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    A message from Stuart McCall

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    Club Statement: Stuart McCall

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    TV: Highlights from Cappielow

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    TV: JJ takes positives despite Cup loss

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    Celtic U20s 2 – 0 Motherwell U20s

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    Under 20s in Youth Cup action

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

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    St Johnstone defeat in pictures

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    TV: McCall frustrated at missed chances

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    St Johnstone 2 – 1 Motherwell

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    A message from Stuart McCall

    Before speaking to anyone else, I would like to send my final correspondence as Motherwell manager directly to the most important people, you, the supporters.

    It’s fair to say that the last 24 hours or so have been incredibly difficult and emotional for me personally. However, it has also given me time to reflect on what has been a wonderful four years.

    I’ve enjoyed terrific highs throughout – my first season we beat Celtic, turned in excellent Scottish Cup Quarter and Semi Final performances before getting to Hampden. Seeing what getting to a National Final meant to the fans, but also the town itself is something that will live with me forever.

    I think back to the night we beat Hearts to qualify for the Champions League then the atmosphere at Fir Park for that game against Panathinaikos. For a lot of our players, that was the highlight of their career playing at that level.

    We’ve managed to beat Celtic three times at Fir Park, including back-to-back wins. I remember coming back from 2-0 down at Easter Road to win and no one will ever forget that game at Pittodrie in the last game of the campaign. That will go down as one of the best days I’ve ever had in football.

    You think back to those games and others with real enjoyment and satisfaction, but not just for ourselves, for what it did for you as supports and the highs they brought. We scored over 120 league goals in the last two seasons, so there have been plenty of positives.

    Don’t get me wrong, managers always hold on defeats longer than victories and I acknowledge there have been some hugely disappointing lows. I suppose, in hindsight, I wish I had enjoyed the victories more at the time, but I was always too focused on the next game. I just hope the amount of highs cancel out some of the disappointments when people look back at what we’ve achieved here.

    We then come to this season, which has been a huge disappointment and my ultimate decision to step down yesterday. After the win at Ross County and the performance at Celtic Park, there was a real belief that we could get our confidence back and kick on, but the defeat at Hamilton in the Cup, and in particular, the manner of it, really knocked the stuffing out of us.

    I struggled to sleep after Friday’s game with St Johnstone then woke up again during the night Saturday into Sunday, thinking about the Dundee United game and I just couldn’t come up with any answers. I felt that with the International break coming up, now would be a good time to step aside to allow the club time.

    I have a hope that with a fresh voice and maybe some new ideas, it will give the players that little boost they need. I felt that if I didn’t have the same hunger or desire, if I was deflated, then the players would sense that and that’s not what they, or the club, needs at this point.

    I remember saying at Bradford prior to leaving that I take defeats really badly and carry it with me for a long time. This season has been difficult and when you become apprehensive about the next game, that’s your body’s way of telling you that maybe things have come to an end.

    Both as a player and manager, you should work all week and really look forward to matches, but if you have that negativity in your head, it’s difficult and I don’t want that to make our situation any worse. I care too much about the place and the people who work here.

    I would like to finish by thanking some people who have been invaluable to me. First, to the board – Derek Weir and others – who gave me a chance to manage this fantastic football club. They have all been hugely supportive through both good and bad times.

    To all the staff I’ve worked beside: Kenny Black, Gordon Marshall, Jonatan Johansson, Adam Stokes, John Porteous and latterly Aileen Anderson, Alan MacDonald, Bobby Jenks, Scott Leitch, and before him Gordon Young. We’ve been a really close-knit, tight unit who has worked hard through it all and I want to put on record my thanks for all their terrific work and effort.

    To the players, both current and past, who have represented themselves and the club so fantastically and achieved so much. You can talk all you like about tactics, formations and shape, but it’s footballers that win you games and they have been outstanding.

    I would also like to acknowledge all the superbly dedicated and hard-working staff that work at the club.

    Alan Burrows, who has been a great help to me throughout my whole time in both his roles, and the two guys in media, Ross Clarkson and Ally Reilly, who have contributed more than anyone will know to the success of this club in recent times. Karen Paterson, the football administrator, has been a huge source of advice and guidance too over the years.

    To Elaine and all the groundstaff, the kitchen and office staff – each one of them have been a pleasure to work beside and made coming in to Fir Park so enjoyable. I will miss them all.

    And finally to you, the supporters. I’ve enjoyed an excellent rapport with you all and I hope some of the great days and nights we’ve had together over the last four years have made supporting this football club an enjoyable experience.

