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    TV: Johansson reflects on Hearts loss

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    Hearts U20s 3 – 0 Motherwell U20s

  • Archive

    Kerr hoping to end injury hell

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    Under 20s to face Hearts

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    Hibs tickets still on sale

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    Hearts win in pictures

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    TV: McCall praises ‘Well response

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    Motherwell 4 – 1 Hearts

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    Hearts Magazine Preview

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    TV: Johansson reflects on Hearts loss

    Jonatan Johansson was left frustrated as his young side lost 3-0 to Hearts in Edinburgh this evening.

    The Steelmen created enough half-chances, but only twice made goalkeeper Jack Hamilton work for his money.

    To compound matters, the visitors conceded two penalties and had Danny McNulty sent off in a night to forget.

    “Although the scoreline was a little harsh, we didn’t do anything in the game to merit a win,” the 106-times capped former Finnish International striker told MFC TV after the match.

    [pullquote]Although the scoreline was a little harsh, we didn’t do anything in the game to merit a win.[/pullquote]

    “Some of our play was good but there were game changing decisions that went against us, rightly or wrongly.

    “We have a history of lazy defending and that is something we have to cut out at this age level. Putting your foot in and either winning it or giving away a foul isn’t so bad in midfield,  but you absolutely can’t do that in the box.

    “Our reaction after the first goal wasn’t great, we felt sorry for ourselves then Buchanan scored almost straight after with a fantastic finish.

    “To be fair, after the sending off, the boys showed some good character and created some good chances but we just never took them. It’s a young team and there were some positives to take from the way some of them played but there are areas we need to improve.”

    -WATCH JONATAN’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Hearts U20s 3 – 0 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s crashed to a 3-0 defeat against Hearts at Newtongrange Star’s New Victoria Park this evening.

    Two penalty kicks converted by Angus Beith and a super strike from Robbie Buchanan handed Hearts the win that was perhaps a little more handsome than the Steelmen deserved.

    Jonatan Johansson made three changes to the side that lost narrowly to Aberdeen six days ago. Lee Hollis, Euan Murray and Fraser Johnstone dropped out, replaced by Max Currie, Ben Hall and Craig McCall.

    That meant the Fir Parkers lined up with nine 17-year olds in the first eleven; Motherwell’s youngest ever side at Under 20s level.

    Despite the age disadvantage, the visitors made the better start to the match and created the first real chance of the game after twelve minutes. A good move down the left finished with David Ferguson’s teasing cross towards the near post. Dale Shirkie was there but could only prod wide.

    Hearts had the ball in the net ten minutes later but, to be fair, the assistant’s flag was up before Sam Daniel had got his shot away. A minute later, Jack Simpson presented another chance for the Hearts left-winger, but he scooped it high over the bar from twelve yards.

    With just over ten minutes to go to the break, Ferguson connected with a deep Steven Higgins cross, but could only turn his header back across goal before Hearts cleared.

    Incredibly, the home side went immediately down the park and got themselves in front from the penalty spot. It was a harsh call on Morgyn Neill, the ball appeared to hit his knee and spun onto his hand, but a penalty it was.

    Beith was in no mood for sympathy, slamming it high and hard into the top right corner.

    Incredibly, in what was an even match, Hearts doubled their advantage just four minutes later. There was no debate on this one though; Buchanan weaved his way past two challenges before curling a magnificent effort high into the top corner.

    ‘Well were shell-shocked but could and probably should have reduced the arrears minutes before the interval. Dale Shirkie got on the end of a ball over the top but could only fire a shot straight at Hamilton in the home goal.

    The Lanarkshire side made a decent start to the second half too. McCafferty could have got amongst the goals but didn’t connect properly with his half volley at the back post. Thomas then flashed a long-range effort high and wide.

    Johansson’s men came even closer after 52 minutes when McCafferty got on the end of Thomas’ cross from the left, but his effort deflected back of Hearts’ crossbar.

    Shirkie and Higgins both fired over and Cadden came close after getting on the end of McCafferty’s deflected cross, but Hamilton smothered at the second attempt.

    Then, the big moment of the second half came with nineteen minutes left to play.

    Hearts burst down the left before Danny McNulty tripped Elliot Ford in the area. The full-back, booked earlier, collected a second yellow and was sent for an early bath.

