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    Motherwell 0 – 1 St Johnstone

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    TV: O’Brien desperate for a fresh start

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    TV: Hard work is the key for McCall

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    Accies Cup prices confirmed

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    St Johnstone magazine preview

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    League Cup 3rd Round draw

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    Muir in charge this weekend

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    Muirhouse Community Hub: Consultation

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    TV: McCall calls for character

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

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    Motherwell 0 – 1 St Johnstone

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Fir Park

    Motherwell slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat when a solitary strike from Brian Graham handing Saints all three points.

    It was tough on the home side, who merited at least a point. And in a spirited second half performance the Fir park side could easily have pinched the winner, particularly when John Sutton’s downward header was somehow blocked on the line by Alan Mannus’ legs from point-blank range.

    With Fraser Kerr suspended, Mark O’Brien joined Stephen McManus at the heart of the ‘Well defence. The Derby County player had a solid debut in a defence that was rarely threatened or breached until the late winner.

    ‘Well’s route to goal was blocked by some heroic Saints defending, who seemed to charge down shot after shot.

    ‘Well made four changes from the side which started at Kilmarnock, Paul Lawson made an impressive return in his first start for eight months. Lionel Ainsworth and Zaine Francis-Angol were also fit enough to make the starting eleven, although the latter had to come off before the end and significantly before the Saints goal which came from his side of the pitch.

    Saints probably had the better of the first half and after only seven minutes, Chris Millar whipped in a cross which Scott Brown met on the volley just outside the six yard box, but his shot was bravely blocked by Craig Reid.

    A minute later Dan Twardzik made the first save of the game when Millar tried his luck from 20 yards, but his drive was straight at the home ‘keeper who again comfortably saved.

    The ‘Well keeper was again in the right place when Lee Croft’s cross evaded the home defence, only for Gary McDonald to head the ball into Twardzik’s hands.

    Motherwell then had a series of shots on the visitor’s goal but a long range efforts from Henrik Ojamma and Paul Lawson trundled harmlessly through to Alan Mannus.

    Lawson, then broke into the visitors box only to watch his low drive blocked by Tam Scobbie, who made a couple of goal saving challenges.

    While there was plenty of play towards both goals there was little to worry either ‘keeper. On the half hour mark Twardzik was tested, but this time Scott Brown’s drive was easily saved.

    Just before half-time Ainsworth curled in an inviting cross which found Sutton but his header drifted away from goal.

    By comparison Motherwell probably edged the second half and within minutes of the break, Sutton had a chance but from an angle he shot tamely at Mannus.

    The home side then exerted some sustained pressure and ten minutes into the half the Saints goal had a double escape. Firstly Ainsworth’s cut back was cleared only as far as Reid whose drive cannoned off Scobbie, with the full back screaming for handball. From Ainsworth’s corner Sutton’s downward header was net bound until the grounded Mannus cleared the ball with his feet.

    Chasing a breakthrough Stuart McCall sent on Lee Erwin for Josh Law before Bob McHugh replaced the tiring Henrik Ojamma

    But just when Motherwell were having to settle for a point they deserved, Saints’ substitute Graham claimed the only goal when he got in front of the home defence to powerfully head Gary McDonald’s cross from the right down and past the helpless Twardzik.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

    FT: Motherwell 0 – 1 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC

    3 minutes left to salvage a point..

    86mins: GOAL! Graham makes it 1-0 to Saints with a close range header #MFCvSJFC

    80mins: Final ‘Well change, Ramsden returns from injury to replace Francis-Angol #MFCvSJFC

    76mins: Ainsworth does well to force a corner down the right…but again the delivery is easily dealt with by Saints #MFCvSJFC

    And a ‘Well sub, Ojamaa off for McHugh #MFCvSJFC

    75mins: St Johnstone sub, Graham on for MacLean #MFCvSJFC

    71mins: Corner to St J…..Lappin’s delivery is well overhit. #MFCvSJFC

    68mins: O’Hallaron hits the post! Looked like a cross that caught Twardzik out. Strangely never really looked like going in. #MFCvSJFC

