Action pictures from this afternoon’s 2-1 SPFL Premiership win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action pictures from this afternoon’s 2-1 SPFL Premiership win over Inverness Caley Thistle at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Gavin McCafferty at Fir Park
Ian Baraclough felt match-winner Lionel Ainsworth’s attitude typified the togetherness that saw his side secure their first victory of 2015.
Ainsworth came off the bench to hit an 84th-minute winner as the Scottish Premiership bottom club beat Inverness 2-1 at Fir Park.
The winger has dropped out of the starting XI in recent weeks but his response thrilled Baraclough.
The Englishman, whose side had only taken one point from the previous eight games, said: “I give him the credit for being in the right frame of mind to be that impact player. He has gone on there and shown the positivity to have a go.
“It’s not easy coming off the bench and Lionel has got the rewards for showing that professionalism.
“He has worked hard in training and he has perhaps felt he has been overlooked again, but he has gone and got the rewards for the group. I’m really pleased for him.”
Motherwell started with recent signings Scott McDonald and Stephen Pearson and, even though they remain on the foot of the table after the rest of the bottom four won, the home fans went home with renewed optimism after a far superior display than the previous week’s 1-0 defeat by Dundee.
[pullquote]It was a real effort, not just from the 11, those that were on the bench, those that were disappointed not even to be in the squad, but everyone rallying round before the game. Everyone knows what it means[/pullquote]
Louis Laing headed them into the lead in the 48th minute and Motherwell refused to buckle when Edward Ofere headed a debut goal in the 76th minute, and held out after Simon Ramsden’s late red card for a second bookable offence.
After a rollercoaster 90 minutes, Baraclough said: “It’s an emotional game and there was a full range of emotions going through, I can tell you.
“But the biggest one was pleasure for the lads because it was a real effort, not just from the 11, those that were on the bench, those that were disappointed not even to be in the squad, but everyone rallying round before the game. Everyone knows what it means.”
Baraclough felt it was shaking off the fear factor was crucial. When put to him that the players looked to have rediscovered their fighting spirit, he said: “Possibly looks that way but that’s been there in abundance in previous weeks, but we have just not transferred that into the match.
“I said it last week, we have got to throw those shackles off and get people backing us and that’s what we did today.”
Phil McGhee Fir Park
A Lionel Ainsworth winner six minutes from time earned 10-man Motherwell their first win of 2015.
More importantly, in halting third placed ICT’s impressive unbeaten run of 10 games, the Fir Park side’s performance brought hope to the much-maligned support, who watched their side battle for the whole ninety minutes at a rain-drenched Fir Park.
Undoubtedly, the return of Scott McDonald in a ‘Well shirt had a major influence. But the commitment and passion of the entire team was commendable.
And having watched Louis Laing’s 48th minute opener cancelled out by Edward Ofere’s equaliser 15 minutes from time, it would have been easy to settle for a point. However, on a sodden pitch, ‘Well showed great grit and determination, especially playing the final five minutes with 10 men after Simon Ramsden was sent off.
Not surprisingly, Scott McDonald came straight into the home attack but it was alongside Lee Erwin at the expense of John Sutton. Stephen Pearson returned from injury and Josh Law was recalled as Craig Moore and Anthony Straker dropped out of last week’s line-up.
And literally from the kick-off ‘Well put Caley under immense pressure. Following a couple of corners from Connor Grant, Pearson had the first chance but he volleyed over the bar. Marvin Johnson, who showed great touches in spells, was next to threaten the visitor’s goal but his low drive from outside the box skimmed past the far post.
It was almost a dream second debut for McDonald when, after only 10 minutes, he latched onto Erwin’s knock down but from the angle of the six yard box he hooked his shot over the bar.
Motherwell’s pressing game, with McDonald making his presence felt in and around the visitor’s box, had Caley looking unusually ragged.
Indeed it took John Hughes’ men about 30 minutes to get into their stride and make any threat on George Long’s goal.
However, after Greg Tansey had fired a couple of efforts harmlessly over the bar, the ‘Well ‘keeper produced a crucial save to prevent his side falling behind two minutes from the interval.
