of Sunday’s win against Hibernian and what he expects from a talented and attack-minded Dundee United side.

    The feature interview is with the Fir Park skipper Keith Lasley. The 34-year old midfielder talks about his hopes of still lifting silverware in the winter of his playing career.

    “Las” also features as the fifth of a souvenir poster collection in the centre pages.

    But that’s not where the features stop!

    There is a 14-page section dedicated to our visitors, Dundee Utd. Ray Morrison introduces the Tannadice side and there is a player-by-player breakdown of who is likely to line up for the Arabs.

    We continue our opposition manager section by speaking directly to Terrors gaffer Jackie McNamara. The former Celtic defender speaks candidly about his hopes of creating an entertaining, winning side on Tayside.

    Graeme McGarry’s ‘Them and Us’ returns as we catch up with Bristol Rovers defender Jim Paterson. The full-back chats about what he expects from Motherwell’s newest appointment, Scott Leitch, and his memories of playing at both Fir Park and Tannadice.

    The big features keep coming…

    Press & Media Manager Alan Burrows returns in ‘The Last Word’ and the next round of new quiz, MFC Eggheads, it’s the battle of the youngsters as Adam Cummins squares up against Stuart Carswell.

    We welcome Scott Leitch and catch up with Iain Vigurs who joined local kids at Tesco Bank’s recent Football Challenge.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Our match reports section takes a look back at Sunday’s 1-0 win over Hibs and there’s the match report from the Under 20s 0-0 draw with Dundee United.

    We have the latest from The Ticket Office, Commercial and Community

    Departments, and update from the Well Society as well as the latest stats, facts and figures from the 2013/2014 campaign.

    We also take a statistical look at the match official and detail how your local club can get more involved at Fir Park.

    Another new feature is the ‘Junior Steel’ kids page that will test the youngster’s quiz minds with puzzles and ‘Did you know’ facts.

    The programme is available for £3 and is will be on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a season-long subscription to the magazine by visiting the website of our publishers – Curtis-Sports – CLICK HERE

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    McLean in charge for Dundee Utd test

    Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Dundee United at Fir Park will be Steven McLean.

    McLean, brother of former ‘Well and United defender Brian, will be handling his first ‘Well game of the current campaign and his first at the home of the Steelmen in almost two years.

    That said, he is a very familiar face to most Motherwell fans having took charge of six matches last term.

    His first was the exceptional 5-1 success over Inverness CT back 12 months ago. Henrik Ojamaa, Adam Cummins, Omar Daley and a Jamie Murphy double completed the rout.

    His second was perhaps even more memorable as Motherwell came back from 2-0 down at Easter Road to win 3-2. A Doyle double had the home side in a commanding position but a Murphy brace and a late Bob McHugh winner handed the Steelmen all three points.

    Third was the New Year fixture against Celtic when a brave ‘Well went down 1-0 after Tom Hateley had missed a second half penalty.

    Fourth was the instantly forgettable 2-0 defeat at Rugby Park in February whereas the fifth was a comfortable 3-0 win at Dens Park – Michael Higdon heading home before a Nicky Law double sealed the three points.

    His last was the season finale at McDiarmid Park as the Steelmen went down 2-0 to a Saints side that won the race for Europe ahead of Inverness and Ross County.

    McLean began his refereeing career back in 1997, aged just 16, but had to wait six years before being promoted to the SFA Senior List.

    It took him a further four years (June 2007) to get promoted to a Category 1 where he has spent the three years handling old SFL and Challenge Cup games as well as gaining experience as a fourth official at SPL matches. He is now regarded as one of the country’s top officials.

    He has had an extremely busy start to the season already – handling nine SPFL Premiership matches in the first twelve weeks.

    He has also had two League Cup matches, both at the Falkirk Stadium, and two Europa League Qualifiers – Omonia Nikosia’s 1-2 defeat by Romania’s Astra Giurgiu and Serbian side FK Vojvodina’s 2-2 draw with Bursaspor.

    McLean will be ably assisted by George Drummond and Stuart Stevenson with Barry Cook on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is John Young and SPFL Delegate is George Douglas.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Excelsior Stadium

    Extended highlights from Excelsior Stadium as Motherwell U20’s and Dundee Utd U20’s play out an uninspiring 0-0 draw. 


    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson content with draw

    Despite a 0-0 stalemate, Jonatan Johansson declared himself content with how his side performed against Dundee Utd tonight.

    ‘Well, who came into the match on the strength of six successive wins, couldn’t keep the run going against an organised and disciplined United side.

    The visitors hit the post from distance in what was the games best moment. In truth, the only real fireworks were the ones being set off outside the Excelsior Stadium.

    Johansson was fairly satisfied with how his side performed and was pleased to maintain his side’s unbeaten run that now stretches back over two months.

    [pullquote]The second half was an much improved showing. We used the ball better, got into wide areas only for our final ball let us down on occasions.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “I’m pretty pleased, particularly with the second half performance where I felt we were the better team.

