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    TV: Hammell hopes lessons were learned

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    Madden’s in charge this Friday

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    Under 20s match off

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    Four more groups enjoy Fir Park

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    Partick Thistle win in pictures

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    TV: McCall lauds battling Steelmen

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    Motherwell 4 – 3 Partick Thistle

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    TV: McFadden eyes repeat performance

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    TV: McCall bemoans injury list

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    TV: Hammell hopes lessons were learned

    Experienced fullback Stevie Hammell hopes ‘Well have learned lessons from the last time the Steelmen faced Dundee United.

    The Fir Parkers, missing three of their regular back four, were routed 4-0 by a rampant Arabs side back in November.

    Once again ‘Well have a crippling injury list to contend with but Hammell, who is just nine matches away from an amazing 500 in Claret and Amber, insists the team travel to Tayside looking for all three points.

    [pullquote]Their attacking players can really hurt you, but we’ve been working hard in training to combat that, allowing us to play our own game[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the broadcast press at ‘Well’s pre-match news conference, the 32-year old said: “Although that game [vs Dundee United in Novemeber] was quite a while ago, we learned from it and quickly moved on.

    “Despite the fact we’re short of bodies, no matter who is out there, we are going there looking for all three points.

    “Some might call it revenge; it’s not like that for us. We respect them a lot, they are a good side as you seen on that day we played them.

    “Their attacking players can really hurt you, but we’ve been working hard in training to combat that, allowing us to play our own game.”


    MFC TV

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    Madden’s in charge this Friday

    Referee for this Friday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Dundee Utd at Tannadice is the highly-rated Bobby Madden.

    The match will be Bobby’s fourth in charge of the Steelmen this campaign. The first was the SPFL opener against Hibs at Easter Road, Henri Anier coming off the bench to net the winner on his league debut.

    The second was the 3-1 win over Ross County back in September when the Fir Parkers came back from a goal down to win courtesy of goals from Bob McHugh and a John Sutton double.

    The most recent was the 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park last month, when a Kris Commons double and a McManus own-goal handed Celtic all three points.

    That was only his seventh ever Motherwell match. His first was back in January of the 2011/12 season as the ‘Well slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Inverness, Grégory Tadé grabbing the game’s only goal.

    His second was the thrilling 5-1 win over St Johnstone as Motherwell reaffirmed their grip on third spot in the old SPL. Goals that day from Higdon, Law, Murphy and Henrik Ojamaa’s double all but ended Saints’ hopes of nicking the best of the rest gong that season.

    Last season he also handled two matches. The first was an entertaining 3-3 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    Motherwell had raced into a 3-1 lead courtesy of goals from Higdon, Hutchinson and Law but a late Aberdeen fightback handed Craig Brown’s men a draw.

    His second, two months later, was a fine 2-1 win at Tannadice. Michael Higdon opened the scoring before Chris Humphrey rocketed in a second goal of the season contender. Jon Daly pulled one back with his customary goal, but it wasn’t enough as Motherwell held on for the three points.

    The 35-year old has been fourth official on a number of occasions, including Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup last season and the Semi Final with St Johnstone at Hampden.

    The whistler has busy already this campaign, with busy domestic duties topped up with games in the Europa League with Esbjerg fB vs AS Saint-Étienne, KRC Genk vs FC Thun and Lazio vs Apollon Limassol.

    In addition, he handled two UEFA Champions League qualifiers: CS Fola Esch vs GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Austria Vienna vs FH Hafnarfjördur.

    His most recent SPFL appointment was last weekend when Hibernian edged out Ross County 2-1 at Easter Road. He was also the man in the middle for Morton’s shock 1-0 win over Celtic in the League Cup back in September.

    Bobby will be ably assisted by Andrew McWilliam and Douglas Ross with Andrew Dallas on fourth official duties. Referee observer is Alan Freeland with Bert Donald as SPFL Delegate.

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    Under 20s match off

    Tonight’s Under 20s match with Rangers has been postponed due to recent bad weather.

    The surface was inspected by a local referee at 11am this morning and the match will now not go ahead.

    The Under 20s are next in action next Wednesday (26th February) when the take on Aberdeen at Arbroath’s Gayfield – 1pm kick-off.

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    Four more groups enjoy Fir Park

    Four groups were the latest to to take advantage of the ‘Free Tickets for Youth Clubs’ scheme against Partick Thistle on Saturday.

    The Steelmen announced back in October that they were offering free tickets to various youth groups throughout Lanarkshire and it has been very popular since then.

    Over 100 youngsters from the Douglas Cubs & Beavers, Milton Rovers 2002’s, St Aidan’s Youth Club and Wishaw Wycombe all watched on as Stuart McCall’s men twice came from behind to beat the Jags 4-3, in what was a pulsating afternoon.

