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    Collum in charge against Caley

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    Season Ticket holders: Free hot drink

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

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    St Johnstone U20s 3 – 3 Motherwell U20s

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    St Johnstone win in pictures

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    TV: McCall happy with Saints win

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    Motherwell 2 – 1 St Johnstone

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    TV: Vigurs wants to make amends

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    TV: McCall wants final push

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    Collum in charge against Caley

    Willie Collum will take charge of Wednesday’s Scottish Premiership meeting with Inverness CT at Fir Park.

    Regarded as one of Scotland’s best officials, it will be Willie’s third Motherwell match of the 2013/14 campaign.

    His first was a 3-0 win over St Mirren back in December when Lionel Ainsworth and a Henri Anier double separated the sides.

    The other was at Tynecastle a few weeks later, John Sutton scoring the game’s only goal.

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

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

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

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

    There would be disappointment for the Steelmen in the replay as goals from Rory Fallon and Joe Shaughnessy helped the Dons progress to the next round.

    Motherwell were handed a lifeline in injury-time when Michael Higdon netted from the penalty spot, however Craig Brown’s side held firm in the final minutes.
    He was also the man in the middle for the narrow 3-2 win over St Johnstone in January; Michael Higdon’s hat-trick sealing a terrific three points and also the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ross County shortly after.

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

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

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 35 and conceded 43.

    48 players have gone into the book, 22 wearing Claret and Amber, while four players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road five years back, Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk four seasons ago, Paul Dixon at the end of 2009/10 and, most recently, Henrik Ojamaa in that game at Caley last season.

    Stuart Stevenson and Stuart Hodge will run the lines with George Salmond on fourth official duties. The referee observer is Gerry Evans and the SPFL Delegate is Kevin Collins.

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    Season Ticket holders: Free hot drink

    Season Ticket holders heading to the Inverness CT game on Wednesday can claim a free tea or coffee.

    All you need to do to claim your free drink is produce MFC Matchday Kiosk Voucher #5 when buying any hot food item (Pie / Hotdog).

    Please note this offer does not include other hot drinks such as Soup or Bovril.

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

    Extended highlights from McDiarmid Park where ‘Well and Saints U20s played out an entertaining 3-3 draw


    MFC TV

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    St Johnstone U20s 3 – 3 Motherwell U20s

    Nine-man Motherwell finished their season with an entertaining 3-3 draw at McDiarmid Park.

    The Steelmen were behind when Dale Shirkie headed past his own ‘keeper before he atoned for his error by bringing ‘Well level on the stroke of half-time.

    Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson put Saints in front ahead five minutes into the second half, before two goals in two minutes from Shirkie and Euan Murray had the visitors in front for the first time.

    But in a topsy-turvy game, Saints were quick to draw level themselves level when Dylan Easton slotted home after a good move down the left.

    Under 20s boss Jonatan Johansson made three changes to the side that lost to Rangers last Tuesday. Ross Stewart, Craig McCall and Craig Moore dropped out, replaced by Brett Long, Frazer Johnstone and Steven Higgins.

    Motherwell started the game the brighter and Steven Higgins had the Steelmen’s first half chance after eighteen minutes, firing a 30-yard shot high over the bar and into the stand.

    However, it was Saints who would take the lead five minutes later. Dwayne Coultress’s free-kick towards the six yard box was inviting and Fortnam-Tomlinson nipped in ahead of Shirkie but it was the ‘Well forward who would inadvertently head past Long from close range.

    Saints kept up the pressure and Easton tried his luck from distance, only to fire over the bar.

    The Steelmen were struggling to test Saints stopper Mark Hurst and even when Lee Erwin had a free-kick in a good position, he could only smash his effort off the wall.

    Neil did came close to leveling after getting on the end of a Dom Thomas cross but it went wide and down the other end, Coultress did so well to cut in from the left, but his shot curled inches wide of Long’s right-hand post.

    It was an important miss as, with their next attack, ‘Well drew level. Erwin’s long, diagonal pass had McCafferty in on the right flank. He did well to hold off Andrew Steeves before cutting it back for Shirkie who slotted home from eight yards.

