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    Leitch on the road to recovery

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    TV: Reid hopes for positive break

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    Tesco Bank Football Challenge

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    Cummins set for Ayr United loan

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    Away Day Guide: vs Inverness CT

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    Madden’s in charge against Inverness

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    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

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    TV: Johansson thrilled with Celtic win

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    Motherwell U20s 2 – 0 Celtic U20s

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    Club Statement: Managerial Update

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    Leitch on the road to recovery

    Jack Leitch says he will use Craig Moore as motivation as he battles back from his cruciate ligament surgery.

    The 19-year old, who has featured 18 times for the Fir Park first-team, ruptured his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) against St Johnstone Under 20s at McDiarmid Park just over three weeks ago.

    Orthopedic surgeon at Ross Hall hospital in Glasgow, Professor Gordon Mackay, has developed an innovative new procedure, the internal brace, designed to stabilise the internal joint, thus allowing tissue to recover without traumatic and invasive surgery.

    Early results were extremely positive and in May of this year, Leitch’s teammate Craig Moore became the first pro footballer anywhere in the world to undergo the new technique.

    The results were staggering – Moore was back available for selection just eighteen weeks later and it would’ve been even quicker but for a minor unrelated rehab setback.

    Now Leitch, son of club legend and current Academy Director Scott, has undergone a similar operation and hopes to use Moore as his inspiration.

    Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, the midfielder said: “Obviously no-one likes to get injured, but I am feeling upbeat about things.

    “The surgery has gone well and to plan, and I can’t wait to start the recovery process now.

    [pullquote]I can definitely draw inspiration from Moorey. He did fantastically well to get back so quickly and but for a setback, he would’ve been back a few weeks ago.[/pullquote]

    “He worked extremely hard and I need to follow that lead, mirror what he did and hopefully get the same results.”

    It was an innocuous incident at a rain-soaked McDiarmid Park that actually caused the trauma.

    Seconds after the whistle had blown to start the second half of a Under 20s game ‘Well eventually ran out 0-1 winners, Leitch went in to challenge near his own corner flag.

    However, the fall was awkward and the screams alerted to something serious, as did the universal sign of a serious injury, when a stricken player lies virtually motionless, but for a single arm raised towards the bench.

    He was carried off and within days, after the swelling had subsided, he was in Glasgow for a scan to reveal the extent of the damage.

    “It’s an unusual one,” he said, with a calm assurance.

    “Craig (Moore) did his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) but my problem was around the back, the PCL, and the surgeon said it wasn’t a usual football injury, but something more common in snow boarding or car accidents.

    “This is probably the first major injury I’ve had to deal with so it will probably test my character a little bit, but I am sure I will be strong enough to come through it.

    “I will now work with Adam Stokes, who is a fantastic physiotherapist, and try and use the time to improve my overall fitness. I am absolutely targeting to be back as soon as possible and want to play as much a part of the current season as possible.”

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    TV: Reid hopes for positive break

    Craig Reid hopes the International break will prove a help, not a hindrance, as his side prepare to meet Inverness on Saturday.

    Managerless ‘Well edged out then table-toppers Dundee United at Fir Park thirteen days ago, before the International break for Scotland to take on both the Republic of Ireland and England.

    And whilst Reid admits the preference would have been to get more games in thick and fast, the time away did allow the squad to clear their heads after a turbulent week in the lead up to that game against Jackie McNamara’s side.

    The 28-year old former Celtic man will take his place in the squad that heads to Inverness tomorrow and although he concedes another mightily tough game lies in wait, says the Steelmen travel north looking for maximum points.

    [pullquote]It’ll be another hard game, but we’ll get stuck in. We’ve got a fairly decent record up there so we go to Inverness looking for the three points, trying to build on the win in the previous match.[/pullquote]

    Speaking at the Tesco Bank Football Challenge, held at the Ravenscraig Sports Facility this afternoon, the defender said: “The (International) break maybe came at the wrong time, as we were desperate to take the momentum into the next game.

    “In saying that, there was a lot happening off the pitch with the manager leaving, so it might have helped to clear some of those cobwebs away as well as work on some things with Kenny Black on the training ground.

    “We’ve been fully focused on this Saturday’s game against a good Inverness side. They are up at the top of the table on merit, they play football the right way and we seen from the game at Fir Park, when they won 0-2, we struggled to get the ball off them.

    “It’ll be another hard game, but we’ll get stuck in. We’ve got a fairly decent record up there so we go to Inverness looking for the three points, trying to build on the win in the previous match.”

    MFC TV

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    Tesco Bank Football Challenge

    Today (Thursday 20th November), local primary school children from across Motherwell had a brilliant morning of football, as the Tesco Bank Football Challenge visited the area for an action packed festival at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility, attended by Craig Reid.

