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    TV: McCall expects tight affair

  • Archive

    ‘Well take Derby’s O’Brien on loan

  • Archive

    McLean to ref Caley clash

  • Archive

    Henrik Ojamaa makes Fir Park return

  • Archive

    TV: McCall defiant despite Utd defeat

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    Dundee Utd defeat in pictures

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    Dundee Utd 1 – 0 Motherwell

  • Archive

    Clancy in charge at Tannadice

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    TV: Carswell backs Erwin to shine

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    TV: McCall calls for an improvement

  • Archive

    TV: McCall expects tight affair

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall is sure tomorrow’s Caley clash at Fir Park will once again be nip-and-tuck.

    The Steelmen managed to win three of the four encounters against the Highlanders last term, but everyone one of them was by the odd goal.

    John Hughes’ side have made an impressive and unbeaten start to the new campaign and visit Fir Park in confident mood.

    They have a bunch of real honest players mixed in with some really good players as well,” McCall told the broadcast press at Motherwell’s weekly news conference.

    “We managed to beat them three times last season but they were all really tight and could have gone either way.

    “Our supporters might have to be a little patient because they might have a lot of the ball in certain areas. I’m sure it will be a tight game.”

    [pullquote]Our supporters might have to be a little patient because they might have a lot of the ball in certain areas. I’m sure it will be a tight game.[/pullquote]

    McCall hosted his press conference the day after Motherwell announced Henrik Ojamaa’s five-month loan deal from Legia Warsaw.

    Although the Estonian has missed a fair bit of pre-season, he is in the squad for tomorrow’s match.

    McCall added: “I have to say a big thanks to the board for making it happen and I’m delighted, even though it may only be short term, to have him at the club.

    “Hopefully we can get him up and running soon, he missed a bit of pre-season. But he definitely gives us an extra dimension in the forward area with his pace, tenacity and he created a lot of opening for other players as well. And he’s a handful.

    “Certainly centre-halves know they’ve been in a game when they play against him. There’s no guarantee it will be as successful as it was previously, we need to get him up and running and he needs to get himself in the side.

    “I mentioned to Henrik when he left us that a lot of clubs in Europe play with a solitary striker and a lot of strikers get pushed out wide. Henrik’s assets are his pace and willingness to get in behind. We have brought him to compete for a position down the middle.”

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    ‘Well take Derby’s O’Brien on loan

    Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm defender Mark O’Brien has joined the club on loan from Derby County.

    21-year old O’Brien started his career at Cherry Orchard in his home city of Dublin, before being spotted by County scouts in the Dublin & District Schoolboy League.

    After signing for Derby, O’Brien became a regular in the clubs under-18 side before he made his debut for the Rams as a 65th minute substitute away to Watford back in May 2009.

    He was named Derby County scholar of the year at a club awards ceremony two days later. He also won the 2009 Republic of Ireland under-19 Player of the Year.

    He has subsequently gone on to play 35 times for the first-team, although his progress into a regular first-teamer has been hampered by injury and the form of Richard Keogh, Jake Buxton and Zak Whitbread.

    [pullquote]Everyone who I’ve spoke to rates him highly and this is a great opportunity for him to stake a claim for a regular first-team start and show just what he is capable of.[/pullquote]

    Now free from injury, he joins Stuart McCall’s side until January and offers additional competition for places at the back.

    O’Brien is travelling to Scotland today and will be in the squad for tomorrow’s match against Inverness Caley Thistle subject to clearance.

    Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, ‘Well boss Stuart McCall said: “We are delighted Mark has joined us, he is a player we have tracked for some time now.

    “He would have been here much earlier but had a slight ankle knock during pre-season. Now that is clear, we are pleased to have him in the squad.

    “Everyone who I’ve spoke to rates him highly and this is a great opportunity for him to stake a claim for a regular first-team start and show just what he is capable of.”

    Derby Head Coach Steve McClaren told dcfc.co.uk: “It is important Mark gets out and plays some first-team football and going to Motherwell will allow him to do that.

    “He has been incredibly patient waiting in the wings behind our other central defenders and it will benefit him going out and playing matches again.”

  • Archive

    McLean to ref Caley clash

    Referee for Saturday’s SPFL Premiership game with Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park will be Steven McLean.

    It will be McLean’s first ‘Well appointment of the season.

    Incredibly, he was in charge of seven Motherwell matches in the SPFL Premiership last year – three of the seven won’t live long in the memory; one will be cherished forever.

    The first of those to forget was back in November, when a depleted Steelmen crashed 4-0 at home to Dundee United. One month later, as ‘Well were already hurting from a Scottish Cup exit, he was the man in the middle for Celtic’s 5-0 win at Fir Park.

