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    Hearts 0 – 1 Motherwell

  • Archive

    TV: Ainsworth wants Tynecastle tempo

  • Archive

    TV: Anier completes ‘Well switch

  • Archive

    TV: McCall frustrated at loan rules

  • Archive

    Away Day Guide: vs Hearts

  • Archive

    Cummins joins Dundee on loan

  • Archive

    Collum in charge at Tynecastle

  • Archive

    Cash Converters’ December POTM

  • Archive

    Hearts & Celtic tickets go on sale

  • Archive

    Inverness CT match off

  • Archive

    Hearts 0 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Gavin McCafferty at Tynecastle

    John Sutton scored the only goal against Hearts to secure ‘Well’s sixth consecutive Premiership victory – their longest winning run in the top flight for 77 years.

    The striker finished from a tight angle five minutes before the end of the first half to claim his 11th goal of the season – exactly the total he hit in two seasons at Tynecastle before leaving Georgie in the summer.

    The last time Motherwell sealed a sixth consecutive win in Scotland’s top division they inflicted Celtic’s record defeat, an 8-0 win in the 1936-37 season, and they created enough chances to put this game out of sight before half-time.

    But Hearts rallied against the odds in the final half hour to give the Motherwell goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen some uncomfortable moments, and they were applauded off the park by the home crowd despite falling 20 points adrift following Ross County’s draw with Partick Thistle.

    Hearts had Jamie Hamill back from suspension and filled their bench for only the second time in six games but there was little let-up for their stretched squad, with Callum Tapping joining Danny Wilson on the sidelines through illness.

    Stuart McCall made two changes of his own. Faroese International Gunnar Nielsen returned between the sticks to replace Dan Twardzik who returned to Dundee after an emergency loan. The only other was to leave ‘new’ recruit Henri Anier on the bench at the expense of the on-form James McFadden.

    They Hearts lifted their crowd with a couple of attacks in an end-to-end start but Jordan McGhee almost put through his own net in the third minute following McFadden’s low cross, with Jamie MacDonald diving to stop the ball on the line. McFadden soon set up another chance with a mazy run but Iain Vigurs shot weakly from 18 yards and MacDonald held.

    Sutton headed over from 10 yards as Motherwell continued to attack at every opportunity, and they soon outnumbered Hearts by three to one on the break. McFadden’s pass found Lionel Ainsworth but Robinson got back to make a diving block and McFadden volleyed wide from Ainsworth’s follow-up cross.

    The chances kept coming as Ainsworth robbed Kevin McHattie and rolled the ball across the penalty box but Vigurs miss-hit his effort. The on-loan winger then beat two men and struck a ferocious shot just over from 25 yards and was on target five minutes later with an equally powerful volley that MacDonald dived to push away.

    Motherwell’s pressure told in another counterattack. Brad McKay misjudged Vigurs’ slide pass from his own half and Sutton ran on to beat MacDonald in the left channel. The angle was tight but Sutton managed to squeeze the ball between McGhee and McKay and just inside the far post.

    McFadden and Ainsworth had time to fit in more first-half efforts and Motherwell had a good chance to double their lead just after the break when Vigurs’ brilliant first-time pass released Ainsworth but his touch allowed MacDonald to block.

    McHattie, who had been struggling with a hamstring injury, came off for Jamie Walker, forcing a reshuffle at the back at the start of the second half.

    But Hearts dug deep into their limited reserves and somehow found the ammunition to put Motherwell on the rack. They almost got level through Ryan Stevenson’s innocuous-looking cross, which bounced off the bar, before Nielsen palmed away David Smith’s long-range shot.

    Hearts began to pepper him with shots from distance the former Man City stopper tipped over efforts from Stevenson and Walker, who saw another strike flash just wide.

    Henri Anier, who signed a two-and-a-half-year contract on Friday, came on for the injured McFadden and had a shot saved on the break but Hearts kept up the pressure and Nielsen palmed away Paterson’s close-range header before the Hearts teenager had another cleared off the line.

    Anier had a goal disallowed with five minutes left when Sutton was correctly penalised for an aerial challenge after MacDonald had palmed away his header.

