Action pictures from today’s hard-fought 1-1 SPFL Premiership draw with St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action pictures from today’s hard-fought 1-1 SPFL Premiership draw with St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Ian Baraclough praised the impact of his young substitutes as they helped injury-ravished ‘Well earn a point against St Johnstone.
The Steelmen, who have nine first-team players injured including Pearson, Lasley, McManus, Hammell, Vigurs, Lawson and others, went a goal down early on before being rather harshly reduced to ten men when Louis Laing was sent packing on his ‘Well debut.
It was a torrid first half, however, the introduction of Fraser Kerr, then Dom Thomas and Craig Moore lifted the side and the crowd, as the Fir Parkers came roaring back into things.
Thomas had a stinging shot of his own before beating three players to tee up John Sutton who smashed home from just inside the box, his seventh of the campaign.
A point was no less than the team deserved and Baraclough lauded the contribution from the bench.
[pullquote]They’re all young, fresh-legged and eager to get on the ball and impress and show what they can do. That’s what the crowd want to see, some energy, positivity and having a go.[/pullquote]
He said: “All three showed the right character you want and they drove us on.
“They’re all young, fresh-legged and eager to get on the ball and impress and show what they can do. That’s what the crowd want to see, some energy, positivity and having a go.
“All of sudden the place is lifted, the drum starts to bang and we’re in a game.
“It’s Thomas’ trickery that created the goal and that’s what you ask from people who you bring on. Can you get on there and change the game for us?
“We need to take the confidence from the way we reacted today and with the addition of a few new faces and hopefully some back off the treatment table, we’ll be in good shape in two weeks time.”
Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell showed great determination and team spirit to grab a point and halt their losing run against St Johnstone today.
However, John Sutton’s sensational second half equaliser to cancel out Murray Davidson’s early opener for Saints, only tells half the story.
The arrival at the club of a new owner Les Hutchison and two new players had intended to change Motherwell’s fortunes after a losing run of five games.
But crippled by an incredible injury list, including at least six first eleven choices, ‘Well’s bad luck and woes continued when Louis Laing’s debut was curtailed to 25 minutes when the Nottingham Forrest defender was shown a red card.
After a poor first half, though, and against the odds a tremendous second half from a gutsy 10 men ‘Well earned them a deserved point.
With an ever growing injury list Anthony Straker and Laing, who both signed on-loan in midweek, were pitched into a vastly changed home side.While Mark O’Brien returned from suspension, Stephen Pearson and Stephen McManus, who missed his first game of the season, joined Keith Lasley on the side lines. Without the departed Henrik Ojamaa, Lee Erwin partnered John Sutton up front.
The feel good factor of the new regime lasted only eight minutes when the young and inexperienced ‘Well defence was breached. Steven McLean slipped the ball to the unmarked Murray Davidson and from 12 yards the Saints midfielder calmly guided the ball beyond Dan Twardzik and inside the ‘keeper’s post.
With St Johnstone on an impressive run of form the Fir Park men faced a difficult task.
And their job was made almost impossible after 24 minutes when Laing was rather harshly shown a red card. Referee Willie Collum, who marked his last appearance at Fir Park by controversially sending off Stephen McManus, had no hesitation in doing like wise when Laing stumbled into the back of Chris Kane as the Saints striker headed for the box.
That riled the home fans and although ten man ‘Well stuck to their task for the remainder of the first half they never threatened Alan Mannus in the visitors’ goal.
Four minutes from the break Davidson almost made it 2-0 but Twardzik’s strong right hand pushed the ball round the post.
There was yet another change to the back four at half-time with Fraser Kerr replacing O’Brien alongside Craig Reid in the centre of defence.
It was at the other end, though, that Kerr almost made an impact when his measured header from Josh Law’s corner was nodded off the line by Gary Miller.
The home spirits and confidence increased and two crosses intended for Sutton caused some anxiety in the Saints’ defence.
After 58 minutes Ian Baraclough made his second and positive substitution bring on Dom Thomas for Luke Watt.
And ten minutes later Thomas tested Mannus with a low drive from 25 yards after being set up by Straker, who showed some good touches from left back in the second half.