    Pupils from 10 schools are the latest to have taken part in six weeks of coaching with qualified Scottish FA coaches, before participating in regional festivals across the country, many of which are held at high-profile venues including St Mirren Park, Rugby Park, and Tynecastle Stadium. A national festival at Hampden Park brings the school year of football to a memorable close.

    The Tesco Bank Football Challenge is an eight-year community programme run in partnership with the Scottish FA. The initiative introduces football to Primary Two and Primary Three children (six to eight years old) across Scotland to help get them engage in a healthy and active lifestyle.

    The last four years of the programme have been an overwhelming success, with over 82,000 children across more that 2000 primary schools in Scotland taking part. The next four years will focus on continuing to grow participation.

    A new objective between Tesco Bank and the Scottish FA will ensure relationships are built and strengthened between schools and football clubs so that there is a clear way for pupils to progress and build on their enjoyment of playing football.

    To that end, the Scottish FA and Tesco Bank will announce significant further developments to the programme in 2015.

    Teachers and volunteers continue to enjoy the Scottish FA’s in-service programme with over 3,500 now trained to support the growth of football in schools.

    Scottish FA Football Development Officer Stephen Hamilton said: “Our coaches have been with these children over the last six weeks and it has been great to see them improve. What better way to celebrate their Tesco Bank Football Challenge success than by meeting Motherwell star Craig Reid.”

    Adele Mills, Community Investment Manager at Tesco Bank, added: “The Tesco Bank Football Challenge has had a successful four years with over 82,000 children across Scotland benefiting. Now our new partnership has been finalised we can look forward to another four years of promoting health and wellbeing to youngsters through fun filled festivals like the one at Ravenscraig today.”

    The primary schools attending the festival were: Sacred Heart PS, Ladywell PS, Netherton PS, St Thomas’ PS, St Theresa’s PS, Berryhill PS, Clencrian PS, Logans PS, Muir Street PS, and New Mains PS

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    Cummins set for Ayr United loan

    Adam Cummins has joined Scottish League One side Ayr United on a temporary 30-day loan.

    The Liverpudlian hasn’t featured in the first team at Fir Park for almost a year.

    He spent the first half of 2014 on loan at Dundee and injury setbacks have curtailed his efforts at the start of the 2014/15 campaign.

    However, the former Everton Academy graduate came through a full ninety minutes and impressed against Celtic Under 20s last Monday and will now head for Sommerset Park looking for some game time.

    The 21-year old, who has played for ‘Well in both the Champions League against Panathinaikos and the Europa League against Levante U.D, has featured 33 times in Claret and Amber, scoring once.

    [pullquote]It’s been a hugely frustrating time for me of late, so I am looking forward to going out on loan and, hopefully, playing some games.[/pullquote]

    He told motherwellfc.co.uk: “It’s been a hugely frustrating time for me of late, so I am looking forward to going out on loan and, hopefully, playing some games.

    “I am looking forward to the challenge that playing for Ayr United will bring. They are only a few points off a play-off spot, so if I can help in any way, that’ll work for everyone.

    “I know a few of the lads there already like Dale Shirkie, Nicky Devlin and Craig Beattie, so I hope it won’t take long for me to settle in.

    “Most importantly though is that I get back to playing regular football on a Saturday and get as sharp as I can be.”

    Adam signed all the relevant paperwork this morning and, subject to the normal registration formalities, will join in time for the weekend’s match with Forfar at Station Park.

  • Archive

    Away Day Guide: vs Inverness CT

    The Caledonian Stadium

    Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club

    Inverness CTThe Caledonian Stadium
    East Longman
    Inverness

    Tel: 01463 222880
    Web: www.ictfc.com
    Opened: 1996
    Capacity: 7,800

    Sat Nav: IV1 1FF
    Distance from Fir Park: 173.3 miles (3 hr 46 mins)

    Tickets

    ADULTS:   £21  
    CONCESSIONS:                       £16
    UNDER 16s:   £10
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s and young adults aged between 16 and 25.
    • Fans who require wheelchair access should contact Sharon or John McCaskie on 07745494631 / 07711 992161 or email disabledfans@motherwellfc.co.uk.

    By car

    The stadium is located in the Longman area of Inverness, next to the Kessock Bridge, and so is very easy to find.

    Head towards Perth on the M9 and take the first exit at Broxden roundabaout on to the A9. Then take the second exit at Inveraimond roundabout (signposted Inverness).

    Continue on the A9 towards Inverness and take the third exit at Longman roundabout. The stadium will be clearly visible on the left.

    Parking is available for visiting fans behind the South Stand, priced at just £1.00 per car.