    Marc Welsh from St Aiden’s Youth Club told us, “On behalf of my colleagues, the kids and I at St Aidan’s, I would like to thank the club for there fantastic gesture of the tickets we received for Saturday’s win over Partick.

    “The kids had a fantastic day out and, after a great display, hopefully it will encourage some of them to get along to more ‘Well games in the future.”

    Blair Paterson from Milton Rovers added: “Arriving at Fir Park, the boys were a bit apprehensive as some of them had never been to a Premiership game before.

    “What a game they witnessed; a seven-goal thriller, one which I don’t think they will forget in a hurry. I bet they couldn’t wait to get to school to tell all their friends on Monday morning; it was an emotional roller coaster, especially for me as a Season Ticket holder.

    “When ‘Well scored two late on, every one of my team were jumping and cheering loudly, even some of them that support other rival teams. (That was) Fantastic to see, and a terrific lesson learned by my boys at the game was to never, ever give up until that final whistle is blown.

    “I want to thank Motherwell Football Club for the opportunity. Everyone really loved it.”

    If you or your youth group would be keen to build a partnership with Motherwell Football Club and claim complimentary group tickets, contact the Ticket Office Manager Wendy MacFarlane on 01698 333 333 or email ticketing@motherwellfc.co.uk.

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as two late goals gave ‘Well the win in a seven-goal thriller against Partick Thistle.


    MFC TV

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    Partick Thistle win in pictures

    Action pictures from the 4-3 win over Partick Thistle at Fir Park in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”partickthistle150214″]

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    TV: McCall lauds battling Steelmen

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall praised the spirit of his side after they twice came from behind to beat Partick Thistle.

    The Steelmen were losing 1-0 then 3-2 in a topsy-turvy encounter at a soaking Fir Park, but stormed back and late goals from John Sutton and Stephen McManus secured the win.

    A shattered McCall, who admitted it was the most drained he had felt after a match since he was a player, was thrilled with the win and commended his players never-say-die attitude.

    Speaking to MFC TV after the match, he said: “I knew it was going to be a tough game today

    [pullquote]I though the commitment and desire to just keep going and get about the park when it was hard to get through; I’m drained emotionally, but delighted obviously. The players deserve huge credit.[/pullquote]

    “With the injury list and the amount of guys were are patching up and putting out, it was always going to be an uphill task.

    “I knew we had to rely on 11 or 12 to get us through today, with a lot of young boys on the bench and that was made even more difficult as the park was so, so heavy.

    “We said at half time we really need to go out and put all our energies into the first 15, 20 minutes of the half to try to get a goal then kick on. In fairness to Thistle, they came back and Kallum Higginbotham produces a nice piece of skill to put them ahead.

    “We look to the bench, but what can really come on in that situation on that park, particularly with Henri (Anier) and Laws (Lawson) struggling?

    “I though the commitment and desire to just keep going and get about the park when it was hard to get through; I’m drained emotionally, but delighted obviously. The players deserve huge credit.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 4 – 3 Partick Thistle

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell showed great determination to stage a dramatic last gasp fight back and take all three points against Partick Thistle today.

    But when Stephen McManus powered home his winning header four minutes from time, it not only erased the poor opening 30 minutes but rewarded the ‘Well players who never gave up hope of taking something from a game, despite trailing 3-2 with just six minutes remaining.

    It also rewarded the 25 hardy ‘Well fans who battled against the elements on the Fir Park pitch, making it playable for the visit of Thistle. In the light of the injuries, which kept Simon Ramsden, Fraser Kerr and Lee Hollis sidelined, Stuart McCall perhaps secretly hoped for a postponement!

    And with six minutes remaining and his side looking to drop three points, the ‘Well boss was most certainly wishing the game had been off.

    The finale was in complete contract to most of the first half where both teams struggled to find any pattern to their game, ‘Well looked rusty and short of match practice after a three week lay-off.

    After a couple of early chances for the home side, with Iain Vigurs firing over and James McFadden thumping a shot into a packed defence, Thistle sneaked into the lead after 38 minutes.

    Former Fir Park loan player Karl Higginbotham, who had a terrific match, fed a pass to Chris Erskine who had time to turn and bury his shot in the corner of the net despite Gunnar Nielsen getting his hand to the ball.

    Two minutes Prince Bauben was denied a second when his drive was blocked by Shaun Hutchison on the penalty spot.

    Paul Gallagher in the Thistle goal had not been called into action but three minutes from half-time, he was picking the ball out of his net when ‘Well drew level with a bit of luck. Keith Lasley, shaking off a whack to his knee earlier in the match, cut in from the corner of the box and although his shot was on target, a wicked defection from Higginbotham carried the ball high over Gallagher and under his cross bar.

    That lifted the home side and within minutes of the restart McFadden found Vigurs at the angle of the box but he curled his shot over the bar.