    Saints made a great start to the second half and took the lead just five minutes in. Fortnam-Tomlinson collected a neat Coultress reverse pass, sprinted towards goal before coolly lifted it over the outrushing Long for 2-1.

    ‘Well wasted no time in the search for another leveler and Erwin almost got it within seconds, only for his curling shot to drop just wide of the post. Then, minutes later, Higgins had a shot well blocked by Easton.

    The equaliser did eventually come on the 63rd minute. Saints failed to clear their lines at Cadden’s cross. Johnstone and Higgins combined to set-up Shirkie and he smashed it home with aplomb from twenty yards out.

    Incredibly, ‘Well made it 3-2 just a minute later. A Thomas corner was flicked on by Morgyn Neill for Euan Murray, who smashed a venomous volley hard past the goalkeeper and into the net.

    Unbelievably, Saints hauled themselves back into things almost straight from kick-off. Coultress did well on the flank again, and his pull back to the edge of the area found Fortnam-Tomlinson, who teed up Easton who smashed home a lovely right-footed shot.

    As the game neared its conclusion, ‘Well were reduced to nine men. Morgyn Neill was first to go, shown a straight red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity. Then, three minutes later, Frazer Johnstone walked after picking up a second booking.

    Incredibly, despite their two man disadvantage, ‘Well could have nicked it late on. Erwin bundled his way into the penalty box, but could only blaze an effort of the bar.

    Motherwell: Long, Cadden, Ferguson, Murray, Neill, Johnstone, McCafferty, Erwin, Shirkie, Thomas, Higgins (McCall – 79mins)

    Subs: Currie, Hall, Mackin, McNulty

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as ‘Well grind out an important 2-1 win against Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone.


    MFC TV

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    St Johnstone win in pictures

    Action pictures from this afternoon’s hard-fought 2-1 win over St Johnstone at Fir Park.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”stjohnstone030514″]

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    TV: McCall happy with Saints win

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was pleased with his side’s hard-fought victory over an in-form St Johnstone this afternoon.

    The Fir Parkers weren’t at their fluid best, but were deserving of their half-time advantage after goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Stephen McManus sandwiched a Dave MacKay header for Saints.

    The second half was tight, with the visitors edging possession but they couldn’t get through a stubborn Steelmen rearguard.

    McCall admitted he was just happy to take all three points, setting up a fascinating final week of SPFL Premiership action.

    “It just goes to show what a rollercoaster of emotions football can be at times,” he told MFC TV after the match.

    [pullquote]Over the full ninety minutes, I felt we just about deserved the three points, but it was tough[/pullquote]

    “Two weeks ago we were on a high after a good point against Celtic, then we go from that to the doom and gloom and dejection of last Saturday at Tannadice.

    “Then today we’re back with a win and at this stage of the season, it’s the three points that is all important.

    “I felt the first-half performance was very good, we created some good chances and we merited our half-time lead.

    “The second half was more of a struggle; they changed their shape and had a little more domination without really cutting us open or creating many clear-cut opportunities.

    “Over the full ninety minutes, I felt we just about deserved the three points, but it was tough.”


    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 2 – 1 St Johnstone

    [tab:Match report]

    Motherwell edged out top-six rivals St Johnstone 2-1 in a tense afternoon at Fir Park.

    Lionel Ainsworth gave Motherwell the lead early on before Dave Mackay headed Saints level midway through the first half.

    Stephen McManus got the decisive goal in controversial circumstances before half-time, his headed effort adjudged to have crossed the line before being punched clear by defender Steven Anderson.

    The win sees Motherwell tighten their grip on a European spot, sitting third place in the standings with just two games to play and also takes them to within a point of second-placed Aberdeen.

    Motherwell started the match brightly as the aerial prowess of John Sutton caused problems, and they passed up a couple of decent early openings before James McFadden was presented with a great chance to put the Steelmen ahead after nine minutes.

    Great work by Zaine Francis-Angol down the left saw the ball forced back to McFadden on the edge of the area, but with time and space his side-footed effort was tame allowing Alan Mannus to gather.

    St Johnstone had a good opportunity minutes later as they won the ball in midfield and released Stevie May on the right wing. The in-form striker ran at the Motherwell defence who backed off allowing him to get a shot away, but his effort was skewed well wide.