    Thankfully, he handled our 5-1 win at Firhill in late December but also the controversial 2-2 draw with Aberdeen at Fir Park. ‘Well were holding out in the face of intense Aberdeen pressure and looked to have saw the match out, but a late Russell Anderson equaliser levelled things up.

    He also handled the 3-3 draw at Easter Road when ‘Well threw away a two-goal lead but still showed tremendous character to net late on to save a draw.

    He also officiated the 5-1 demolition at Tannadice when Lionel Ainsworth’s late conciliation goal was the only ray of light in an otherwise horrible afternoon in Tayside.

    Most recently was the final game of last season at Pittodrie when Craig Reid’s controversial 91st minute winner game Motherwell the win they needed to seal second and spark incredible celebrations that will rival any moment in Motherwell’s recent history. Maybe decisions do even themselves out over a season after all?

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell reads eleven wins, six defeats and two draws from nineteen matches. In those games, ‘Well have scored 41 and conceded 35. 48 cautions have been dished out, 29 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 had an extremely busy season in 2013/14 – handling twenty-five SPFL Premiership matches.

    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 Alastair Mather and Brian Templeton with Barry Cook on fourth official duties. Referee observer is John Young and SPFL Delegate will be John Blackley.

  • Archive

    Henrik Ojamaa makes Fir Park return

    Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm Estonian International Henrik Ojamaa has re-joined the club on loan.

    After en explosive eighteen-months at Fir Park, Ojamaa left last summer to join Legia Warsaw for an undisclosed fee.

    However, he joins a growing list of players in the squad who have returned to the club and he will spend the next five months (until January) back in Claret and Amber.

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall told motherwellfc.co.uk: “I am absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to pull this deal off, it has involved a lot of hard work by people at the club over a period of time, as well as the support of the board, of which I am very appreciative.

    [pullquote]I am absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to pull this deal off, it has involved a lot of hard work by people at the club over a period of time, as well as the support of the board, of which I am very appreciative.[/pullquote]

    “He is exactly what we need at this present moment. He is not only quick and carries a goal threat; he had more assists than anyone in the league in his last full season in Scotland.

    “He will provide real competition and add a different dynamic to what we have. We kept saying we need a ‘Henrik Ojamaa’ type player then thought, we might as well see if we can try and get him back.

    “He knows the place well, he’ll be familiar to most of the people and players at the club so we hope he can hit the ground running.”

    Both clubs and the player (who is travelling to Scotland tonight) have signed the deal and we await International clearance to determine whether or not he can be involved in Saturday’s match against Inverness Caley at Fir Park.

  • Archive

    TV: McCall defiant despite Utd defeat

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall was in a buoyant mood despite his side’s narrow 1-0 defeat at Tannadice tonight.

    With Stevie Hammell, Iain Vigurs, Simon Ramsden, Craig Moore and Adam Cummins watching from the stand, Paul Lawson only a fit enough to take a seat on the bench and several players nursing nocks, many had predicted a Dundee United whitewash, particularly after their impressive opening day win at Pittodrie.

    However, the battling Fir Parkers contained Jackie McNamara’s side for the majority of the match, with Dan Twardzik rarely troubled.

    At the other end, ‘Well hit the crossbar, had a fairly decent penalty claim turned down and had Lee Erwin’s goal disallowed for a late (and very tight) offside flag.

    However, substitute Mario Bilate separated the sides with an 82nd minute dart that broke the Steelmen’s stubborn resistance.

    [pullquote]In the end, it’s taken a world-class strike to beat us. It was really hard on the players tonight for their effort, endeavour and I am in no doubt that we deserved a point.[/pullquote]

    Whilst naturally disappointed to lose the match, Stuart McCall focused on the positives, particularly the showing of his young Academy graduates like Lee Erwin, Fraser Kerr, Jack Leitch, Stuart Carswell and David Ferguson, who made his first-team debut as a half-time substitute.

    Speaking to MFC TV on Motherwell’s Official You Tube channel, McCall said: “We’ve came here recently and lost a lot of goals, but I thought we were excellent defensively tonight.

    “For a team who are noted for scoring a lot of goals, particularly here at Tannadice, we restricted them to very little. They had a fair bit of pressure in the second-half, but Dan [Twardzik] has had virtually noting to do.

    “We score a terrific goal that was borderline offside – I’ve had a look at it, it might be level as it’s difficult to tell from the camera angles we have; that could have gone our way and, right at the end, I thought Craig Reid had leveled for us but his effort from a corner was deflected just wide.

