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    Ross County 1 – 2 Motherwell

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    TV: McCall has attacking intent

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    TV: Ramsden wants County improvement

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    Players train ahead of County clash

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    TV: Twardzik joins on emergency loan

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    Allan in charge at County

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    Job Vacancy: Bar Staff / Supervisors

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: JJ irked by sloppy defending

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    Motherwell U20s 2 – 3 Kilmarnock U20s

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    Ross County 1 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Two goals from John Sutton got ‘Well back to winning ways as they edged Ross County at the Global Energy Stadium.

    Sutton struck twice in the first half hour as the visitors dominated, but a spirited second-half showing from County saw them reduce the deficit through Melvin De Leeuw.

    Despite County pushing hard for a leveller, the Steelmen battled hard and defended resolutely to hold out for all three points.

    Stuart McCall made three changes to the side that lost to Celtic eight days ago. Gunnar Nielsen and Fraser Kerr were both ruled out through injury and Craig Moore dropped to the bench. They were replaced in the starting eleven by emergency loan keeper Dan Twardzik, Lionel Ainsworth and Henri Anier.

    After a slow start to the match, it burst into life in the 14th minute with a Richard Brittain free kick, which rattled the Motherwell crossbar.

    But the visitors went straight up the field and took the lead. Stuart Carswell disposed Mark Klok with an excellent sliding tackle, which presented the ball for John Sutton. He wasted no time firing in a shot that deflected off Brian McLean and past the outstretched Michael Fraser for 1-0.

    The home side tried hard to get back on level terms but failed to test Motherwell’s on-loan goalkeeper Dan Twardzik who was a virtual spectator throughout the first half.

    It got worse for County in the 27th minute when the visitors doubled their advantage. Henri Anier tried a speculative shot from well outside the area, which was scooped away by Fraser, but Sutton was on hand to steer the rebound home. The home side looked hopefully at the assistant referee for an offside flag but it wasn’t forthcoming.

    County boss Derek Adams made an early chance with forward Kevin Luckassen coming off the bench in place of holding player Klok.

    The change seemed to give County a much-needed lift and the substitute was soon in action with a near-post header from a Brittain cross which Twardzik did well to tip over.

    The visitors threatened early in the second half when Lionel Ainsworth went on a 40-yard run down the right touchline and his cross into the box was deflected behind for a corner.

    At the other end Ben Gordon went on a surging run before squaring the ball for Rocco Quinn, whose goalbound shot was smothered by Twardzik.

    The home side looked more in the mood and Quinn had another chance in the 57th minute when he pounced on a De Leeuw flick-on but his shot was well wide.

    Pressure paid off in the 61st minute when Luckassen won the ball near the corner flag and his deep cross to the far post was headed in from close range by De Leeuw.

    The visitors had a let-off in the 67th minute when Brian McLean had the ball in the net following a Brittain corner but referee Crawford Allan blew for an infringement in the box long before the ‘Well defender had made contact.

    County continued to press and they were almost in shortly afterwards when substitute Gary Glen and Brittain combined to set up Luckassen, whose shot was well blocked at the back post by Twardzik.

    With time running out there were chances at both ends.

    Firstly Quinn forced another fine save from Twardzik when Lasley was robbed in the eighteen yard box, before ‘Well raced up the pitch and Fraser did well to come off his line to thwart substitute Craig Moore who had burst clear of the last defender..

    County continued to push for a leveller but the Steelmen held on for a vital three points.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at The Global Energy Stadium

    FT: Ross County 1 – 2 Motherwell. Hanging on in the end after a comfortable first half but that’s the 3 points in the bag!