Twenty minutes from time ‘Well went for broke bringing on Craig Moore for Stuart Carswell. At the same time Saints brought on James McFadden who received a warm welcome from the home fans.
It was Thomas, though, who showed the old McFadden magic after 75 minutes when he wriggled through three Saints players. He then played the ball in front of Sutton who wheeled and unleashed a terrific drive high past Mannus from the corner of the box for a deserved equaliser and set up a dramatic last 15 minutes.
Despite the encouragement of the renewed home support ‘Well couldn’t find a winner but their second half performance and a two week break to get first team regulars fit augers well for the all important trip to Ross County.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
10 man Motherwell battle back to draw 1-1. Deserved in the end #MFCvSJFC
FT: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC
2 minutes added on #MFCvSJFC
86mins: McFaddens shot from 20 yards trickles harmlesssly past the post #MFCvSJFC
82mins: Scobbie slips as he tries to clear and that leaves Erwin inches away from beating Mannus to the ball #MFCvSJFC
79mins: Double St J sub, MacLean and Croft off for Graham and O’Halloran #MFCvSJFC
75mins: WHAT A GOAL!!! Thomas skips past 3, plays in SUTTON who hammers into the top corner from 16 yards
70mins: Motherwell sub, Carswell off for Moore #MFCvSJFC
70mins: St Johnstone sub, Kane off for McFadden #MFCvSJFC
69mins: Straker brings the ball down and plays in Thomas who drills a low shot from range which Mannus gets down to #MFCvSJFC
59mins: Erwin swings in a great cross from the left which Scobbis just manages to get to first ahead of Sutton #MFCvSJFC
58mins: Erwin does well to turn Easton and swing in a cross but its just a bit too long for Sutton #MFCvSJFC
58mins: Motherwell sub, Watt is off for Thomas #MFCvSJFC
53mins: Anderson concedes a corner, Kerr’s header is cleared off the line by Miller! Great chance! #MFCvSJFC
50mins: Miller gets to the byline and hooks a ball across goal which MacLean gets his head to. Flies inches wide #MFCvSJFC
Second half is underway. 10 man ‘Well with it all to do #MFCvSJFC
Half time sub for ‘Well, Kerr on for O’Brien #MFCvSJFC
HT: Motherwell 0 – 1 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC
41mins: Kane capitilises on sloppy ‘Well defending and Twardzik is forced to beat his shot wide for a corner #MFCvSJFC
25mins: Red Card! Laing is sent off on his debut. Took down MacLean, denying a goalscoring opportunity #MFCvSJFC
22mins: MacLean is played through about 20 yards out and takes on the shot. Doesn’t trouble Twardzik, who gathers with ease #MFCvSJFC
16mins: St Johnstone win a corner, and it’s a let off as Scobbie sneaks in at back post and pokes it just past #MFCvSJFC
12mins: Free-kick to ‘Well wide on the left. Law takes….Anderson heads clear from 4 yards #MFCvSJFC
8mins: Goal – Davidson puts St J 1-0 up, slotting past Twardzik from 12 yards. They got through all too easily #MFCvSJFC
7mins: MacLean is slid in against Twardzik but linesman has his flag up. Twardzik saves, anyway #MFCvSJFC
5mins: A quiet opening 5 minutes here at Fir Park…no chances so far. #MFCvSJFC
Pre-match formalities over, Carswell and Law get the game underway. COYW! #MFCvSJFC
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
“Any point is pleasing after the run of results we have had but the way we earned it and the way we went about it second half was good for me to see and good for the supporters and hopefully good for the group to realise they can play, they can be effective when they are positive and get on the ball and when they want to make things happen.
“The first half was a stark contrast to that. There was a fear and reluctance to get on the ball and make something happen. And that can’t happen in this situation.
“At half-time it could have gone one of two ways and they came through it.
“They have shown to me there is a desire there, when the chips are down.
“They could have felt sorry for themselves, 10 men, goal down, nothing going for us. But we didn’t and that’s full credit to the players that they picked themselves off the floor, because we all know first half wasn’t good enough at all.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright:
“We have dropped two points because we totally controlled the game from first whistle to last. We probably wasted too many opportunities in the first half.
