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    Kilmarnock 0 – 2 Motherwell

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    TV: Vigurs keen to rediscover form

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    TV: Back to basics for McCall

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    Finnie’s in charge at Rugby Park

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    International double for Anier

  • Archive

    Annual Sportsman’s Dinner: 2013

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    Christmas Party Night: 7th December

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: Johansson reflects on Celtic defeat

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    Motherwell U20s 0 – 5 Celtic U20s

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    Kilmarnock 0 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at Rugby Park

    Motherwell returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory at Kilmarnock and moved up to third in the table.

    Second half goals from John Sutton and Henri Anier sealed the points but it was a good performance from back to front from Stuart McCall’s men.

    The only criticism would be that the win could have been more emphatic. Indeed, Craig Moore making his first league start, might have grabbed a hat-trick inside the opening 22 minutes as ‘Well dominated the early proceedings.

    Despite the two week international break, injuries still kept Simon Ramsden, Stevie Hammell and Stuart Carswell sidelined, the latter two starting on the bench. Shaun Hutchinson, though, returned from suspension to bolster the back four.

    Second bottom Kilmarnock were chasing a third consecutive home win and with striker Kris Boyd boosted by his Scotland call-up, the understrength Fir Park defence should have faced a difficult afternoon.

    Anier after his midweek exertions with Estonia also started on the bench allowing Craig Moore to start, partnering John Sutton in attack.

    And the ‘Well youngster almost made it a dream start after six minutes when he latched onto a loose ball in the home box only to curl his shot over Craig Samson and the ‘keeper’s cross bar.

    Motherwell’s passing and pressing game, with the both fullbacks pushing forward, gave the home defence some anxious moments.

    In the 16th minute a terrific run from Zaine Francis-Angol carried him to the goal line before sweeping the ball into the six yard box. Sutton’s effort was blocked but the ball rebounded to Moore who slashed his shot wide of goal.

    Then after 22 minutes the teenage striker passed up his third and best chance. Paul Lawson’s long pass bounced past Mark O’Hara allowing Moore to race in on goal unchallenged but he lacked a bit of composure as he dragged his shot across Samson and inches past the post

    ‘Well almost paid for that miss when Boyd tried to dribble the ball towards Gunnar Nielsen but Hutchison and Stephen McManus combined to block him as the Killie man looked certain to strike.

    ‘Well were in control and the Killie fans largely subdued and eight minutes from half-time only Samson’s reflexes denied the visitors a deserved lead. Kerr burst down the right before drilling in a perfect cross for Sutton whose powerful header was racing under the bar until the Kille keeper stretched to push it over.

    Nielsen was finally called into action three minutes from half-time. Boyd’s angled drive looked destined for the far far corner until the ‘Well keeper, at full stretch low to his left palmed the ball out.

    Probably frustrated that their possession and chances hadn’t been converted into goals, Stuart McCall made one change at the interval replacing James McFadden with Lionel Ainsworth.

    And his introduction almost had an immediate effect as Moore held off Manny Pascali before setting up the substitute with a cute back-healer only to watch Ainsworth screw his shot wide of goal from 12 yards.

    Even the home fans sensed that a Motherwell goal was long overdue and it finally arrived after 53 minutes.

    Francis-Angol sent Ainsworth down the right and although his ball across goal found no takers, Iain Vigurs returned it from the left side finding Sutton stooping to head the ball low past Samson from six yards.

    That produced an immediate response from Killie and a thundering 20 yard drive from Michael Gardyne forced another fabulous one handed stop from Nielsen.

    A deflected Clingan shot almost bounced inside thepost as the home fans sensed a fight back. Boyd failed to test Nielsen as Killie had their best spell of the game, but ‘Well remained tight and commanding at the back.

    Moore, who proved to be a real handful for the experienced Pascali, was given a rousing ovation from the travelling support after a thoroughly committed and encouraging 78 minutes.