    Nailbiting finish was we enter the final minute… #rcfcvmfc

    91mins: Corner County which Twardzik punches clear #rcfcvmfc

    90mins: 3 minutes added on

    88mins: Moore wins a free-kick in the corner as ‘Well look to run down the clock #rcfcvmfc

    85mins: Good save from Fraser fto deny Moore who had burst through 1 on 1! End to end. #rcfcvmfc

    82mins: McManus see’s his shot blocked in the box from McFadden’s corner #rcfcvmfc

    81mins: Motherwelll sub, Ainsworth makes way for Lawson #rcfcvmfc

    80mins: twardzik to the rescue again to deny Brittain! Holding on here! #rcfcvmfc

    77mins: Motherwell sub, McFadden on for Vigurs

    75mins: Motherwell sub, Moore on for Anier

    75mins: Twardzik denies Luckassen at the back post. All County now…..

    72mins: County sub, Glen on for Carey

    67mins: County have the ball in the net however the whistle had already been blown for a foul

    61mins: GOAL – de Leeuw pulls one back for County. Heads in from Luckassen’s cross #rcfcvmfc

    58mins: Lasley booked for a foul on Brittain.

    53mins: Great save from Twardzik to deny Quinn from 12 yards! County fighting their way into this #rcfcvmfc

    49mins: Booking, Carswell takes one for the team and hauls down Luckassen on the halfway line as they looked to break #rcfcvmfc

    Second half now underway #rcfcvmfc

    HT: Ross County 0 – 2 Motherwell

    44mins: Corner to ‘Well after a good attacking spell and Vigurs shot deflected over. County clear from the delivery #rcfcvmfc

    Incidentally, Ross County do a great pie #manvfood

    36mins: Boyd does superbly, blocking Anier’s shot at the back post from Ainsworth’s teasing low cross #rcfcvmfc

    35mins: Hutchinson does well to block with his head from Luckassen only 10 yards out #rcfcvmfc

    33min: Lack of tweets while the pies are passed out across the press box. #rcfcvmfc

    30mins: Ross County sub, Luckassen on for Klok

    27mins: SUTTON does it again! Pounces on Fraser’s save from Anier’s fine strike from 18 yards to make it 0-2 #rcfcvmfc


    21mins: Vigurs finds a bit of space 25 yards out and tries his luck. Well wide but worth a try with nothing else on #rcfcvmfc

    19mins: Corner to ‘Well, Ainsworth’s delivery at the front post is headed well over by Ramsden #rcfcvmfc

    15mins: SUTTON opens the scoring from 20 yards! Great strike which took a deflection into the bottom corner 0-1 #rcfcvmfc


    14mins: Brittain rattles the bar from the FK, Good effort! #rcfcvmfc

    13mins: Free-kick for county 25 yards out. Dangerous.

    12mins: Hammell again delivers from wide for Sutton. He makes the slightest of touches and the ball rolls wide #rcfcvmfc

    8mins: Hammell whips in a ball which is headed down by Sutton looking for onrushing midfielders. No takers and County clear #rcfcvmfc

    4mins: Vigurs swing in an inviting ball from the left which doesn’t quite fall for Anier. Gordon whips it clear #rcfcvmfc

    1mins: First bit of attacking intent shown by ‘Well. Hammell tries to play in Anier but the ball skids off the surface to safety #rcfcvmfc

    Lasley and Carswell kick off the action. #COYW #rcfcvmfc

    Rain starting to pick up and the floodlights are on already. Feels like it’s been dark all day up here.

    Both teams take to the field, ‘Well in claret and amber, County in dark blue #rcfcvmfc


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “They threw everything at us second half. It was probably a tale of two halves and the first-half performance got us the victory.

    “I wouldn’t say we were lucky, more hard-fought and we stuck in there when we needed to.

    “I thought our young keeper did well in difficult circumstances. When you get into a 2-0 lead you need to try and kill the game off but they had a real go.

    “There’s all different ways to win and that was gutsy and I’m delighted to get back on the winning track.”

    Ross County manager Derek Adams:

    “We totally dominated and obviously deserved to win. We battered Motherwell and came away with nothing – we should have won by four or five goals with the chances we had.

    “If he’s honest enough then Stuart McCall will say his team got off today because we should have put them to bed in the second half.

    “We should never have been two down, they got a deflected goal and we believe the second might have been offside.

