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    Law looking for quick start

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    McCall hopes for memorable year

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    Murray in charge for league opener

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    Keith Lasley Testimonial Update

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    Highlights from New Douglas Park

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    TV: Johansson wants ‘Well to learn

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    Hamilton U20s 1 – 0 Motherwell U20s

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    Additional Summer Soccer Camps

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    McCall reflects on Real Betis tester

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    Motherwell 0 – 3 Real Betis

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    Law looking for quick start

    Josh Law wants to build on his goalscoring start to his Motherwell career by hitting the ground running in the SPFL Premiership.

    The 24-year old former Alferton Town midfielder hit two quick-fire goals in the ultimately unsuccessful European tie against Stjarnan.

    But on the eve of the new league season, Law hopes he can continue some of his own form into the domestic game.

    [pullquote]Obviously I want to try and hit the ground running. My brother obviously has a close connection with the club so a lot of focus will be on me to see how I do. My aim so is to carry things forward now into the new season.[/pullquote]

    “I was very pleased with how it went for me personally, if not a little bittersweet,” he said.

    “I was happy with two goals and an assist, but everyone was hugely disappointed to lose the tie and for the contribution to count for nothing, really.

    “Obviously I want to try and hit the ground running. My brother obviously has a close connection with the club so a lot of focus will be on me to see how I do. My aim so is to carry things forward now into the new season.

    “From a collective point of view, the team has achieved a lot in previous seasons and our aim is to try and continue or replicate that as best we can.”

    MFC TV

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    McCall hopes for memorable year

    Stuart McCall is targeting another strong league campaign as ‘Well prepare to get the 2014/15 SPFL Premiership season underway tomorrow.

    The former Scotland midfielder has guided the Steelmen to a Scottish Cup final and three consecutive ‘Best of the Rest’ finishes in his three and a half years in charge, but finds his team written off by most commentators.

    It’s a familiar theme, it was the same last year when seven first-team stars headed for exit door only for the re-shaped team to set a new post-war points record in securing a second consecutive runners-up spot with a last-gasp win at Aberdeen.

    Despite only a couple of players leaving this year and the prospect of new faces still to arrive, many expect the Motherwell bubble has burst.

    However, McCall insists the joy of securing second spot last year can motivate both the management staff and players in what is certain to be an ultra competitive top league.

    [pullquote]There will be challenges, there will be ups and downs. There’s no doubt, just like we did last year, we’ll have some massive blips and bad results and fans will say they’re not going back again, but if we can maintain the consistency and keep bouncing back, then that’s what we’ll try to do.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to the broadcast press at Motherwell’s pre-St Mirren news conference, McCall said: “We are very much looking forward to the new season.

    “We need to start on the front-foot and put the disappointment of the European defeat firmly behind us which we obviously didn’t go the we wanted or hoped for.

    “That’s all gone, it’s in the past now and all our focus is on the league season and St Mirren on the opening day.

    “People always say ‘what can you do next? You have been there a long while’. You only have to look back at the last minute of last season. That’s what I’m in football for.

    “All right, we didn’t win a trophy or do anything outstandingly spectacular, but the enjoyment for the group of players that had produced what they had to get to 70 points and finish second, that’s why we’re in the game.

    “There will be challenges, there will be ups and downs. There’s no doubt, just like we did last year, we’ll have some massive blips and bad results and fans will say they’re not going back again, but if we can maintain the consistency and keep bouncing back, then that’s what we’ll try to do.”

    MFC TV

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    Murray in charge for league opener

    Referee for this Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with St Mirren at Fir Park is Calum Murray.

    Murray is an experienced whistler with well over fifteen years in the top flight. Somewhat surprisingly though, this is his first match at Fir Park for almost eighteen months.

    He only took charge of one ‘Well match last term, that was the disappointing 2-0 defeat at McDiarmid Park – Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink on the score sheet.

    Previous to that, it was February 2013 and a 3-0 for Stuart McCall’s side over Inverness (Michael Higdon double and a Nicky Law strike) at Fir Park.

    Murray took charge of another two Motherwell matches that same campaign, the instantly forgettable 2-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox in the Scottish Communities League Cup and the 3-2 victory over Ross County at Fir Park.

    The season previous it was three matches.

    The first was a 2-1 win at Pittodrie with goals from Michael Higdon and Omar Daley.