Josh Law, who had an otherwise solid game at right back, was short with a headed pass back and Danny Williams looked certain to capitalise as he side stepped round the grounded ‘keeper but Long’s outstretched hand somehow clawed the ball away from the striker’s feet for a stunning save.
‘Well then had a chance to head for the dressing room with a lead their first half efforts deserved but Grant’s low free kick round the defensive wall was well held by Ryan Essen low to his right.
It took the home side only three minutes into the second half to take the lead when Grant’s magnificent curling cross was met full on by the inrushing Louis Laing whose thundering header flashed past Essen and high into the net.
That forced Caley to be a bit more positive and the Fir Park goal had a couple of lucky escapes when efforts from Williams and Ofere hit the frame of the goal.
The Caley centre was not to be denied and when Graeme Shinnie swept his cross into the six yard box Ofere rose highest to powerfully head the ball beyond Long.
Ian Baraclough used all three substitutions bringing on Sutton, Moore and Ainworth. And it was the introduction of the latter which was the most dramatic snatching the winner within five minutes of coming on.
Grant’s corner from the right eluded everyone in a packed penalty area. But when Ainsworth collected the ball at the other side of the box he had only one thought, taking a couple of strides before drilling his shot low through a ruck of legs, with a slight deflection taking it beyond Essen and into the corner of the net.
In a dramatic final few minutes ‘Well performed heroics to defend their lead especially when Simon Ramsden was shown a second yellow card.
But Baraclough’s boys held on for their first win of the year and although the three points wasn’t enough to lift them off the foot of the table, the performance and result could prove to be a significant turning point in ‘Well’s season.
The Fir Park boss will be in the ears of his players trying to ensure they look to build on their win when Kilmarnock visit next Saturday.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
Special mention to the fans again who were great. Drove the team right to the final whistle. Superb! #MFCvICTFC
Had to grind it out in the end but a great three points for The Steelmen! #MFCvICTFC
FT: Motherwell 2 -1 Inverness CT!!
93mins: Great tackle from Laing to deny Ferguson at the last second #MFCvICTFC
92mins: ICT win a corner after shot is deflected wide #MFCvICTFC
3 minutes added on. #MFCvICTFC
88mins: Red card! Ramsden is sent marching for his second booking. #MFCvICTFC
84mins: AINSWORTH cuts in on his right foot and fires low past Esson to make it 2-1!! #MFCvICTFC
80mins: Final Motherwell sub, Johnson off for Ainsworth #MFCvICTFC
76mins: Motherwell sub, Moore on for Erwin #MFCvICTFC
75mins: Goal, Ofere heads home the equaliser. 1-1 #MFCvICTFC
74mins: Devine is booked for throwing the ball away in anger #MFCvICTFC
72mins: ICT sub, Ross off for Doran #MFCvICTFC
70mins: Ofere picks the ball up about 20 yards out but shoots incredibly well wide #MFCvICTFC
68mins: Motherwell sub, McDonald makes way for Sutton #MFCvICTFC
60mins: Esson does well to deal with Grants long range shot which bounces just in front of him #MFCvICTFC
59mins: Tansey is booked for deliberate hand ball #MFCvICTFC
57mins: ICT sub, Williams off for Ferguson #MFCvICTFC
54mins: Finally the ref gets his card out and produces a booking to Draper for a bad tackle on Lasley #MFCvICTFC
53mins: Ofere’s header comes back of the base of the post. Thankfully McManus scoops clear. #MFCvICTFC
52mins: Raven hauls down Johnson. It’s cynical, and again no card is shown by ref #MFCvICTFC
51mins: Tansey’s long range strike hit the top of the bar. Close, but never looked like going in #MFCvICTFC
47mins: Grant’s cross is met by the head of LAING who bullets it into the net! 1-0. #MFCvICTFC
47mins: Erwin’s shot is deflected wide for a corner…GGOOOAALLL!!