    Beith would again take the kick, and smashed it hard down the middle to confirm all three points.

    To their credit, ‘Well continued to work and could have got amongst the goals when Neill headed a Thomas free-kick straight at the keeper before Higgins brought out another decent block from Hamilton with a long-range free-kick.

    It was a frustrating evening for the Steelmen, who created more chances in the game but weren’t clinical and didn’t trouble the Hearts keeper enough. They will look to get back to winning ways next Tuesday against Dundee Untied.

    Motherwell: Currie, McNulty, Ferguson, Hall, Neill, McCall (Johnstone – 70mins), McCafferty (Mackin – 70mins), Cadden, Shirkie, Thomas, Higgins

    Subs Not Used: Morrison, McMillan, R.Leitch

  • Archive

    Kerr hoping to end injury hell

    Fraser Kerr is aiming to put a stop-start season behind him and help Motherwell push for another strong finish to the Premiership season.

    The defender is five weeks into his rehabilitation from an ankle ligament injury and could be back next weekend against Hibernian at Easter Road after a setback earlier in the week ruled him out of contention for today’s game against Hearts.

    The 21-year-old was troubled by hamstring injuries earlier in the campaign and only played once during September and October before the issue flared up again briefly in December.

    But he believes he has overcome that problem and is desperate to return to help boost Stuart McCall’s squad, which has been hit following a recent spate of injuries.

    “It’s been quite a frustrating season injury-wise to be honest,” Kerr said. “I have picked up a few injuries when I have had a run in the team. I have been in and out.

    “This one happened against Aberdeeen. I went up for a header and landed funny on my ankle and strained my ligament. I was having trouble with my back for quite a while, which led to a couple of hamstring injuries.

    “I hope, fingers-crossed, all the troubles with my back are behind me. I have been to see a specialist and am managing it, so it shouldn’t flare up.

    “The season is coming to a close and I can’t get back quickly enough.

    “There has been a wee bit of an injury crisis in the last few weeks with the likes of Simon Ramsden and Paul Lawson getting injured, and there have been quite a few players with wee niggles who are playing on.”

    Kerr spent three character-building years of his teenage life in Birmingham after leaving the Motherwell youth ranks to move to St Andrews. So he has been well-equipped mentally to deal with the fitness setbacks.

    The East Kilbride-raised player, who has made seven starts and seven substitute appearances this season, said: “You just need to stay mentally positive and just concentrate on taking little steps on getting back fit.

    “I always said I have no regrets about moving down to Birmingham. I was 16 when I moved away from home. I matured more quickly than I would have done otherwise.”

    Motherwell will need similar mental strength as a squad to bounce back from two disappointment defeats on the road at Tannadice and McDiarmid Park, but they have shown that previously this season, notably in December following the William Hill Scottish Cup exit and a heavy loss to Celtic.

    “The past two results haven’t been the best,” Kerr said. “But the whole squad are focused on that second spot. We did really well to get it last season and we are right up there again fighting it out with Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee United. It will be tough but the boys are fully focused.

    “After the Albion Rovers and Celtic games, the squad was a bit down but after that the team spirit we showed to come back and win six games in a row and turn it round was excellent.

    “We have had another tough spell but we have got more than enough in the dressing room to come back. We have a lot of experienced boys in there who are really good at helping out the younger boys.”

    Kerr believes he has flourished in that environment since returning from the midlands, initially on a trial basis in the summer of 2012. Kerr went on to join Motherwell on loan for the season before signing a two-year deal in the summer.

    “It’s been brilliant the last year and a half being in and around the first team and getting first-team games,” he said. “That’s why I came back. I have been converted into a right-back in my time here, I had never really played right-back or anywhere else other than centre-back before I came here.

    “The gaffer and Kenny Black have been brilliant for me. Ever since I came up here they have not been afraid to put me in different positions, I even played right midfield in the Krasnodar away game. It’s nice they have shown that faith in me to play me in different positions.”

    Kerr’s club form has earned him a place in the Scotland Under-21 set-up, although his injury means he will miss the friendly against Hungary at Tannadice on Wednesday.

    But Kerr has won three caps and also the opportunity to train with Gordon Strachan’s squad.

    “The last time I went away with the 21s a few of the boys went to train with the full squad,” he said. “That was a real eye-opener to go to Mar Hall and train with the Scotland first team.

    “It was an amazing experience being in that environment and seeing what goes on in an international dressing room. The standard of training was great, there’s a lot of Premier League stars there.

    “Normally at international level they don’t want to push you too hard in training so there is less risk of you going back to your club with an injury. That said, the standard and the tempo was high.

    “The couple of sessions the manager took were going over formations and tactics that they were going to use in the games. I think they won both games so to see that in action was really interesting. What he was trying to implement looked really positive.”

    This article was written by Gavin McCafferty
    and first appeared in the vs Hearts Steelmen Matchday Magazine.

  • Archive

    Under 20s to face Hearts

    The Under 20s will look to get back to winning ways when they face Hearts at Newtongrange tomorrow.

    Jonatan Johansson’s men lost a controversial last-minute penalty against Aberdeen at Arbroath last Tuesday, a result that left them six points behind league-leaders Rangers.

    And they will now look to bounce back against Robbie Nielsen’s side, who they beat 3-2 at the Excelsior Stadium in early January.

    It’s likely to be an extremely young Steelmen side, with numerous players currently involved with the injury-laden first-team squad.

    The match will take place at New Victoria Park, Newtongrange, with kick-off at 7pm.

  • Archive

    Hibs tickets still on sale

    Tickets for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership match at Easter Road are available now from the Fir Park Ticket Office.

    Tickets will also be available from the Ticket Booth at Easter Road on the day of the match, priced at:

    ADULTS:   £22
    CONCESSIONS:                            £12
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s, Under 18s and Full Time Students with a valid matriculation card.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.
  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as two goals in each half give ‘Well a good 4-1 win over Hearts.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Hearts win in pictures

    Action pictures from today’s impressive 4-1 win over Hearts at Fir Park in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”hearts010314″]

  • Archive

    TV: McCall praises ‘Well response

    Stuart McCall paid tribute to his team for bouncing back from back-to-back defeats as the Steelmen put four past Hearts at Fir Park.

    The Steelmen had lost at both Tannadice and St Johnstone in the last week, and the ‘Well boss had asked for a reaction.

    And he very much got it, with goals from Vigurs, Ainsworth, Sutton and McFadden giving a threadbare Steelmen an excellent 4-1 win.

    Speaking to MFC TV after the match, the Scotland assistant boss said: “It was a pleasing one for us today. We just needed to get a result after the last two defeats, but I thought we did so in style today on what was a heavy and bumpy park.

    [pullquote]That’s the third time we’ve scored four goals at home in 2014 if you think about St Johnstone, Partick Thistle and this afternoon, alongside two against Aberdeen so all in all, it’s a very pleasing afternoon and the perfect response to two very dissapointing performances.[/pullquote]

    “It’s particularly pleasing that the front four all got amongst the goals. We asked the lads with that little bit extra quality to come to the fore today and I thought they did just that.

    “I also want to pay special tribute to the young lads. Jack Leitch, making his first start, was terrific in there alongside Lasley. Euan Murray was asked to go in and do a job after Zaine (Francis-Angol) had to go off with a hamstring injury and put in a really good shift and young Chris Cadden makes his debut.

    “That’s the third time we’ve scored four goals at home in 2014 if you think about St Johnstone, Partick Thistle and this afternoon, alongside two against Aberdeen so all in all, it’s a very pleasing afternoon and the perfect response to two very dissapointing performances.”

    -WATCH STUART’S INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Motherwell 4 – 1 Hearts

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell bounced back from two consecutive defeats with a comfortable win over bottom side Hearts.

    Two first half goals from Iain Vigurs and Lionel Ainsworth settled Stuart McCall’s side before John Sutton and James McFadden added two more in the second to wrap up the three points.

    Amidst all ‘Well’s injury problems, with Stevie Hammell the latest to join the long list on the treatment table, Lee Hollis returned to goal after missing 19 games. Jack Leitch made his first start with Stuart Carswell making way.

    With James McFadden replacing Henri Anier in attack, Motherwell pressed the visitors’ goal for the opening spell.

    Lionel Ainsworth forced the first save from Jamie MacDonald after nine minutes when his deflected shot was palmed over the bar by the Hearts’ ‘keeper.

    Zaine Francis-Angol then cut the ball back for Sutton but although his shot also took a deflection, MacDonald reacted well to push the ball away.

    The pressure finally paid off in the seventeenth minute with a well-worked goal. A smart double 1-2 with McFadden sent Vigurs through the visitors defence and from 12 yards he toe poked the ball into the ‘keeper’s left hand corner.

    A slip from the experienced Danny Wilson gave Ainsworth half a chance but he drilled his shot into the side netting.

    The winger made up for that after 36 minutes, though, with a stunning strike to claim his seventh goal of the season. McFadden did well to keep the ball in play and hoist it to the far side of the box, where Ainsworth took one touch before unleashing an unstoppable drive into the top left hand corner.

    Hearts young team found it difficult to cope with the tempo of Motherwell’s pressing game in the first half and the game might have been beyond them three minutes after the restart. Vigurs showed some great footwork inside the box before slamming a right foot shot just wide of the post with MacDonald helpless.

    With Hollis still to make a save, the home goal had anarrow escape in the 50th minute when Sam Nicholson’s angled drive flashed past the ‘Well ‘keeper only to rebound off the face of the crossbar.

    Back came ‘Well and after Leitch fired a grounder from the edge of the box straight at MacDonald, the home side came close to a third when McFadden’s header across goal rebounded off Sutton carrying the ball just over the crossbar.

    The Hearts’ goal had a closer escape in the 62nd minute. McFadden sent Leitch through and when his shot was partially blocked by the ‘keeper’s legs the ball rebounded to Ainsworth on the six-yard line but his net bound finish was brilliantly blocked by Kevin McHattie.

    The Fir Parkers finally grabbed the third after 65 minutes. McFadden’s shot was blocked by Callum Paterson at the edge of the box but the ball rolled in front of Sutton whose shot trundled over the line for his 15th of the season.

    The lead was reduced three minutes later when Paterson got above the ‘Well defence to nod home McHattie’s corner.

    The three goal advantage was restored after 73 minutes though, McFadden was rewarded for a great afternoon’s work when he rose to backhead Vigurs free-kick beyond MacDonald to make it 4-1.

    Having given Leitch his first ninety minutes and with Euan Murray getting an hour when he replaced Francis-Angol, McCall gave Chris Cadden his first team debut seven minutes from time.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 4 – 1 Hearts #MFCvHMFC

    1 minute added on #MFCvHMFC

    87mins: The sun is coming out for the final few minutes. Been a very entertaining game, plenty of action #MFCvHMFC

    82mins: Motherwell sub, Cadden on for Ainsworth #MFCvHMFC

    80mins: Motherwell sub, Lasley off for Carswell #MFCvHMFC

    79mins: Hutchinson goes on a mazy run and wins a free-kick right on the edge of the box. McGowan booked #MFCvHMFC

    76mins: Paterson booked for pulling back Vigurs. Free-kick in a good area…Leitch volleys over! #MFCvHMFC

    75mins: MCFADDEN makes it 4-1 with a flick on header from Vigurs’ delivery!!! #MFCvHMFC

    GGGOOOAAAALLLL!!

    70mins: ‘Well break and Vigurs gets plenty of space in the box. Can only shoot straight at MacDonald though! #MFCvHMFC

    69mins: GOAL! Hearts pull one back through the head of Paterson #MFCvHMFC

    67mins: Hearts sub, McCallum & Robinson off, Holt & King on #MFCvHMFC

    65mins: SUTTON makes it 3-0! McFadden burst though and the ball broke to Sutty who tapped it home from 12 yards! #MFCvHMFC

    GGGGOOOOAALLLL!!!

    63mins: Another great chance! Leitch drilled in a shot which was saved. Fell to the feet of Ainsworth who saw his shot somehow blocked!

    60mins: Lasley swings in a great cross which is flicked on by McFadden. Sutton can only knee it over the bar from 10 yards! #MFCvHMFC

    59mins: Hutchinson is booked. From resulting free-kick, Hollis comes and gathers with ease #MFCvHMFC

    56mins: Lasley sets up Leitch on the edge of the box but his shot is straight at MacDonald #MFCvHMFC

    54mins: Wilson’s header clear falls to the feet of Lasley who tries a first-time volley. Not a bad effort, not on target #MFCvHMFC

    50mins: Nicholson cuts in from the left and his right footed shot crashes off the bar! #MFCvHMFC

    49mins: Vigurs drags his shot just wide from 12 yards, great chance! #MFCvHMFC

    48mins: Corner to ‘Well…..Leitch’s shot is swept clear by Hamill #MFCvHMFC

    Second half underway #MFCvHMFC

    Hearts make a half-time change, Carrick on for McKay #MFCvHMFC

    HT: Motherwell 2 – 0 Hearts #MFCvHMFC

    1 minute added on #MFCvHMFC

    42mins: McFadden with a great chance at the back-post. Heads it wide from Ainsworth’s deep cross in #MFCvHMFC

    39mins: From the free-kick, Hutchinson rises well and nods it just past #MFCvHMFC

    39mins: Wilson booked for a challenge on McFadden #MFCvHMFC

    37mins: AINSWORTH makes it 2-0 with a superb drilled shot into the top corner from 18 yards! 2-0 #MFCvHMFC

    GGGGGGOOAALLL!!!

    33mins: Motherwell sub, Francis-Angol limps off for Euan Murray #MFCvHMFC

    27mins: Free-kick from 25 yards drilled just wide by Stevenson #MFCvHMFC

    22mins: Ainsworth gets in a good position to get a shot away but he kicked more of the ground and MacDonald gathers easily #MFCvHMFC

    20mins: Corner to ‘Well…….Ainsworth’s front post delivery is gathered by MacDonald #MFCvHMFC

    18mins: It’s a cracker from VIGURS who plays a one-two with McFadden and pokes past MacDonald. 1-0 #MFCvHMFC

    GGOOOOAAALLL!!

    14mins: Vigurs and Francis-Angol link up superbly down the left creating a chance for Sutton, who sees his shot parried away #MFCvHMFC

    12mins: Ainsworth wins a corner…..McFadden meets his delivery but it’s deflected wide for another corner #MFCvHMFC

    10mins: Great effort from Ainsworth whose volley is deflected and tipped over the bar by MacDonald #MFCvHMFC

    6mins: Corner to Hearts swung in by Hamill to the head of McKay who nods it wide #MFCvHMFC

    3mins: First bit of action for Hollis. Comes out well and gathers Stevenson’s cross #MFCvHMFC

    McCallum and Robinson kick-off the action #MFCvHMFC

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    Coming Soon

    Heart of Midlothian manager Gary Locke:

    Coming Soon

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”182″]

  • Archive

    Hearts Magazine Preview

    The fourteenth domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2013/14 is on sale when Hearts visit tomorrow.

    But what is inside the 68-page issue?

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

    The Fir Park gaffer analyses recent defeats to Dundee United and St Johnstone and the skipper looks for the squad to bounce back and return to winning ways.

    The feature interview is with Scotland Under 21 defender Fraser Kerr. The former Birmingham City youngster talks about his injury frustration and how he hopes to get back fit in time for the business end of the season.

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

    There is the usual extensive section dedicated to our visitors, Heart of Midlothian.

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

    We also report from Tynecastle as Gary Locke’s men lose for the first time in five matches at the hands of runaway leaders Celtic. We also have a look back at some of Motherwell’s infamous battles with Hearts in the old Texaco Cup during the 1970s.

    Graeme McGarry’s ‘Us and Them’ feature also returns, speaking to Raith Rovers front man Calum Elliot.

    Calum talks about his brief time at Fir Park and his frustration at how it turned out, along with his career in Georgie and his battle with injuries.

    ‘From the Press Box’ returns with regular host, the Herald’s Scott Mullen and the Herald’s Chief Sportswriter Hugh MacDonald talks about the wacky and wonderful football seen at Fir Park.

    The first of the Eggheads Semi Finals pits James McFadden against Paul Lawson. The experienced duo do battle for a place in the grand final.

    We also have an update from four local groups who recently visited Fir Park and details about how your club or organisation can get involved.

    But wait, there’s more!

    Our match reports section takes a look back at the 3-0 defeat at St Johnstone as well as the Under 20s 3-2 defeat at Aberdeen.

    We have the latest from The Ticket Office, Commercial and Community Departments 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-Sport – CLICK HERE.