    68mins: St Johnstone sub, Brown off for Lappin #MFCvSJFC

    66mins: Motherwell sub, Erwin on for Law #MFCvSJFC

    61mins: St Johnstone sub, Croft off for O’Halloran #MFCvSJFC

    58mins: Half a chance for Law there! Broke though on the edge of the box but had little to aim at from the angle. Curls it over #MFCvSJFC

    55mins: Croft concedes a corner…Sutton’s header from 6 yards is beaten away by Mannus! Great chance #MFCvSJFC

    51mins: Scobbie booked for kicking the ball away. Looked like ref only acted after Lasley pointed out he booked Reid for similar #MFCvSJFC

    48mins:Great chance for Sutton! Falls kindly to him inside the box but he opts to shoot on his left foot when maybe Law was a better option

    Second half underway!! #COYW #MFCvSJFC

    HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC

    43mins: Free-kick to ‘Well from the right hand side. Good area, and a decent delivery. Millar has to slide in to block Law’s shot.#MFCvSJFC

    41mins: Another shot from distance, this time Lawson tries his luck from 30 yards but it is well over #MFCvSJFC

    30mins: Decent effort from range by Brown but Twardzik deals with it comfortabley #MFCvSJFC

    23mins: Ojamaa creates some space for himself on the edge of the box but his left-footed shot lacks the power to trouble Mannus #MFCvSJFC

    22mins: Saints break and the cross finds McDonald at the back post. His header isn’t powerful enough to test Twardzik #MFCvSJFC

    20mins: Reid booked, presumably for throwing the ball away as St Johnstone had won a throw-in #MFCvSJFC

    17mins: Good cross in from Ainsworth but it just eludes Sutton at the back post. Good spell for ‘Well. #MFCvSJFC

    16mins: Nice bit of passing football created some space for Law inside the box but he couldn’t get a shot away and Anderson sweeps clear

    11mins: Ainsworth wins ‘Well a corner…but his delivery is headed clear by Anderson #MFCvSJFC

    9mins: First save of the game for Twardzik who has to beat away MacLean’s low curler from distance. #MFCvSJFC

    8mins: Wotherspoon gets on the end of a deep cross but Reid is there and gets his body in the way of his shot #MFCvSJFC

    3mins: Early in the game and Brown has already been caled over by the ref. Looked a clumsy challenge on Lasley deep in ‘Well half. #MFCvSJFC

    Millar and McDonald get the game underway. COYW!! #MFCvSJFC


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “It was a struggle for us towards the end.

    “We had three guys missing from last week through injury and illness, and the ones that came in for them were not fully fit. And although we couldn’t take much out of the game I thought at 0-0 we deserved a draw.

    “Both keepers have not had much to do, although Alan Mannus has made a good stop from John Sutton. They put on fresh legs and some pace and we know Brian Graham can score goals at this level.”

    St Johnstone assistant manager Tommy Wright:

    “It was a good team performance especially in the first half. In the second half it was much closer, but one bit of quality was enough.

    “It was a great cross from Gary McDonald and a good header from Brian Graham. He is a confident lad and just needs to get games and goals, and I’m sure that goal will help his confidence.”


    [poll id=”199″]

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    TV: O’Brien desperate for a fresh start

    Mark O’Brien will take eighteen months of frustration out on the SPFL as he aims to rebuild his career at Fir Park.

    The 21-year old Irishman, known to his teammates as ‘OB’, has been incredibly unlucky with injuries at his parent club Derby County.

    After becoming a first-team regular with The English Championship side on two separate occasions, the youngster saw his season cut short through knee injuries.

    Now back fit, the Republic of Ireland U21 cap is just desperate to get back playing and hopes to be in contention for Saturday’s big match against St Johnstone at Fir Park.

    [pullquote]Now I am free from injury, I want to try and really progress. I hope this loan will help me learn, build and get new experiences and also help Motherwell along the way.[/pullquote]

    “My aim is to try and resurrect my career, which has almost plateaued in recent years through injuries,” he told MFC TV.

    “Now I am free from them, I want to try and really progress. I hope this loan will help me learn, build and get new experiences and also help Motherwell along the way.

    “The manager showed a lot of interest in me, both at the tail end of last season and again during the close season and that gave me the confidence to make the move.