    “There wasn’t too much in the first half apart from that and we had a goal disallowed in the second half for a foul in the box.

    “They cleared a few off the line and their keeper made a few good saves. We put balls across, over the bar and past the post at open goals. We should have scored and a few goals wouldn’t have flattered us.”


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    TV: McCall has attacking intent

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall is hopeful his team can carry more of an attacking threat against Ross County tomorrow.

    The Steelmen have struggled to get amongst the goals in recent weeks, prompting the coaching staff to refocus recent training sessions.

    And whilst McCall is mindful of the threat posed by County, particularly shots from distance, he has called on his side to dictate proceedings at the Global Energy Stadium, a ground ‘Well have never won at.

    Speaking to MFC TV, McCall said: “County have got players in their side that are more than capable.

    “We’ve done a lot of homework on them, I’ve watched the last few matches and we know form previous experience to be wary of the likes of Brittain and Carey’s shooting, Quinn, who netted a double at Fir Park last season and De Leeuw, who scored against us a few months ago.

    [pullquote]That’s what we have tried to work on this week; how we can open teams up, how we can create more for our strikers, be it a change of system or a different mindset.[/pullquote]

    “They have plenty of threats; there is no doubt about that.

    “But we have got to look to be strong defensively but also try to be really creative going forward.

    “That’s what we have tried to work on this week; how we can open teams up, how we can create more for our strikers, be it a change of system or a different mindset.

    “We can take some inspiration from our last league game away from home down at Kilmarnock, where we played some good stuff going forward and probably should have won by more than the two goals.

    “We would certainly take a similar result and performance on Saturday.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: Ramsden wants County improvement

    Simon Ramsden says ‘Well are determined to excise the ghosts of their last visit to Dingwall when they face Ross County tomorrow.

    Derek Adams’ side ran out comprehensive 3-0 winners at the Global Energy Stadium back in February, a real watershed moment for Stuart McCall’s side.

    That was the prelude to a superb eight-match unbeaten run, including consecutive victories over Celtic and wins at Tyencastle and Tannadice, which guaranteed a runners-up spot in the SPL.

    The circumstances are slightly different this time, with the Claret and Amber men desperate to kick-start another good run of form with a win in the Highlands.

    [pullquote]We want to go up there, play some attractive football, go at them and show everyone what we’re all about.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV after the pre-match press conference, Ramsden said: “That result last season definitely hurt.

    “In fact, it was one of the worst games and performances I’ve ever been involved in my whole career, never mind just at Motherwell.

    “We absolutely don’t want that same feeling coming down the road tomorrow, definitely not, as that was horrendous.

    “But we showed character and bounced back the following midweek against Celtic and it’s that’s the sprit we need tomorrow.

    “We want to go up there, play some attractive football, go at them and show everyone what we’re all about.”


    MFC TV

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    Players train ahead of County clash

    The Motherwell players were put through their paces at Dalziel Park ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Ross County in the Highlands.

    Snaps courtesy of Jeff Holmes and SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”rosscountytraining”]

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    TV: Twardzik joins on emergency loan

    Dundee goalkeeper Dan Twardzik has joined the club on emergency loan until 1st January 2014.

    22-year old Twardzik was born in Trinec, in the Czech Republic, but has German nationality.

    Ironically, ‘Well tried hard to sign the keeper in the summer of 2009 when he was leaving Bayern Munich, but potential compensation thwarted the transfer and he would later join Karlsruhe, despite doing most of his pre-season training in North Lanarkshire.

    He was previously with Como in Italy and Aberdeen before joining up at Dens back in August after being recommended to the club by Gavin Rae, who was a teammate at Pittodrie.

    Dan, brother of Celtic twins Filip and Patrik, joins for three weeks with four of Motherwell’s five contracted goalkeepers either ruled out or struggling with knocks/illness.

    He will form part of the squad that will travel to Dingwall tomorrow afternoon for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership match with Ross County at the Global Energy Arena.