    Anier, who came off the bench to claim two goals for Estonia in midweek was eager for something similar but it was Sutton who came within a metre of grabbing his second when he connected solidly with Ainsworth’s cross sending the ball dipping just over the bar.

    But with three minutes to go Anier claimed his goal using his strength to turn O’Hara before slipping the ball under Samson to tie up the points and round off a great day’s work for the Fir Park men.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at Rugby Park

    FT: Kilmarnock 0 – 2 Motherwell

    88mins: Anier does fantastically to spin past O’Hara and poke the ball past Samson to make it 2-0!!!


    85mins: Final Killie change, Winchester on for Clingan

    81mins: Killie sub, Gros on for Gardyne

    81mins: Good work from Kerr to get down the right wing and swing in a ball. It’s awkward for Sutton but he gets a shot away. Just over.

    79mins: Gardyne booked for leaving a boot in on Lasley.

    78mins: Motherwell sub, Moore off for Anier.

    78mins: Lawson booked for tumbling into Johnston

    77mins: Pascali’s header is straight at Nielsen from the Killie corner. Should have done better.

    75mins: Sub McKenzie cuts in from the left and lets fly. Just past the right hand post

    72mins: Killie sub, McKenzie on for Nicholson

    67mins: Pascali booked for hacking down Moore. Good position for the FK…..Vigurs shoots just over

    65mins: Boyd passes up a great chance to level. Perhaps the cross was a fraction deep for him and he headed over from 6 yards

    60mins: Francis-Angol’s cross slithers under Samson for a corner. From that Hutchinson heads wide.

    55mins: Almost the equaliser! Nielsen reacts well to deny Boyd with a strong hand then Slater’s cross flashes across goal with no takers!

    54mins: Sutton opens the scoring with a slow motion diving header!!! Vigurs with the assist!! 0-1


    49mins: Motherwell counter and from Moore’s backheel, Ainsworth can only drag his shot wide of the left post. Good chance

    48mins: Johnston tries his luck from 25 yards but shoots straight at Nielsen.

    Half-time sub, McFadden off for Ainsworth

    HT: Kilmarnock 0 – 0 Motherwell

    42mins: Good save from Nielsen to deny Boyd on his left foot from a narrow angle. Francis-Angol mops up.

    41mins: Moore wins a corner after his shot is deflected wide…..McFadden delivers but Nicholson clears

    38mins: Glorious chance for Sutton! Gets a powerful header on target but Samson is equal to it and palms over!

    31mins: Boyd gets the break of the ball in the box and as he looks to pull the trigger, McManus and Lawson do enough to put him off.

    24mins: Gardyne wins Killie a free-kick 25 yards out, central. Clingan gets it over the wall, but it also clears the bar. Still 0-0

    22mins: Third good chance of the day for Moore! O’Hara slipped and let him in 1v1. Dragged it just wide with his weaker foot!

    17mins: Another corner to ‘Well after Lawson’s volley was deflected wide.

    15mins: Another good chance as the ball falls to Moore from Franci-Angols cross which evaded Sutton. Youngster slices it wide.

    12mins: McFadden curls in a ball first time from the right. Vigurs can’t quite get enough on it to get it on target.

    10mins: Francis-Angol wins the first corner of the game… McFadden’s delivery is hooked clear by Gardyne

    6mins: Great tenacity from Moore to battle and win the ball to create a shooting opportunity. Just over from 16 yards!!

    3mins: Johnstone wins a free-kick 30 yards out in a crossable position. And from that, Pascali heads straight at Nielsen from Clingan’s delivery

    1min: Boyd and O’Hara get the game underway. #kfcvmfc


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “We set up to play in a slightly different way and after taking a little while to settle we got into a good pattern. The full-backs got high and wide and got some really good balls in.

    “We were disappointed to come in at half-time and not be ahead. But we had a clean sheet and a really strong, positive performance.

    “Sometimes when you miss chances it comes back to haunt you. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and Henri’s goal put the icing on the cake.