    “I’ll guarantee 100% commitment both in training and games and I really can’t wait to get started. Training has gone well this week so if I am selected tomorrow, I am absolutely ready to play.”

    MFC TV

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    TV: Hard work is the key for McCall

    Stuart McCall insists hard work and desire is the key to getting Motherwell off their poor run of recent form.

    The Steelmen have lost three in the bounce in the league – the last time they did so was back in September/October 2012, when a similar run of defeats to Celtic, Hearts and Hibs eventually came to an end with a 3-1 win over the Perth Saints.

    There is no doubt McCall would take a repeat tomorrow against what is a very tough opponent in St Johnstone, bossed by the shrewd Tommy Wright.

    Speaking directly to MFC TV via the Official You Tube channel, the Motherwell manager admitted: “There’s no magic formula; I’ve already told the lads it is a case of us digging deep and battling away.

    [pullquote]There’s no magic formula; I’ve already told the lads it is a case of us digging deep and battling away.[/pullquote]

    “People will talk about tactics and formations, and from my point of view, picking the right side, but when we got out there and that whistle goes, we’ve got to try and ensure things go our way.

    “There are never any guarantees around results or even good performances, but what you should always be able to say is that you’ve won your personal battles, even if you’ve not played well.

    “We will need to be more ‘up at at ‘em’ against St Johnstone if we want to create more chances and score more goals.

    “That won’t be easy given they are a determined, dogged, well-organised side who are flush with good professionals and come into the match off the back of an excellent win against Aberdeen.

    “But as I’ve said, there’s no magic formula. You go out and work your hardest, get that little bit of luck you need and hopefully the confidence and the quality will come through.”

    MFC TV

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    Accies Cup prices confirmed

    Ticket prices for the forthcoming League Cup tie against Hamilton Accies at New Douglas Park can now be confirmed.

    The match will go ahead on Wednesday 24th September (7.45pm kick-off) and tickets are available on the gate priced at:

    ADULTS:   £15
    CONCESSIONS:                        £5
    • Concessions are applicable to Under 18s and Over 65s.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email
  • Archive

    St Johnstone magazine preview

    The third domestic Steelmen Matchday Magazine of 2014/15 is on sale when St Johnstone visit Fir Park on Saturday.

    But what is inside the 68-page issue?

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall and Captain Keith Lasley both return with the regular columns. McCall chats about what is required from the squad to halt Motherwell’s poor run of results and Lasley speaks about the feelings from the dressing room.

    The feature interview is with young striker Lee Erwin. The 20-year old talks about making up for lost time, recovering from two serious injuries to finally make his breakthrough into the first-team squad.

    Lee also features as the next in the centre-page souvenir poster collection.

    But that’s not where the features stop!

    There is an in-depth section dedicated to our visitors, St Johnstone

    As ever, Ray Morrison introduces the Perthshire side and Andy Paterson talks through four vital characters in the Saints side likely to cause issues.

    The big features keep coming…

    Graeme McGarry catches up with former midfielder Simo Valakari who is carving out quite a reputation for himself as a manager in his native Finland.

    Valakari, who left Motherwell back in 2000 after four great years at Fir Park, led Seinäjoen Jalkapallokerho to promotion in his first season and, now in the Veikkausliiga, is challenging for a European spot.

    He talks about his time at Fir Park, his admiration for the club and his desire to one-day return.

    ‘From the Press Box’ returns with regular host, the Herald’s Scott Mullen and ‘Voices from the East Stand’ blogger Eddie McGuigan once again gives a fans viewpoint on recent happenings.

    We also have a full report from Milk Cup as the Under 16s lift the trophy and Eddie Ferguson’s new feature looking at every Motherwell manager in history continues and focuses on the legendary Bobby Ancell.

    Our match reports section takes a look back at the 2-0 defeat at Rugby Park. There’s also an in-depth report from the Under 20s 1-3 reverse in the SPFL Development League and the ‘Getting to know you’ focuses on defender David Ferguson.

    We have the latest from The Ticket Office, Commercial and Community Departments, and update from the Well Society as well as the latest stats, facts and figures from the 2014/2015 campaign.

    We also take a statistical look at the match official and the new GIRFEC sponsored ‘Junior Steel’ kids page returns and is sure to test the youngster’s quiz minds with puzzles and ‘Did you know’ facts and a new Man of the Match feature sponsored by Match Attax.

