Action images from today’s superb 2-1 win over Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Celtic Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action images from today’s superb 2-1 win over Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Celtic Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Phil McGhee at Celtic Park
Two second half goals from Loius Moult capped a fabulous display by Motherwell as they upset the long odds for a thoroughly deserved win over league leaders Celtic in Glasgow.
And for Mark McGhee it was a triumphant return to the East End overseeing ‘Well’s first win at Parkhead since 2008 – when he was also the manager.
While Moult might grab the headlines as he took his goal tally to 11 for the season, there were a host of star performers in claret and amber, from back to front.
The ‘Well boss stood by the same eleven which beat Dundee last week which meant 18 year-old Ben Hall retaining his place alongside Stephen McManus at the heart of the ‘Well defence.
After signing on at Fir Park for a third time, James McFadden earned a place on the bench.
The Steelmen made a positive start to the game and Craig Gordon had a couple of early catches as the play buzzed about his box.
As the half progressed Celtic began to dominate possession, but the hard working ‘Well players closed down their opponents giving them few openings around the visitor’s box.
Indeed, Conor Ripley had little involvement until the 21st minute when he parried Nir Bitton’s powerful drive into the path of Nadir Çiftçi who was several yards offside when he popped the ball into an open goal.
Five minutes later the ‘Well ‘keeper was at full stretch to hold Tomas Rogic’s low shot across goal.
Motherwell still had the odd foray forward and Liam Grimshaw’s threaded pass found Scott McDonald and although he was flagged offside his turn and shot forced a good save from Gordon.
Although the Parkhead men had a few speculative shots which drifted off target the best chance of the half came on the 30 minute mark.
Loius Moult did well to release Johnston and after weaving inside Dedryck Boyata he fired his shot across Gordon’s goalmouth but before McDonald could tap it home Jozo Šimunović hoisted the ball over his own cross bar.
If the goalmouth action was scarce in the first half, the second was action packed.
Within a minute Kris Common’s corner found James Forrest and his downward header forced Ripley into an early save. Minutes later again from Common’s corner Boyata’s header was net bound until Keith Lasley booted it off the line.
Play immediately raced to the other end of the park and Lionel Ainsworth, on for Grimshaw at the interval, found himself clean through on goal. But as Gordon raced from his line the ‘Well sub elected to lob the ‘keeper and the ball dropped agonisingly inches over the bar and onto the roof of the net.
And typically, within minutes, the Fir Parkers paid for that miss in cruel fashion as they fell behind. Bitton was given time at the edge of the box but his shot was aimed directly at Ripley until a deflection off Hammell carried the ball beyond the ‘keeper for the opening goal.
That might have been enough to end ‘Well’s resolve but two goals in seven minutes turned the game.
Once again Johnson was released down the left by McDonald and this time when he drilled the ball across the goal face, Moult stepped into guide it home to make it 1-1.
The travelling fans in that corner of the ground had hardly stopped celebrating that goal when ‘Well added a second. McDonald, who had unsettled the Celtic defence all afternoon, drew a rash tackle from Šimunović inside the box and referee Bobby Madden had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot.
Moult looked equally convincing as he waited for Gordon to move before smacking the spot kick down the middle of the goal to put ‘Well in front.
Celtic had some half chances to draw level, mostly from set pieces but Mickael Lustig’s header was blocked on a packed goal line before Common’s header was comfortably saved by Ripley.
With 15 minutes remaining the ‘Well boss was forced to re-arrange his central defence when a clash of heads left Stephen McManus concussed and Louis Laing coming on to take his place alongside Hall.
Incredibly as the new pairing waited to be tested, Motherwell passed up the chance to wrap up the points.
In another lightening break McDonald sent Ainsworth free on the right and when he passed the ball across the box Johnson had time to set himself up before hammering his left foot shot against Gordon’s legs.
After a telling second half contribution Ainsworth made way for Luke Watt for the final 10minutes.
In the end, though, as Celtic hoisted the ball into the box the ‘Well back five and Ripley stoutly protected their lead for a fantastic win and round off the year with memorable victories at Celtic Park and Ibrox.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Celtic Park
Celtic 1 – 2 Motherwell
89′ | 1-2
4 minutes added on…..
81′ | 1-2
Final Motherwell sub, Ainsworth off for Luke Watt.
80′ | 1-2
What a chance to make it 3 as Ainsworth squares it to Johnson but Gordon makes a fine save to deny him!
78′ | 1-2
Yellow card for Biton as he hacks down McDonald as he broke clear.
76′ | 1-2
Motherwell sub, McManus off after a head knock. Looked a bad one and he wanted to play on but can’t take the chance. Laing on.
74′ | 1-2
Celtic sub, Rogic off for Cole.
67′ | 1-2
Celtic sub, Allan on for Forrest.
65′ | 1-2
Great chance for 3 as again Boyata makes a meal of it allowing McDonald in to shoot. From the save, Moult fires just over the bar!
59′ | 1-2
Moult sends Gordon the wrong way to make it 2-1 to The Steelmen!!!!
Penalty to Motherwell!!!
56′ | 1-1
Baffling decision there as McDonald superbly dispossesses Boyata but Madden gives Celtic a free-kick
52′ | 1-1
@louismoult pokes home Johnson’s superb cross at the back post. 1-1!!
49′ | 1-0
Unbelievable. Celtic break clear and Biton’s tame shot takes a huge deflection and goes into the net. 1-0 to Celtic.
48′ | 0-0
Should have been the opener as Ainsworth breaks clear 1v1 with Gordon but he chips it over the bar!
Second half is underway….
