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    St Johnstone Magazine Preview

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    Beaton in charge against Saints

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    McCall: Three Years at Fir Park

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    TV: McCall celebrates three years at ‘Well

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    Celebrate Hogmanay at Fir Park…

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    TV: Highlights from Firhill

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    Partick Thistle win in pictures

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    TV: McCall revels in ‘Well victory

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    Partick Thistle 1 – 5 Motherwell

  • Archive

    Remembering Phil O’Donnell

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    St Johnstone Magazine Preview

    The eleventh domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2013/14 is on sale when St Johnstone visit on Wednesday.

    But what is inside the 64-page issue?

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall and Captain Keith Lasley both return with the regular columns.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall, celebrating three years in charge at Fir Park, speaks about how trying to continue the recent run of form against a tough opponent in St Johnstone.

    The skipper also chats about recent victories and reflects on an excellent 2013 for the Steelmen.

    The feature interview is with midfielder Stuart Carswell. The youngster talks about nailing a regular first-team spot at the club and his hopes for the year ahead.

    Carsy also features as the next in the centre-page souvenir poster collection.

    But that’s not where the features stop!

    There is a 11-page section dedicated to our visitors, St Johnstone.

    As ever, Ray Morrison introduces the Perthshire side and there’s a player-by-player breakdown of who is likely to line up for Saints.

    We also report from McDiarmid Park and the Saints went down narrowly to Celtic.

    Boss Tommy Wright also gives us an exclusive interview where he talks honestly about trying to continue some of the good work achieved by his predecessor and stamping his own authority on the team.

    The big features keep coming…

    ‘From the Press Box’ returns with regular host, the Herald’s Scott Mullen and the second of our Eggheads ‘Quarter Final’ clashes pits James McFadden against Keith Lasley.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Our match reports section takes a look back at the 3-0 win over St Mirren and the excellent 1-0 success at Pittodrie. There’s also an in-depth report from the Under 20s 0-0 draw with Lanarkshire neighbours Hamilton Accies.

    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 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.

  • Archive

    Beaton in charge against Saints

    Referee for Wednesday’s Scottish Professional Football League clash with St Johnstone is John Beaton.

    John will be handling his third Motherwell match of the campaign so far.

    He was in charge of the disappointing League Cup Quarter Final defeat to Aberdeen and his other was also against Aberdeen, when they  travelled to Fir Park back in August; Derek McInnes side taking all three points in a 3-1 win.

    The game wasn’t without controversy with Beaton, a late replacement for Kevin Clancy, awarding the Dons two spot kicks, although it was certainly a win the visitors deserved for their second half showing

    The 31-year old also took charge of two Motherwell matches last term too. The first was a 1-1 draw with Dundee at Fir Park; Michael Higdon rescuing a point after Nicky Reilly had given the Dark Blues a surprise lead midway through the first half.

    His other match that campaign was against Dundee United at Tannadice, the Steelmen running rampant in the City of Discovery, confirming second spot with a superb 3-1 win.

    Not only did Michael Higdon open the scoring with a peach from distance, the big striker surpassed Willie Pettigrew’s post-war record for most top-league goals in a single season when he netted the third midway through the second half.

    It has been a busy season already for Beaton both domestically and in European competition.

    This will be his second League Cup tie of the campaign having already handled St Johnstone’s 3-0 win at Hamilton Accies.

    He has officiated three Dons games this campaign and McInnes’ men have won all three (versus Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Partick Thistle).

    Abroad, he was the man in the middle for Poland U19s 1-0 home defeat by Armenia as well as Norway U21s’ 2-1 success over Macedonia.

    In European action, he looked after BATE Borisov against Celtic’s eventual Champions League opponents Shakhter Karagandy, as well as the UEFA Youth Champions League match between Arsenal and Napoli, the Gunners running out 4-1 winners.

    John will be ably assisted by Tom Murphy and Gavin Harris with Ian Brines on Fourth Official duties.

  • Archive

    McCall: Three Years at Fir Park

    A pictorial look back through Stuart McCall’s last three years as manager at Motherwell FC.

    [svgallery name=”mccallthreeyears”]

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    TV: McCall celebrates three years at ‘Well

    Stuart McCall celebrated his third anniversary as ‘Well boss by lavishing praise on his players and staff.

    The 49-year old sat in the manager’s chair at Fir Park for the first time back in December 2010, and his three years have been littered with success, broken records and happy memories.

    Indeed, in terms of league wins ratio, the former Scotland midfield is the most successful top-league manager in the clubs’ history, with only Davie Hay producing better in the run-away First Division winning season back in 1981/82.