    “In the end, it’s taken a world-class strike to beat us. It was really hard on the players tonight for their effort, endeavour and I am in no doubt that we deserved a point.”

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd defeat in pictures

    Action pictures from this evening’s 1-0 defeat by Dundee United at Tannadice in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”dundeeutd130814″]

  • Archive

    Dundee Utd 1 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Ray Morrison at Tannadice

    A screamer from substitute Mario Bilate eight minutes from time denied Motherwell a deserved point from tonight’s Tannadice clash.

    After a fairly even first-half, United certainly enjoyed the vast majority of possession in the second, but rarely troubled Dan Twardzik in the visitors goal.

    Indeed, the former Bayern Munich youngster’s only real moment of note in the game, other than a few comfortable long-range efforts, was to pick the ball out his net when Dutchman Bilate rifled home a sizzling twenty-five yard stunner.

    It was harsh on the Steelmen, who had contained United for almost the full game and even hit the crossbar, had a decent penalty claim turned down and had the ball in the net, ruled out for a marginal offside call.

    Stuart McCall made one change to his side that beat St Mirren in midweek – Jack Leitch came in to replace Lionel Ainsworth with the former Scotland midfielder opting for a 4-3-3, with Lee Erwin and Josh Law supporting John Sutton in attach.

    And it was the Fir Parkers who made the better start, forcing a number of early corners, eventually leading to a Josh Law curler coming crashing back off the crossbar.

    United, normally so potent on the counter, were struggling as ‘Well allowed them to have the ball and hunted in packs to close down attack after attack. The best they could muster was a Gary MacKay-Steven effort that Twardzik watched harmlessly wide.

    Fraser Kerr just failed to connect with a Leitch corner and Nadir Ciftci had a bouncing shot from distance that again was comfortable for Motherwell’s young ‘keeper.

    Stuart McCall was forced into a change at the break with Zaine Francis-Angol feeling his hamstring. Young David Ferguson replaced him, the 18-year old making his full debut in a position he’s not normally familiar.

    However, there was a moment of controversy in the opening few minutes of the second half when Erwin appeared to be bundled down on the edge of the area by Paul Paton. It’s hard to tell if it was inside or outside the box; incredibly referee Kevin Clancy gave nothing.

    United started to get a grip on the game in terms of possession, but were restricted to very little actual chances. A few teasing balls across the face and a few timely blocks by the Steelmen defence kept it at 0-0.

    In the 67th minute, though, Motherwell had the ball in the net after Lee Erwin was put clean through on goal by Jack Leitch to slot past Cierzniak. A late, late flag by the assistant ruled the goal offside; television pictures were inclusive from the angle, but it was incredibly tight and could have gone either way.

    Paton should have put the hosts ahead in the 80th minute but fired over the bar with the goal at his mercy.

    However, just as the game looked to be heading for a stalemate an excellent point for the Steelmen, Bilate popped up with an unstoppable drive to ensure the three points stayed in Tayside. Incredibly though, with virtually the seconds remaining, Craig Reid came within an inch of converting a corner only for it deflect inches wide of the post.

    Overall, McCall can be very satisfied with his side, even in defeat. The young Academy graduates showed up well with Lee Erwin again impressing.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Ally Reilly at Tannadice

    A battling performance that deserved more but a Bilate wonderstrike is enough to give Utd the 3 points.

    FT: Dundee Utd 1 – 0 Motherwell #DUFCvMFC

    92mins: Reid’s shot is deflected just wide of the post!

    89mins: Utd running down the clock in the corner. 3 minutes added on.

    87mins: Free-kick to ‘Well wide on the right, headed out for a corner.

    And Dundee Utd changes, Mackay-Steven off for Erskine and Ciftci off for Telfer

    85mins: Motherwell subs, McHugh and Ainsworth on for Sutton and Leitch

    82mins: GOAL! Bilate sends a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards. 1 – 0

    79mins: Ball falls to Dow from Mackay-Steven’s low cross. Should really hit the target from 12 yards but blasts over!

    73mins: Great defending from McManus to swipe Mackay-Steven’s cross to safety! Goal was gaping there.

    68mins: Succession of Utd corners. Bilate heads over from 10 yards. A bit of a let off.

    65mins: Erwin is slid through and has the ball in the net but the linesman has his flag up! Close, but probably correct decision

    65mins: Dunde Utd sub, Bilate on for Watson

    59mins: Corner to Utd, which is dealt with by Erwin at the front post.