    The group of young guys in the corner has given home matches a heart, a soul and an atmosphere and it’s fair to say Motherwell FC is certainly a club that gets under your skin.

    I would ask you all to rally around the club and the players in the next few weeks and months. We’ve achieved everything with hard work, dedication and a real togetherness and that’s particularly the case when things aren’t going right.

    Nothing would give more pleasure if I am back up the road next May with my Claret and Amber scarf, with the team having picked up in the league, watching ‘Well at the Scottish Cup Final once again.

    It’s been a pleasure. Thanks for the memories.

    So long and farewell.

    Stuart McCall

  • Archive

    Club Statement: Stuart McCall

    Motherwell FC can announce Stuart McCall has resigned from his position as manager.

    McCall, who was appointed in December 2010 and was the second longest serving manager in Scottish senior football, informed the board of his decision late this afternoon.

    The 40-times capped former Scotland midfielder has overseen a period of incredible success at Fir Park, including taking Motherwell into the Scottish Cup Final in 2011, then three ‘Best of the Rest’ finishes in the Scottish top flight.

    As manager, he smashed a number of long-standing records, including for games won, goals scored, clean sheets and points accumulated; the 50-year old also led Motherwell into the UEFA Champions League for the first and only time back in 2012.

    In contrast, the current season hasn’t started as well as anyone would like.

    Speaking on behalf of the Board, Derek Weir, who was instrumental in McCall’s appointment, said: “Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to sincerely thank Stuart for his contribution to the club, which will go down as one of the most successful managerial tenures in our 128-year history.

    “We have been acutely aware of results this season, but everyone at Fir Park was confident in his, and the team’s, ability to turn things around.

    “However, following a long conversation this afternoon, Stuart felt it better for all concerned if he stepped down with immediate effect and we respect that.

    “Assistant manager Kenny Black will take charge of first-team team affairs in a caretaker role to allow the board to start the process of recruiting a new manager, which will begin right away.”

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    TV: Highlights from Cappielow

    Highlights from Cappielow Park as two late Celtic goals edge ‘Well out of the Scottish FA Youth Cup.

    MFC TV

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    TV: JJ takes positives despite Cup loss

    Jonatan Johansson praised his side despite their 2-0 defeat by Celtic in the SFA Youth Cup this afternoon.

    The Steelmen matched their opponents for the ninety minutes, and only a lack of composure in the final third cost the young Fir Parkers, who created four or five good chances.

    In the end, two late goals from Liam Henderson and Kieran Tiernan separated the sides as ‘Well crashed out.

    However, Johansson refused to critisise his players and hopes they could use the experience to their advantage in forthcoming games.

    [pullquote]We can take heart from the way we played. It’s the small things that separate the teams in these even games and that proved to be the case.[/pullquote]

    He said: “I thought we were really good today and played with a discipline and worked really hard for each other as a team.

    “The longer the game went, I thought we were going to come out on top as there were moments when I thought Celtic were panicking a bit.

    “However, that first goal is so important in football and unfortunately we didn’t get it, despite creating good chances, and they eventually scored with a nice goal.

    “We can take heart from the way we played. It’s the small things that separate the teams in these even games and that proved to be the case. We will learn though and take that into Tuesday’s match with St Mirren.”

    MFC TV

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    Celtic U20s 2 – 0 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s bowed out the SFA Youth Cup after a 2-0 defeat by Celtic at Cappielow this afternoon.

    The scoreline doesn’t tell the full story of the afternoon, with the young Steelmen spurning a number of chances in front of goal, only to be punished by two late strikes from the hosts.

    Higgins, Cadden and Thomas all had real chances to net, but it remained at stalemate until Liam Henderson put Celtic in front before Kieran Tierney’s late goal sealed the victory.

    Jonatan Johansson again made eight changes to the side that won at McDiarmid Park on Monday. McNulty, Hall, Carswell, Leitch, Erwin, McHugh, Moore and Anderson all dropped out, replaced by Watt, Ferguson, McCall, Cadden, Thomas, Higgins, Mackin and MacLean.

    And it was one of those changes, Steven Higgins, who passed up a glorious chance inside seventy seconds. Dom Thomas slipped the front man in but, after breaking clear and bearing down on the goalkeeper, he could only prod his shot wide of the post.

    Stephen Frail’s side regrouped and Henderson flashed a shot wide of target before Joe Thomson tested Ross Stewart with a curling effort that was comfortably saved by the Steelmen stopper.

    Both teams traded half chances, but both ended up with shots over the bar, Henderson for Celtic and Chris Cadden for Motherwell as the game remained at deadlock.