    [pullquote]I am desperate to help Motherwell out and hopefully I can. I want to impress everyone but my first concentration is just to do my job.[/pullquote]

    Dan told MFC TV: “It has been a whirlwind last twenty-four hours, it’s hard to believe how quickly things have came about.

    “I am desperate to help Motherwell out and hopefully I can. I want to impress everyone but my first concentration is just to do my job. In saying that, I don’t want to put pressure on myself, just do what I can if selected.”

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall added: “Gunnar Nielsen picked up a knock in his thigh against Celtic and is a major doubt for the game on Saturday.

    “Added to that, Lee Hollis has missed two months with a bad ankle injury and our two sixteen year olds Max Currie (illness) and Brett Long (knee ligaments) are also out; we’ve been forced to try and get some help.

    “We are grateful to Dundee for letting him come out on loan to us. I’ve spoke to John Brown, who speaks very highly of him, and he would certainly be knocking on the door but for the form of their number one, Kyle Letheren.

    “Gunnar is improving every day and we’ll give him every chance of being fit but in the worst case scenario, at least we can go there with two fit goalkeepers.”


    MFC TV

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    Allan in charge at County

    Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Ross County will be the experienced Crawford Allan.

    It will be Crawford’s second Motherwell match of the 2013/14 season. His only other was the 1-0 win over Hibernian last month when a Stephen McManus header gave the 10-man Steelmen all three points.

    Allan, one of the country’s best referees, will be a familiar face to ‘Well fans, having handled two matches last term and officiating in Scotland for over a decade.

    His first was the goalless draw with Hearts last November, which will be remembered for the collision between Darren Randolph and Calum Paterson.

    Randolph was later handed a two match suspension following an enquiry by SFA Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny, Motherwell did appeal the decision, however were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the ban overturned.

    The second will be remembered for the on-field exploits as Motherwell and Kilmarnock shared a 2-2 draw just after Christmas last year.

    Kenny Shiels’ Killie had raced into a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Perez and Heffernan but a close-range goal from Jamie Murphy and a Henrik Ojamaa stunner levelled things up.

    Tragically, Allan took charge of the ‘Well game on the 29th December 2007, forever etched in history as the date when Phil O’Donnell tragically passed away in the 5-3 victory over Dundee United.

    Speaking publically, Allan admitted Phil’s death had a profound effect on the whistler but won heartfelt praise for the way he handled what was an extremely difficult situation and his sensitive approach will be forever appreciated by everyone at Motherwell Football Club and is recognised each time he returns to Fir Park.

    In another twist of fate, Crawford is only one of two referees to have ever taken charge of a Motherwell away game at Fir Park as the Steelmen faced hosts Gretna during the 2007/2008 campaign.

    His record in charge of the ‘Well is a fairly decent one, with the Fir Parkers winning seven, drawing six and losing four (which all came in the 2011/12 season) of the seventeen games in total. In those games, 48 players have seen yellow, 26 in Claret and Amber, whilst four have been sent for an early bath including Shaun Hutchinson in his last match.

    Allan will be ably assisted by Alasdair Ross and Gavin Harris with John McKendrick on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is Bill Machray and SPFL Delegate is Tom Purdie.

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    Job Vacancy: Bar Staff / Supervisors

    Motherwell FC is looking to recruit Bar Supervisors and Bar Staff to strengthen our current team.

    We need candidates who are well spoken and well presented – with a positive attitude and a desire to succeed.

    You will have strong work experience within either a bar, restaurant or hotel environment.

    Ideally the Bar Supervisors will have a personal licence – this is preferable although not essential.

    Good rates of pay offered for both positions and work available now.

    Please send a CV / covering letter detailing your experience to

    Only successful applicants will be contacted.

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as despite a brave comeback, the Under 20s lost 3-2 to Kilmarnock.


    MFC TV

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    TV: JJ irked by sloppy defending

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson bemoaned his side’s defending after losing 2-3 to Kilmarnock.

    The Steelmen created enough chances to win numerous matches but could only take two on their own patch.