    The second was a 1-1 draw with St Mirren in December, Michael Higdon grabbing Motherwell’s goal and the last was the 3-2 win over St Johnstone, Keith Lasley and a Henrik Ojamaa double separating the sides.

    Back in 2011, he also handled the Scottish Cup Final between Motherwell and Celtic at Hampden.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen is fairly mixed. Of the 21 games he has taken charge of, Motherwell have won nine, drawn four and lost eight. The Fir Parkers have scored 28 whilst 29 have hit the back of the ‘Well net.

    61 players have seen yellow on those fourteen matches, 33 of which were shown to a player wearing Claret and Amber.

    Only one player has been sent for an early bath, Bob Malcolm in the famous 1-0 win over Celtic back in early 2008.

    Calum will be ably assisted by Gavin Harris and Frank Connor with Mat Northcroft on fourth official duties. Brian Cassidy is the Referee Observer and John Connolly is the SPFL Delegate.

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    Keith Lasley Testimonial Update

    The Keith Lasley Testimonial Committee has today released the following brief statement.

    “Due to unforeseen circumstances and difficulties surrounding fixture arrangements during this summer, the Testimonial Committee is now planning for a match either later in this year or into 2015.

    “The Committee would like to sincerely thank everyone for their backing at the various events thus far and look forward to similar support in the future.”

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    Highlights from New Douglas Park

    Highlights from New Douglas Park as the Under 20s go down 1-0 to Hamilton Accies in the new SPFL Development League.

    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson wants ‘Well to learn

    U20s boss Jonatan Johansson has demanded his young side to learn from tonight’s defeat to Hamilton Accies.

    Injury and suspensions carrying from last season meant the former Finnish International had little to choose from and his squad was made up of seven players still eligible to play for the Under 17s.

    Hamilton’s side was certainly more familiar and played with a little bit more savvy, demonstrated by player-boss Alex Neil in the middle of the park.

    The hosts deservedly won the match with Stephen Hendrie’s goal after just five minutes.

    In truth, it perhaps could have been more with the form of Scotland Youth stopper Ross Stewart the real bright spark from an otherwise disappointing night at the office for the Claret and Amber men.

    [pullquote]Across the team, we need to be a little smarter. Our decision-making at various stages was sloppy but it’s a learning curve for the players and that’s what we’ll try to take from the match.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV, now free-to-air on Motherwell’s You Tube Channel, Johansson said: “I was disappointed that we looked indecisive the whole night. I felt our reaction to things that were happening on the pitch wasn’t good.

    “They were much sharper than us, they reacted quicker to second balls and throw-ins and stronger than us in set-pieces; all the so-called smaller things that perhaps a young player takes for granted.

    “There were a lot of first-years in the team tonight and they’ve got to quickly learn that this is the standard they are going to be up against on the physical side.

    “Across the team, we need to be a little smarter. Our decision-making at various stages was sloppy but it’s a learning curve for the players and that’s what we’ll try to take from the match.”

    MFC TV

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    Hamilton U20s 1 – 0 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell U20s started the season with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park this evening.

    Despite starting the game in a positive fashion, the visitors were a goal down inside five minutes when left-back Stephen Hendrie thundered a low shot across goal and into the far corner

    It finished that way but Accies spurned a number of opportunities thanks to some excellent goalkeeping from Ross Stewart and some slack finishing, including an 85th minute penalty miss.

    ‘Well failed to really trouble Blair Currie in the home goal, with a Dylan Mackin shot in the 90th minute the best the Steelmen could muster.

    In fairness, it was an extremely young side that was listed by Jonatan Johansson with four players in the starting eleven still eligible to play for the Under 17s.

    Experience did come in the shape of Iain Vigurs, who only lasted 37 minutes before having to be withdrawn and Bob McHugh who was replaced the interval.

    Accies had the recognisable face of manager Alex Neil in the middle of the park, but he too subbed himself at the break.

    ‘Well made a positive start and looked up for things in the very early exchanges; Dom Thomas posting early intentions with a nice piece of skill and cross that was cleared.

    However, it didn’t take Accies long to settle and they were ahead on the fifth minute. A move across the park landed at the feet of Hendrie on the left flank and he took a touch to set himself before drilling an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

    It could have been worse for ‘Well three minutes later and only a superb double-save from Stewart kept the score at 1-0.