Second 45 is underway. COYW!!! #MFCvICTFC
A vastly improved first 45, just lacking the killer touch. Positive signs nonetheless #MFCvICTFC
HT: Motherwell 0 – 0 Inverness CT #MFCvICTFC
46mins: Grant gets it on target but Esson saves #MFCvICTFC
46mins: Draper yanks Erwin down by his shirt. Surely a booking but no, just a free-kick on the edge of the box. #MFCvICTFC
Just as well, would have been completely against the run of play and a real sore one to take. #MFCvICTFC
44mins: Magnificent save from Long as Williams latched onto a slack backpass and should have scored. Long got an arm to it and gathers!!
33mins: Incredibly Ramsden is booked for what again looked like a good challenge. Gifts ICT a free-kick on the edge of the box #MFCvICTFC
28mins: Great battling and harrying from Johnson to get the ball back. He opts to shoot form narrow angle and it goes just wide #MFCvICTFC
26mins: Pearson booked for what looked like a fair tackle on Ross. #MFCvICTFC
23mins: Tansey finds some space 20 yards out but blasts well over. Normally does better in those situations #MFCvICTFC
19mins: Johnson slides in a lovely low cross which Shinnie only just gets to ahead of McDonald. #MFCvICTFC
16mins: Ofere with a horribly clumsy challenge on Lasley but not even booked? #MFCvICTFC
13mins: McDonald wins another corner. From the delivery, Laing’s shot is blocked then he is penalised for being stronger in the tackle.
11mins: Great chance for McDonald as he latches onto Erwrin’s flick on but can’t keep his volley down. Just over! #MFCvICTFC
9mins: Quick passing allows McDonald to setup Johnson whose first time shot trickles inches past the post. An entertaining start #MFCvICTFC
8mins: Caley break up the park and Tansey uleashes a great effort from 30 yards which flies just over the bar #MFCvICTFC
6mins: From that corner, ball pingballs to Pearson inside the box but he volleys over #MFCvICTFC
6mins: McDonald wins a free-kick, wide on the right…Grant delivers and Devine slices clear for a corner. #MFCvICTFC
Ball falls to Laing but his volley is blocked. Seconds later, Grant whips in a ball which is just too high for McDonald#MFCvICTFC
3mins: Law wins the first corner of the game. #MFCvICTFC
The Steelmen look to be shaping up in a 4-4-2 formation, Erwin and McDonald up front. #MFCvICTFC
Ofere and Christie get the action underway. COYW! #MFCvICTFC
Motherwell manager Ian Baraclough:
“It’s an emotional game and there was a full range of emotions going through, I can tell you.
“But the biggest one was pleasure for the lads because it was a real effort, not just from the 11, those that were on the bench, those that were disappointed not even to be in the squad, but everyone rallying round before the game. Everyone knows what it means.
“I said it last week, we have got to throw those shackles off and get people backing us and that’s what we did today.”
Inverness CT manager John Hughes:
“We certainly deserved to take something from the game – hitting the woodwork twice. But our passing was sloppy and I was disappointed that we never got our football going.”
‘Well boss Ian Baraclough thinks hard work on the training pitch is the key to a reversal in his side’s fortunes.
After hitting bottom of the table courtesy of last weekend’s home defeat to Dundee, the Steelmen now face Inverness Caley on their own patch.
The ‘Well squad have been hard at it all week, with a rejigged schedule and the introduction of a certain Scott McDonald over the last two days.
And Baraclough hopes a combination of sharp sessions at Dalziel Park and proper grit and determination on matchdays is the key to getting the Claret & Amber men away from the foot of the table.
“I think any supporter who turns up on a Saturday wants to see hard work first and foremost,” he said.
[pullquote]The group look as though they enjoy working together and they are now just looking for the rewards for their hard work Monday to Friday. I believe in them, I really do, and hopefully they can go out there, show what they’re all about and begin to believe in themselves again[/pullquote]
“If they see that then at certain times, certain deficiencies can be forgiven. If you are showing the grit and determination to take yourself out your comfort zone, whether it is chasing lost causes or denying space, that will generally get the supporters going and then it is the added bits of quality like finishing off chances you are creating that’ll get you three points on a Saturday.