    The hosts did think they had taken the lead on the 18th minute when Joe Thomson converted Henderson’s lovely set-up pass, but the assistant immediately had his flag up with few in hoops complaining.

    Very little else happened for the remainder of the half, until a short flurry prior to the interval provided some noteworthy efforts.

    Dom Thomas smashed a long-range effort high over the crossbar before Celtic’s Paul McMullan flicked over a Calvin Miller cross from the right. Henderson also tried his luck from distance again and Higgins almost wriggled free inside the home penalty box, but was eventually crowded out.

    Incredibly, almost identically to the first-half, ‘Well had a good chance inside sixty seconds of the restart when Cadden again raced in on goal. Just as the midfielder was about to pull the trigger, however, Celtic recovered to make the vital block tackle.

    Henderson, Celtic’s most influential player by some distance, had his side’s first shot on target in the second half, running from deep and taking on the shot, but it was straight at Stewart who comfortably saved.

    Almost right away, the Fir Parkers went immediately on the attack and Thomas again rolled in Higgins who was clear of the green and white defence. Closing in on goal, he opened up his body and slipped the shot past Jordan Hart but it dropped agonisingly wide of the far post.

    Celtic again regrouped and Tiernan flashed a close range shot over the bar before Handerson took on yet another long-range shot, this time the ball rising just over Stewart’s crossbar.

    Tiernan had another low effort just wide before Thomas passed up a great chance to put his side in front. ‘Well won the ball in the middle of the park and when it was eventually spread over to the left for the tricky forward, he beat his marker before curling a shot inches wide from about 12 yards.

    The same player then dragged a low effort wide of target and there was a sense, at that point, the game was Motherwell’s to win.

    However, the sting in the tail would come via Henderson who, slightly against the run of play, put his side ahead. After collecting a pass from substitute Luke Donnelly, the Scotland Youth International made space for himself with a nice turn, before burying a right-footed shot across Stewart into the far corner.

    It was a hammer blow for the young Fir Parkers, who looked deflated, and Celtic doubled their advantage shortly when Tiernan got on the end of a McMullan pass to slot low past Stewart to book Celtic’s place in the 4th Round.

    Motherwell: Stewart, Watt, McMillan, Ferguson, Neill, McCall, Mackin (Anderson – 82mins), Cadden, Higgins, Thomas, MacLean

    Subs Not Used: Currie, Hall, McNulty, R.Leitch

  • Archive

    Under 20s in Youth Cup action

    The Under 20s are in SFA Youth Cup action tomorrow (Sunday) when they take on Celtic at Morton’s Cappielow Park.

    The Scottish FA Youth Cup is Scotland’s premier youth tournament.

    Formed in 1984, the under-20 tournament is open to all senior clubs in Scotland.

    A truly national competition, the Scottish FA Youth Cup starts with regional rounds covering North, South and Central Scotland, and ends with a showpiece final at The National Stadium, Hampden Park.

    Despite most other SPFL clubs having played in either the first or second round, ‘Well enter at the third round stage with arguably the hardest draw possible against a Celtic side who have lifted the trophy in four of the last five years.

    Celtic currently sit fourth in the SPFL Development League, four places and four points better off than Jonatan Johansson’s side, having played one game less.

    The teams have met in recent years in this competition, with the Hoops coming out the victors. However, with both teams going into the match on the back of victories, it’s all to play for.

    The match will take place at Cappielow Park, Greenock with kick-off set for 2pm. Entry to the match is free.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

    Highlights from McDiarmid Park as ‘Well slip to another defeat despite taking an early first-half lead.

    MFC TV

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    St Johnstone defeat in pictures

    Action pictures from this evening’s frustrating 2-1 defeat by St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park in the SPFL Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.

    [svgallery name=”stjohnstone311014″]

  • Archive

    TV: McCall frustrated at missed chances

    Stuart McCall blamed numerous missed chances for his side’s defeat at McDiarmid Park this evening.

    The Fir Park boss has spent the week talking about carrying more of an attacking threat after a sturdy performance at Pittodrie last Friday.

    And, to be fair, ‘Well obliged, creating six or seven decent chances in the opening half that should have seen the game dead and buried by the break.

    The opening goal came via Lionel Ainsworth, but with the Steelmen failing to extend their advantage, Michael O’Halloran levelled after a quick counter before taking advantage to an accidental collision between Fraser Kerr and Stephen McManus to net the winner nine minutes from time.