    But Hearts created the final chance when they worked the ball to Hamill eight yards out. The midfielder forced a shot towards goal but Nielsen blocked with his feet to secure all three points.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at Tynecastle

    FT: Hearts 0 – 1 Motherwell #HMFCvMFC

    91mins: Hammell booked for what you’d call a tactical foul #HMFCvMFC

    90mins: 3 minutes added on #HMFCvMFC

    89mins: Glorious chance for Hamill but with only Nielsen to beat, takes his time and allowd the ‘Well defence in to clear #HMFCvMFC

    86mins: Corner to ‘Well….Hutchinson heads over #HMFCvMFC

    85mins: Anier has the ball in the net however the ref had ruled Sutton had fouled McGowan in the run up #HMFCvMFC

    83mins: Motherwell sub, Vigurs off for Lawson #HMFCvMFC

    80minns: Hearts sub, King on for Smith #HMFCvMFC

    79mins: Hearts corner…..headed clear by McManus to Hamill who blazes over. #HMFCvMFC

    76mins: Anier breaks away and cuts in on his left foot. Fires straight at MacDonald. #HMFCvMFC

    73mins: ‘Well subs, Anier and Francis-Angol on for McFadden and Ainsworth. Hearts sub, Carrick off for Nicholson #HMFCvMFC

    71mins: Hearts free-kick about 30 yards out on the angle…..Smith’s ball in sails straight out #HMFCvMFC

    69mins: Hearts with some good pressure, Home fans right behind them too…. #HMFCvMFC

    65mins: Stevenson stings the palms of Nielsen who takes no beats it wide for a corner #HMFCvMFC

    57mins: Good curling effort from Smith, beaten away by Nielsen who takes no chances #HMFCvMFC

    55mins: Stevenson’s cross somehow manages to curl and strike the bar! Close call #HMFCvMFC

    53mins: Great chance for Ainsworth as he raced though 1 v 1. His final touch is too heavy and MacDonald can slide clear #HMFCvMFC

    53mins: Hearts sub, McHattie off for Walker #HMFCvMFC

    52mins: Corner to Hearts…..Smith’s delivery is headed clear by Sutton #HMFCvMFC

    47mins: Corner to ‘Well……cleared by McKay who takes a sore one in the process #HMFCvMFC

    Second half underway #HMFCvMFC

    HT:  Hearts 0 – 1 Motherwell #HMFCvMFC

    44mins: Great wing work by Ainsworth then he drills a ball low across goal. Just needed a touch but no takers #HMFCvMFC

    39mins: A stunning through ball from Vigurs to SUTTON who beats MacDonald to it and slots home from a tight angle! 0-1 #HMFCvMFC

    GGGOOOAALLLL!!

    33mins: Great save from MacDonald to deny Ainsworth. His half-volley was heading into the bottom corner #HMFCvMFC

    28mins: Ainsworth’s powerful effort with his left foot from 20 yards flies just inches over! #HMFCvMFC

    26mins: Ainwworth robs McGowan on the wing and picks out Vigurs whose shot on goal is blocked. Good chance #HMFCvMFC

    24mins: Chance of the game so far falls to Ainsworth! McFadden put him through with only MacDonald to beat but Hamill gets back to block!

    22mins: Bit of a lull in terms of chances. Hearts do look dangerous, though. #HMFCvMFC

    14mins: Free-kick to ‘Well about 30 yards out. Looks too far for a shot on goal…..Faddy tries, but well over #HMFCvMFC

    10mins: Up the other end Vigurs has time and space on the edge of the box but can only shoot straight at MacDonald #HMFCvMFC

    9mins: Decen build up play from Hearts to create some space for McHattie whose cross is straight at Nielsen #HMFCvMFC

    …Vigurs drills it into the wall #HMFCvMFC

    7mins: McFadden wins a free-kick 25 yards out….good position #HMFCvMFC

    3mins: Entertaining start! McGhee very nearly slides the ball past his own goalie from McFadden’s cross #HMFCvMFC

    20seconds in and Hamill is down injured already. Looks like he’s struggling #HMFCvMFC

    Underway here at Tynecastle #HMFCvMFC

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought we played some really good stuff in the first half.

    “We could have gone in a wee bit more ahead. We’re really pleased with the way we moved it.

    “It’s important to try to get the first goal against a young side.

    “But, in fairness to Hearts, the young boys’ second half was a really spirited performance.

    “I think we merited it over the 90 minutes but certainly the gave us a few frights in the second half.”

    Hearts manager Gary Locke:

    “I just hope one week we can get a bit of the luck we deserve at the moment.

    “I think, after last week, we were maybe getting questioned about one or two things but today, we showed commitment to the cause, and we need a bit of luck to go along with the effort we’re putting in.”