“We didn’t start the second half particularly well, didn’t move the ball as well. When it went to 1-1 we looked more likely to score again.
“But we are disappointed with the goal. We missed two or even three chances to tackle and gifted them the goal by doing that.”
Ian Baraclough hopes to use the positive news of new signings and the club takeover to inspire his side tomorrow.
The Steelmen have brought in defenders Anthony Straker (York) and Louis Laing (Notts Forest) in recent days and more will likely arrive before the end of the Transfer Window this Monday.
The club also confirmed on Friday that Les Hutchison’s purchase of the football club was complete.
For Baraclough though, it’s about trying to bounce back to winning ways despite having a horrendous injury list to contend with.
There was some hope after last week’s match at Tannadice where, despite defeat, ‘Well battled all the way and looked a threat.
[pullquote]“St Johnstone will come here and not make it easy for us but for me it’s about how we set about it and build on the positivity of last week as regards the endeavour.[/pullquote]
Asked if the events of the last forty-eight hours can inspire his team, the ‘Well boss said: “That is very much the aim.
“St Johnstone will come here and not make it easy for us, but for me it’s about how we set about it and build on the positivity of last week as regards the endeavour.
“The fans who came saw the team fighting for each other, fighting for the club.
“Not to go over old ground but we could have been two or three goals to the good before they got their first. It’s whether you take those chances and whether you get the breaks.
“We didn’t but tomorrow we may just get those breaks.”
New owner Les Hutchison talks about the takeover over the club, his background and the plans for the future of Motherwell Football Club.
Join the ‘Well Society —> CLICK HERE
Motherwell FC and the ‘Well Society are today (Friday) delighted to announce that Les Hutchison has completed his takeover of the Club.
John Boyle’s majority shareholding has been transferred to Mr Hutchison, who is providing working capital to enable the Club to become one of the best-run community owned football clubs in Scotland.
Mr Hutchison’s input is in the form of an initial substantial then subsequent interest-free loans, which are repayable over a five-year period. The total sum required will be finalised over the coming months.
The ‘Well Society has committed to helping the Club with any repayments it cannot meet and will assume control of the Club if and when the loans are paid off within the five-year period. The ‘Well Society has also loaned the club £190,000 over the past two months.
Mr Hutchison has met with all the players and staff at Fir Park in recent days and a detailed business plan was ratified at a meeting of the new board this afternoon.
‘Well Society Chairman Brian McCafferty will now also Chair the Club board. Jim McMahon and Derek Weir also remain as directors.
Three new directors have been appointed – Ian Reid, Peter Kellie and Leanne Thomas, who is Mr Hutchison’s daughter.
All three are from the local area and have been nominated by the new owner to help transform the business across various areas of the Club.
Mr Hutchison said: “I’m very pleased today that we have begun this new chapter of Motherwell Football Club’s history.
“Hopefully we can change the agenda of the club. By my involvement it is now more of a philanthropic and community-based activity.
“The objective and the agreement that is in place with the fans is that in five years or less we make the improvements that are needed at the Club, that we move it into the position of being financially self-funded and then migrate the ownership to the ‘Well Society.
“I am extremely pleased with the Community Trust which operates from the Club, who assist some 35,000 local people in all sorts of ways such as kids at school, teens into football, ladies football, basketball and walking football for people my age. Some great work I am keen to encourage and support.
“During the time I am not taking any money out of the Club and none of the directors are taking any money.”
Mr Hutchison has appealed to Motherwell fans to back the project any way they can, for example by considering using the Club’s facilities for functions.
“The clear message which has to go to fans and sponsors and to everybody associated with the Club and community is that this project will not succeed without their active involvement,” he said.
“If we can have lots and lots of people involved in a small way then we can achieve our objectives.”
Motherwell FC Chairman Brian McCafferty added: “I would like to thank Les Hutchison for his generous loan and for providing his expertise and other resources to help transform the Club’s financial fortunes.
“We also owe John Boyle a huge debt of gratitude for facilitating the move towards fan ownership. He has selflessly put the Club and fans before his own interests.
“And everyone who has contributed to the ‘Well Society should feel very proud today – you have all played a significant role in keeping the Club in the hands of the community.
