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    TV: Johansson delighted with reaction

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    Motherwell U20s 4 – 1 Partick Thistle U20s

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

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    TV: Johansson gutted at Cup exit

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    Kilmarnock U20s 3 – 1 Motherwell U20s

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    TV: Highlights from New Douglas Park

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    McCall embarrassed by Cup exit

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    Albion Rovers 1 – 0 Motherwell

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    Scottish Cup Ticket Reminder

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    TV: Lawson eyes Scottish Cup run

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    TV: Johansson delighted with reaction

    Jonatan Johansson praised his side after they bounced back from Sunday’s Cup exit with an impressive win over Partick Thistle.

    The Steelmen had lost to both Celtic and Kilmarnock in recent weeks, but were back to their best against the table-topping Jags, who were reduced to ten men after just seventeen minutes.

    Goals from Paul McCafferty, Steven Higgins, Dale Shirkie and Liam Anderson made sure of the three points.

    Prior to the match, the 106-times capped Johansson had asked his side to show their mettle and they did just that.

    [pullquote]I was really down after losing at Kilmarnock and so were the boys but we picked ourselves up and this was a really pleasing performance.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV, the former Charlton striker said: “It was an excellent performance and most aspects of it pleased me.

    “The way they reacted to Sunday’s defeat, the way they were positive and how they worked was really good to see.

    “I was really down after losing at Kilmarnock and so were the boys but we picked ourselves up and this was a really pleasing performance.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 4 – 1 Partick Thistle U20s

    ‘Well returned to winning ways with a thumping 4-1 win over table-toppers Partick Thistle at the Excelsior Stadium this evening.

    The Jags were already behind courtesy of Paul McCafferty’s first goal of the season when they were reduced to ten men after seventeen minutes.

    Steven Higgins added a second before the break before Dale Shirkie netted a third twenty-five minutes from time.

    Thistle reduced the arrears four minutes later but substitute Liam Anderson secured the win with a neat strike late in the game.

    Jonatan Johansson made three changes to the side that lost at Rugby Park on Sunday. Ben Hall, Craig Moore and Lee Erwin all dropped out, replaced by Adam Cummins, Jack Leitch and Steven Higgins.

    Motherwell made the best possible start, opening the scoring after just four minutes.

    Jack Leitch spread the ball wide for Dom Thomas on the left flank and he wasted no time whipping a cross towards the six-yard box. Keeper Waters came out to collect but spilled it, allowing Paul McCafferty to prod home into an empty net from a few yards out.

    It was the only noteworthy action of the opening stages, before the game exploded to life on the seventeen-minute mark.

    Steven Higgins managed to wriggle clear of former ‘Well youngster Darren Brownlie, only to be tripped inches outside the area. Referee Colin Steven was up with play and quickly brandished the red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity with Brownlie the last defender.

    Jack Leitch took the resulting free kick, but it smashed off the wall before the rebound was fired wide.

    Despite going down to ten men, the visitors still look threatening in attack and Ross Stewart had to look smart to deny David Wilson, who had got in behind the ‘Well rearguard.

    However, it was the Steelmen who were doing most of the attacking and Higgins was denied twice inside sixty seconds. The first was a weak effort from the edge of the box after a quick counter; the second was a good save by the Thistle keeper who was quick to narrow the angle.

    However, Higgins wouldn’t be denied shortly after as he grabbed Motherwell’s second. Thomas was the creator again, skipping past a couple of challenges before weighting a slide rule pass perfectly for the 17-year old hitman who took a touch before firing it low into the corner.

    Dale Shirkie almost made it three a few minutes later, collecting a lovely through pass and deftly dinking it over Waters, only to watch it bounce into the side net.

    At the other end, Thistle could only manage two long-range efforts from Gary Fraser, both of which flew high and wide.

    The second forty-five took a while to get going – seventeen minutes had been and gone before McDaid lashed a thirty-yard effort high over the bar, when he had better options right and left.

    Motherwell’s first real effort at goal in the half ended up in the net and effectively killed the match as a contest.

    Ferguson played Cadden in on the right flank with a terrifically weighted ball. The marauding fullback hung up a cross to the back post where Shirkie was lurking. He took a touch, turned his marker and poke home from close range.