    Supporters Association

    The Central Branch will run a bus that leaves the Bentley Hotel at 9.30am. To book seats, contact Jim on 01698 299650 or tweet Christopher Hutton

    By bus

    Several operators run buses to Inverness, departing every hour from Buchanan Station in Glasgow city centre.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.citylink.co.uk.

    By train

    Inverness station is served by trains from Glasgow and is within walking distance of the ground.

    Upon leaving the station, follow the signs for the car park and bus station. Cross through the car park, keeping the bus station on your left and on your right you can see a bridge crossing the railway line. Go across the bridge and then continue straight ahead along Longman Road. Eventually you will reach the stadium on your left.

    Further information and timetables are available online at www.scotrail.co.uk.

    [mappress]
  • Archive

    Madden’s in charge against Inverness

    Referee for this Saturday’s SPFL Premiership clash with Inverness CT at the Caledonian Stadium is Bobby Madden.

    The match will be Bobby’s second in charge of the Steelmen this campaign, the other being the disappointing 3-1 defeat at Firhill when Lionel Ainsworth’s wonder strike proved no more than a consolation against Alan Archibald’s team.

    Madden is becoming an altogether more recognised face in Scottish football as he works his way to the top and ‘Well fans will be familiar given he handled five matches last term.

    The first was the SPFL opener against Hibs at Easter Road, Henri Anier coming off the bench to net the winner on his league debut.

    The second was the 3-1 win over Ross County back in September when the Fir Parkers came back from a goal down to win courtesy of goals from Bob McHugh and a John Sutton double.

    The third was the 3-0 defeat at Celtic Park, when a Kris Commons double and a McManus own-goal handed Celtic all three points.

    The fourth was also a loss, 3-1 at Tannadice in February when John Sutton’s second half penalty wasn’t enough to take any points.

    The last was another disappointing defeat, a 1-2 home reverse against Kilmarnock in late March when Craig Slater’s 94th minute winner inflicted Motherwell’s first home defeat of 2014.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads four wins; five defeats and one draw from ten games. The Fir Parkers have netted 19 times, and conceded 18. In those ten games, he has booked 20 players, ten of those cautions flashed at players wearing Claret and Amber.

    Only one player has been sent for an early shower, Anthony Stokes for a lunging tackle on Keith Lasley at Celtic Park last season.

    The whistler has already been extremely busy this campaign, with hectic domestic duties topped up with games in the Europa League with FC Zürich’s home fixture against Spartak Trnava as well as the Group Stage game between PSV Eindhoven and Estoril and Sevilla versus Standard Liège.

    In addition, he handled the UEFA Champions League qualifier between Red Bull Salzburg and Azerbaijani side Qarabağ Ağdam FK as well as the UEFA 2016 European Championship qualifier between Latvia and Turkey last month.

    Bobby will be ably assisted by Graham Chambers and Douglas Ross with Mat Northcroft on fourth official duties. Referee observer is Bill Machray with Jim Neill as SPFL Delegate.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Fir Park

    Extended highlights from Fir Park as a goal in each half from Dom Thomas gives ‘Well U20s a win against Champions Celtic.

    MFC TV

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    TV: Johansson thrilled with Celtic win

    Jonatan Johansson was delighted with his Under 20s side after they bounced back to beat Celtic this evening.

    ‘Well have lost their last three matches, but could feel unlucky to go down to Dundee United and Celtic (in the Youth Cup).

    However, they would roar back tonight with an excellent, dedicated, hard-working performance against last season’s SPFL Development League Champions.

    A goal either side of half time from Dom Thomas secured the victory, the first against the Parkhead club since moving to the Under 20s set-up.

    [pullquote]Everything about this game was good. The preparation and the way the lads followed orders was spot on. I am so pleased for them and pleased we finally ended our run against Celtic.[/pullquote]

    Speaking to MFC TV on Motherwell’s official You Tube channel, the 106-times capped former Finnish International striker said: “I am absolutely delighted, the spirited we showed today was excellent.

    “Everything about this game was good. The preparation and the way the lads followed orders was spot on. I am so pleased for them and pleased we finally ended our run against Celtic.

    “Although they had much more of the ball, we created some really good chances and had a good game plan. We had to ride a storm early doors, but for the next sixty minutes, I felt we were on top.”

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Motherwell U20s 2 – 0 Celtic U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s brought a three-game losing run to an end with a fantastic 2-0 win over Celtic at Fir Park tonight.

    The Steelmen matched last season’s Champions all the way and a goal in each half from Dom Thomas secured the victory; Jonatan Johansson’s first against the Parkhead club since arriving two years ago.

    Indeed, but for an incredible save from Leonardo Fasan to deny Dylan Mackin, the result may have been even more empathic.

