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    TV: Best yet for McCall

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    Motherwell 4 – 0 St Johnstone

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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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    TV: Best yet for McCall

    Stuart McCall declared the 4-0 victory over St Johnstone as good a performance as he has witnessed in his three years at Fir Park.

    The former Scotland midfielder celebrated his third anniversary in the role on Monday and watched his team begin the new year in style with a fifth consecutive Scottish Premiership victory, which kept them second in the table.

    John Sutton opened the scoring in the 21st minute when he headed home a cross from Iain Vigurs, who netted the second just after the break after Lionel Ainsworth’s shot had been saved.

    Ainsworth struck from 20 yards before substitute James McFadden scored from further out to round off a perfect start to 2014 for McCall, whose side hit the post through Stephen McManus, Ainsworth and Shaun Hutchinson.

    [pullquote]We keep reverting back to last season and the season before and the players we have lost, but I thought the second half was as good as we have been, on a par with anything.[/pullquote]

    McCall said: “I thought it was a fantastic performance. We keep reverting back to last season and the season before and the players we have lost, but I thought the second half was as good as we have been, on a par with anything.

    “The football was terrific and we have created some fantastic chances. Bear in mind it was against a side who don’t lose a lot of goals.

    “It was a good game. St Johnstone could have scored a couple, they have hit the woodwork a couple of times and we hit it three or four times.

    “We said it might not be a day for pretty passing but they passed it well and moved. I was really proud of the performance. I thought it was the perfect all-round way to start the new year. It was just a delight.”

    -WATCH STUART’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 4 – 0 St Johnstone

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell kicked off the new year where they finished the old one with a superb 4-0 win over a good St Johnstone.

    And while goals from John Sutton, Iain Vigurs, Lionel Ainsworth and James McFadden eased ‘Well to a fifth consective win with some style, both teams can take credit for serving up a festive feast in horrendous conditions.

    In a breathtaking 90 minutes of action, both sides had some amazing escapes as the respective goal frames were hammered an incredible 6 times.

    Despite his influential display in the 5-1 win over Thistle, James McFadden was back on the bench, alongside Zaine Francis-Angol, both making way for the inclusion of Shaun Hutchison and John Sutton who rejoined Henri Anier in attack.

    And the strike pair combined within two minutes when Anier’s pass into the box found Sutton but his lobbed attempt drifted over the bar.

    The Saints’ goal had amazing and controversial escape a minute later. Lionel Ainsworth’s corner drifted across the packed penalty area to Stephen McManus and his thundering drive cannoned down off the underside of the cross bar and bouncing up into goal before Alan Mannus could grab the ball. But despite the celebrations the assistant referee indicated that the ball had not crossed the line.

    The visitor’s goal was under seige at that stage and another Ainsworth corner found its way to Shaun Hutchison and his effort looked net bound until Mannus strecthed to scoop the ball off the line.

    Saints reply was a stunning strike from Dave Mackay which rebounded from Twardzik’s left hand post.

    Motherwell’s pressing start was finally rewarded after 20 minutes. A great break down the left ended with Vigurs sweeping a cross to the front post, where Sutton headed home his tenth of the season.

    Saints finally coped with ‘Well’s furious opening and Twardzik got down to make a great block from David Wotherspoon. Then a timely interception by McManus cut out Gwion Edwards cut back as the lethal Stevie May waited to strike.

    ‘Well came within inches of a second goal after 27 minutes. Ainsworth’s effort was blocked but the ball fell for Stuart Carswell whose volley from 10 yards rebounded off the inside of the post.

    With Saints no doubt thinking that a goal early in the second half would bring them right back into the game, it was Stuart McCall’s men who produced a killer second within minutes of the restart.

    Ainsworth cut in from the right to deliver a low drive which Mannus could only palm out to Vigurs who from 6 yards poked the ball into the empty net for his first Motherwell goal.

    It was Saints’ turn to be denied again by the woodwork when, after a goal mouth scrammble, May’s shot was brillainly turned onto the post by Twardzik.

    The game was end to end and Mannus matched his opposite number when he denied Ainworth, whose run from the halfway looked to perfectly finished, only to see his drive pushed onto the post by the ‘keeper.

    The winger was not to be denied his fourth goal infour games though and it arrived after 71minutes.

    Vigurs’ free kick was headed onto the post Hutchison, but the ball was only partially cleared and from the corner of the box Ainsworth rifled a drive across the ‘keeper to make it 3-0.

    McFadden came on for Sutton and, four minutes from time, completed the scoring when he curled a right foot drive from 25 yard drive beyond the diving Mannus.

    As the ‘Well players celebrated at the final whistle, Dan Twardzik took a well deserved final bow for his fine contribution having completed his amazing short term loan from Dundee, with his fifth win and third clean sheet.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: An incredible performance today. 4 goals, hit the woodwork 3 times and could have been more! Happy new year indeed! #mfcvsjfc

    FT: Motherwell 4 – 0 St Johnstone

    90mins: Moore almost makes it 5 but drags his shot just wide #mfcvsjfc

    86mins: MCFADDEN completes the rout with a superb curling right footed shot from 25 yards! 4-0 #mfcvsjfc

    GGGOOOAAALLL!!

