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    TV: McManus eyes more goals

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    TV: McCall experts Easter Road tester

  • Archive

    Away Day Guide: vs Hibernian

  • Archive

    McLean in charge against Hibs

  • Archive

    Stewart starts for Scotland Under 19s

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    ECA publishes study on transfers

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from New Victoria Park

  • Archive

    TV: Johansson reflects on Hearts loss

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    Hearts U20s 3 – 0 Motherwell U20s

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    Kerr hoping to end injury hell

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    TV: McManus eyes more goals

    Stephen McManus hopes to keep up his scoring form against Hibernian tomorrow afternoon.

    The 31-year old netted the winner the last time the teams met back in early November, his fifth career goal against the Easter Road club.

    He’s not scored more against any other side throughout his eleven-year career and hopes he can continue that when the teams meet for the third time this season.

    The 26 times capped defender told the broadcast press at ‘Well’s weekly news conference: “I’ve been fortunate to score a few goals against Hibs in my career but I’d be happy just to win the game tomorrow.

    [pullquote]I’ve been fortunate to score a few goals against Hibs in my career but I’d be happy just to win the game tomorrow.[/pullquote]

    “I’ve only missed one game since my debut against Hibs in the first game of the season and enjoyed every minute of it.

    “I came up here just to play regularly but feel I’ve brought something to the team. I’ve been playing well and hopefully I’ll continue playing that way.

    “Last Saturday was a big win for us as it stopped the rot from the two defeats. We know it will be a tough game at Easter Road, it always is, but we’ve beat them twice this season and we’ll got there full of confidence.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall experts Easter Road tester

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall expects a stern test from Hibs as both teams battle for a top six spot.

    The Steelmen can confirm their place in the top half of the table for the fifth consecutive season if they can avoid defeat at Easter Road.

    Hibs, led by former Steelmen gaffer Terry Butcher, are very much in the mix too, placed just three points behind St Johnstone.

    McCall expects a reaction after the Leith side’s home defeat to Dundee United seven days ago and warned his players they need to be on top of their game if they’ve to take anything from what is always a very difficult fixture.

    [pullquote]As we had a good performance last weekend against Hearts, we were very disappointing in our last two away fixtures so we need to improve massively to get anything from Easter Road.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the gathered press at ‘Well’s post match press conference, the Fir Park boss said: “I am sure, after last week’s result and having read Terry’s post match comments, Hibs will be right up for it.

    “Likewise, as much as we had a good performance last weekend against Hearts, we were very disappointing in our last two away fixtures so we need to improve massively to get anything from Easter Road.

    “If you look back to the last time we were there, it was glorious sunshine played on a bowling green of a pitch. None of them will be the case tomorrow that’s for sure, and we need to be prepared for any condition.

    “We’ve managed to win both previous matches 1-0 and both have been tight; I suspect it might be like that again tomorrow. We need to get back to keeping clean sheets again and that’s the aim for tomomorrow.”


    MFC TV

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    Away Day Guide: vs Hibernian

    Easter Eoad

    Hibernian Football Club

    HibsEaster Road
    12 Albion Place

    Tel: 0131 661 2159
    Web: www.hibernianfc.co.uk

    Opened: 1893
    Capacity: 20,421
    Sat Nav: EH7 5QG
    Distance from Fir Park: 40.0 miles (0 hr 50 mins)


    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.

    By car

    The stadium is located to the East of the city and is one of the more difficult grounds to find in the SPL.

    Follow the M8 until its end and then take the A720 South, joining the A701 towards the city centre. Upon reaching the city centre, head left on to the A900 (signposted Leith), leaving at the junction with the B1350 to turn right on to London Road.

    Then take the fourth left at the crossroads on to Easter Road, followed by the fourth right on to Albion Road. The stadium will be clearly visible ahead.

    If travelling from the South, follow the A1 into Edinburgh before turning right on to the B1350 (London Road). Then turn right at the crossroads on to Easter Road, followed by the fourth right on to Albion Road.

    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.

    By train

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

    Upon leaving the station, cross Princes Street and head for Leith Walk, which is directly opposite the exit. Follow the road for approximately 1/4 mile and turn right on to the B1350 (London Road). Then turn left on to Easter Road and take the fourth right on to Albion Road. The stadium will be clearly visible ahead.

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

  • Archive

    McLean in charge against Hibs

    Referee for this Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Hibs at Easter Road will be Steven McLean.

    McLean, the brother of former ‘Well defender Brian, is handling his fifth Motherwell game of the current campaign – two of the four won’t live long in the memory.

    The first was back in November, when a depleted Steelmen crashed 4-0 at home to Dundee United.

    One month later, as ‘Well were hurting from a Scottish Cup exit, he was the man in the middle for Celtic’s 5-0 win at Fir Park.

    Thankfully, he was the man in the middle for our 5-1 win at Firhill in late December and, most recently, the controversial 2-2 draw with Aberdeen at Fir Park.

    ‘Well were holding out in the face of intense Aberdeen pressure and looked to be holding on for the win, but a late (and deserved, it has to be said) Russell Anderson equaliser levelled things up.

    It looked a clear handball, and a foul on Jack Leitch on the line, neither of which were given unfortunately.

    Steven is a very familiar face to most Motherwell fans having taken charge of six matches last term too.

    His first was the exceptional 5-1 success over Inverness CT just over 12 months ago. Henrik Ojamaa, Adam Cummins, Omar Daley and a Jamie Murphy double completed the rout.

    His second was perhaps even more memorable as Motherwell came back from 2-0 down at Easter Road to win 3-2. A Doyle double had the home side in a commanding position but a Murphy brace and a late Bob McHugh winner handed the Steelmen all three points.

    Third was the New Year fixture against today’s opponents Celtic when a brave ‘Well went down 1-0 after Tom Hateley had missed a second half penalty.

    Fourth was the instantly forgettable 2-0 defeat at Rugby Park in February whereas the fifth was a comfortable 3-0 win at Dens Park – Michael Higdon heading home before a Nicky Law double sealed the three points.

    His last was the season finale at McDiarmid Park as the Steelmen went down 2-0 to a Saints side that won the race for Europe ahead of Inverness and Ross County.

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell reads ten wins, five defeats and one draws from sixteen matches. In those games, ‘Well have scored 36 and conceded 27. 44 cautions have been dished out, 27 flashed at those wearing Claret and Amber.

    Four people have been sent off, two for ‘Well (Fraser Kerr and Keith Lasley in the same match against Killie last year).

    He has had an extremely busy season – handling nineteen SPFL Premiership matches in the first twelve weeks.

    He has also had two League Cup matches, both at the Falkirk Stadium, and two Europa League Qualifiers – Omonia Nikosia’s 1-2 defeat by Romania’s Astra Giurgiu and Serbian side FK Vojvodina’s 2-2 draw with Bursaspor.

    He also handled the Europa League Group game between Standard Liège and IF Elfsborg Boras.

    McLean will be ably assisted by Andrew McWilliam and Douglas Ross with Des Roache on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    Stewart starts for Scotland Under 19s

    Ross Stewart started as Scotland U19s beat Switzerland 4-2 at Livingston’s Energy Asset Arena this afternoon.

    The 18-year old goalkeeper was named in the first eleven ahead of Mark Hurst and played for the majority of the match, before being replaced by the St Johnstone player midway through the second period.

    The Swiss made the best possible start when a defensive slip allows Gregory Karlen in on goal and he finished with a low strike beyond the Steelmen stopper.

    Gary Oliver equalised for Ricky Sbragia’s side with a close-range header only for Diego Zoller to put his side back in front just before the half hour, robbing Stephen Hendrie and coolly slotting home.

    It was that way at the interval but the Fraser Aird leveled thing for the Scots early in the second half before Adam King fired the home side ahead with a low strike from just inside the box.

    As the game ticked towards its conclusion, Cammy Smith secured the win with a fourth two minutes from time.

    Scotland: Stewart, Kidd, McKenna, Burgess, Hendrie, Petrie, Aird, King, Oliver, Cummings, Nicholson

    Subs: Hurst, Halkett, McLennan, Sinnamon, Lindsay, Telfer.

  • Archive

    ECA publishes study on transfers

    Leeann Dempster represented the club as The European Club Association (ECA) held its 12th General Assembly in Barcelona this week.

    151 Member Clubs from 52 different national associations attended the two-day event.

    Motherwell are only one of two clubs from Scotland who have ordinary (voting) membership of the ECA, Celtic being the other. The other Scottish clubs involved as associate members are Rangers, Aberdeen and Heart of Midlothian.


    Further to a study published by the European Commission in 2012, the current Transfer System has recently become subject of intense discussions in the world of football.

    It has been noted that the focus of these discussions is often led by individual opinions and personal experiences with little focus on detailed financial and data-based analysis. It is for this reason that ECA felt the need to commission a study highlighting the reality governing the transfer system.

    The aim of this study, based on real figures from official sources and focussing on a European perspective, is to understand how the current transfer system operates in order to provide a more credible and reliable basis for discussion. The Study offers an in-depth overview of all the incoming and outgoing transfer transactions involving European clubs over a two-year period. The ECA Executive Board mandated PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and LIUC University to carry out this work.

    In summary, the study allows to formulate the following assumptions:

    • The football industry is not different to the rest of the economy.
    • Clubs’ revenue growth is absorbed by employee costs.
    • Money redistribution from top to bottom is a fact.
    • The current transfer system counters competitive imbalance.
    • Out-of-contract transfers represent the majority of total international transfers.
    • The collection of solidarity contribution has to be enhanced.
    • Club agent commissions are significantly high.
    • The majority of total international loans involve Under-23 players.

    An abstract of the report outlining key outcomes can be found attached. The full report is available for download via the ECA Website by clicking here: www.ecaeurope.com.


    Further to the resignation of Zoran Mamić, Celtic FC CEO Peter Lawwell was elected to join the ECA Executive Board for the remaining period of the running membership cycle, which lasts until the end of the 2014/15 season.

    As previously mentioned, the decision regarding Sandro Rosell’s replacement in the ECA Executive Board and the UEFA Professional Strategy Council has been postponed until a later date.


    In his opening speech, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge reiterated ECA’s support for UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Regulations. With the coming into force of the break-even requirement, the project is now entering its crucial phase.

    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge underlined that ECA expects the regulations to be implemented in a serious way. He reminded members that they unanimously endorsed the project at the ECA General Assembly in Manchester back in 2010. ECA will continue to collaborate with UEFA on the matter. All ECA Members are supportive of the approach.

    Commenting on Financial Fair Play, ECA Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “Much time and effort was invested in this project. There is no way back and we cannot afford to take it nice and easy. Financial Fair Play is not a punishment; it is an opportunity for all of us. I can only call on UEFA to act in the most serious way possible when it comes to ensuring the full implementation.”


    The 2013/14 saw the start of a new UEFA Club Competition, namely the UEFA Youth League. The competition, which was created by UEFA in close collaboration with ECA, is reserved to the youth teams of the 32 UEFA Champions League participants and initially runs for a two-year trial period.

    ECA Members were updated on key statistics from the UEFA Youth League Group Stage and were informed about the outcome of a survey conducted among the participating clubs. Overall, clubs participating in the first edition of the UEFA Youth League are satisfied with the competition and rate the experience for their youth players positively. A dedicated working group composed of UEFA ad ECA representatives will continue working on the project to discuss possible future adjustments.


    In light of the upcoming 2015-18 UEFA Club Competition Cycle, a consultation process has started with UEFA to review the current club distribution mechanism. The ECA Executive Board decided to enter the discussions with the aim to allow for a more balanced system with a focus on balancing sporting achievement and solidarity.

    Revenues from both competitions are constantly growing; hence, the revenue distribution is an important aspect for all clubs and the ECA Executive Board decided to attribute high priority to the discussions with UEFA.


    ECA Members were informed that FIFA recently confirmed that for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil a similar distribution model will apply for the club benefits as the one used for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In 2010, over 250 clubs from Europe received a share of the $40m made available to clubs for their contribution to the successful staging of the tournament.

    This year, for the World Cup in Brazil, FIFA makes available $70m. The ECA Chairman reminded members that 75% of players participating in the World Cup 2010 in South Africa were under contract with European clubs.

    Furthermore, ECA Member Clubs were presented with an update on the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar: Members were informed that ECA was now officially invited by FIFA to participate in the Qatar 2022 Task Force, which is set to discuss a possible switch of the world cup from summer to winter. ECA accepted the invitation for the two meetings tentatively scheduled for September and November 2014.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from New Victoria Park

    Extended highlights from New Victoria Park as the young ‘Well go down 3-0 to Hearts in the Capital.


    MFC TV

  • Archive

    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.”


    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.