    “The last four games, even though we beat Hibs, we have not performed at a great level. Today we were back more like ourselves. We were strong and resolute when we needed to be and also played some good football.”

    Kilmarnock manager Allan Johnston:

    “When you look at the performance, I don’t think it merited a 2-0 defeat. But how many times can we keep saying the same thing?

    “We created a few good chances but teams don’t need to work hard to score against us and that’s been a problem since we came in.

    “There were loads of mistakes for the first goal. It came from our corner. They have got one striker up the park and we have two back and he manages to hold the ball in.

    “Then the ball gets played across the face of goal, comes out the other side and comes back in again and Sutton is still standing by himself, and we have three or four players round about him. It’s just basic defending, you pick someone up.

    “And the second goal we just got bullied. It’s very poor defending.”


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    TV: Vigurs keen to rediscover form

    Iain Vigurs has become his own harshest critic as he waits for his Fir Park career to really take off.

    Vigurs was sensational for Ross County last year, pitching in with nine goals and nine assists in the Scottish Premier League, helping Derek Adams’ men to an impressive top half finish.

    By his own admission, the 25-year old hasn’t quite hit top gear in Claret and Amber although, in his defence, he has been used in a variety of roles across a changing Steelmen midfield.

    Appraising himself, the former Inverness and Elgin star spoke openly and honestly and told MFC TV he will double his efforts in training and matches to try and recapture some of last season’s form.

    [pullquote]Maybe I haven’t found my feet on the pitch as yet but I’ll work hard and put in good hours on the training field and hopefully that will show on game day.[/pullquote]

    He said: “My own performances have not been up to par, either for my own or the club’s standards.

    “I don’t mind playing in different positions; I’ve done that before so it’s not like it’s new to me, but I’ve been unhappy with my own performances.

    “Maybe I haven’t found my feet on the pitch as yet but I’ll work hard and put in good hours on the training field and hopefully that will show on game day.

    “My aim is to get a goal as quickly as possible. It’s disappointing not to have scored yet and I can imagine that also disappoints both the fans and the gaffer too.

    ‘I know I’ve not played as well as I can but I know I have a lot more to give.

    “In saying that, from a the team’s perspective, although everyone accepts we’ve not got into top gear, we’re still just three points behind second place and that gives us room for optimism.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: Back to basics for McCall

    Stuart McCall has urged his side to get back to basics as the Steelmen aim to recapture the form of late August and September.

    ‘Well went six weeks unbeaten during that run, including five wins and a draw from six matches,

    Recent form has been patchier though; four defeats in the last six outings, with just two victories.

    Conceding cheap goals has been an Achilles heel and that is something the Fir Park boss has focused on in recent training sessions.

    [pullquote]We’ve got to cut that out; it’s down to concentration, communication and organisation and that’s what we have been working on.[/pullquote]

    “As much as the Dundee United game is out our system now, we have to learn lessons from it,” he told MFC TV ahead of Saturday’s SPFL Premiership match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

    “If you look at the first two we conceded [against Dundee Utd], they are extremely poor goals to lose in terms of communication and decision-making. That gave them a boost and deflated us a little.

    “Over the last four or five matches, we’ve dropped our standards a little bit, both in terms of creating and taking chances and defending. We’ve not really been ripped open by many teams but we’ve given away far too many sloppy goals.

    “We’ve got to cut that out; it’s down to concentration, communication and organisation and that’s what we have been working on.”


    MFC TV

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    Finnie’s in charge at Rugby Park

    Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park is Stephen Finnie.

    It will be Stephen’s first ‘Well match of the 2013/14 campaign after officiating the Fir Parkers twice last term.

    The first was, ironically enough, at Rugby Park as a Jamie Murphy double secured all three points in a 2-1 win.

    The other was the rearranged match against Dundee United at Fir Park last February. Johnny Russell scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win for the Terrors.