    To Thistle’s credit, they didn’t throw in the towel and indeed, scored a terrific goal four minutes later courtesy of Declan McDaid, who lashed a fizzing strike high past Stewart into the top corner.

    The last twenty minutes may have been a little more uncomfortable for Johansson’s men had McDaid’s low effort crept in as opposed to the inches wide just two minutes later as Thistle stepped up their efforts.

    But the game’s final goal came with eight minutes left on the clock, substitute Liam Anderson collecting on the left flank and turning in the park with a lovely first touch. As space opened up in front of him, he took the invitation to shoot, smashing it low under Waters to complete the scoring.

    The win will go some way to banishing memories of disappointing performances against Celtic and Kilmarnock in recent weeks. The Under 20s return to action next Tuesday night when they have an early shot at revenge when Killie travel to Fir Park.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, Ferguson (McCall – 72mins), Murray, Neill (Hall – 86mins), Cummins, McCafferty, Leitch, Higgins, Thomas (Anderson – 72mins), Shirkie

    Unused Subs: Currie, Watt

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

    Extended highlights from Rugby Park as Motherwell lost 3-1 to Kilmarnock in the SFA Youth Cup 4th Round.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson gutted at Cup exit

    Jonatan Johansson bemoaned his side’s defending as the Steelmen crashed out the Youth Cup to Kilmarnock.

    To their credit, Killie scored some cracking strikes from distance but the Finn will look at all three goals and feel they could have been dealt with far better.

    The defeat ends Motherwell’s participation in the Youth Cup for another season and adds an exclamation point to what has been an atrocious weekend for the football club.

    Speaking to MFC TV, Johansson said: “I am very disappointed, especially with the defending at the goals we lost.

    [pullquote]Our build-up play was poor and you can’t expect to win when five or six of our players weren’t really performing. After we lost the third goal, our response was very disappointing too so it was a poor day all round.[/pullquote]

    “Our build-up play was poor and you can’t expect to win when five or six of our players weren’t really performing. After we lost the third goal, our response was very disappointing too so it was a poor day all round.

    “At 1-1 I though we might have had a chance, but straight after we scored we conceded a really poor goal and went in at half-time losing.

    “That was a big blow but I still felt we had enough in us to come back and that’s why the second half was so bad in my view.

    “There is no time to feel sorry for ourselves though. We play on Tuesday against Partick Thistle so that will be a big test and we’ll have to be much better.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Kilmarnock U20s 3 – 1 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell U20s crashed out the SFA Youth Cup at Kilmarnock to complete an utterly miserable weekend for the club.

    After the first-team’s desperate defeat to Albion Rovers yesterday, the youngsters were hoping to restore a bit of pride but lost 3-1 to an in-form Killie who have now won six on the bounce.

    The Rugby Park side took the lead early on through left-back Dempster only for Lee Erwin to level matters ten minutes before the break.

    Muirhead restored Killie’s lead just four minutes later before Greg Kiltie assured Kilmarnock’s progression to the Quarter Final’s with a third on the hour mark.

    Johnasson made four changes to the side that lost to Celtic twelve days ago. Cummins, Lawson, Leitch and McHugh all dropped out, replaced by Hall, Thomas, Moore and Erwin.

    Motherwell made a positive start and almost took the lead inside sixty seconds when Thomas’ shot forced Brennan into a low save with Moore unable to turn home the rebound.

    But it was the home side that took the lead almost out of nothing after just eight minutes. Dempster collected a pass on the left flank, cut inside both Hall and McCafferty before unleashing a stunning effort high past Stewart into the top right corner.

    It was a shock to the system for the young Steelmen but, to their credit, the reaction was first class, led by Dom Thomas who was excellent on the wing.

    He stung the palms of Brennan with a low shot before watching a cross-cum-shot come back off the underside of the bar as ‘Well pushed for a leveler.

    Erwin them almost poked home an equaliser but was stopped by a super last-ditch sliding challenge from goalscorer Dempster.

    It was all Motherwell by the thirty-minute mark as the Claret and Amber men forced numerous corners and free kicks in dangerous areas but Killie held firm.

    The leveler did eventually come on the 35th minute.

    Craig Moore quickly turned a clearance back into an attack as Lee Erwin split the Killie centre backs. Racing in on Brennan, he kept his composure and calmly slotted the ball into the far corner.