“If a pass goes astray or a goal goes in, you have got to be big enough to take the knocks and say alright, we can go and handle that. That should spur you on to greater endeavour. The first goal in any game is important but it doesn’t mean the game is over. Hopefully supporters can help us in that respect.
“Don’t get me wrong, I hate losing games of football and I’ve not been used to it. Neither are our players. As I’ve said, training has been very good and standards have been high.
“The group look as though they enjoy working together and they are now just looking for the rewards for their hard work Monday to Friday. I believe in them, I really do, and hopefully they can go out there, show what they’re all about and begin to believe in themselves again.”
Scott McDonald is adamant he won’t be the silver bullet that saves ‘Well season, but is desperate to get back amongst the goals.
The 26-times capped Aussie made an emotional return to Fir Park some eight years after departing.
31-year old McDonald spent three successful years with the Steelmen between 2004 and 2007, netting 45 times in 111 starts, and will go straight into the squad for tomorrow’s SPFL Premiership head-to-head with Inverness as the Steelmen aim to drag themselves off the foot of the table.
“Everyone has a big part to play as we try to climb up the table,” he told the Broadcast Media. “With Stephen Pearson coming back fit, hopefully we can give everyone a lift, the supporters and players.
“I can’t tell you if I will have that effect, but I hope we get off to a flying start and don’t look back.
“Scoring goals is what I enjoy, if I can do that or help us win games. It’s not about the ‘Scott McDonald show’ or ‘the saviour is in town’. I want to help the team win games and get the club back up the table and keep this club safe.”
[pullquote]Scoring goals is what I enjoy, if I can do that or help us win games. It’s not about the ‘Scott McDonald show’ or ‘the saviour is in town’. I want to help the team win games and get the club back up the table and keep this club safe.[/pullquote]
McDonald had options elsewhere but admitted a late bid from the Fir Parkers was enough to tempt him to stay within the UK.
“I’m delighted to be back,” he smiled. “It feels like coming home a wee bit. This place brought me a lot of success and happy memories and I’m looking to build on that.
“It’s 12 games and I’m not looking at anything beyond that. Motherwell wanted me and to feel wanted is a massive factor in coming here and wanting to play a role that will suit me. I want to get back to scoring goals and being successful for myself and the team.
“It happened all of a sudden and I had some decisions to make. As soon as I found out Motherwell wanted me here, it was all I wanted to do to come back. Even my wife was badgering me to come back.
“I had a couple of things in the pipeline, but they were shut down quickly as soon as Motherwell made it known they were really interested. As soon as I spoke to the manager it was a no-brainer.
“Some of the options I had were abroad and I don’t feel my career is at that point yet. I feel I have much more to give in the British game. I want to get back to doing what I do best.
“I’m here to push on again for myself. The times I have been at my most successful are the times I’ve been at my happiest. This place certainly gave me that and coming through the doors again made me feel happy.”
Adam Cummins has joined Scottish League One side Stirling Albion on loan until the end of the season.
The Liverpudlian hasn’t featured regularly in the first team at Fir Park for almost eighteen months.
He spent the first half of 2014 on loan at Dundee but injury setbacks curtailed his efforts at the start of the 2014/15 campaign, before enjoying a successful month at Sommerset Park with Ayr United.
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.
The Binos, who have Steelmen legend Martyn Corrigan as assistant manager, are struggling at the wrong end of the division and they’ll hope Cummins’ inclusion will held solidify their defence.
Everyone at Fir Park would like to wish Adam the very best of luck whilst at Forthbank.
Motherwell Football Club held its 109th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday night where the accounts for the 2013-14 season were presented to shareholders.
The new-look board of directors updated shareholders on recent changes at the club following on from Les Hutchison’s acquisition of John Boyle’s majority shareholding, which include ongoing improvements in scouting, physical fitness and performance, and planned developments in sales and marketing.
Manager Ian Baraclough, who succeeded Stuart McCall in mid-December, explained there would be a greater emphasis on developing young players next season as part of the drive to make the club financially self-sufficient.
Chairman Brian McCafferty outlined the ambition to further develop the mutual benefits brought about by even stronger links between the club and the community as he highlighted the work done by the Motherwell FC Community Trust in touching the lives of 35,000 people each year, and stressed the need for more supporters to join the Well Society.