“The ‘Well Society now has a central role in the running of the Club and a clear route to ownership and we encourage all Motherwell fans to help us achieve that goal.
“I’m honoured to be taking on my new role and look forward to a bright new future which engages supporters and the wider community.”
John Boyle’s sixteen-year control at Motherwell Football Club has now formally come to an end. In addition, Andrew Wilson, Stewart Robertson, Graham Barnstaple and John Swinburne are stepping down from the Motherwell board to pave way for the new directors.
Everyone at Fir Park would like to acknowledge the significant contribution all five gentlemen have made and thank them for their tremendous efforts over the decades of combined service.
Motherwell FC can today announce the loan signing of highly-rated Nottingham Forest defender Louis Laing.
The 6ft 2 in centre back has spent the first half of the season on loan at League 1 side Notts County and performed excellently, tasting defeat just once in his 12 matches
The 21-year old former England Youth International started his career at Sunderland and made his Premiership debut for Black Cats against Wolves back in May 2011.
He also spent a brief loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers before signing for Stuart Pearce’s Forest during the summer.
He was farmed out to near neighbours County in September before opting to join on at Fir Park until the end of the current campaign.
The Steelmen have managed to beat off competition for his signature and he’ll go straight into the squad for Saturday’s match against St Johnstone.
[pullquote]I want to play every game, everyone does, and help the team climb the table.[/pullquote]
Laing said: “I trained for the first time on Thursday morning and it was a good session. I like the way the manager speaks and he puts on good drills in training. The manager and all the coaching staff seem really good.
“All the lads seem like good lads, there are no bad eggs in the changing room.”
“I want to fight for a place in the team and stay in the team. It’s not going to be easy because there are some good players here but I want to play every game, everyone does, and help the team climb the table.
“I’m match-fit, I’m sharp, I feel good. I have been playing games at Notts County before this and there has only been a couple of weeks when I haven’t been playing. Even then I have been training well so no worries.”
Ian Baraclough feels the signing – which follows earlier deals to bring in Stephen Pearson and Anthony Straker – is a real capture for Motherwell.
“He’s a player that was sought after,” the manager said. “I watched him a couple of times at Notts County and I know about his character from speaking to people at Notts County.
“They put a bid in to buy him but Nottingham Forest wanted to keep him for another season and they were happy for him to come up to the Scottish Premiership. I’m really, really pleased about that because it was a coup for the club.
“He is a strong player who is comfortable on the ball. He’s got good pace and he brought a calmness and assuredness to Notts County. He will go on to be a top, top player I’m sure and we will aid him in that development.”
Motherwell FC can today confirm the loan signing of Grenada International Anthony Straker from York City.
Straker, who was born in Ealing in London but has eight caps for the Caribbean Island, may have been a Motherwell player several years ago, but a deal to bring him to Fir Park fell through.
The 26-year old, who can play either at left back or the left hand side of midfield, came through the youth ranks at Crystal Palace and was an England Under 18 International at the time, before dropping a level to play for Aldershot Town.
Straker played 229 times for the Shots, including their promotion-winning season of 2007-08. He then joined Southend United and enjoyed two busy seasons with the Shrimpers.
He was offered at new deal to stay at Roots Hall, but opted for a change and joined Nigel Worthington at York City, who had narrowly missed out on the play-offs in 2013-14.
The former Northern Ireland boss left the club after a poor start to the campaign and Straker has fallen out of favour with new boss Russ Wilcox.
[pullquote]I’ll come in and give my all. I want to show the supporters what I can do and come off the pitch knowing I’ve given everything for the team.[/pullquote]
With Stevie Hammell and Zaine Francis-Angol both recovering from surgery, he will provide cover on the left hand side of the pitch until the end of the current campaign.
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, boss Ian Baraclough said: “Anthony is someone who I have known for some time now and I am delighted to get him on board.
“He is versatile enough to play either at left back or pushed on one at left midfield. He is full of energy, has got pace and a lot of experience being involved in promotion winning teams down south as well as playing International football.
“Most importantly though he is hungry to play and show what he can do. He’s the type of character we need at the moment.”
Straker added: “I can’t wait to get involved and hopefully being part of a team week in and week out.