    Ainsworth then had an effort for the home side, cutting in from the right before unleashing a strike that Mannus could only parry, and with the ball bouncing loose in the six-yard area Mackay reacted quickest to get the ball to safety.

    Ainsworth did have the beating of Mannus to open the scoring in the 21st minute, although there may have been a touch of fortune about the winger’s looped finish.

    Sutton laid the ball back to McFadden on the edge of the box, and his quick feet allowed the forward to skip over a challenge before laying the ball wide to Ainsworth. It looked as though the winger attempted to hang a cross up towards the far post, but it looped over Mannus into the net to give the Englishman his 11th goal of the season.

    The lead lasted just five minutes, the visitors getting back on level terms in the simplest fashion.

    An inswinging corner from the right by David Wotherspoon was met by the head of Mackay, who nodded home his third goal of the season unchallenged from the middle of the box.

    There was a moment of controversy as the Steelmen moved ahead again on 35 minutes. Iain Vigurs’ free-kick to the far post found McManus unmarked and his headed effort bounced over Mannus before appearing to be punched off the line by Anderson.

    With the whole stadium waiting for referee Kevin Clancy to point to the spot and send the defender off, assistant referee Andrew McWilliam signalled that the ball had crossed the line before Anderson made contact and the goal was awarded.

    St Johnstone were the brighter side at the start of the second half and had Motherwell pinned back without creating any clear-cut chances, and their frustration was evident as May attempted to win a penalty by going over Keith Lasley’s planted left leg only to be shown a yellow card for simulation. It was hard to tell if ‘Well got a break or not, television pictures will prove one way or another.

    The visitors did carve out a decent opportunity after 70 minutes, Wotherspoon dancing his way along the Motherwell 18-yard line before firing a low left-foot effort wide of Lee Hollis’s left-hand post.

    Motherwell were looking content to sit on their lead and attempt to hit St Johnstone on the break, and the visitors were offering little in the way of a serious threat to the home goal in a largely uneventful second half.

    Saints almost hit the equaliser they may have felt they deserved with four minutes remaining, Hollis’s punch clear being met on the half-volley on the edge of the area by Gary Miller, but the goalkeeper recovered to make a great stop low to his left to ensure the points stayed in Lanarkshire.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 2 – 1 St Johnstone

    3 minutes added on

    88mins: Quality stuff from Hollis to punch clear then get down superbly to gather Miller’s shot!

    85mins: Last St johnstone sub, Dunne off for McDonald

    83mins: Anier wins ‘Well a corner,….doesn’t quite fall for Kerr allowing McKay to sweep it clear

    80mins: St J sub, Hasselbaink on for Wotherspoon

    76mins: Decent deep ball into the box but Kerr does enough to put May off and he heads well wide

    74mins: Motherwell sub, Francis-Angol off for Kerr

    69mins: And a ‘Well sub, McFadden makes way for Anier

    68mins: St J sub, Croft on for O’Halloran

    7,201 here at Fir Park Thanks to all as always!

    59mins: May booked for taking a dive in the box. Did look theatrical.

    49mins: A let off as May skips past Hollis but the linesman’s flag is up to deny him as he has strayed offside

    Second half now underway #MFcvSJFC

    Having seen the McManus goal back, delay in giving it looked like he was trying to decide if it was a pen and red card for Anderson or a goal as it was over the line. It was well over so correct decision in the end.

    HT: Motherwell 2 – 1 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC

    42mins: Easton booked for a bad tackle on Sutton. Big man is getting some treatment…

    39mins Tidy bit of footwork from McFadden in the box to set up Lasley but his shot his well closed down and blocked

    It’s 2-1 now anyway!

    35mins: A real strange moment as McManus heads the ball goalwards, and its headed away. Looked to be over the, ref says no, then says yes!


    29mins: ‘Well looking to respond through Hutchinson but his header from Ainsworth’s corner is well over

    26mins: A corner to Saints now, GOAL! McKay heads the delivery into the net 1-1

    24mins: Corner to ‘Well, won by Francis-Angol….headed well clear by Miller

    21mins: AINSWORTH makes it 1-0!! It’s maybe a cross but it’s looped over Mannus and into the bottom corner!!