    “I came in at half-time a bit upset as I felt we were going through the motions a little bit. It was almost as if we were waiting for the game to start, looking around for someone to produce a little spark.

    “The second half was an much improved showing. We used the ball better, got into wide areas only for our final ball let us down on occasions.

    “It keeps the unbeaten run going and we look forward to our trip to Inverness in seven days time.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 0 – 0 Dundee Utd U20s

    Motherwell U20s shared the spoils in a fairly uneventful 0-0 draw with Dundee United this evening.

    The Fir Parkers were looking for their seventh consecutive win but were denied by a stubborn United side.

    In truth, it was a fair result with both Ross Stewart and Joe McGovern rarely troubled between the sticks at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium.

    Jonatan Johansson made two changes to the starting eleven that put five past Falkirk a fortnight ago. Steven Higgins and Adam Cummins dropped out, replaced by Morgyn Neill and Bob McHugh.

    United were the first to threaten via Ali Coute but his long-range effort was fired straight at Stewart in the home goal. Eight minutes later, Aiden Connolly created a chance for Scott Fraser but he swept his shot over the bar after a decent pullback.

    It took ‘Well sixteen minutes to get a shot off at the United goal but McHugh’s free-kick sailed high into the stand. Shortly after, Euan Murray almost broke the deadlock but his header from a Leitch corner was hooked off the line.

    ‘Well were starting to get the upper hand but it was Stevie Campbell’s side who almost took the lead.

    Connolly collected twenty-five yards out after the Arabs had quickly turned defence into attack. He smashed a stinging effort off the post with Stewart at full stretch.

    Down the other end, Motherwell quickly replied with their best effort of the half when Paul McCafferty got on the end of Dom Thomas’ hung up cross to the back post but his header cannoned into the ground and was comfortable for McGovern to clutch.

    Just before the interval, Morgyn Neill almost turned a cross into his own net but was relieved to see his header drop just over the bar for a corner.

    Six minutes into the second half and the Terrors passed up their best chance of the match. Euan Spark found space on the right flank and delivered a great ball into the middle for Mark Russell who could only head wide when a goal seemed certain.

    Craig Moore, who has been in red-hot form for the Under 20s, might think he should have hit the target just before the hour as ‘Well cut United open.

    Thomas and David Ferguson combined down the left. The former crossed it for McHugh whose shot hit Moore on route to goal. As it bounced loose, the little striker was on it in a flash, but could only turn his shot wide of the post.

    As the game drew to a close, Dale Shirkie fired over when he perhaps had a better option in McHugh to his left. Shortly after, McHugh himself almost opened the scoring with a curling shot from distance but it dropped just over the bar with McGovern scrambling to get back.

    The game eventually finished 0-0, ending Motherwell’s winning run but keeps the unbeaten streak going for at least another week.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, Ferguson, Murray, Neill, Leitch, McCafferty (Higgins – 75mins), Shirkie, McHugh, Moore, Thomas

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall, Kellock, Mackin, Anderson

  • Archive

    Scott Leitch makes Fir Park return

    Scott Leitch has returned to Fir Park for a third time after being appointed the clubs’ Academy Director.

    Leitch, a former captain and assistant manager, will replace Gordon Young who left to take up a role with English League One side Sheffield United.

    Scott, a product of the Motherwell youth system himself, enjoyed a successful playing career with Dunfermline, Hearts and Swindon Town before rejoining his hometown club in 2000.

    He spent six productive years in North Lanarkshire, including as skipper through the choppy waters of administration before eventually leading the team out at the 2005 League Cup Final with the club back on a sound financial footing.

    After his retirement in 2006, he went on to manage Ross County, winning the Challenge Cup, before returning to Motherwell again for a very successful two-year stint as Mark McGhee’s assistant, including a ‘best of the rest’ SPL finish in 2007/08.

    After following McGhee to Pittodrie for a spell at Aberdeen, he most recently worked with another former Motherwell Head of Youth, Chris McCart, at Celtic’s Elite Academy.

    Scott said: “I am delighted to be back at the club again and I am really looking forward to the role.

    “All through history, this club has always enjoyed a reputation for producing quality footballers and that’s something I aim to continue.

    “In the current climate, cultivating your own talent is paramount to the success of any club and that is my primary objective.”

    Motherwell Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said: “It was important we filled this vital role with someone who has a wealth of experience as a player and is respected and known in the game as an excellent coach, particularly with younger players.

    “The Youth Development department went under a major restructure a little over a year ago and we established the Motherwell Academy at Braidhurst.

    “Scott’s role will to be take a fresh look at what we’ve done so far with the aim of getting young players from Lanarkshire and beyond through our system and into the first-team squad.

    “He is a strong personality who knows this club inside out and has such a strong affinity with the place. We are really excited about this next phase for the football club.”

    “We would also like to take another opportunity to thank Gordon Young for all his hard work and wish him every success in his new role.”