    [pullquote]The harsh reality is we have lost a game that, if we take our chances, we win.[/pullquote]

    It was a harsh blow for ‘Well, who deserved at least a point for their efforts and McCall said: “The harsh reality is we have lost a game that, if we take our chances, we win.

    “For a team down where we are, supposedly lacking in confidence, I thought we played some great football.

    “We had a good chance and the goalie makes a diving save with his legs, and they break away and score.

    “We have had good chances to go ahead. The second half was more even but I thought it was unjust to go into half-time level.

    “The winner sums it up, Fraser Kerr ends up sliding into (Stephen) McManus and takes him out and the boy O’Halloran dances around us and puts it in.

    “I can’t be critical of the players whatsoever. I’ve been banging on all week about creating chances, and we did, but just didn’t take them.”

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    St Johnstone 2 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Gavin McCafferty at McDiarmid Park

    Despite taking a first-half lead, Michael O’Halloran scored twice to earn St Johnstone a 2-1 victory over Motherwell this evening.

    O’Halloran gifted Motherwell possession before Lionel Ainsworth powered home a 13th-minute equaliser but the Scottish Premiership contest turned with five minutes left of the first half.

    Ainsworth came close to a second but his shot was saved by Alan Mannus and Saints went straight up the park for O’Halloran to score following a one-two with Lee Croft.

    An improved Motherwell missed some decent chances but their season of woe continued in the 80th minute when O’Halloran netted a brilliant solo effort, although only after Motherwell defenders Stephen McManus and Fraser Kerr collided in the box.

    Motherwell remain second bottom in the league and their misery was compounded by the fact former talisman James McFadden had a hand in both goals as they suffered a fifth consecutive league defeat in front of only 2,531 fans at McDiarmid Park.

    William Hill Scottish Cup winners St Johnstone and Motherwell, runners-up two years running, came into the game as the two lowest scorers in the league with only 13 goals between them in the first 11 matches.

    There were plenty of chances though and Saints created two before Motherwell took the lead, Dan Twardzik getting down to hold O’Halloran’s shot before Frazer Wright glanced a header just wide from McFadden’s free-kick.

    Motherwell benefited from a break to open the scoring with Henrik Ojamaa helping the ball on to Ainsworth after O’Halloran was dispossessed on the edge of his box. The winger got a free shot after a ricochet and blasted the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards.

    Motherwell defender Simon Ramsden had a header saved and the visitors were looking comfortable apart from a few deep corners from McFadden.

    Steven Hammell and Dave Mackay both came close from 30 yards at either end before the key moment of the game.

    Ainsworth looked like he might double his tally when he turned a man on the edge of the box after Ojamaa had twisted and turned and fought for the ball before laying it back.

    But the shot was too close to Saints goalkeeper Mannus, who blocked with his feet and inadvertently set up a counter-attack. McFadden fed O’Halloran who rode Ramsden’s challenge inside the centre circle and kept charging forward.

    The former Bolton player played the ball out for Croft who cut it back for his team-mate to slot into the corner from 10 yards.

    Ojamaa set up two chances for Motherwell to regain the lead before half-time but John Sutton took a poor touch six yards out and Ainsworth steered a shot wide of the far post.

    Ainsworth set up a couple of chances himself after the break but Kerr wasted a shooting chance by chipping a cross over the bar and Ojamaa shot straight at Mannus from the right channel with the keeper’s fumble proving harmless.

    O’Halloran had a long-range strike held and Saints came closer in the 72nd minute after Croft’s cross found Wright.

    The defender got a good head on it but Twardzik got down well to parry and Gary McDonald sliced the rebound wide under pressure.

    The hosts were lifted by the chance after a quiet start to the second half and O’Halloran grabbed the winner after McFadden shimmied on the left wing and cut the ball back to the edge of the box.

    O’Halloran went past both McManus and Kerr as the Motherwell pair collided and then took it round another defender before dinking the ball over Twardzik from the edge of the six-yard box.

    O’Halloran soon had a shot blocked when McFadden was screaming for a return pass following a counter-attack before the latter went off to a standing ovation from both sets of fans as Saints held out comfortably for their first win in six games.