    Showing typical modesty that defines his character, McCall deflected all praise towards his small, hardworking and talented staff and the many players who have played a part in his 140 game run.

    Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s news conference, the ‘Well boss, who knocked back a move to English side Sheffield United in the summer, said: “It has been an honour for me to be at this club for the time I have.

    “I’ve got to be honest, when I was first offered the job I wasn’t sure I’d last three weeks, let alone three years!

    [pullquote]It has been an honour for me to be at this club for the time I have.[/pullquote]

    “I remember back to my first game, a pretty dull 0-0 draw at Hamilton, then we faced a tricky Cup-tie at Dundee live on TV. I think everyone going there expected an upset, as Dundee were flying high in the First Division, but we managed a convincing 4-0 win.

    “I’m not sure I was an overly popular choice to take over from Craig [Brown] and Archie [Knox], and it was quite difficult at the beginning, particularly losing Mark Renyolds and Nick Blackman so quickly and coming into a dressing room which had just lost three games, to replace a duo who were popular amongst the players.

    “But I have got to say, I couldn’t be prouder of the three years, the staff, the players and everyone surrounding the club. Of course, there have been ups and downs, but certainly far more ups. Cup Finals, finishing third then second, playing in the Champions League and Europa League, breaking points and goal records and winning awards at the end of last season; it’s all been a great run.

    “But there is still a load more to do here. I said before the season we wanted to make an impact in Cup competitions and we haven’t, and can’t apologise enough for that. Our focus now falls back to the league and we’ll just need to give that an even harder push next season when it comes along again.”

    -WATCH STUART’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Celebrate Hogmanay at Fir Park…

    Bring in the New Year in spectacular fashion in the Davie Cooper Suite at our first every Hogmanay Party.

    We promise to make the last party of 2013 the biggest and best of the year.

    Not only will you be treated to a fantastic buffet, you can get in the mood with a traditional ceilidh before bringing in the bells with a fantastic disco and DJ.

    We will kick-off at 7pm and it will be a late finish. Tickets are just £20 and interest is already been high.

    >> CLICK HERE TO BOOK ONLINE

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

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Firhill

    Extended highlights from Firhill as ‘Well stun Partick Thistle with a blistering comeback to win 5-1.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Partick Thistle win in pictures

    Action pictures from the 5-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”partickthistle291213″]

  • Archive

    TV: McCall revels in ‘Well victory

    Stuart McCall was delighted with his side after they recorded an impressive 5-1 win away at Partick Thistle.

    Despite going behind early in the match, the Steelmen roared back and were 3-1 ahead at the interval – the goals coming courtesy of Keith Lasley, Zaine Francis-Angol and the impressive James McFadden.

    Lionel Ainsworth and John Sutton capitalised on defensive mishaps to add a fourth and fifth after the break, bringing 2013 to a satisfying conclusion.

    [pullquote]We knew they would create chances but we hoped we would so similar and we were clinical; that was the key today.[/pullquote]

    The day before his third anniversary as ‘Well boss, McCall paid tribute to the clinical nature of ‘Well’s attacking play saying: “Few would have envisaged that result after wee Lawless came back to haunt us with a great opening goal.

    “They started well to be fair, and it took us a wee while to get a grip of the game.

    “We said prior to the match that it was likely to be an open game. We knew they would create chances but we hoped we would so similar and we were clinical; that was the key today.

    “We were perhaps a little fortunate to go in 3-1 ahead at the break because Thistle really contributed to a really good first half. But it was much better from us in the second half and, all in all, it’s a good day’s work.”

    -WATCH STUART’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Partick Thistle 1 – 5 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Gavin McCafferty at Firhill

    Motherwell signed off 2013 in style with a clinical 5-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill this afternoon.

    Former Steelmen winger Steven Lawless opened the scoring, but any hope Thistle had of claiming their first Premiership win at Firhill was extinguished before an end-to-end first half finished.

    Keith Lasley quickly equalised before Zaine Francis-Angol scored an excellent solo goal and McFadden lobbed home before the break. Lionel Ainsworth and substitute John Sutton added to the scoring to secure an impressive victory for Stuart McCall’s side.

    The recalled McFadden also hit the bar as Motherwell again showed they have put their William Hill Scottish Cup defeat by Albion firmly behind them.

    With Shaun Hutchinson suspended and Fraser Kerr missing with a tight hamstring, McCall had to reshuffle his back four with Stuart Carswell at right-back.