    57mins: Great defending from Ferguson who manages to pick the pocket of Ciftci as he looked to shoot

    United’s wall holds strong and deflects Law’s effort away to safety

    55mins: Erwin spins Morris and wins a free-kick, 25 yards out in a good position

    53mins: Utd manage to scramble Law’s low cross away. Was a decent ball in but no takers!

    50mins: Armstrong booked. From resulting free-kick, Cierzniak manages to punch clear

    48mins: Ferguson is booked for what you could call a tactical foul on Mackay-Steven as he looked to counter

    46mins:Erwin dribbles forward and looks to have been fouled in the box!Ref disagrees and waves play on!Will be interesting to see that again

    Second half is underway.

    Half time change for ‘Well. Francis-Angol makes way for Ferguson who makes his first appearance in a ‘Well shirt.

    No goals here at Tannadice but a decent opening 45. Law with the best chance of the game, his effort crashing off the bar after 3 minutes

    HT: Dundee Utd 0 – 0 Motherwell #DUFCvMFC

    35mins: Mackay-Steven cuts it back to Rankin on the edge of the box. This time he tests Twardzik but the stopper is equal to the shot.

    33mins: Rankin scuffs a shot well wide from 25 yards. Lasley and Dow exchange words, after Dow went down in the box.

    29mins: Booking for Leitch who crings down Mackay-Steven on the half way line.

    27mins: Fraser Kerr’s front post flick-on header isn’t far over!

    27mins: Corner to ‘Well after Fojut just got in ahead of Erwin to head to safety.

    24mins: An ambitious effort from Ciftci some 35 yards out ends safely in the hands of Twardzik who was never trroubled

    21mins: Townsend darts forward and wins a free-kick in a good position…..Wall holds strong to divert the free-kick for a corner.

    18mins: Another, ‘Well corner, and it’s another short one. This time Law delivers well but Cierzniak comes out to claim it.

    ..’Well play it short but quickly lose possession. Utd break, but the final ball eludes Mackay-Steven and runs into Twardzik’s arms

    17mins: Leitch does well to win a corner down the left wing…

    12mins: Mackay-Steven cuts in from the right wing but his left footed shot goes harmlessly wide of Twardzik’s left post.

    10mins: Bit of confusion in the ‘Well defence leads to a corner. Reid is there to head well clear.

    3mins: ‘Well win another corner, this time it is short to Law who cuts in and rifles a shot off the bar! So close to the opener!

    2mins: A bit of trickery down the left from Law wins ‘Well a corner. Townsend heads clear at the front post.

    1min: Ciftci and Dow get the game underway #COYW

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “I thought we merited a point. But you hold your hands up when someone hits a goal like that.

    “We’ve given goals away in the past which have been sloppy but there’s nothing you can do when there’s a goal like that.

    “I think we conceded 60 goals last season – even more than Hibs – but tonight they only really had a couple of long-range shots in the first half.

    “In the second half, they came down the hill but I can’t really remember our keeper Dan (Twardzik) having a save to make. So against a good side I thought we merited a point.

    Dundee Utd assistant manager Jackie McNamara:

    “It was a lovely goal, worthy of winning any match.

    “I thought we deserved it to be honest. I thought we put them under pressure in the second-half. We kept plugging away and we got there in the end.

    “We’ve had two hard games already this season and Motherwell were difficult to break down here.

    “In the first half, we found it hard to get in behind them to create any clear-cut chances.

    “But I was confident we could get there in the end and so it proved.

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”196”]

  • Archive

    Clancy in charge at Tannadice

    Referee for this Wednesday’s clash against Dundee Utd at Tannadice is Kevin Clancy.

    It will be Kevin’s first Motherwell appointment of the new season, but he’ll be a relatively familiar face, despite being a new referee, given he handled four matches last term too.

    The first, ironically enough, was the swashbuckling 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tanandice last September.

    Henri Anier had ‘Well ahead at the interval but two quick-fire goals from United had McNamara’s men ahead. Step forward substitute Lionel Ainsworth, who smashed home a brilliant leveller to give the Steelmen a deserved point.

    The second was the excellent 1-0 win at Pittodrie on Boxing Day when a resolute Steelmen came away with all three points thanks to Ainsworth’s winner.

    The third, and most recent, was against St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park back in February when Tommy Wright’s men ran out convincing 3-0 victors.

    And, most recently, he was the man in the middle for the vital 2-1 win over Saints (again) with Ainsworth and Stephen McManus on the score sheet, helping to avenge that earlier defeat and put the Steelmen on the road to SPFL Premiership runners-up.