    [tab:As it happened]

    Ally Reilly at McDiarmid Park

    FT: St Johnstone 2 – 1 Motherwell #SJFCvMFC

    3 minutes added on #SJFCvMFC

    And a St Johnstone sub, Miller on for Croft #SJFCvMFC

    87mins: Motherwel sub, Vigurs off for Law #SJFCvMFC

    And a ‘Well sub, O’Brien on for Hammell #SJFCvMFC

    83mins: St Johnstone sub, McFadden off for Caddis #SJFCvMFC

    82mins: Corner to ‘Well, again Saints counter it and should have made it 3! #SJFCvMFC

    81mins: Motherwell sub, Francis-Angol off for Erwin #SJFCvMFC

    80mins: GOAL – O’Halloran makes it 2-1 to St Johnstone. Very unfortunate slip in defence #SJFCvMFC

    73mins: St Johnstone counter attack quicly but Graham isn’t direct enough and that allows Francis-Angol time to get back and clear #SJFCvMFC

    71mins: Great save by Twardzik to deny Fraser Wright’s close range header! #SJFCvMFC

    69mins: Safe hands from Twardzik to gather in O’Halloran’s shot from distance #SJFCvMFC

    Vigurs opts to shoot but curls wide and over #SJFCvMFC

    67mins: Free-kick to ‘Well in a dangerous looking position…. #SJFCvMFC

    64mins: Vigurs is booked. #SJFCvMFC

    63mins: Good Motherwell counter sees Mannus deny Ojamaa with his foot. Good chance! #SJFCvMFC

    57mins: Great, inviting ball in by Ainsworth but no takers. Curls not far wide at the back post. #SJFCvMFC

    53mins: Kerr could show some more composure as he overlaps on the right but blazes his cross into the stand #SJFCvMFC

    51mins: Ojamaa is booked for hauling down O’Halloran #SJFCvMFC

    Second half is underway… #SJFCvMFC

    Great first half from ‘Well. Plenty of chances and in complete control but picked off by a good counter attack. #SJFCvMFC

    HT: St Johnstone 1 – 1 Motherwell #SJFCvMFC

    45mins: Another great chance for ‘Well but this time Ainsworth can’t get enough bend on his shot from a narrow angle. #SJFCvMFC

    43mins: Again, great work by Ojamaa but his cutback just doesn’t settle for Sutton who had the goal gaping #SJFCvMFC

    39mins: GOAL! O’Halloran slots home Saints counter attack, seconds after Ainsworth had a shot well saved by Mannus. 1-1 now #SJFCvMFC

    35mins: Great effort by MacKay whose long-range free-kick flies just inches wide of Twardzik’s left post. #SJFCvMFC

    27mins: A rare one as Hammell ventures forward and tries his luck with a low shot from range. Not far wide! #SJFCvMFC

    23mins: Corner to Saints, finally headed clear by Ramsden #SJFCvMFC

    16mins: Kerr can’t get enough power in his header from 15 yards to test Mannus. Positive start by Motherwell #SJFCvMFC

    Ainsworth blasts home from 10 yards after some sloppy St Johnstone defending. 1-0 to ‘Well! #SJFCvMFC


    11mins: McFadden floats in a free-kick which is headed on by Anderson. Flashes just wide of the post #SJFCvMFC

    9mins: Two corners in a row for Saints, both of which come to no harm #SJFCvMFC

    8mins: First sign of intent from Saints. O’Halloran created some space just outside the box but his shot is dealt with by Twardizk #SJFCvMFC

    6mins: Vigurs delivery is headed clear and eventually comes back to him but hus shot from the edge of the box is scuffed wide #SJFCvMFC

    6mins: Francis-Angol forces a second ‘Well corner…….taken short and is headed out for another corner #SJFCvMFC

    5mins: Francis-Angol picks up a loose ball on the edge of the box but Mannus safely gathers his cross/shot #SJFCvMFC

    4mins: Good spell of passing results in a corner for ‘Well…..but Vigurs’ delivery is headed clear #SJFCvMFC

    Ojamaa and Lasley kick the action off. COYW!!! #SJFCvMFC

    Out come the teams, ‘Well in claret and amber, Saints in blue and white #SJFCvMFC

    Minutes away from kick-off here at McDiarmid Park. Right on cue, the rain has just started…. #SJFCvMFC


    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “The harsh reality is we have lost a game that, if we take our chances, we win.

    “For a team down where we are, supposedly lacking in confidence, I thought we played some great football.

    “We had a good chance and the goalie makes a diving save with his legs, and they break away and score.

    “We have had good chances to go ahead. The second half was more even but I thought it was unjust to go into half-time level.

    “The winner sums it up, Fraser Kerr ends up sliding into (Stephen) McManus and takes him out and the boy O’Halloran dances around us and puts it in.

    “I can’t be critical of the players whatsoever. I’ve been banging on all week about creating chances, and we did, but just didn’t take them.”

    St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright:


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