    The programme is available for £3 and is will be on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a season-long subscription to the magazine by visiting the website of our publishers – Curtis-Sports – CLICK HERE.

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    League Cup 3rd Round draw

    Motherwell have been drawn to face Hamilton Accies in the Third Round of the Scottish League Cup.

    The match will take place on either Tuesday 23rd or Wednesday 24th September 2014.

    Confirmed details around the match, including ticket information, will be published shortly.


    • Dundee Utd v Dundee
    • Falkirk v Rangers/Inverness CT
    • Ross County v Hibernian
    • Kilmarnock v St Johnstone
    • Aberdeen v Livingston
    • Partick Thistle v St Mirren
    • Celtic v Hearts
    • Hamilton Accies v Motherwell
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    Muir in charge this weekend

    Referee for this Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with St Johnstone at Fir Park is Alan Muir.

    It will be Muir’s first Motherwell game of the campaign, and indeed, only his second in charge of the Steelmen in over nineteen months.

    That match was a 2-0 win against Inverness last March, Lionel Ainsworth and John Sutton getting the goals that fired the Fir Parkers into second.

    Despite this, the 38-year old will be a familiar face to Fir Park fans after taking charge of two matches the previous season season.

    The first was the league opener at Ross County as the Steelmen played out an uneventful 0-0 draw with the league’s new boys.

    His other was a 1-0 home defeat by Dundee United in November 2012, a late Johnny Russell header giving Peter Houston’s side all three points.

    He also handled five matches the previous season too (2011/12). It started with Celtic’s 4-0 win in early September 2011, then a 1-0 win over Aberdeen, Bob McHugh scoring the winning goal some fourteen days later.

    The third was a resounding 3-0 victory of St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before Dunfermline were swept aside 3-1 at Fir Park in a re-arranged game from Boxing Day. The last that season was when Motherwell memorably beat Hearts 3-0 on their way to securing third in the SPL.

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell is fairly decent. The Steelmen have won eight, draw four and lost six from eighteen games. ‘Well have netted 23 times whilst conceding 26.

    In all those games he has produced 53 yellow cards, 26 of which were shown to a player in claret and amber, and four red cards. (Paul Quinn, Michael Higdon, Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley)

    Alan will be ably assisted on the day by Stuart Stevenson and Stuart MacMillan with Gavin Duncan on fourth official duties. Referee Observer is Brian Cassidy and the SPFL Delegate is Terry Christie.

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    Muirhouse Community Hub: Consultation

    Motherwell Football Club Community Trust is proposing to invest £1.9 million in a new community facility for Muirhouse.

    To make this project the best it can be we need the ideas and opinions of local people living in the Muirhouse area.

    We particularly welcome your thoughts on the sort of activities and services we could provide through the proposed facility – so please take a moment to complete our feedback questionnaire and give us your ideas by  clicking here

  • Archive

    TV: McCall calls for character

    ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has called for his side to dig themselves out of their current run of bad form.

    The Steelmen were defeated 2-0 at Rugby Park this afternoon, the third consecutive defeat in the SPFL Premiership.

    You have to go back to September 2012 for a similar run of league defeats when ‘Well lost to Celtic, Hearts and Hibs.

    That run came to an end with a win over St Johnstone and McCall is hoping history will repeat itself in seven days time.

    [pullquote]There’s no good us moping about feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to stick together, be stronger and look towards next Saturday with the aim of creating chances and scoring goals.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV on Motherwell’s Official You Tube channel, the Fir Park gaffer said: “Things won’t just turn for us because it has happened before, we’ve got to knuckle down and change it ourselves.

    “We can take heart from the fact that we’ve got good character and good professionals in the dressing room.

    “We’ve got players to come back that will make us stronger and players to get fitter, that make us stronger. In the meantime, we just need to fight, scratch and do everything we can to get a result.

    “There’s no good us moping about feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to stick together, be stronger and look towards next Saturday with the aim of creating chances and scoring goals.”

    MFC TV

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    Kilmarnock defeat in pictures

    Action pictures from this afternoon’s 2-0 by Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”kilmarnock230814″]