Highlights from Excelsior Stadium as a tired-looking Motherwell slumped to a 1-4 defeat at the hands of St Mirren.
TV: Highlights from Excelsior StadiumTuesday 04 November 2014
TV: Johansson annoyed by insipid ‘WellTuesday 04 November 2014
Jonatan Johansson spoke of his anger as a poor Motherwell slipped lost 1-4 at home to St Mirren.
After a battling and energy-sapping 90 minutes on Sunday against Celtic in the Youth Cup, the players looked mentally and physically fatigued almost from the first minute.
Saints were in no mood for mercy and Barry Cuddihy, Josh Beattie and a double from Robbie Mitchell. Motherwell did score via Chris Cadden, but it was the only bright moment in an otherwise dark, and bitterly cold, night at the Excelsior Stadium.
[pullquote]The players have ready-made ‘excuses’ for today what with the game on Sunday and some of the upheaval in the last 48 hours. But to get through that, you need strong minds and we didn’t have that.[/pullquote]
The Finn told MFC TV after the match: “That was one of the worst we have been in some time.
“The players have ready-made ‘excuses’ for today what with the game on Sunday and some of the upheaval in the last 48 hours. But to get through that, you need strong minds and we didn’t have that.
“In all areas of the game, there was nothing good to say. As a coach, you tend to learn a lot from defeat and you learn a lot about players, particularly how they react. That’s what we will be looking at and go forward with.”
Motherwell U20s 1 – 4 St Mirren U20sTuesday 04 November 2014
Motherwell U20s slumped to a 1-4 home defeat at the hands of an impressive St Mirren this evening.
The Steelmen were second best throughout the ninety minutes, and were perhaps lucky to only lose by a three-goal margin.
Saints were slick and pacey in attack and Barry Cuddihy, Josh Beattie and a double from Robbie Mitchell did the damage – Chris Cadden’s goal for ‘Well was little more than a temporary consolation.
There can be little doubt the young ‘Well were suffering from their exertions at Greenock on Sunday, together with the emotion of dealing with the resignation of first-team boss Stuart McCall.
Jonatan Johansson made four changes to the side that lost on Sunday, with Ross Stewart, Jack McMillan, Josh Watt and Dylan Mackin dropping out, replaced by Max Currie, Danny McNulty, Ben Hall and Liam Anderson.
However, it would be Saints who would start on the front foot and they had a couple of shots blocked before taking the lead after just six minutes. An excellent cross from the left-flank was perfect for the late arrival of midfielder Cuddihy, who ghosted in between the ‘Well defensive line to head home from close range.
Motherwell’s reply came through Anderson, who curled an effort at goal that was held by Mark Fodden before Ross MacLean tumbled in the area, but despite half-hearted shouts for a spot kick, the referee was having none of it.
‘Well then passed up what would turn out to be a crucial chance when Cadden played a one-two with MacLean, only to turn his eight-yard shot wide of the left-hand post.
It was crucial, as, shortly after, Saints had doubled their advantage.
They had fired a warning shot across the bow when Conor O’Keefe had the ball in the net, only to be thwarted by the assistant’s flag. However, there was no saving the ‘Well when Josh Beattie made it 0-2 just before the half hour.
The fullback collected the ball after productive work down the right flank and he smashed a low shot through a ruck of players and under Max Currie to give the Fir Parkers a real uphill task.
‘Well tried to mix it up, introducing Dylan Mackin into the fold in place of Steven Higgins and the big striker headed over a Ferguson cross just before the break as the score remained at 0-2.
Just twenty seconds after the restart, Ricky Waddell’s side could have made it three when Lewis Morgan raced clear of the Claret and Amber rearguard, but couldn’t beat the outrushing Currie who stood up well to make the block.
Currie was again on hand to deny Saints nine minutes later, Lewis McLear wriggled clear of the last man only to see his shot well stopped by the young keeper.
Only luck would stop Saints from the resulting corner though, Cuddihy so close to his second, only to watch his close range effort cannon back off the frame of the goal.
The visitors in black and white continued to threaten though and Morgan fired another two shots over the bar before Adam Brown passed up a chance to score after a neat cutback had him in a great position in the middle of the goal, on to snatch at the shot which screwed wide.
McLear had another effort over before Saints did eventually make it three-nil, substitute Robbie Mitchell rounding off an impressive move with an equally as impressive finish, lifting the ball over Currie and into the net.
‘Well did grab a consolation a minute later when Danny McNulty’s neat little ball into the area caused confusion for the goalkeeper with Ryan Watters close by, allowing Chris Cadden to steal in at the back post and smash home into an empty net.
However, any hopes of a miraculous comeback were quickly extinguished when Mitchell added his second, and Saints’ fourth, near the end, racing onto a long ball over the top to slip past Currie and into the net.
It ended what was a miserable night for the Fir Parkers, who haven’t played as badly all season. They will hope to bounce back when they face an away trip to Dundee United next week.
Motherwell: Currie, McNulty, Ferguson, Hall, Neill, McCall (Watters – 80mins), Anderson, Cadden, Higgins (Mackin – 34mins), Thomas, McLean
Subs Not Used: Stewart, McMillan, Watt, Leitch, Campbell
Scottish Cup 4th Round drawMonday 03 November 2014
Motherwell have been drawn to face Dundee Utd at Fir Park in the Fourth Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The tie is due to be played on 29th November.
4th ROUND DRAW IN FULL:
St Johnstone v Ross County
St Mirren v Inverness CT
Hurlford Utd/Stirling Albion v Raith Rovers
Rangers v Kilmarnock
Heart of Midlothian v Celtic
Queen of the South v Brora Rangers
Stranraer v Dunfermline Athletic
Elgin City or Bo’ness Utd v Arbroath
Falkirk v Cowdenbeath
Spartans v Greenock Morton or Airdrionians
Berwick Rangers v Albion Rovers
Dundee v Aberdeen
Annan Atheltic v Brechin City
Ayr Utd or Alloa Athletic v Hibernian
Motherwell v Dundee Utd
Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical
A message from Stuart McCallMonday 03 November 2014
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.
Club Statement: Stuart McCallSunday 02 November 2014
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.”
TV: JJ takes positives despite Cup lossSunday 02 November 2014
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.”
Celtic U20s 2 – 0 Motherwell U20sSunday 02 November 2014
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
Under 20s in Youth Cup actionSaturday 01 November 2014
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.