    17mins: Another superb chance for ‘Well! Ainsworth brings its down on thwe edge of the box and stings the palms of Mannus.Rebound is cleared

    11mins: Counter attack from St J but from a narrow angle, May drags his shot well wide of the far post

    8mins: Great chance for Faddy as he’s set up nicely 10 yards out. Tries to find a corner but fires straight at Mannus

    3mins: Decent start for ‘Well. Some good pressure and Las has blasted on over from range. Bit of internet troubles today….

    Underway here at Fir Park!! #MFCvSJFC


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “My first reaction was penalty kick, he’s off and they’re down to 10 men, which you get quite excited about!” said McCall.

    “I got even more excited when I saw the linesman sprinting towards the halfway line, so I knew he had given a goal, or I thought he had given a goal, and obviously there was a bit afterwards where Anderson got booked and I wasn’t really sure what happened.

    “It was a bit puzzling on the sidelines why the delay took place. I would have been more happy if they had just came back and took the kick-off.

    “I asked the fourth (official) about five minutes later what had happened and he said ‘well the goal was given!’ I said ‘well, yeah, I know the goal was given!’

    “At first I thought that it was a penalty kick and Sutty (John Sutton) has been practising his penalties all week so I was quite confident, and you think ‘here we go, 10 men’, and especially that it was Anderson because I think he’s been a rock for them of late, but we’re obviously happy that was the winning goal.”

    St Johnstone assistant manager Tommy Wright:

    “The controversy is that there’s a foul on Dave MacKay in the build-up to it,” said Wright.

    “I think there’s confusion with what happens after that, but I think it should have been a foul on Dave MacKay.

    “He goes to ground, and I thought actually that was what the referee was pointing to. Then I thought it was a penalty kick, and if it was going to be a penalty kick it was going to be a sending-off and I think that’s maybe what he did, he thought it would be a penalty kick and his assistant’s told him it was over the line.

    “So he’s right then to award the goal, but we’re disappointed that there was a foul on Dave MacKay we thought, he doesn’t just go to ground for no reason, and obviously (McManus) is his man and he’s been blocked.

    “We didn’t do enough in the first half though, so they probably deserved to be ahead at that time.”


    [poll id=”191″]

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    TV: Vigurs wants to make amends

    Iain Vigurs insists there is a real desire amongst the Motherwell squad to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat.

    The Steelmen crashed to a disappointing defeat in Dundee to leave the battle for European spots wide open.

    But for former Inverness and Ross County maestro spoke of the determination to get back to winning ways against St Johnstone at Fir Park tomorrow.

    [pullquote]Everyone was really disappointed with last week but we have an opportunity now to put that right over these next three games.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the broadcast press, the midfielder said: “Everyone was really disappointed with last week but we have an opportunity now to put that right over these next three games.

    “It’s a real big one against St Johnstone, but there are no easy games in this league – everyone can beat everyone and you’ve seen that in the last few weeks.

    “They’re a good side, well drilled and hard to beat. Boys that defeat really stung last week and there is a real desire to go out there and try and make amends for what happened at Tannadice last week.”


    MFC TV

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    TV: McCall wants final push

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall wants to finish the season with a hat trick of wins, starting tomorrow against St Johnstone.

    The Steelmen sit in third spot, four points behind Aberdeen and four ahead of Dundee United with three games still to play.

    ‘Well will meet Saints and Inverness at home, before a final day fixture against the Dons at Pittodrie

    And the Steelmen boss wants his side give themselves the best possible chance of a European finish by repeating their achievement from earlier in the campaign.

    [pullquote]However, we’ve got three games left and the marker is there for us. We’re not asking the players they’ve not already done this season.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference, McCall said: “We’re against an in-form side in St Johnstone; they’ve had fantastic results of late and are playing with a lot of confidence and belief.

    “I have watched their last few games and we are under no illusions as to what we will be up against. However, we’ve got three games left and the marker is there for us. We’re not asking the players to so anything they’ve haven’t already this season.

    “We’ve played St Johnstone at home and performed really well to win. We’ve beat Inverness at home already and we have also been to Pittodrie and won.

    “It’s a big ask of the lads, but it’s not impossible and we go out tomorrow to try and kick that off.”


    MFC TV