“I’ll come in and give me all. I want to show the supporters what I can do and come off the pitch knowing I’ve given everything for the team.”
Henrik Ojamaa has informed the club he will not extend his loan agreement at Fir Park.
The on-loan Legia Warsaw striker, who was enjoying his second spell in North Lanarkshire, had been at the club since mid August, playing 20 times and scoring four goals.
The club wanted to extend that agreement until the end of the campaign, but the Estonian International has opted to try something different.
[pullquote]There is certainly no bad feelings or ill will, we made him the absolute best offer we could, but he wants to try something different. We respect that; that is football.[/pullquote]
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough said: “Both Henrik and his agent notified the club yesterday that he wouldn’t be taking up our offer.
“There is certainly no bad feelings or ill will, we made him the absolute best offer we could, but he wants to try something different. We respect that; that is football.
“We asked them for an early answer to ensure we could pursue other targets prior to the window closing next Monday.
“On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Henrik for his contribution and wish him every success in his new venture.”
Willie Collum will take charge of Saturday’s Scottish Premiership meeting with St Johnstone at Fir Park.
Regarded as one of Scotland’s best and most recognisable officials, Willie will be handling his fifth ‘Well game of the new campaign.
The first was at Rugby Park in late August, the home side running out comfortable 2-0 winners. The game didn’t pass without controversy, with Stuart McCall left frustrated at a number of decisions involving Manual Pascali and a missed handball in the box.
The second was the instantly forgettable 0-4 reverse against Hamilton Accies at Fir Park. When goals from Mickael Antoine-Curier, Tony Andreu and a double from Ali Crawford gave the Accies their biggest win at Fir Park in over 80 years,
He was the man in the middle for the 2-2 draw with Ross County when Tony Dingwall’s double, including a 94th minute equaliser, cancelled out John Sutton and Henrik Ojamaa’s goals.
Most recently, he took charge of Motherwell’s 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen, in which he controversially sent off Stephen McManus; a decision which was later rescinded after an appeal.
He took charge of three during the 2013/14 season too.
His first was a 3-0 win over St Mirren back in December when Lionel Ainsworth and a Henri Anier double separated the sides.
The second was at Tynecastle a few weeks later, John Sutton scoring the game’s only goal.
The last was the 2-1 win over Inverness back in May with goals coming from Sutton and a Gary Warren OG.
Willie is no stranger to ‘Well fans having been a top-flight whistler for a number of years, taking charge of six Motherwell matches the previous term too.
The first was the 1-0 defeat to Hearts in October 2012 when Danny Grainger’s long-range effort separated the sides.
He also took charge of both William Hill Scottish Cup clashes with Aberdeen in December.
In the first meeting at Pittodrie, Niall McGinn headed home a late equaliser to cancel out Jamie Murphy’s opener 10 minutes from time.
There would be disappointment for the Steelmen in the replay as goals from Rory Fallon and Joe Shaughnessy helped the Dons progress to the next round.
Motherwell were handed a lifeline in injury-time when Michael Higdon netted from the penalty spot, however Craig Brown’s side held firm in the final minutes.
He was also the man in the middle for the narrow 3-2 win over St Johnstone in January; Michael Higdon’s hat-trick sealing a terrific three points and also the disappointing 3-0 defeat at Ross County shortly after.
He also handled the James McFadden-inspired 4-1 victory over Hibs in March and, finally, the 4-3 defeat to Inverness Caley in the Highlands in May.
His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads eight wins, fifteen defeats and six draws from twenty-nine matches (in all competitions).
In those games, Motherwell have scored 39 and conceded 54.
59 players have gone into the book, 30 wearing Claret and Amber, while five players have been dismissed – Ian Murray of Hibs at Easter Road five years back, Jerard Aafjes at Falkirk four seasons ago, Paul Dixon at the end of 2009/10, Henrik Ojamaa in that game at Caley fifteen months ago and Fraser Kerr down at Rugby Park. Stephen McManus was shown a red card against Aberdeen but that was later rescinded after an appeal
Willie will be assisted by Alan Mulvanny and Graeme Stewart with Gavin Ross listed as fourth official.