    And the makeshift defence was cut open in the eighth minute as Thistle worked their way forward after Gabriel Piccolo had cut out Simon Ramsden’s ball forward.

    Kris Doolan played in James Craigen in the left channel and he cut the ball back for Lawless to steer into the bottom corner.

    Both sets of fans joined in applause for Phil O’Donnell, who died exactly six years ago while playing for Motherwell against Dundee United.

    Thistle kept up the pressure and Lawless almost doubled his tally with a 25-yard strike that Dan Twardzik pushed wide before Piccolo headed not far away from the corner.

    But Motherwell were level in the 15th minute. McFadden took the ball in from a throw-in, turned his man and slipped the ball into the path of Lasley, who placed the ball inside the far corner.

    The goalmouth action was relentless. Lawless played in Kallum Higginbotham but Twardzik raced off his line to block, and seconds later a Francis-Angol cross fell for Iain Vigurs but the midfielder could not head on target.

    Francis-Angol soon caused even more damage in the 21st minute after some sharp build-up play down the left with Steven Hammell at its heart. The former Tottenham trainee cut inside Stephen O’Donnell and squeezed a right-footed shot inside the near post – his first senior goal.

    Thistle made a change in the 27th minute when another former Motherwell player, Ross Forbes, came on for Christie Elliott with Higginbotham moving to the right.

    Doolan came close with a curler but Motherwell extended their lead in the 36th minute.

    There appeared little danger but Henri Anier pounced on a loose ball midway inside the Thistle half and lofted a pass forward for McFadden. The Scotland hero beat Piccolo for strength and skill and lobbed the ball over Scott Fox and into the corner of the net.

    McFadden and Forbes had spectacular volleys tipped over at either end as the second half started in similarly action-packed fashion.

    Thistle pressed but Motherwell moved further ahead in the 56th minute. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair appeared to have thwarted a Motherwell attack but he gifted possession to Lasley, who played in Ainsworth to slot the ball into the corner for his third goal in three games.

    McFadden powered a header against the bar following a Vigurs cross just before Sutton netted in the 65th minute when he ran on to a long ball from Vigurs and steered the ball home.

    McFadden played Ainsworth through two minutes later but Fox came off his line to block the shot and the former Everton player curled just wide from 25 yards as Motherwell threatened to embarrass the Jags.

    Thistle came closer to a seventh goal though but Twardzik slid to clear to deny Doolan a consolation after Hammell’s short backpass.

    It was an excellent day’s work for McCall’s men who now face a St Johnstone side full of confidence after a thumping win over Dundee United.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Firhill

    FT: A superb 3 points and a great team performance. Hard to pick a man of the match from that! #ptfcvmfc

    FT: Partick Thistle 1 – 5 Motherwell

    90mins: Lawson fires a shot away with his left foot from 25yards straught at Fox #ptfcvmfc

    89mins: Late corner for The Jags….wasteful again #ptfcvmfc

    86mins: Bannigan booked for a foul on Lawson #ptfcvmfc

    83mins: Strange moment as Twardzik gets caught out but manages to slide in on Higginbotham to clear off the line #ptfcvmfc

    81mins: Corner to Thistle….Ramsden deals with it. #ptfcvmfc

    79mins: Motherwell sub, McFadden off for McHugh. Another great performer today! #ptfcvmfc

    77mins: McManus with a Cruyff turn inside the Thistle box. Fires just past too! #ptfcvmfc

    74mins: Motherwell sub, Carswell off for Lawson. Carswell absolutely outstanding at right back today! #ptfcvmfc

    71mins: Just wide from McFadden! Did well to cut in from the right and his curling effort goes just past #ptfcvmfc

    67mins: Should have been 6! Ainsworth through 1 on 1 but Fox does well to deny #ptfcvmfc

    65mins: SUTTON makes it 5! Comical defending from Piccolo as the ball hits off him and Sutty finishes with style 1-5 #ptfcvmfc

    GGGOOOOAAALLLL!!

    64mins: Faddy see’s his header from Vigur’s ball in crash off the bar! #ptfcvmfc

    63mins: Higginbotham booked for clattering down Lasley #ptfcvmfc

    60mins: Partick sub, Lawless off for Baird #ptfcvmfc

    57mins: Motherwell sub, Anier off for Sutton #ptfcvmfc

    56mins: Ainsworth slots home from a narrow angle after Lasley slid him in! 1-4 #ptfcvmfc

    56mins: GGGOOOAAAALLL!