General manager Alan Burrows outlined plans to give supporters greater value for money in their match day experience.
The club made a loss on ordinary activities before taxation of £184,854 in the 12 months to May 31, 2014 – an almost identical figure to the previous season.
Although the club finished second in the Scottish Premiership, factors including the ongoing lack of an SPFL sponsor, disappointing cup performances, a high medical bill and a £350,000 fall in gate receipts, all contributed to another annual loss.
Turnover was about £4.5million, down from £4.9million while transfer income was £302,500 – up from £108,500.
Staff costs were down £160,000, while gate receipts fell more than £350,000 to £1.31million.
Sponsorship/advertising income, broadcasting rights and commercial income were all very similar to the previous season but UEFA prize money was down a quarter to £311,000. Other income rose slightly to £743,000.
In an extract from the report of the directors, Derek Weir wrote: “As we have said in previous reports, our target each year is to break even. Our higher than budgeted league position did generate higher than forecast prize money but once again the distributions from the SPFL were lower than hoped for due to the lack of a title sponsor. Our inability to generate any meaningful revenue from cup competitions, combined with a significant medical bill, as a result of 12 player operations, more than compensated for the additional place money, leading to a loss of £184,854.
“Following last year’s successful league campaign and with Rangers, Hearts and Hibs all playing in the Championship, we agreed to retain Stuart’s player wage budget at the same level for the third successive season, in the hope that we would be able to build further on the success. Contrary to what is often reported, we did not reduce budgets every year and maintained a squad firmly aimed at achieving a top six finish. Following a seriously disappointing exit from the Europa League in Iceland, elimination from both domestic cup competitions in the first round and a realisation that a top six league position was highly unlikely, it was clear to the board that a fresh injection of funds was going to be required. The position was made worse by reduced season ticket and commercial revenues, despite last season’s successful league campaign.
“The Well Society were already in discussion with Les Hutchison on their own fund raising ventures and plans for the club. These discussions evolved to the point that Les agreed to make a sizeable, interest-free loan to the club and facilitate the transition of ownership from John Boyle to the Well Society. The transfer is dependent on the club and Society repaying Les’ loan. I am happy to report the transfer of shares from John to Les took place on 30th January 2015 and the loan funds are available to the club. In addition the Well Society has continued to support the club with loans and we remain extremely grateful to the Society board and membership. Les’ extensive business experience and strong desire to support the local community will be hugely beneficial to the club and his involvement is greatly welcomed.
“His aim is to help the Well Society achieve ownership and it is important that all fans get behind this initiative.”
Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm striker Scott McDonald has returned to the club.
26-times capped former Socceroo McDonald, 31, will be a well-known face to the Fir Park faithful after spending three successful years at the club between 2004 and 2007, where he netted 45 times in 111 starts.
He joined Celtic in the summer of 2007 for an undisclosed fee and went on to enjoy a fruitful three years in the East End of Glasgow, scoring 64 times in 117 starts – including five European goals against the likes of Spartak Moscow, AC Milan and Manchester United.
He moved to English football and Middlesbrough on the last day of the 2010 January Transfer Window for a reported £3.5million. He started 110 games at the Riverside, scoring 40 times.
He most recently played with fellow-Championship side Millwall after signing in July 2013. He spent eighteen months in London before leaving near the end of the last January Transfer Window.
Subject to International clearance, McDonald has signed until the end of the current campaign and he’ll go straight into the squad for Saturday’s home match against Inverness CT at Fir Park.
Full reaction to follow…
Motherwell FC is pleased to confirm Gordon Crawford has joined the club as Physical Performance and Conditioning Coach.
Gordon, who lectures part-time at University of Stirling and is Head Coach for Triathlon at Beaconhurst School, is a highly experienced, award-winning coach who has worked with elite athletes and World Champions across a variety of sports over the last 25-years.
After a successful career in endurance running and gaining caps at cross-country and the track for Scotland and British Students, Gordon was appointed National Event Coach for steeplechase. Shortly after a successful period in charge, he was then appointed National Event Coach for endurance running whilst lecturing in Sport and Leisure at Motherwell College.