    Incredibly, after being dominated for thirty minutes, Killie restored their lead just four minutes later with a swift counter-attack.

    Breaking quickly from a Motherwell corner, Kiltie stepped away from two challenges before sliding in the supporting Muirhead with a lovely pass. The striker raced clear of the ‘Well rearguard, rounded Stewart before smashing it high into the unguarded net.

    Seconds before the half-time whistle, Killie keeper Brennan had to acrobatically turn a Moore header over the bar to keep his side ahead.

    At that point, there was little to suggest ‘Well wouldn’t have more chances to score in the second forty-five but, in truth, Johansson’s men never really got going.

    It took almost ten minutes before there was anything of note; a cross from substitute Luke Watt, introduced at the break for Ben Hall, flew over the head of Moore and almost found Thomas, but the winger couldn’t control his shot at the far post.

    A minute later, there was a huge shout for a penalty when O’Hara handled a Thomas free-kick but, despite prolonged and loud Motherwell protests, there was nothing doing from the referee.

    That would prove to be a significant decision as the home side extended their lead shortly after.

    Kiltie collected a pass some thirty yards from goal and despite David Ferguson for company; he drilled a stinging effort high past Stewart to all but seal the game for the hosts.

    To complete a thoroughly miserable afternoon, Lee Erwin had to be carried off with what looked like a serious injury, replaced by Liam Anderson with ten minutes left to go.

    ‘Well had a few half-chances at the death, but never forced Brennan into any save of note.

    After encouraging wins in the previous two rounds, it was a disappointing and sad end to Motherwell’s participation in this season’s Youth Cup. The side only a few days before they are back in action against Partick Thistle.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Hall (Watt – 46mins), Ferguson, Murray, Neill, Cadden, McCafferty (Higgins – 71mins), Shirkie, Moore, Thomas, Erwin (Anderson – 78mins)

    Subs Not Used: Currie, McCall

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    TV: Highlights from New Douglas Park

    Extended highlights from New Douglas Park as Motherwell crash out the Scottish Cup to Albion Rovers.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    McCall embarrassed by Cup exit

    Stuart McCall admitted he was embarrassed to face his family after Albion Rovers inflicted the biggest upset of his football career.

    An 18-yard strike from Gary Phillips in the 90th minute proved too much for Gunnar Nielsen to stop and sent the Coatbridge side into the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup thanks to a 1-0 win at New Douglas Park.

    Rovers had never beaten Motherwell outside the Lanarkshire Cup in 34 previous competitive matches and McCall found the defeat hard to swallow.

    The former Everton, Rangers and Scotland midfielder said: “I’ve been very, very fortunate in my life, certainly in my football life for 34 years now, I can’t recall being on the end of an upset anything like that.

    “I know they happen in football and you see them happening and you think hopefully that will never come to your door. But it certainly came today and I take full responsibility.”

    McCall turned round to hold his hand up and acknowledge the anger of Motherwell fans who left in audible disgust after Phillips had struck.

    He said: “What can you say to them? They are right to have a go. It’s one of the worst results we have had. I’ve been very fortunate since I’ve been at the club to have had loads of highs.

    [pullquote]Obviously there are disappointments too but this is the worst. You can’t do anything but apologise because it’s an embarrassing result for the club.[/pullquote]

    “Obviously there are disappointments too but this is the worst. You can’t do anything but apologise because it’s an embarrassing result for the club.

    “To be honest I would rather sit here and speak to you for a few hours because I don’t really fancy going home and speaking to my family or my friends because it’s horrible. There is no getting away from it.”

    McCall admitted he found it difficult to have a go at his players for their effort. Motherwell could not break down stubborn opponents and only tested goalkeeper Neil Parry once, when he saved John Sutton’s close-range header following a 78th-minute corner.

    When asked to explain the defeat, he said: “It wasn’t down to a lack of fight and lack of desire, which is probably the worst thing that can ever be labelled at a team.

    “It was just down to lack of quality. Give Albion Rovers full credit for the way they defended but our possession was woeful at times.

    “We had plenty of it and we just couldn’t break them down.

    “When teams sit in like that it can be difficult but you have to find a way and, with the quality of player we had on the pitch, to create as little as we did was hugely disappointing.”