    After 51 minutes McFadden was the provider as ‘Well took the lead. Taking a pass from Lionel Ainsworth the former Scotland star rolled the ball back across the box into the path of Ainsworth, whose controlled shot carried he ball high past Gallagher to make it 2-1.

    Thistle had appeals for a penalty dismissed when Aaron Taylor-Sinclair’s shot rebounded from a ‘Well defender’s arm but the ref pointed to the spot after 65 minutes when Ainsworth sliding tackle caught Taylor-Sinclair. Higginbotham rejoiced in front of the East Stand as he confidently sent Nielsen the wrong way to level the scores at 2-2.

    Higginbotham then seemed certain to come back to haunt his former employees after 72 minutes when he finished off a great solo run with an angled drive across the ‘keeper and into the far corner of the net to make it 3-2.

    That should have been the winner for Thistle but rather than feeling sorry for themselves, the ‘Well players took the challenge to their opponents in the final 15 minutes.

    Faddy, who showed some fabulous touches and superb fitness on a heavy pitch, came within inches of the equaliser but his turn and shot from six yards took a deflection on its way into the side netting. Gallagher then produced a great save to palm a thumping header from McManus over the cross bar.

    Finally, with six minutes remaining, ‘Well grabbed a deserved equaliser when Ainsworth’s tempting cross found John Sutton rising to nod home his 12th goal of the season and set up a grandstand finish.

    And two minutes from time, the comeback was complete. Stevie Hammell whipped a free kick just beyond the 6 yard box where McManus met the ball full on to powerfully head the ball beyond Gallagher to make it 4-3 and grab a hard earned three points.


    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

     An incredible game here at Fir Park. A battle, and ‘Well showed great spirit to keep going and come back for the three points #MFCvPTFC

    FT: Motherwell 4 – 3 Partick Thistle #MFCvPTFC

    Balatoni heads over. 30 seconds left #MFCvPTFC

    92mins: Free-kick to Thistle in a dangerous position #MFCvPTFC

    3 minutes added on #MFCvPTFC

    89mins: Motherwell sub, Ainsworth off for Lawson #MFCvPTFC

    88mins: MCMANUS with a looping header over Gallagher. 4-3, unbelievable!! #MFCvPTFC

    87mins: Free-kick from out wide……GGGOOOOOAAALLLLL!!!

    84mins: It’s that man Sutton again with a monumental leap at the back post to power home Ainsworth’s cross 3-3 #MFCvPTFC


    83mins: Partick’s final change, Higginbotham off for Craigen #MFCvPTFC

    82mins: Bannigan booked for a shirt pull on Anier #MFCvPTFC

    79mins: Partick Thistle sub, Elliot on for Erskine #MFCvPTFC

    77mins: Partick Thistle sub, Doolan on for Taylor #MFCvPTFC

    76mins: Motherwell sub, Anier on for Vigurs #MFCvPTFC

    73mins: Great save from Gallagher to deny McManus’ volley from a corner! #MFCvPTFC

    72mins: GOAL! Higginbotham makes it 3-2 with a mazy run and good finish from a tight angle #MFCvPTFC

    66mins: Corner to ‘Well……Thistle break and Nielsen has to make the save from Erskine’s shot #MFCvPTFC

    65mins: GOAL! Higginbotham makes it 2-2 from the spot #MFCvPTFC

    64mins: Penalty! Ainsworth concedes it #MFCvPTFC

    61mins: Fine stop from Nielsen at the feet of Bauben! Looked like the equaliser but he did well to make the block 5 yards out #MFCvPTFC

    60mins: Thistle claim for handball in the ‘Well box. Was travelling at speed but looked (and sounded) like it hit Hammell’s chest #MFCvPTFC

    58mins: Vigurs leaps well at the back post to connect with Ainsworth’s cross. Goes just past #MFCvPTFC

    57mins: Carswell also enters the book for for a similar offence #MFCvPTFC

    56mins: Balotoni correctly booked for a shirt pull on Ainsworth on the halfway line as ‘Well looked to break #MFCvPTFC

    Ainsworth makes it 2-1 with a superb curling finish from just inside the box! McFadden the provider #MFCvPTFC


    49mins: Decent build-up play leads to Vigurs getting some space on the left. Shoots, but it’s sliced well wide #MFCvPTFC

    Second half is underway #COYW #MFCvPTFC

    Teams are back out for the second half. #MFCvPTFC

    HT: Motherwell 1 – 1 Partick Thistle #MFCvPTFC

    2 minutes added on #MFCvPTFC

    42mins: Lasley makes it 1-1. With nothing much on he struck it from 20 yards, Took a deflection over the keeper but they all count! 1-1