    Danny Armstrong’s cross was headed goalwards by Andy Ryan, which the Steelmen stopper somehow blocked from point-blank range. Incredibly, he was up like a flash to block Greg Docherty’s rebounded shot with his legs.

    Johansson’s men looked rattled at this point, with Accies creating and passing up several chances with Eamonn Brophy, Ryan and Armstrong all denied by Stewart with Docherty firing a shot wide.

    It took Motherwell until the midway point to create; Craig McCall seizing on Neil’s headed clearance but his hung up cross for Dylan Mackin was headed over by the big striker.

    As the half wore on, both teams had half chances. Brophy fired high and wide and Thomas had Motherwell’s only effort on target during the first forty-five with a low shot comfortably held by Currie.

    The hosts did have the ball in the net again before the interval; Armstrong’s curling shot was palmed out by Stewart only for Ryan to tuck home the rebound. However, assistant referee Matthew MacDermid’s late flag ensured the game remained at 1-0.

    Motherwell introduced Higgins for McHugh at the break and he caused immediate problems with his pace. After just three minutes, he latched onto a short back pass but after cutting it back for Mackin, Accies had managed to get enough men behind the ball to block.

    However, it wasn’t long before Stewart was back in action and he had to look smart to tip over Armstrong’s swerving effort. Four minutes later, the Scotland Youth International was at it again, this time denying Docherty from distance.

    The game ten hit a lull with neither side creating much in the way of clear-cut chances. Both had some sniffs, Ross McLean almost connecting with Chris Cadden’s ball into the area at one end, Jesus Garcia Tena bringing out another smart stop from Stewart with a bouncing free kick from twenty yards.

    With ten minutes left, Accies again spurned a golden chance from the penalty spot when Adam Cummins was adjudged to have tripped Ryan. Docherty stood up to take but his low shot came back off the base of the post and spun clear.

    That should have provided ‘Well with the shot in the arm that they needed to rescue the match but, in truth, only a ninetieth minute turn and shot by Dylan Mackin caused Currie any concern.

    It was a flat opening for Johansson’s side who admittedly were up against it in terms of experience and numbers, with several key players injured or suspended. Frustratingly, there is a two-week gap until Dundee United’s youths visit Fir Park.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Cadden, McMillan, Cummins, Watt, McCall, Thomas, McLean, McHugh (Higgins – 46mins), Vigurs (R.Leitch – 37mins), Mackin

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Campbell, Watters

  • Archive

    Additional Summer Soccer Camps

    Due to popular demand Motherwell Football Club Community Trust have added an extra week to the successful Summer Soccer Camps.

    The final week will take place from Monday 11th August – Friday 15th August from 8:30am till 3:30pm for boys & girls aged 5-15 years  and  will be held at Fir Park with coaching sessions taking place on the Fir Park AstroTurf & in the Maxim Office Park South Stand Gymnasium.

    The coaching sessions will be delivered by SFA accredited coaches & will focus on passing, shooting, tackling as well as fun competitions and small sided games.

    Participants will also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the Motherwell FC first team players as they prepare for the start of the Scottish Premiership 2014/2015 season.

    Prices for the Soccer Camp are £11 per day & £50 for the week.

  • Archive

    McCall reflects on Real Betis tester

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall took plenty positives from this afternoon’s friendly despite defeat to Real Betis.

    Rubén Castro Martín, Cedrick Mabwati and Vincenzo Rennella were all on target for Julio Velázquez’s side but despite the scoreline, there were certainly a lot of positives for the Fir Parkers.

    The Steelmen had six recognised defenders missing either through injury of personal circumstances, which meant a young and inexperienced back-line, pierced only by trialist Darren Barr.

    They all coped well with the likes of Dom Thomas, Jack Leitch, Lee Erwin, Morgyn Neill, David Ferguson and Chris Cadden all featuring.

    [pullquote]For long periods of the game we were on top but the second goal for them, which was really well worked, killed us off. We can take a lot out of it and it was a game we certainly needed.[/pullquote]

    And McCall was upbeat, despite the disappointment of losing the match in what were dreadful conditions at Fir Park.

    Speaking to MFC TV on Motherwell’s official You Tube channel, the Fir Park boss said: “It was a defeat but there were certainly positives to take from it.