    At the other end, the former Charlton striker will no doubt feel all three goals conceded were very much preventable, in what was a frustrating night at Fir Park.

    The 106-times capped Finn told MFC TV after the match: “We created a lot of chances, but we simply cannot continue to lose so many sloppy goals as we’re always going to be up against it.

    [pullquote]We created a lot of chances, but we simply cannot continue to lose so many sloppy goals as we’re always going to be up against it.[/pullquote]

    “That’s what cost us the game tonight and it’s that sort of professionalism the first-team manager will look at; it’s not good enough to play for 75 or 80 minutes because in what is left, we’re conceding and losing games.

    “I was more pleased with how we played in the second half as opposed to the first. They score with virtually their only chance of the half; it was a real sucker punch.

    “In saying all that, we could and maybe should have scored five or six goals but we didn’t. It wasn’t our day, we created our own downfall and can only blame ourselves.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell U20s 2 – 3 Kilmarnock U20s

     Graham Barnstaple at Fir Park

    Slack defending would cost ‘Well dear as the Under 20s crashed 3-2 to Kilmarnock at Fir Park this evening.

    Killie raced into a two-goal lead at the break, Robbie Muirhead firing both goals for the Ayrshire side.

    Goals for David Ferguson and Dale Shirkie had the home side level midway through the second half and it looked as if there would only be one winner at the point, but Splaine’s long-range strike twelve minutes from time handed Killie all three points.

    Under 20s coach Jonatan Johansson named an unchanged side for the first time this season as his charges looked to take some degree of revenge for the recent defeat in the SFA Youth Cup.

    The game got off to an open start with chances for both sides, Dale Shirkie sent a shot high past keeper Devlin MacKay only to see it rebound off the cross bar. At the other end, David Silva found space at the edge of the box but his shot slid inches wide of Ross Stewart’s right hand post.

    Killie took the lead after only nine minutes; referee Newlands awarded what looked like an innocuous fee kick 20-yards out. This wasn’t to be the case though as Muirhead picked his spot and sent the ball high into the top left hand corner with Stewart at full stretch.

    Shirkie was unlucky with a couple of headed chances, his first from a Jack Leitch corner bouncing clear off a defender, and his second glancing just wide of the post.

    ‘Well then had a half hearted shout as Steven Higgins went down as he tried to round the keeper but nothing was given by the match official.

    Killie punished ‘Well for not taking any of their chances when Muirhead made it two twelve minutes from the break.

    A terrific switch pass over the top by David Silva sent him clear and although it looked as though his first two touches had dulled the momentum, his third was a crisp left foot strike, which found the bottom corner of the net.

    The visitors were the better side for the remainder of the half and were unlucky not to go into the break three up. Andrew Hainey saw one free kick turned over by Stewart and another wide on the right hit the outside of the post.

    Motherwell were almost back in it within ten minutes of the re-start, but Killie keeper Devlin MacKay pulled off a brilliant low save to deny the marauding Chris Cadden.

    This set the tone for the early stages of the half as the Steelmen looked to find a way back into the game.

    Shirkie was unlucky to turn a Dom Thomas cross wide from close range before heading a Jack Leitch cross over the bar.

    The goal finally came in the 69th minute; a Thomas cross into the six-yard box was headed home from close range by Ferguson who had burst a gut to get into the box.

    A minute later the sides were level and Shirkie was finally rewarded for his persistence when he smashed home from 10 yards after excellent build up play from Thomas.

    Incredibly, for all their dominance, Johansson’s men were only level for eight minutes when Killie scored with their first effort of the second half.

    Splaine found himself in space 25 yards out. He let fly with a shot that skidded off the surface to squeeze past Stewart at his right hand post.

    In stoppage time it looked as though a Thomas had done enough to secure a point but MacKay denied him with a sharp save low to his right.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, Ferguson, Cummins, Neill, Murray, McCafferty, Leitch, Higgins, Shirkie (Anderson – 81mins), Thomas

    Subs Not Used: Morrison, Watt, McCall