  • Archive

    Albion Rovers 1 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at New Douglas Park

    Motherwell crashed out the Scottish Cup with one of the worst results in the clubs’ history, losing 1-0 to League Two side Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park.

    With Motherwell looking at best to take a replay from what was a terrible perfomance, Gary Phillips fired in a last minute goal, to send a barrage of boos towards a ‘Well side, an incredible 37 league places above their Lanarkshire rivals.

    Motherwell couldn’t even blame their embarassing exit on an inferior pitch or ground as the Second Division Coatbridge side elected to move the game to a neutral venue.

    Subsequently, all roads led to Hamilton for this all Lanarkshire Scottish Cup tie. And with over 2,500 ‘Well fans inside New Douglas Park, there was a cup carnival atmosphere and a real expectation.

    In truth, though, ‘keeper Neil Parry saw little action over the 90 minutes as the Premiership side toiled to test him, forcing just one save, amazingly 12 minutes from time.

    Stuart McCall paid Rovers his utmost respect by fielding an almost full strength side. Stevie Hammell returned from injury to wear the captain’s armband, with Keith Lasley joining John Sutton on the bench. That meant Bob McHugh partnering Henri Anier in attack.

    The ‘Well fans packed into the main stand anticipated that the pair would lead a goal rout against their lowly opposition. But the huge gap in league places was never obvious in the first half and while it may have taken McCall’s men some time to adjust to the artificial surface, the fans had nothing to get excited about in the first 20 minutes.

    In fact the first thing of note came from Rovers when Liam Cusack’s 20 yard drive was brilliantly palmed over the crossbar by Gunnar Nielsen.

    Motherwell’s response was immediate, McHugh nodding Fraser Kerr’s cross over the bar.

    With 30 minutes played some decent build up on the left provided an opening for Stuart Carswell but from the edge of the box he dragged his shot wide leaving Rovers’ ‘keeper Neil Parry still awaiting his first save.

    At the other end the Coatbridge side conjured up another half chance when Chris Dallas, eight yards in front of goals volleyed the ball over Nielsen’s bar.

    Two minutes from half-time Paul Lawson fired a drive high over the bar as a very disapointing fist half ended with the Rovers’ defence completely untroubled – and the ‘Well fans loudly sounding their disapproval.

    Not surprisimgly McCall made a half-time change when he brought on Sutton for McHugh. And the striker who, on his first spell with the club, scored in every round when he led ‘Well to the 2011 Scottish Cup Final, hoped for a similar impact.

    And twelve minutes into the half Sutton had his first chance when he collected a headed pass from James McFadden but his volley from 25 yards dipped over the crossbar.
    Sutton then chested a through pass from Shaun Hutchison into Anier’s path but he snatched at his shot as ‘Well desperately looked for a breakthrough.

    After 72 minutes McCall decided that some drastic action was required sending on Lasley and Jack Leitch, to make his first team debut. But it did little to change the pattern of the game.

    It was Rovers who almost grabbed the lead after 76 minutes when Mark McGuigan cut inside Hammell before driving his shot just wide of goal.

    Two minutes later Parry made his only save of the game when he reacted well to block Sutton’s header on the goal line allowing Cusack to boot the ball clear before any ‘Well player could react.

    Motherwell’s desperation was underlined four minutes from time when Shaun Hutchison, devoid of options, fired a 30 yard drive over Parry’s crossbar.

    Then in the 89th minute and with a draw looking likely, Rovers produced their memorable winning goal.

    After a couple of blocked attempts the ball broke to Phillips at the edge of the box and his low drive through a ruck of players had Nielsen at full stretch. Although the ‘keeper got a touch he couldn’t prevent the ball bouncing into the corner of his net.

    ‘Well still had time to redeem the situation in added on time but Anier summed up the afternoon when he slashed his shot well wide of target as McCall’s men, for the second successive season crashed out of all cup competitions before Christmas.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at New Douglas Park

    FT: Albion Rovers 1 – 0 Motherwell

    91mins: Ball falls to Anier but he slices it over inside the box

    3 minutes added on

    89mins: GOAL! Albion Rovers 1 – 0 Motherwell

    85mins: 5 minutes left and ‘Well desperately looking for a way through. Albion defending solidly

    82mins: Albion sub, Cusack off for Flood

    77mins: Corner to ‘Well…..Sutton’s header is cleared off the line!