    “Naturally we were disappointed to lose but I think 3-0 flattered them and we certainly did enough to score a goal.

    “We had a very young defence and came through with no injuries, which is a positive considering the injury list we have right now.

    “For long periods of the game we were on top but the second goal for them, which was really well worked, killed us off. We can take a lot out of it and it was a game we certainly needed.”

    MFC TV

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    Motherwell 0 – 3 Real Betis

    Despite a decent showing, Motherwell lost 3-0 to a ruthless Real Betis at a rain-soaked Fir Park this afternoon.

    In an empty stadium, the hosts saw plenty of the ball and created numerous chances, but the clinical tourists ran out comfortable winners thanks to goals from Rubén Castro Martín, Cedrick Mabwati and Vincenzo Rennella.

    Stuart McCall was forced into several changes with key defensive players missing through injury. Stevie Hammell, Simon Ramsden, Craig Reid, Fraser Kerr and Zaine Francis-Angol were all sidelined with knocks and Stephen McManus sat it out for personal reasons.

    That meant an unfamiliar back four of David Ferguson, Morgyn Neill, Adam Cummins and trialist Darren Barr, with Gunnar Nielsen playing behind them.

    Josh Law, Stuart Carswell, Keith Lasley and Lionel Ainsworth made up the midfield with Bob McHugh and John Sutton spearheading the Steelmen attack.

    Betis were at full strength with only Álvaro Vadillo the only recognisable name missing through injury and they started well; only a smart stop by Nielsen after four minutes denied Rubén Castro after he weaved his way through the ‘Well rearguard.

    McHugh fired wide before Xavi Torres did likewise at the other end, with Neilsen relieved to watch his stinging effort cannon back off the advertising boards.

    However, with their next attack, Julio Velázquez’s side took the lead. Rubén Castro was the creator and scorer, dancing past several challenges, after running from deep, before slotting it coolly past Nielsen from just inside the box.

    As the half wore on, ‘Well certainly made a good fist of it. McHugh had the Steelmen’s first shot on target, well held by the experienced Dani Giménez.

    The same player had another chance six minutes later but again dragged it wide before Ainsworth’s cross-cum-shot almost caught out the visiting goalkeeper but the swirling wind would take it just wide.

    Betis showed good touches and were always comfortable in possession and they almost doubled their lead ten minutes from the break when Chuli curled a shot inches wide.

    At the other end, McHugh again had a chance when a good ball had him in space just inside the area but, on the stretch, he could only force his effort inches over the crossbar.

    ‘Well introduced Jack Leitch at the interval and he almost made an immediate impact, fizzing a shot from twenty yards that went a yard over.

    Former Liverpool wide man Daniel Pacheco had a shot comfortably held by Nielsen and Law thought he was in one-on-one with Dani only to be halted by the assistant’s flag.

    Minutes later, Law turned provider to send McHugh in on goal but despite beating the out-rushing keeper to the loose ball, he wasn’t able to control and it spilled behind for a goal kick.

    Play raged on with Motherwell looking likely, although Betis passed up a glorious chance when substitute Javier Matilla collected a neat cut back but somehow blazed over from six yards.

    Motherwell could sense something from the match and McCall introduced more attacking firepower via Vigurs and Thomas, but unfortunately it would be Betis who would kill the game with a wonderful finish.

    Half-time substitute Cedrick got on the ball on the right flank and, cutting in on his left foot, beat two players before rocketing a thunderbolt into the top corner leaving Nielsen completely helpless.

    McCall introduced more youngsters but it was away side that would grab a third when Rennella broke clear of the defence and coolly lifted his effort over the diving Nielsen and into the net.

    In the dying seconds, ‘Well again spurned a chance when sub Cadden’s cross from the right found McHugh but he could only lift his shot over the bar again.

    It was a really good work out for McCall’s team. They played well for long spells, created chances but were punished by an experienced side that showed no mercy in the final third.

    Motherwell: Nielsen, Cummins, Ferguson, Carswell, Barr, Neill (Leitch – 46mins), Ainsworth (Cadden – 80mins), McHugh, Sutton (Erwin – 46mins), Law (Vigurs – 70mins), Lasley (Thomas – 70mins)

    Subs Not Used: Twardzik