    36mins: GOAL! Erskine opens the scoring! Had all the time in the world as the defence opened up and slotted home 0-1 #MFCvPTFC

    26mins: Taylor gets the break of the ball and with options available, opts to go himself. Lasley does well to cover and tackle #MFCvPTFC

    21mins: Ball falls to Lasley 20 yards out. His right footed strike finds the side netting. Close! #MFCvPTFC

    13mins: Great battling from Sutton to get away from Balatoni. As he pulls the trigger, Mair gets across to block #MFCvPTFC

    10mins: Lasley goes down under a heavy challenge from Higginbotham. He’s up, but limping #MFCvPTFC

    6mins: Corner to Partick, won by Erskine. Higginbotham’s low delivery is dealt with by Ainsworth #MFCvPTFC

    4mins: Vigurs comes close after getting on the end of Francis-Angol’s low ball in. Curls just over #MFCvPTFC

    2mins: Early corner for The Steelmen….McFadden’s goalbound header cleared by Taylor #MFCvPTFC

    That’s us underway here at FP!! #MFCvPTFC


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “When we went 2-1 up I thought we were back in it but the penalty gives them a boost before Higginbotham’s terrific third goal. They showed great character and so did we and the action was end to end.

    “I stressed to the players that we might make the most of set-pieces and Sutton and McManus were terrific in the air for the last two goals.”

    The match had been in doubt beforehand due to adverse weather and McCall admitted that with 10 minutes left he was wondering whether all the effort to get it played had been worth it.

    He said: “In the end I was delighted with the victory, and the fact we got the game on, but we had a lot of heavy legs on a heavy pitch.

    “We were a bit rusty at times and although it was not our best performance we kept going.”

    Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald:

    “I thought we were worth at least a point, particularly the way we played in the second half.

    “We dealt well all day with the Motherwell threat until the last five minutes but our Achilles heel came back to haunt us again.

    “Kallum Higginbotham was outstanding in the second half and for us to score three goals at Fir Park, it should be enough to win the game as not many teams do that.”


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    TV: McFadden eyes repeat performance

    James McFadden hopes to recreate the same scintillating form he showed last time ‘Well faced Partick Thistle.

    The 48-times capped Scotland talisman had struggled with a troublesome hamstring injury in the early part of the season.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall had asked the former Evertonian to play wide on the left, but it wasn’t until he took a role through the middle against Thistle in Glasgow that he really kicked into top gear.

    And the 30-year old hasn’t looked back since, starting three of ‘Well’s four matches, and looking back to his old confident self.

    Now the forward to wants to continue that for the rest of the season, as the Steelmen chase their sixth Euro qualification in the last seven seasons.

    [pullquote]It was probably a wee bit of a turning point [the Thistle match at Firhill in December] for me this season and performances have been better since.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s pre-match press conference as the Steelmen prepare to meet the Jags again, McFadden said: “It was probably a wee bit of a turning point [the Thistle match at Firhill in December] for me this season and performances have been better since.”

    “I think I’m suited better to playing through the middle. I can probably have more of an effect on the game.

    “I have enjoyed it and the team has been playing well, and we have been getting some decent results. We face a difficult test against an improving Partick Thistle. People might look at the last match and make assumptions, but no one here is doing that.

    “We know how difficult the match will be but it’s up to us to put our own stamp on it and hopefully come away with the three points.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall bemoans injury list

    Stuart McCall has a injury headache to contend with ahead of Saturday’s match with Partick Thistle.

    The Fir Park boss had hoped to clear the treatment room, as ‘Well went the first two weekends in February without a match.

    However, physiotherapists John Porteous and Adam Stokes have been busier than ever, leaving McCall to turn to his Under 20s side to fill up the squad.

    Speaking to the gathered press and ‘Well’s weekly news conference, McCall said: “We had hoped the period without a game would have seen us better off than we were before Aberdeen, and the lads could recharge their batteries; unfortunately we’re probably worse off.

    [pullquote]We had hoped the period without a game would have seen us better off than we were before Aberdeen, and the lads could recharge their batteries; unfortunately we’re probably worse off.[/pullquote]

    “In that time, which we’ve needed off, Stephen McManus has had a minor operation, two of the lads have had injections and only started training yesterday (Thursday), we’ve had another on complete rest due to shin splints, so that was bad enough.

    “Then, on Tuesday at our Under 20s match, Lee Hollis picked up a minor muscle strain – which can happen after a long period out – and to cap it all off, Craig Moore fell over and broke a rib and is out on three weeks.

    “So that’s Fraser Kerr, Simon Ramsden, Lee Erwin, Lee Hollis and Craig Moore all out with another two or three doubtful.

    “That means we’ll have five, possibly six, lads on the bench who haven’t started a match for the club but we’re looking forward to it getting back into things in what will be a difficult match against Partick Thistle.”


    MFC TV