    “You can never give up, you saw that in our performance today. It’s obviously going to be very difficult, but the boys are giving us everything and that’s all we can ask for.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”176″]

  • Archive

    TV: Ainsworth wants Tynecastle tempo

    Lionel Ainsworth is adamant Motherwell need to be right on top of their game if they are to take anything from Tynecastle tomorrow.

    The Steelmen travel to the Capital in good form, having gone unbeaten through the Christmas and New Year period.

    Hearts have been up against it: a fifteen point deduction, forced to play inexperienced youths after a much-debated transfer embargo and a run of bad luck both on the park and with injuries off it.

    However, no team can afford to take any Premiership match lightly, a point reinforced by Ainsworth who says ‘Well will show the Jambos all the respect they deserve.

    [pullquote]We never underestimate anyone, regardless of who we are playing because on their day, anyone can beat anyone. When you’re in the trenches, you find teams battle hard for each other and we need to ensure we match that.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the gathered press at ‘Well’s weekly news conference, the on-loan Rotherham man said: “We’re doing well but Hearts are scrapping for their lives and I’ve been in situations like that before.

    “We never underestimate anyone, regardless of who we are playing because on their day, anyone can beat anyone. When you’re in the trenches, you find teams battle hard for each other and we need to ensure we match that.

    “The ball could come off your shin, go in the net and we lose 1-0. We have to be focused and determined to get our sixth win on the bounce.

    “That’s our main focus and if we concentrate on what we can do, I’m sure we can go out and put in a good performance.”

    -WATCH LIONEL’S PRESS CONFERENCE IN FULL EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    TV: Anier completes ‘Well switch

    Motherwell FC is tonight delighted to confirm the signing of Estonian International Henri Anier on a two-and-a-half year deal.

    Anier arrived in the summer on loan from Viking Fotballklubb, and has been a big hit, netting seven goals in seventeen starts and forming a deadly partnership with John Sutton.

    The 23-year old, who also has five goals in thirteen starts for his country, was due to return to Norway next week but after days of negotiations, ‘Well are finally able to confirm his full-time stay at Fir Park.

    After a penning a deal that will keep him in North Lanarkshire until the summer of 2016, the striker told MFC TV: “I am really happy things are tied up and my long-term future is sorted out.

    “I’ve really enjoy the last six months in Scotland, the physicality of the game and how high-tempo it is. It’s quick and technically good too, a real challenge.

    “It is important for any footballer to feel happy and welcome and the club, on and off the park, has did that for me and made it easy. I enjoy working under a great manager and coaching staff and training with the lads. It’s also a pleasure to play in front of the fans, who have been so good with me.

    “My aim now is to try and develop as a player, score as many goals as I can for Motherwell and hopefully finish as high up the table as possible.

    [pullquote]My aim now is to try and score as many goals as I can for Motherwell and hopefully finish as high up the table as possible.[/pullquote]

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster added: “As a Board, we have worked incredibly hard to keep both Lionel Ainsworth and Henri Anier at Fir Park against what is a tough financial climate within the game.

    “It does not take an accountant to realise the impact of being knocked out of both Cup competitions for a club like ours. It has been a great few weeks on the park, however, somewhat more financially difficult off it.

    “I want to pay special tribute to two directors in particular who helped fund the Anier deal; it would not have been possible otherwise. This gesture shows that we have a special bond at our club, with great people who all pull together. That includes the staff, players, directors and fans. I must also thank Viking who, throughout, have been very helpful and professional.

    “It is more important than ever that we all show our passion and dedication by supporting the club as much is possible. To do this, I would urge anyone considering joining the ‘Well Society to do so.

    “The Society is key to the success and future of the club. There has been somewhat of a lull in new memberships recently. Signing both players gives us all the chance to refocus and start these important discussions once again.

    “Obviously everyone is delighted to keep both talents, we believe they have added significantly to our season, and look forward to what we hope is a successful conclusion to the current 2013/14 season.”

    Henri signed his contract this evening and will complete his move in full following international registration formalities.

    -WATCH HENRI’S INTERVIEW IN FULL EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    TV: McCall frustrated at loan rules

    Stuart McCall has spoke of his frustration at an unknown loophole that has hampered attempts to get players out on loan.

    It has came to light in recent days that a new rule, put in place at the establishment of the SPFL, forbids clubs from loaning more than one player to a specific club.

    Prior to this summer, top league clubs could only loan one player to a club within the same division, but could send multiple to clubs in any of the lower divisions.

    However, when the league bodies were amalgamated in the summer and the new rules drawn up, the change was added and not made clear to clubs until now.