He left his post to take up a new role as Fitness, Strength and Conditioning Coach with Scottish Rugby, spending over six years with Edinburgh and Glasgow Rugby, the Scottish National side under both Jim Telfer and Ian McGeechan as well as the National Age Group Teams.
He left Murrayfield to join Active Stirling as Head of Sport with the remit to develop and deliver a professional sport and physical activity service, which would contribute to the health, wellbeing and quality of life of Stirling’s people and communities, based at the Sports Village.
During that time, he was also the Triathlon Team Manager and Coach for Triathlon as apart ‘Team Scotland’ at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and other international races. From 2007-2008 Gordon was Head Coach for Triathlon Ireland at the World and European Championships.
[pullquote]I am absolutely delighted to be part of the manager’s Coaching and Performance Support Team at Motherwell and look forward to helping the club develop and achieve further success.[/pullquote]
Around then he was also awarded ‘Triathlon Performance Coach of the Year’ for coaching some of the World’s top Scottish, British and Irish Triathletes, elite and age groups; both male and female triathletes.
He has coached the UK Ironman/70.3 Triathlon Champions; 2 x World and European Duathlon Champion and multi British & Scottish Champions in both triathlon and athletics. Gordon himself is a former Masters World, European, British and Scottish Champion.
Most recently, he has been working with the Scottish FA as a Fitness, Strength and Conditioning consultant in their Elite Performance Schools at Both Graeme High School, Falkirk and Braidhurst High School, and joins ‘Well on a full-time basis, with the aim of developing and improving the fitness, strength, speed and conditioning amongst the first-team, Under 20 and Academy squads and helping reduce the incidence of injuries as part of the clubs Performance Support Team.
Motherwell will also enroll Gordon in a PhD that will specialise in the subject of injury prevention and recovery.
Gordon told motherwellfc.co.uk: “I am absolutely delighted to be part of the manager’s Coaching and Performance Support Team at Motherwell and look forward to helping the club develop and achieve further success.’’
Manager Ian Baraclough added: “After a review of what we had in place at the club, it became clear we required provision in the area of injury prevention and strength and conditioning.
“I am so pleased to have Gordon on board; he is an experienced, supremely qualified but modern-thinking individual. From the moment I met him, I knew he was exactly the right person for the job. He blew me away with his knowledge and plans, but also his real desire to take on this project.
“He will help us not only in the short-term, but over the next five years as we look to ensure our first-team players all are individually prepared in the best way they can be, but also the whole ethos of the club down to the youngest Academy kid and the type of players we want coming through our ranks.
“We expect to see a real improvement in his area of expertise in the weeks, months and years ahead.”
U20s boss Jonatan Johansson was pleased with his side, but felt they should have taken all three points against Rangers today.
Instead, the young Steelmen were pegged to a 1-1 draw despite creating numerous chances throughout the ninety minutes.
Chris Cadden did put the hosts in front only for Ryan Hardie to level things just eight minutes later.
The Fir Parkers spurned a number of opportunities before the game eventually finished all-squad.
It maintains Motherwell’s unbeaten start to 2015 but the former Finnish International hitman couldn’t help but rue those misses: “If you look at the amount of chances we’ve created I think we definitely should have scored more than one goal.
[pullquote]If you look at the amount of chances we’ve created I think we definitely should have scored more than one goal.[/pullquote]
“We were on top for large parts of the game and they couldn’t really handle us on the counter attack. It was a good game against Rangers who are one of the best in the country at this age group; it was good to see a few rising to the challenge.
“We could have been ahead in the first half but I can’t fault them is they are creating chances with good play. Of course you’d like to score them and if we had it would have opened us up a little and gave us a some breathing space but to be fair, Rangers came back into it so a draw at half-time was probably fair.
“Our goal was a coaches dream. Max made a good save and threw it to Higgy and he was supported by MacLean and Cadden who have great energy. The pass from MacLean then the finish from Cadden; it was a really good goal.
“Overall, there was much more to be pleased than angry about.”