    84mins: St Johnstone sub, Millar on for McDonald #mfcvsjfc

    83mins: Motherwell sub, Lasley off for Lawson #mfcvsjfc

    81mins: Motherwell sub, Sutton off for McFadden #mfcvsjfc

    81mins: Vigs slides in Moore whose shot is straight at Mannus form 12 yards. Just had to find a corner! #mfcvsjfc

    78mins:Vigurs’ cross evades the entire St J defence and falls to Ainsworth.His volley’s drilled into the ground and Mannus gathers #mfcvsjfc

    75mins: Motherwell sub, Moore on for Anier #mfcvsjfc

    74mins: May fails to hit the target with a volley 15 yards out. #mfcvsjfc

    73mins: Inches past again from Ainsworth as he dropped the shoulder and got away from MacKay and curled a shot with his right foot #mfcvsjfc

    Just before that, McManus’ header crashed off the post! #mfcvsjfc

    71mins: It’s that man AINSWORTH who has been on fire today and drills in the third from just inside the box 3-0 #mfcvsjfc

    GGOOAAALLLL!!

    68mins : St Johnstone sub, Fallon on for Brown #mfcvsjfc

    67mins: Ainsworth’s counter-attacking run ends when his shot is palmed onto the post by Mannus! #mfcvsjfc

    66mins: Hammell booked, Free-kick on the edge of the area for St J,,………Hutchy heads clear #mfcvsjfc

    64mins: Superb again from Ainsworth as he skins his man and drills it across goal. Sutton inches away from connecting #mfcvsjfc

    59mins: St Johnstone sub, Wotherspoon off for Hasselbaink #mfcvsjfc

    58mins: Good play from Vigurs as he cuts in from the right left and gets a right footed shot away at Mannus. Decent effort #mfcvsjfc

    55mins: MacKay’s free-kick from 25 yards whistles just past the post. Unlucky #mfcvsjfc

    52mins: Outstanding save from Twardzik to deny May from 6 yards. Not sure how much he knew about it but it remains 2-0 #mfcvsjfc

    48mins: VIGURS makes it 2 after an amazing run from Ainsworth. Was on hand to poke home rebound from Lionel’s shot! 2-0 #mfcvsjfc

    GGOOOAAALLL!!

    Teams are back out at a sodden Fir Park #mfcvsjfc

    …call if it was over the line from either bounce. Ref had a good view of it. #mfcvsjfc

    Looking back on the incident early in the first half. The ball actually hits the bar twice from McManus’ spectacular volley. Too hard to….

    HT: Motherwell 1 – 0 St Johnstone #mfcvsjfc

    44mins: Brown skims the paint off the top of the bar with a good effort from 20 yards #mfcvsjfc

    34mins: St J have a corner after Wotherspoon’s shot is deflected over. Hutchinson heads clear #mfcvsjfc

    30mins: It’s chucking it down here, which is a concern #mfcvsjfc

    28mins: ‘Well peppering the Saints goal! Somehow bodies keep flying in the way and the ball doesn’t find the back of the net! #mfcvsjfc

    27mins: May spins Hutchinson just inside the ‘Well half and gets a shot away. Trouble Twardzik but he deals with it #mfcvsjfc

    24mins: Great chance for St J as Edwards get in behind and he cuts it back for the waiting May. McManus slides in to clear! #mfcvsjfc

    22mins: Saints go straight up the pitch and Twardzik has a great save to deny Wotherspoon on the angle #mfcvsjfc

    21mins: Superb delivery from Vigurs in the left straight to the head of SUTTON who nods home from 8 yards! 1-0 #mfcvsjfc

    GGOOOAAALLL!!

    17mins: MacKay hits the ball with a fine effort from 20 yards! McDonald’s follow up is deflected wide #mfcvsjfc

    9mins: Anier gets the break of the ball inside the box and cuts in on his left foot. Fires just wide of the post. #mfcvsjfc

    5mins: Another good chance! This time Hutchinson ghosts in at the back post from a corner and his volley is cleared off the line #mfcvsjfc

    4mins: Moment of controversy as ‘Well claimed to have the ball over the line. Red not convinced and waved play on. Hard to tell. #mfcvsjfc

    3mins: Early chance. ball falls to Sutton just inside the box. He tries to clip it over Mannus but it sails over #mfcvsjfc

    Underway at FP #mfcvsjfc

    So, here we all are now, all the lads are up for this one. Just moments away from kick off #mfcvsjfc

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought it was a fantastic performance. We keep reverting back to last season and the season before and the players we have lost, but I thought the second half was as good as we have been, on a par with anything.

    “The football was terrific and we have created some fantastic chances. Bear in mind it was against a side who don’t lose a lot of goals.

    “It was a good game. St Johnstone could have scored a couple, they have hit the woodwork a couple of times and we hit it three or four times.

    “We said it might not be a day for pretty passing but they passed it well and moved. I was really proud of the performance. I thought it was the perfect all-round way to start the new year. It was just a delight.”

    St Johnstone assistant manager Tommy Wright:

    “It’s a strange game at times because it could have been 4-3 at half-time.

    “We didn’t start the game well, which was key. We let them get a good foothold in the game and the tempo they played at.

    “We settled down and created enough chances in the first half to be level but we did contribute to our own downfall.

    “The goals are poor from our point of view, ill-discipline and not dealing with one against ones, giving away soft free-kicks to a team that has good delivery.

    “It could have been 6-4 to them because there were a lot of chances.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”175″]

  • Archive

    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”]

  • Archive

    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