    Anomalies exist; Dunfermline have three players borrowed from Dundee United (completed whilst still under the auspices of the Scottish Football League) and St Mirren have two players on loan from Newcastle Utd, due to the cross border nature of the deal, where the same rules do not apply.

    Adam Cummins joined Dundee on loan yesterday and it looked likely a second player would join him today.

    However, that has been scuppered, forcing a re-think, which prompted an angry and frustrated response from the Motherwell boss.

    [pullquote]We can only send one player to the same club in a different division. In England the rule is two. Cross-border FIFA rules say it can be more than one but here in Scotland, you can’t. It is crazy![/pullquote]

    “There was an opportunity for one of our players to join Adam Cummins on loan at Dundee, then we read this morning that can’t happen due to a new rule,” he told the broadcast press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference.

    “We didn’t know, Dundee certainly didn’t know and I am pretty sure not many clubs were aware.

    “It’s absolutely nonsensical. If we wanted to send two youngsters together to say someone like Brechin, where they can learn their trade and get good coaching and potentially competitive football; we now can’t.

    “We can only send one player to the same club in a different division. In England the rule is two. Cross-border FIFA rules say it can be more than one but here in Scotland, you can’t. It is crazy!

    “According to what I read, this had been flagged up to the league earlier, so my question would be, why wasn’t some sort of circular sent around clubs instead of us and everyone being in the dark?

    “I spoke to (SPFL Chief Executive) Neil Doncaster at length this morning and he is in total agreement. I think they have a meeting on Monday and I understand it is getting looked at. It just makes things much more difficult for us.”

    -WATCH STUART’S PRESS CONFERENCE IN FULL EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Away Day Guide: vs Hearts

    Tynecastle

    Stadium Details:

    HeartsHeart of Midlothian Football Club
    Tynecastle Stadium
    Gorgie Road
    Edinburgh

    Tel: 0871 663 1874 (all enquiries)
    Web: www.heartsfc.co.uk

    Opened: 1886
    Capacity: 17,420
    SatNav: EH11 2NL
    Distance from Fir Park: 36.1 miles (0 hr 47 min)

    Tickets:

    ADULTS:   £24 
    CONCESSIONS:                       £18
    UNDER 18:   £15
    UNDER 12:   £8
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Tickets are available from the Fir Park Ticket Office or on the gate at Tynecastle.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    By Car

    The stadium is located to the West of the city and is easily accessible from the bypass.

    Follow the M8 until its end and then take the A720 South towards Dalkeith. Leave the A720 to join the A71 and continue forward on to Gorgie Road. You will eventually come to the stadium on the left.

    If travelling from the South, follow the A702 and then take the A720 North towards Dalkeith.

    Street parking is available on numerous streets around the ground.

    By Bus

    Several operators run buses to Edinburgh, departing every hour from Buchanan Station in Glasgow city centre.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.citylink.co.uk.

    Several supporters buses will make the journey. For full contact details – click here.

    By Train

    Haymarket station is served by trains from Glasgow and is within walking distance of the ground.

    Upon leaving the station, turn right and then right again on to Dalry Road, which leads to Gorgie Road. You will eventually come to the stadium on the right.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.scotrail.co.uk.

    [mappress]
  • Archive

    Cummins joins Dundee on loan

    Defender Adam Cummins has joined Scottish Championship title contenders Dundee on loan until the end of the season.

    The former Everton Academy graduate, who won the clubs’ Young Player of the Year last season, has seen his first team opportunities restricted against an experienced back four this term.

    Cummins, who has started games in both the UEFA Champions League and Europa League, moves to the City of Discovery and right into a title race, with the Dee battling it out with Hamilton Accies for top spot.

    And the 20-year old hopes it will prove a launchpad for next season, as he looks towards nailing down a regular starting berth at Fir Park, adding to his 33 appearances for the first-team.

    [pullquote]My aim is to go there, play well and hopefully help them win the league. That will set me up nicely for coming back in the summer and making a pitch for a regular first-team spot at Motherwell.[/pullquote]

    Cummins told motherwellfc.co.uk, “I’ve had to be patient waiting for a chance as the back four of Hutchinson, McManus, Ramsden and Hammell have all performed so well this season.

    “I also had one or two niggling injuries at the start of the season, which didn’t help.

    “Going to Dundee will give me a good opportunity to get games and get sharp again. They are a really good club, fighting for promotion back to the Premiership.

    “My aim is to go there, play well and hopefully help them win the league.

    “That will set me up nicely for coming back in the summer and making a pitch for a regular first-team spot at Motherwell.”

    Adam signed his deal this afternoon and, subject to the relevant registration formalities, will join in time for training tomorrow and the weekend’s match with Livingston and Dens Park.

  • Archive

    Collum in charge at Tynecastle

    Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership meeting with Hearts at Tynecastle.

    Regarded as one of Scotland’s best officials, it will be Willie’s second Motherwell match of the 2013/14 campaign. His only other was the recent 3-0 win over St Mirren at Fir Park when Lionel Ainsworth and a Henri Anier double separated the sides.

    Willie is no stranger to ‘Well fans having been a top-flight whistler for a number of years, taking charge of six Motherwell matches last term too.

    The first was the 1-0 defeat at Tynecastle in October 2012 when Danny Grainger’s long-range effort separated the sides.

    He also took charge of both William Hill Scottish Cup clashes with Aberdeen last December.

    In the first meeting at Pittodrie, Niall McGinn headed home a late equaliser to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s opener 10 minutes from time.

    There would be disappointment for the Steelmen in the replay as goals from Rory Fallon and Joe Shaughnessy helped the Dons progress to the next round.
    Motherwell were handed a lifeline in injury-time when Michael Higdon netted from the penalty spot, however Craig Brown’s side held firm in the final minutes.

    He was also the man in the middle for the narrow 3-2 win over St Johnstone in January; Michael Higdon’s hat-trick sealing a terrific three points and also the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ross County shortly after.

    He also handled the James McFadden-inspired 4-1 victory over Hibs in March and, finally, the 4-3 defeat to Inverness Caley in the Highlands in May.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads six wins, twelve defeats and five draws from twenty-three matches (in all competitions).

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 34 and conceded 43.

    46 players have gone into the book, 20 wearing Claret and Amber, while four players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road five years back, Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk four seasons ago, Paul Dixon at the end of 2009/10 and, most recently, Henrik Ojamaa in that game at Caley last season.

    Martin Cryans and Brian McGarry will run the lines with Craig Charleston on fourth official duties. The referee observer is George Smith and the SPFL Delegate is Ricky Gray.

  • Archive

    Cash Converters’ December POTM

    Every month this season, Cash Converters will be giving you the opportunity to present your Motherwell Player of the Month with his trophy.

    All you need to do is vote for the ‘Well player you think has been the stand-out performer for December and you could be chosen at random to congratulate our star man in person.

    To cast your vote, simply visit our Cash Converters SPL Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.

    The Cash Converters SPL Facebook page will also give you the opportunity to enter the draw to take part in the next Convert for Cash race against Aberdeen on Saturday 25th January 2014, and the chance to win a host of other prizes.

    Competition closes at midday on Friday 10th January 2014.

  • Archive

    Hearts & Celtic tickets go on sale

    Tickets for our trips to both Tynecastle and Celtic Park are now on sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office.

    HEARTS:

    ADULTS:   £24 
    CONCESSIONS:                       £18
    UNDER 18:   £15
    UNDER 12:   £8
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Tickets are available from the Fir Park Ticket Office or on the gate at Tynecastle.
    • If you plan on making the trip to Edinburgh, check our our ‘Guide to Tynecastle’.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    CELTIC:

    ADULTS:   £26 / £23 
    CONCESSIONS:                       £17 / £14
    JUVENILE:   £10
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s and Under 16s.
    • Juveniles are listed as Under 13s.
    • The cheaper priced ticket is for restricted view only.
    • Tickets must be pre-purchased from the Fir Park Ticket Office prior to matchday (open until close of play on the 17th January).
    • If you plan on making the trip to Glasgow, check our our ‘Guide to Celtic’.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    ————–

  • Archive

    Inverness CT match off

    Motherwell’s match with Inverness CT has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Fir Park.

    The groundstaff have been battling against the recent inclement weather, which has seen over 180mm of rainfall at Fir Park in the last nineteen days (the average figures for a month is around 30mm).

    This has led to two areas in particular, in front of the East Stand at the half way line and at the East / South corner to become completely saturated, despite Head Groundsman Mikey Ellis’ best attempts to clear it.

    An inspection was called for 8am this morning and the hope was that although the pitch was and is very wet, favourable conditions though the night would have seen it dry out to the point where it was playable.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough and Scottish FA match official John Beaton was forced to call the game off after inspecting it early this morning.

    Motherwell Football Club would like to apologise for any inconvenience this postponement may cause.

    No date has, as yet, been confirmed for the rearranged fixture.