    It would have been his fifth game, but John Beaton replaced him at the last minute ahead of the Aberdeen match back in August, after a hectic midweek European jaunt.

    Prior to last season, his last Motherwell match was against Aberdeen at Pittodrie (again), back in March, when the teams drew a blank in a 0-0 draw.

    It was one of two ‘Well fixtures the 30-year old took charge of during the 2012/13 season, his other being the 2-1 away win at Dundee when Michael Higdon bagging a double as Stuart McCall’s men came back from a losing position to pick up all three points.

    His only other Motherwell match was in the 2011/12 Scottish Cup, where he was the man in the middle as the Fir Parkers demolished Queen’s Park 4-0, a certain Henrik Ojamaa smashing home a fabulous debut goal.

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell reads seven matches in total, Motherwell winning four, drawing two and losing one. ‘Well have scored eleven and conceded seven.

    There have been twenty-two cautions dished out in those seven matches, twelve of them to a man wearing Claret and Amber and zero dismissals.

    He’s had a busy season in 2013/14, with some high profile matches including on Europa League duty when he handled Lokomotiva Zagreb’s match with Dinamo Minsk, managed by ex ‘Well defender Bob Maaskant. The Belarusian side ran out 3-2 winners.

    Coincidentally, Kevin was in Russia the same time ‘Well faced Kuban Krasnodar. He was appointed to take charge of FC Rubin Kazan vs Randers in the second leg tie of the 3rd Qualifying Round of the Europa League.

    He was also the man in the middle for the UEFA Under 21 Qualifier between Montenegro and Germany as well as the UEFA Youth Champions League matches Real Madrid vs FC Copenhagen and Man Utd vs Real Sociedad.

    Kevin will be ably assisted by Joseph Lawson and Andy Milne with Craig Charlston on 4th Official duties. The referee observer is Douglas Yeats and the SPFL Delegate is Bert Donald.

  • Archive

    TV: Carswell backs Erwin to shine

    Stuart Carswell has backed Lee Erwin to follow up his goal from Saturday and have a big impact on the Fir Park first-team.

    The 20-year old made his full debut, and his first ever appearance in the SPFL Premiership, against St Mirren and impressed, not only with his drive and threat going forward, but his coolly taken goal to win the match.

    The midfielder knows all about Erwin’s capabilities having played with him for many years coming through the ranks at the Motherwell Academy then into Gordon Young’s Under 19s.

    Now having finally broke through, ending years of injury frustration, Carswell is hopeful it’s the start of something big for his fellow youngster.

    Speaking to the gathered press, he said: “I came through the youth ranks with him and I know what he’s got in his locker and he’s got that ability.

    [pullquote]Lee definitely deserved it with the way he’s trained and his performances in pre-season; he’s looking sharp.[/pullquote]

    “You see what he did and the goals he scored when he was out on loan at Arbroath.

    “Lee definitely deserved it with the way he’s trained and his performances in pre-season; he’s looking sharp.

    “He brings goals but he’s not just a box player, he can link the play too. For a guy of his size, he’s very technical and prefers the ball into feet.

    “Anyone who has watched him for the Under 20s will know that he is quick, always looks to get involved in the play and isn’t shy to take on a shot from distance either.

    “He obviously got the nod on Saturday and took his chance; I am really delighted for him.”

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    TV: McCall calls for an improvement

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has called for an improved performance from his side as they prepare for Wednesday’s match at Tannadice.

    Although a patched-up Steelmen ground out a 1-0 victory over St Mirren four days ago, McCall admitted his side has to improve.

    Dundee United were a thorn in the side last term and although there is no positive news on the injury front, McCall insists his side will draw on inspiration from previous matches when they were written off.

    Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s pre-match news conference, McCall said: “Prior to last season, we have a fairly decent record up there [Tannadice].

    [pullquote]Over the years we’ve gone to places where people have expected us to get nothing and shown a lot of character to get a result and we’ll need that again tomorrow.[/pullquote]

    “Ironically, we had players who would hit them at pace on the counter; Chris Humphrey, Henrik Ojamaa and Jamie Murphy but it was a role-reversal last term.

    “They’ve got a good, effective way of playing and this season, they’ve strengthened their defence and look tight.

    “It’s got the makings of a really tough game for us, even if we were at full strength.

    “Having said that, over the years we’ve gone to places where people have expected us to get nothing and shown a lot of character to get a result and we’ll need that again tomorrow.

    “We will most certainly need an improvement in performance both individually and collectively from what we had on Saturday, as well a strong resilience.

    “Most people will have them as certainties but we’re going there looking for a result.”

    MFC TV