    76mins: McGuigan turns Hammell and fires just wide from 20 yards!

    First team debut for Jack Leitch, son of Scott. 15 minutes left, still 0-0

    72mins: Motherwell subs, Leitch and Lasley on for McFadden and Francis-Angol

    72minns: Albion sub, Tiffney on for Dallas

    61mins: Corner to Albion…..delivery evades all in the box and is out for a goalkick #arfcvmfc

    57mins: Ball falls to Sutton some 25 yards out. Has an effort with his left foot but it’s too ambitious and well over #arfcvmfc

    Second half underway #arfcvmfc

    HT: Albion Rovers 0 – 0 Motherwell #arfcvmfc

    45mins: Corner to ‘Well……..McFadden delivers and it eventually falls to Carswell who scoops it well over #arfcvmfc

    43mins: Albion proving hard to break down. Lawson opts to shoot from range but fires well over with his left foot

    35mins: Great chance for Phillips! Shrugged off his marker and from the cross, didn’t connect well and blazed over! #arfcvmfc

    30mins: McFadden cuts it back to Francis-Angol who squares to Carswell. On his left foot, he slices it just past from 16 yards #arfcvmfc

    22mins: McHugh heads just over from Kerr’s cross!

    20mins: Corner to Albion after a fantastic save from Nielsen to deny Cusack! #arfcvmfc

    14mins: Decent effort from McHugh. Hit it on the spin from 25 yards but watches it curl well wide

    9mins: Another corner to ‘Well, Lawson delivers from the left but Albion head clear

    7mins: Francis-Angol goes on a mazy run and the ball almost breaks to him inside the box. Reid clears though #arfcvmfc

    With the minute’s silence impeccably observed, Carswell and Lawson kick the game off! #arfcvmfc

    Hammell and Donnelly lead the teams out the tunnel. #arfcvmfc

    [tab:Reaction]

    Albion Rovers manager James Ward:

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    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

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    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

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    Scottish Cup Ticket Reminder

    Fans are reminded tomorrow’s Scottish Cup clash against Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park is a ‘Pay-at-the-gate’ fixture.

    Due to segregation and security requirements, Albion Rovers supporters will occupy the Spice of Life North Stand and will enter via turnstiles 10-12.

    Motherwell supporters will occupy the Main West Stand and will enter via turnstiles 1-6.

    Admission is by cash only at the turnstiles priced Adults £12 and Concessions £7 (under 16s, over 65s, students, and unemployed – photo ID is required). Disabled free.

    Supporter parking is available at the Morrisons underground car park in Auchinraith Avenue, and the two large car parks in Beckford Street and Caird Street; both 5 minutes walk from the ground where there are almost 2000 spaces.

    For fans coming by train, Hamilton West Station is adjacent to the ground and a path connects the platform on the Glasgow arrival side, direct to the stadium car park and Main West Stand.

    With a fairly large Motherwell support anticipated, ‘Well fans are encouraged to get to the ground as early as possible to avoid queuing at the turnstiles.

  • Archive

    TV: Lawson eyes Scottish Cup run

    Paul Lawson is desperate to replicate success from his past and take ‘Well all the way in this season’s Scottish Cup.

    The 29-year old has been to a Final with former club Ross County, including handing out a number of shocks and upsets along the way.

    And following the huge disappointment of the League Cup exit to Aberdeen last month, the midfielder insists there is a real determination to put a solid run together in the 2013/14 William Hill Scottish Cup.

    Speaking to MFC TV, he said: “I’ve been on the end of some cup upsets but I’ve also given a couple out.

    [pullquote]A cup run is brilliant for everyone associated with the club and it would be very nice to do that here[/pullquote]

    “They’ll be looking at it as it’s there to be had for them but we just need to be as professional as we can and treat it like every other game and that’s what we’ve done this week.

    “The boys are geared up and ready to go. There’s nothing better than a cup run and that’s what we’re aiming for, especially after the disappointment of the cup exit against Aberdeen.

    “I got to the cup Final with Ross County which was a great occasion. The result didn’t go for us but what we did up there was magnificent. A cup run is brilliant for everyone associated with the club and it would be very nice to do that here.

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV