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    Motherwell U20s 2 – 0 Inverness CT U20s

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    Top Six Fixtures confirmed

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    Norris in charge at St Mirren Park

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    TV: Highlights from Caledonian Stadium

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    Inverness CT win in pictures

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    TV: McCall thrilled with Highland win

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    Inverness CT 1 – 2 Motherwell

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    TV: McCall wants Caley reaction

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    Thomson to referee Caley Thistle clash

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    Motherwell U20s 2 – 0 Inverness CT U20s

    A goal in either half gave ‘Well a comfortable 2-0 win over Inverness Caley Thistle Under 20s this evening.

    Frazer Johnstone grabbed his first of the season with a stunning volley on the half hour.

    Paul McCafferty added a second goal ten minutes into the second period with a close-range header.

    And although the home side had more chances to extend their advantage, they cruised through for a comfortable win.

    Jonatan Johansson made three changes to the side that lost to Dundee United fourteen days ago. Ben Hall, Luke Watt and Craig McCall dropped out and were replaced by Danny McNulty, Euan Murray and Dom Thomas.

    Inverness made a decent start and had a couple of shots through Matthew Cooper and Adam Evans, but neither troubled Brett Long in the home goal.

    It took the Steelmen seventeen minutes to register any sort of effort of their own but, like his counterparts from Caley, Steven Higgins’ shot lacked the desired power and was comfortable for Cammy MacKay to gather.

    Four minutes later, Euan Murray had the ball in the net after bulleting home a Dom Thomas corner, but referee Peter Stuart ruled it out, adjudging the defender to have illegally manhandled Cooper.

    ‘Well were starting to get the upper hand as the half-hour approach and after neat interplay between Higgins and Thomas, the latter’s shot was blocked for a corner.

    From the resulting kick from the quadrant, Johnstone was first to feed on the scraps on the edge of the area and unleashed an unstoppable volley high into the roof of the net to give the hosts a lead.

    Four minutes later and the Fir Parkers almost doubled their lead. Morgyn Neill’s ball over the top had Dale Shirkie in on goal, but when the ball didn’t drop, he scooped his effort high over the bar.

    Before the break, Inverness had a half chance when Adam Evans got in behind Danny McNulty to get on the end of Evans’ pass, but could only prod over. Down the other end, Thomas had a decent chance from a close-range free kick but could only fire it straight at MacKay.

    ‘Well started the second period on the front foot and Higgins posted early intentions with a fierce strike that went narrowly over.

    It was a warning the Highlanders failed to heed as, with their next attack, Johansson’s men doubled their advantage.

    Thomas and Higgins again combined and when Higgins whipped in a teasing near post cross, pint-sized winger Paul McCafferty had made a clever run across his marker and headed home from close range.

    ‘Well spent the rest of the match in almost complete control. Murray again came close to netting when he met another Thomas free-kick, but his header went wide of the post.

    Cadden had a long-range strike palmed out by MacKay after lovely build-up play through the middle of the park and Dom Thomas almost scored the strike of his life, jinking past the whole Caley backline only to be denied an astonishing goal by a sliding block at the expense of a corner.

    Then, with thirteen minutes left, Dale Shirkie thought he had scored ‘Well’s third but after dancing around a number of challenges, he smashed his shot off the crossbar.

    Murray headed a corner wide and Thomas had another shot blocked after a good run as the Steelmen finished the game on top, but failed to add to their lead.

    Motherwell: Long, McNulty, Ferguson (McMillian – 85mins), Murray, Neill, Johnstone, McCafferty, Cadden (R.Leitch – 77mins), Shirkie, Thomas, Higgins (Mackin – 71mins)

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall

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    Top Six Fixtures confirmed

    Motherwell will kick off their post-split fixtures with a home match against Celtic on Saturday 19th April – 12.45pm KO.

    Stuart McCall’s side will then face an away trip to Dundee Utd (Saturday 26th April – 3pm KO) then a home double header against St Johnstone (Saturday 3rd May – 3pm KO) then Inverness CT (Wednesday 7th May – 7.45pm KO).

    The Steelmen will complete the 2013/14 season with an away trip to take on Aberdeen (Sunday 11th May – 12.15pm KO).

    >> Full Fixture List 2013/14

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    Norris in charge at St Mirren Park

    Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with St Mirren at St Mirren Park is Euan Norris.

    The 36-year old will be handling his second Motherwell game of the campaign.

    The other was against Partick Thistle at Fir Park back in August with the Steelmen running out narrow 1-0 winners thanks to a John Sutton goal.

    He should have been in charge of the recent match against the Jags too but had to pull out at the last minute and was replaced by Stephen Finnie.

    Euan took charge of two matches last season.

    He was the man in the middle for the 1-1 draw with St Mirren at Fir Park in August 2012 and also the memorable 3-1 victory over Celtic last April.

    Norris, handling his eleventh SPFL Premiership match of the campaign, will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans having officiated four matches during the 2011/12 season too.

    He started with the 4-2 away success against Dunfermline at East End Park in late August, the 1-0 win at Easter Road in October, the 3 – 0 defeat at Ibrox in January and the 6-0 demolition of Morton in the Scottish Cup in early February.

    The season previous was also two matches. The first, a 0-0 draw with Inverness was instantly forgettable. However, the other was one that will live long in the memory. Celtic were beaten 2-0 at Fir Park; John Sutton netting a brace.

    His overall record over the last six seasons in charge of ‘Well reads nine wins, two defeats and two draws from thirteen games. ‘Well have scored 22 goals in those games, conceding ten.

    Thankfully, FIFA referee Norris usually likes to keep his cards in his pocket with only 44 cautions handed out in all those games, with an even 22 flashed at a ‘Well players.

    He had only produced one red to a player wearing Claret and Amber and that was Shaun Hutchinson for a second bookable offence in that match with St Mirren last season.

    Euan will be ably assisted by Billy Baxter and Michael Banks with Iain Brines on fourth official duties.

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    TV: Highlights from Caledonian Stadium

    Extended highlights from the Caledonian Stadium as goals from Henri Anier and Iain Vigurs give ‘Well a 2-1 win over Inverness CT.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Inverness CT win in pictures

    Action pictures from this evening’s fine 2-1 win over Inverness CT at the Caledonian Stadium.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”inverness010414″]

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    TV: McCall thrilled with Highland win

    Stuart McCall was delighted with his side after they showed fantastic character to beat Inverness in the Highlands this evening.

    The Steelmen lost in disappointing circumstances at the weekend, conceding a 95th minute goal to Kilmarnock and, even during tonight’s match, were pegged back after leading at the interval through Henri Anier’s excellent touch and finish.

    But a sublime goal from the on-form Iain Vigurs, nine minutes from time, secured all three points and, for 24 hours at least, moved ‘Well back into second in the SPFL Premiership table.

    “It’s a great three points for us,” McCall told MFC TV after the match.

    “Tonight was always going to be about endeavour; on what was a bumpy park, it was never going to be the greatest football game.

    [pullquote]It’s a great three points for us. Tonight was always going to be about endeavour; on what was a bumpy park, it was never going to be the greatest football game.[/pullquote]

    “We made a few changes to the shape after keeping in mind how they played in the second half at Fir Park a few weeks ago. We wanted to cut off their supply through the middle but, at the same time, keep two up front.

    “I felt Anier’s pace in behind would cause problems and it did but, just as pleasing, we’ve restricted them to very little.

    “Tansey’s shot from thirty yards has hit the woodwork and a long-range shot for the goal, other than that, there’s not much else and the lads have done everything asked of them.

    “When it went to 1-1, I don’t think many people would have picked us to go on and win, but the lads showed tremendous character and what a sublime goal to win the match from Iain Vigurs.

    “All in all, it’s a pleasing night for us but we need to get ready for another very difficult match this Saturday in Paisley.”

    -WATCH HIS INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV

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    Inverness CT 1 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Alan Burrows at the Caledonian Stadium

    Motherwell moved into second place in the Scottish Premiership as Iain Vigurs’ late strike gave them a 2-1 victory over Inverness.

    Henri Anier’s 39th-minute goal was all that separated the teams at the interval, before Ryan Christie brought Caley level with 16 minutes to play.

    The hosts’ European ambitions, however, suffered a blow when Vigurs scored eight minutes from time against the run of play.

    Inverness manager John Hughes was forced to shuffle the pack with Josh Meekings suspended after being sent-off against St Mirren last time out, while Richie Foran (knee) and Aaron Doran (hamstring) remained on the sidelines.

    Danny Devine came in to partner Gary Warren in central defence, while Ryan Esson, making his first appearance of the season, and Carl Tremarco were given starts. Dean Brill and Ryan Christie dropped to a six-man bench.

    Motherwell made three changes from the side that were beaten 2-1 by Kilmarnock at the weekend.

    Anier, Fraser Kerr and Jack Leitch replaced Lionel Ainsworth, Zaine Francis-Angol and Craig Moore, who were all amongst the substitutes.

    With both teams looking to enhance their European aspirations, the game started brightly with chances at either end.

    Esson had to punch away Vigurs inswinging free-kick, while Graeme Shinnie opted to try his luck from 25 yards with a drive that whistled narrowly past the upright.

    Greg Tansey then had an effort from similar distance for Caley as the visitors partially cleared a corner, but it fizzed high over the crossbar.

    Both teams were fancying their chances from distance, Craig Reid next to fire one in from 30 yards for Motherwell that stung the palms of Esson.

    Neither side were posing a sustained threat in the final third until Kerr’s long ball split the home defence, allowing Anier to run through and take a touch before clinically dispatching a low effort from 16 yards into the corner of the net via the inside of the post.

    Inverness departed for the dressing room to audible jeers from some of the home support, frustrated by the lack of cutting edge shown by their team.

    Motherwell looked content to sit in and soak up the pressure at the beginning of the second half, although Vigurs showed the visiting team were still a threat with a floated free-kick from 25 yards that landed on the roof of the net.
    Inverness needed something to provide a spark for them in the final-third and only a fine block by Stephen McManus thwarted Tansey as he pulled the trigger from James Vincent’s incisive pass.

    Tansey then came even closer moments later, firing one in from 30 yards that had Gunnar Nielsen beaten, but rattled the post before bouncing away to safety.

    Just as frustration was beginning to set in, substitute Christie breathed new life into Caley’s chances of a victory with 74 minutes gone.

    The ball broke to the youngster, a product of the club’s youth system, and he struck it sweetly from 25 yards finding the corner of the goal beyond the dive of the despairing Nielsen. Stuart McCall was claiming for a foul on Craig Moore in the build-up and, looking at the television pictures, it looks as if he’s got a strong case.

    Although the momentum looked as if it was with the home side, it would be Motherwell who would emerge with the three points courtesy of an 82nd-minute winner.

    Devine was somehow left isolated with Vigurs and Craig Moore, who worked several passes between them, before Vigurs finished off the quickfire counter-attack with composed outside of the boot effort from just inside the 18-yard box. It was a goal to win any game, a piece of magic from the former Inverness man.

    ‘Well move a point above Aberdeen in the table, but it might be shortlived with the Dons in the Capital to face Hearts less than 24 hours later.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at the Caledonian Stadium

    A FANTASTIC three points for The ‘Well!!!! #ICTFCvMFC

    FT: Inverness CT 1 – 2 Motherwell #ICTFCvMFC

    2 minutes added on #ICTFCvMFC

    87mins: Motherwell sub, Leitch makes way for Cadden #ICTFCvMFC

    83mins: VIGURS makes it 2-1 with a superb outside of the boot finish after good work from Moore.#ICTFCvMFC

    GGGOOOAAALLL!!!

    73mins: GOAL! Christie pulls ICT level with a low 20 yard strike #ICTFCvMFC

    And a Motherwell sub, Moore on for Anier #ICTFCvMFC

    66mins: ICT sub, Watkins on for Raven #ICTFCvMFC

    65mins: Great strike from Tansey off the bar from 30 yards. A let off. #ICTFCvMFC

    63mins: Great block from McManus to deny Christie. From the corner, Sutton heads clear #ICTFCvMFC

    61mins: ICT sub, Christie on for Polworth #ICTFCvMFC

    60mins: Nielsen comes out to gather Tremarco’s ball in #ICTFCvMFC

    54mins: Vigurs curls it just over #ICTFCvMFC

    53mins: Sutton wins a free-kick in a great position, 25 yards out in a central position. #ICTFCvMFC

    Both side back out for the second half. ‘Well make a sub, Francis-Angol on for Reid. #ICTFCvMFC

    A largely uneventful first half, the only real moment of quality leading to the goal to give ‘Well the lead going into the second half

    HT: Inverness CT 0 – 1 Motherwell #ICTFCvMFC

    42mins: Corner to ICT, cleared by Nielsen #ICTFCvMFC

    40mins: First booking of the game, Vigurs makes his way in the ref’s book. #ICTFCvMFC

    39mins: Kerr floats a great ball over the top and ANIER takes a touch and slots it past Esson, in off the post! 0-1 #ICTFCvMFC

    GGGOOOAAALLL!!

    37mins: Corner to ICT after McManus blocks Shinnie’s cross. Sutton heads the delivery clear #ICTFCvMFC

    34mins: Anier wins ‘Well a corner… Vigurs swings it in but Warren sweeps it clear #ICTFCvMFC

    26mins: Great effort from Reid from 30 yards. Stings Esson’s palms with a powerful drive #ICTFCvMFC

    21mins: Leitch wins another free-kick, this time it’s wide on the left. Vigurs delivers well but nobody takes advantage #ICTFCvMFC
    
    20mins: Corner to ICT which drops to Tansey 25 yards out. Thankfully it’s blazed well over #ICTFCvMFC

    18mins: Ambitious attempt from Vigurs as he volleys it from 25 yards. Well wide #ICTFCvMFC

    16mins: Sutton flicks on a header to Anier who knocks it around the corner for Leitch. He’s a little off balance and crosses well over

    12mins: ICT counter and Shinnie’s fine effort from 25 yards is tipped around the post #ICTFCvMFC

    12mins: Vigurs gets the first shot on target of the game but it’s a tame effort from 20 yards #ICTFCvMFC

    5mins: Free-kick to ‘Well about 6 yards outside the box on the right wing….great delivery from Vigurs but Esson punches clear #ICTFCvMFC

    Shinne and McKay get the game underway #ICTFCvMFC

    Formalities over, it’s time for kick-off #ICTFCvMFC

    [tab:Reaction]

    Inverness CT manager John Hughes:

    “The other teams are getting away from us now. However, we have to regroup and go again. “This is a test of character for us. We can’t sit back and rest on our laurels.”

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    ‘It’s a brilliant result for us. Not many people would have given us a chance after the way we lost at the weekend.

    “We’ve now got six games to go. The players can get all the rest they want in the summer unless we’re back on July 3 for the qualifying rounds of the Europa League. It’s not a time now to rest. The players have got to give everything and they did that tonight.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”187″]

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    TV: McCall wants Caley reaction

    Stuart McCall has challenged his side to bounce back against Inverness CT after Saturday’s disappointing defeat by Kilmarnock.

    The Steelmen took the lead against the Ayrshire side and probably should have extended their advantage before Killie got level and, in the 95th minute, won the match.

    The Fir Parkers now make the long journey north for this rearranged match, looking for a similar sort of result against John Hughes’ side that they enjoyed two weeks ago.

    Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s pre-match news conference, the Scotland assistant boss was in defiant mood and urged his players to finish the season with no regrets.

    [pullquote]It might be, in six weeks time, we look back at a cold, damp night in Inverness on a bobbly pitch and realise that’s what got us where we wanted to be[/pullquote]

    “I saw Yogi’s (John Hughes) comments after their match at the weekend saying Tuesday’s match is a must win, and we’ve got to approach the game in a similar manner,” he said.

    “We were naturally disappointed with how it went on Saturday and we’ve challenged the boys to bounce back. We’ve got to go up there, re-energise ourselves and give it a good go.

    “We are all going to have a break and be on a beach in six weeks, some might go to Rio and some might go to Largs! It’s now time to put our foot down on the gas and not think we’re tired and put everything into this last push.

    “It might be, in six weeks time, we look back at a cold, damp night in Inverness on a bobbly pitch and realise that’s what got us where we wanted to be. We’ve got to be extremely focused, very positive and look to come back down the road with all three points. That’s our aim; we are going there to try and win this match.”

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

    MFC TV

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    Thomson to referee Caley Thistle clash

    Referee for Tuesday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Inverness CT at the Caledonian Stadium will be Craig Thomson.

    The 41-year old will be handling his second Motherwell game of the current season after being the man in the middle for the 1-0 at St Mirren Park, John Sutton scoring the only goal.

    It would have been his third but, ironically, his last appointment was the postponed clash between ‘Well and Caley back in January.

    Thomson, arguably the highest rated amongst the Scottish officials, regularly hosting Champions League, Europa League and International matches, will be a more than familiar face to ‘Well fans, having being a top-flight whistler for over 12 years.

    He took three ‘Well matches last term.

    His first was the 4-1 demolition of Aberdeen back in December when goals from Tom Hateley, Michael Higdon and a Jamie Murphy swept Craig Brown’s side away.

    The second was the 2-1 win at Tynecastle, when two early goals from Michael Higdon and a Dylan McGowan own-goal was enough to see off the Jambos.

    The third was the 2-0 home victory over Ross County in the last home game of the campaign – James McFadden and Chris Humphrey amongst the scorers.

    His record in charge of the Steelmen is a bit of a mix bag with thirteen wins from 37 matches. There have been sixteen defeats and eight draws too.

    Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second-half.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 50 and conceded 49.

    130 players have gone into the book, 63 were wearing claret and amber, while five players, including former and current captains Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley, have been dismissed.

    Thomson will be ably assisted by Brian McGarry and David McGeachie with Steven McLean on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is Bill Machray and SPFL Delegate is Rod Houston.

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as two second-half goals consign ‘Well to a disappointing 1-2 defeat by Kilmarnock.

    -WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS EXCLUSIVELY ON MFC TV

    MFC TV