    Prior to that match at Rugby Park last season, Stephen had almost gone two years without a ‘Well fixture; you have to go all the way back to the Steelmen’s narrow defeat to Celtic in Glasgow the day before Stuart McCall took up the hot seat at the club in December 2010.

    In the same season, he was also the man in the middle as ‘Well crashed 4-1 at Ibrox. Nick Blackman had actually put the Fir Parkers ahead but second half strikes from Steven Naismith, Steve Davies, Kenny Miller and Vladimir Weiss gave the home side a comfortable victory.

    In actual fact, since taking matches in the top-flight of Scottish football, Stephen has only ever officiated seven Motherwell matches.

    Other than those Old Firm defeats, there was a 3-1 home win over Hearts in March of 2010 (Goals from Mark Reynolds, John Sutton and Jim O’Brien), a 1-0 defeat at Tannadice in October 2007 (Darren Dods heading home the games’ only goal) and a 2-0 win over Dunfermline in March 2007 courtesy of a Scott McDonald brace.

    In those seven matches, he has dished out 32 cautions, eight of which flashed at a player wearing Claret and Amber. Only one player has been sent for an early bath and that was Scott Brown for a second bookable offence in that match at Parkhead in 2010.

    Stephen will be ably assisted on the day by Stephen Mitchell and Stuart Hodge with John McKendrick assigned as fourth official.

  • Archive

    International double for Anier

    Henri Anier came off the bench and netted a brace as Estonia beat Liechtenstein 3-0 in Vaduz last night.

    The on-loan Viking striker scored his third of the year for the national team in the 61st minute, calmly capitalising on a defensive error.

    The 22-year old then added his second of the evening two minutes later to complete the scoring for Tarmo Rüütli side.

    That takes his tally to five in thirteen appearances for the Sinisärgid, whilst he has four in eleven starts in Claret and Amber.

    Meanwhile, Gunnar Nielsen is travelling back to the club for training tomorrow after winning his twentieth cap for the Faroe Islands in Malta.

    Unfortunately, despite fighting back from 3-0 down, the Islanders could only manage a 3-2 defeat.

    Both will be in the squad for Saturday’s visit to Rugby Park as ‘Well look to bounce back against Kilmarnock.

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    Annual Sportsman’s Dinner: 2013

    There are still a handful of tables left for this Sunday’s Sportsman’s Dinner.

    Held at Dalziel Park Hotel on Sunday 24th November, and starting at 7pm with pre-dinner drinks, it promises to be a night to remember.

    The Scottish Sun’s Andy Devlin will host a Q&A with ‘Well boss Stuart McCall, before throwing it open to the floor for guests to ask the former Scotland International whatever they want.

    The Daily Record’s Tam Cowan will host something similar with cult hero Sieb Dijkstra, who is flying in especially for the event.

    The 6ft 5 inch Dutch stopper was a mainstay between the sticks for the Steelmen back in the early 1990s and ‘Well fans will no doubt relish the opportunity to hear some of his stories and ask him those probing questions.

    The ‘Well legends will take to the stage after a delicious three-course meal.

    The speaker for the night will be the hilarious Eric Davidson who is, without doubt, one of the finest blethers on the After Dinner circuit.

    We will also have an auction not to be missed, with some of the most incredible ‘money can’t buy’ experiences that any ‘Well fan would love.

    If you want to attend, tables of ten cost just £350+VAT. You can book by phoning 01698 333333, emailing or online by CLICKING HERE.

    Attenders should note that some of the language used on the night may by a little coarse and not suitable for children or the easily offended.

    DRESS CODE: Lounge suits / open shirt – no requirement to wear a tie.

  • Archive

    Christmas Party Night: 7th December

    Motherwell are delighted to offer the perfect destination, a choice of tempting cuisine and sparkling entertainment this winter.

    Christmas parties at Fir Park are always a night to remember and this year will be no different.

    We’ve all the ingredients for a great party; high quality catering, lively entertainment and excellent service.