    To be fair, Celtic threw everything at it in the last fifteen minutes, including crashing a shot off the woodwork, but it was the Claret and Amber men who held firm for all three points.

    ‘Well made three changes to the side that performed so well at Tannadice six days ago. Josh Law, Bob McHugh and Craig Moore all dropped out, replaced by Adam Cummins, Ross MacLean and Dylan Mackin.

    The visitors, who just fifteen days ago knocked the Steelmen out the SFA Youth Cup, made the brighter start and ‘Well had to look smart do block a Keiran Tierney effort, with the resulting corner also causing a problem that Ross Stewart eventually mopped up.

    Johansson’s men weathered the early storm though and should have taken a lead on the ninth minute. A corner was only half cleared and when it was whipped back into the box, David Ferguson met it inside the six-yard box but could only head over when a goal looked certain.

    ‘Well were dealt a blow when Paul Lawson hobbled off and was replaced by Steven Higgins. Thankfully, the early prognosis is that it’s not too serious. That change meant a swap in shape, with Cadden joining Carswell in the middle of the park, with sub Higgins operating on the flank.

    The game continued on though and Celtic again went close when Joe Thomson curled a shot narrowly wide of target. Motherwell replied through Mackin, who did everything right with a lovely spin inside the area, but his low shot fizzed wide.

    The game hit a fifteen minute lull, with little in the way of goal mouth action, before Beram Kayal flashed a shot wide and Mackin again did well to create space for himself inside the area, only for his effort to be blocked.

    However, just before the interval, ‘Well did get their noses in front. Dom Thomas pressed hard on Filip Twardzik, forcing the defender into a loose past. Thomas surged in on goal and kept his composure to drive it low under Fasan for 1-0.

    It took eleven minutes for the second half to explode to life as Celtic came close to a leveler. Kayal’s low shot hit a deflection and despite going the wrong way, Stewart made the block. The ball squirmed loose, but Neill was on hand to swipe it away.

    It would prove a crucial block as, with their next attack, ‘Well made it 2-0.

    Similar to the first goal, ‘Well won the ball in the middle of the park, Stuart Carswell doing superbly well to pick up on a loose Kayal pass and drive his team forward.

    He eventually picked out Thomas with a well-timed pass, allowing the forward to close in on goal, work it onto his left foot and curl it high into the top corner from twelve yards.

    To their credit, Celtic set about trying to reduce the arrears and long-range strikes from Liam Henderson (twice) and Calum Watters went close, but were either comfortably stopped by Stewart or sailed wide.

    However, Stephen Frail’s side had their keeper, Fasan, to thank for an incredible stop that prevented a third for the Fir Parkers.

    There was some great play in the build-up, Thomas releasing Higgins down the left with a lovely pass.

    The sub cut it back perfectly for Mackin and his strike looked destined for the net, but for an astonishing stop from the Italian who managed to turn it around the post. From the resulting kick, Cummins went close as ‘Well threatened to bury the match.

    However, it was the visitors, as would be expected, who finished the stronger, throwing everything forward to try and get back into the match.

    Henderson had another two long-range efforts sail over before substitute Paul George came within an inch of goal, seeing his twenty-yard effort cannon back off the inside of the post as ‘Well somehow survived.

    George had another two efforts, one ballooned over and the other high and wide in the Maxim Office Park Stand as the Steelmen showed their metal.

    The game eventually finished with ‘Well returning back to winning ways. It’s an excellent three points and one the former Finnish International will hope his young side can build on.

    Motherwell: Stewart, McMillan, Ferguson, Cummins, Neill, Carswell, Mackin, Lawson (Higgins – 18mins), Cadden, Thomas, MacLean

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

  • Archive

    Club Statement: Managerial Update

    The Board of Motherwell FC today released the following update on the vacant managerial position at the club.

    Two weeks after Stuart McCall’s resignation, we are pleased to confirm 55 applicants have put their name forward for the vacant managerial position at Fir Park.

    We have been extremely encouraged by the quality and calibre of applicants from across the world, which includes twenty different nationalities.

    The Board has started the process of agreeing a shortlist of candidates we would like to formally interview.

    In May, the club released a statement advising we were in the process of is seeking new investment. Discussions are ongoing with interested parties and we are planning to reach a conclusion by the end of the current month.

    As a result, the Board has agreed to delay the appointment of a new manager until the issue of ongoing ownership of the club is resolved.

    We have spoken at length with Kenny Black and he enthusiastically agreed to continue in the role as caretaker manager until a full time appointment is made.

    We are extremely grateful to Kenny and the rest of the management team for their cooperation during this period as we look forward to the next chapter in the club’s history.