    54mins: Great chance for Anier as he raced onto a slack backpass. Not direct enough and Thistle get back to clear #ptfcvmfc

    52mins: Twardzik has to react quickly to tip over a great Forbes effort from 30 yards #ptfcvmfc

    48mins: Good defending from Hammell to deny Forbes at the back post. From the corner, Twardzik gathers with ease #ptfcvmfc

    46mins: McFadden almost bursts the net with a volley from 20 yards. Good save from Fox #ptfcvmfc

    46mins: Partick get the second half underway #ptfcvmfc

    HT: Teams are back out for the second half #ptfcvmfc

    HT: Partick Thistle 1 – 3 Motherwell

    41mins: Great chance for Craigen as he gets on the end of Lawless’ superb ball in. Heads wide though! #ptfcvmfc

    35mins: A moment of magic from McFadden as he latches on to Anier’s pass and clips it over Fox from just inside the box! 1-3 #ptfcvmfc

    35mins: GGOOOAAALLLL!

    34mins: Corner to Thistle now…headed well wide by Balatoni #ptfcvmfc

    32mins: Forbes fires it straight off Lasley #ptfcvmfc

    32mins: Free-kick in a dangerous position just 18 yards out for Thistle. #ptfcvmfc

    31mins: Corner to Motherwell after Fox very nearly claws it into his own net. Thistle clear the danger #ptfcvmfc

    30mins: Decent effort from Doolan as Jags hunt for an equaliser. His effort always looked like going over though #ptfcvmfc

    26mins: Partick sub, Elliot off for Forbes #ptfcvmfc

    21mins: Francis-Angol does well to cut inside on the left and when he finds himself inside the box, he cooly slots past Fox. 1-2 #ptfcvmfc

    21mins: GGOOAAALLL!!!

    19mins: Twardzik with another fine save to deny Higginbotham, ‘Well counter and from Francis-Angol’s cross, Vigs heads wide #ptfcvmfc

    15mins: Lovely reverse ball from McFadden to find LASLEY inside the box and he fires it below Fox to make it 1-1 #ptfcvmfc

    15mins: GGOOOAAALLLLL!

    14mins: Another corner to ‘Well….finds the head of McFadden but his header is blocked #ptfcvmfc

    11mins: Stunning save from Twardzik to deny Lawless a second from all of 25 yards #ptfcvmfc

    10mins: “One Phil O’Donnell”

    7mins: GOAL – Lawless opens the scoring from 10 yards from a cutback. #ptfcvmfc

    6mins: Ainsworth wins ‘Well a corner which Balatoni heads clear. #ptfcvmfc

    3mins: Vigurs booked already for a wild challenge on Higginbotham. Piccolo heads wide from the free-kick #ptfcvmfc

    1min: Early corner for Thistle….acrobatics inside the box from Piccolo but misses the ball. #ptfcvmfc

    1min: Lasley and McFadden kick off #ptfcvmfc

    The teams emerge from the tunnel…. Handshakes over, it’s time for the action!#ptfcvmfc

    [tab:Reaction]

    Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald:

    “The second-half performance was unacceptable. We had a go in the second half and left ourselves wide open.

    “We started the game very well, made a number of chances and got the goal, but I thought Motherwell were more professional and precise, and individual errors cost us.

    “It’s probably naivety, after we scored the one we kept on trying to get more. We probably should have got another one but Motherwell went up the park and capitalised on our mistakes.

    “They didn’t have to work hard for their goals whereas we had to cut them open to get our chances.”

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought we were a bit fortunate to go in at half-time 3-1. Thistle started the game really well, wee Lawless got a terrific goal for them and I thought he was coming back to haunt us.

    “But we got some really good footballing goals. It’s a big park, they like to play, so I thought it would be an open game, which it was. And we were just clinical.

    “The second half was difficult for Thistle, they had to come at us and we defended strongly and picked them off on the break. We could have had more after that but they certainly played their part in the first half.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”174″]

  • Archive

    Remembering Phil O’Donnell

    Motherwell Football Club remembers our captain, Phil O’Donnell, who sadly and so tragically passed away six years ago today.

    A Motherwell Cup-winning legend, Phil died on the 29th December 2007 during a match with Dundee United at Fir Park.

    His untimely and tragic death had a massive impact on the club and he is still fondly remembered and much missed by everyone, including our supporters, who are once again planning a tribute by applauding during the tenth minute of today’s match with Partick Thistle to celebrate his life.

    Today, the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Motherwell Football Club are with Eileen, Megan, Christopher, Olivia and Luc and the rest of Phil’s family and friends, as we cherish a true gentleman and family man taken way before his time.

    Phil O’Donnell, brave as a lion, may you forever rest in peace.