    Enjoy a fabulous three-course meal in the Centenary Suite then afterwards dance the night away with our live band and in-house DJ.

    All this for an unbelievable £27.95 per person.


    If you would rather not book online, phone the Commercial Team on 01698 338008 / 338062 or email to secure your seat.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as Motherwell U20s are comprehensively beaten 5-0 by Celtic U20s.


    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson reflects on Celtic defeat

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson conceded his side were well beaten by a rampant Celtic this evening.

    The young Steelmen had been on an impressive eight-match unbeaten run stretching back to early September.

    But they were second best for majority of the match at Fir Park and Stephen Frail’s side racked up five goals without reply.

    The 106 times capped former Finnish International reckons the defeat will act as a wake-up call for his squad and spoke of his disappointment at the manner of goals conceded.

    [pullquote]It’s a wake-up call though and a reminder of what the best standard of youth football is in Scotland at this moment.[/pullquote]

    He told MFC TV: “I have no complaints about the score, it was always going to be a tough game against a good side.

    “From our point of view, if there is one thing I want to criticise, it’s the manner of the goals we lost, especially the first, second and fourth.

    “We looked a bit tired towards the end and unfortunately shipped three goals. It’s a harsh score line for my boys, but a comprehensive victory for Celtic.

    “It’s a wake-up call though and a reminder of what the best standard of youth football is in Scotland at this moment.

    “With the run of form we’ve had, we’ve been confident but sometimes complacency sets in and games like this are good to show them where to aim for.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 0 – 5 Celtic U20s

    Motherwell’s two-month unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt at the hands of Celtic tonight.

    The Steelmen were looking to take their undefeated run to nine matches but were outclassed by the reigning Under 20s Champions in a 5-0 win for Stephen Frail’s side.

    Jonatan Johansson’s plans were dealt a blow in the warm-up when Steven Higgins was forced to pull out, being replaced by Morgyn Neill and causing a bit of a reshuffle to his side. Neill slotted in at right back and Chris Cadden having to switch to left midfield.

    The other changes came in the shape of Paul Lawson, Adam Cummins and Bob McHugh all drafted in to replace the aforementioned Higgins, Thomas and Craig Moore.

    The game got off to a slow start before the visitors took the lead in the seventh minute. Left back Aidan McIlduff burst down the left flank and summer signing Amido Baldé deftly poked his front post cross past Ross Stewart and into the net.

    Celtic then took a grip of the game, and Stewart had to look lively to save from an angled shot from Lewis Kidd. Baldé then burst through the ‘Well rearguard but this time his finish wasn’t so clever as blasted high and wide.

    On 20 minutes Celtic were awarded an indirect free kick just inside the box when Stewart was penalised for picking the ball up twice. The keeper was booked for taking his protest too far and, to rub salt into the wounds, was beaten by a Bahrudin Atajic shot after Liam Henderson had laid it off.

    Celtic were dominant but were now restricted to fewer chances before the break although Baldé could’ve had a second but he sent a header wildly over, then blocked a shot from team mate Jamie Lindsay.

    Motherwell started better in the second half with Bob McHugh pulling a couple of saves from keeper Leonardo Fasan. The first with an ambitious shot from 30 yards and then a shot on the turn, both of which were dealt with comfortably by Celtic’s Italian stopper.

    And it was the visitors who got the first goal of the second period when Jamie Lindsay sent a curling shot high past Stewart from just outside the box. This was rough justice for the young Well after the start they had made to the second period.

    Celtic sub Denny Johnstone put a harsher reflection on the score line when he added two goals in the last ten minutes.

    His first was a back post header from a Lewis Kidd cross, his second saw him sent clear following some nice passing and, from the edge of the box, he slotted coolly past the advancing Stewart to complete the scoring.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden (Anderson), Ferguson, Cummins, Murray, Leitch, McCafferty, Lawson, McHugh, Shirkie, Neill.

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Watt.