One change at the interval, Grimshaw makes way for Ainsworth
HT: Celtic 0 – 0 Motherwell
39′ | 0-0
Danger as Forrest drifts in from the right but fortunately his shot with the outside of his boot goes wide of the far post.
31′ | 0-0
Great chance there as Johnson gets the better of Boyata but his cut-back into the danger area has no takers!
25′ | 0-0
Bit of a left off there as Celtic break clear but from a tight angle Rogic opts to shoot, much to the relief of Ripley who saves
23′ | 0-0
Johnson puts the burners on and eases past Lustig but his final ball into the box is too close to Gordon, who gathers
19′ | 0-0
Commons has the ball in the net but the linesman’s flag goes up, correctly.
12′ | 0-0
Hammell fires in a low corner which is a little too awkward for Johnson as he scuffs his shot into the Celtic defence.
….Curled harmlessly over the bar by Rogic.
10′ | 0-0
Sturdy challenge on Commons by McManus gives Celtic a free-kick in a decent area about 25 yards from goal….
1′ | 0-0
First venture up the park for the Steelmen but Law’s deep cross is gathered safely by Gordon.
Pearson and Lasley get the game underway #COYW!!!
Out come the teams……Motherwell in their full claret away kit..
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“I’m trying to keep a little bit of a lid on it as it’s just one result. It’s a great result, but we’ve got a long way to go.
“It was a great performance today and I think we thoroughly deserved to win.
“It’s one of a sequence of three performances now and we are starting to see a bit of consistency.”
Celtic manager Ronny Deila:
“A lot of things disappointed me today. We didn’t play quickly enough in the first half, we were too narrow and couldn’t open them.
“I think we started the second half well, got our goal, created a couple more chances, then we played way too open and then you get punished by the counter attacks.
“You have to work really hard defensively and be very compact and we have been that in a lot of games domestically. But today we were too open and you give the opponent space to play in and get punished in the end
“Overall, a disappointing day, a bad day at work and in the end we deserved to lose.”
‘Well boss Mark McGhee has been heartened by the progress his side has made in recent weeks.
Despite twice taking the lead, the Steelmen were held to a 2-2 draw by high-flying Hearts before following it with an impressive 3-1 win over Dundee at Fir Park.
And now, McGhee leads his side to Celtic Park to face league-leaders Celtic, the team who first-footed his second reign as ‘Well gaffer.
That day, Ronnie Delia’s men won 0-1 that afternoon and although it will an even bigger test this time around, McGhee feels better prepared.
“I think there has been some improvement,” McGhee told the Broadcast Press at the Steelmen’s pre-match news conference.
“Not only has it improved, but I have a far greater understanding of them, their strengths and how to deploy them therefore, hopefully I can help them as much as they’re helping themselves.
“I suppose a marker of our progress is when I first came in, and faced Celtic two days later, I thought I had about eight players, and the rest I had to throw in and see how they would do.
“Now, I have maybe fourteen or fifteen who I believe all deserve to play and am forced to leave our lads who may feel they’ve done enough to earn a place in the starting eleven. That’s a positive position for the club.”
[pullquote]“Not only has it improved, but I have a far greater understanding of them, their strengths and how to deploy them therefore, hopefully I can help them as much as they’re helping themselves.”[/pullquote]
McGhee has also vowed to keep faith in young defender Ben Hall, who made his senior debut against Dundee last weekend.
The 18-year old turned in an excellent display and the Motherwell boss says he has earned the right to keep his place and has no qualms about putting the Northern Irishman into the big stage at Parkhead so early in his career.
McGhee said: “There’s no secrets about that – he will play. He came in last week because I wanted to see how he could do and he did well enough to stay in the team.
“He might play the next 500 games! If he plays the way he did on Saturday, the likelihood is he will if he doesn’t get injured. As far as I’m concerned, he is here to stay.
“It’s not so much learning from the game because there will be things in the game that happen every week.
“What he’ll learn is about himself. He will learn, ‘Can I cope with this? Am I good enough? Where am I in the scheme of things?’
“It will give him a measure of what he’s got to do. So it’s a fantastic exercise for Ben.”
McGhee has also given game time to Hall’s fellow Elite Academy players Dylan Mackin, Dom Thomas, Chris Cadden, and believes there is real potential in the club’s youth ranks.
“I’m very keen that these boys develop and the only way they will develop is if they play,” McGhee said.
“He (Hall) may make mistakes – it may be Saturday. He may make a mistake that will be judged to have cost us the game. I doubt it, but it won’t matter because in 18 months’ time we will have a right good centre-half.
“Whereas if I wait until the summer and see how he is in pre-season then you are then talking about two years. I don’t want to wait two years.
“I want these boys coming through the ranks in my team as soon as possible and I want them developed as soon as possible.”
Motherwell FC has today (Friday) completed the signing of James McFadden on a short-term deal until the end of January.
The 32-year old front man, capped 48 times for Scotland, makes an emotional return to the club where it all began for a third spell in Claret and Amber.
He was a graduate of Motherwell’s Elite Academy, making his debut in 2000, and enjoyed three very successful years before joining English Premiership side Everton for a fee that eventually rose to around £1.8m.
‘Faddy’ became a Scottish football icon for his exploits with the National team, but always retained a close affinity with the Steelmen.
A subsequent £5m move to Birmingham followed in 2008 and he was three years at St Andrews before brief spells back in the Premiership with Everton and Sunderland.
He returned home to Fir Park in February of 2013, recapturing some of his early career form, helping the club finish second in the last ever SPL.
He stayed on for another year, and Motherwell again finished league runners-up in the new SPFL Premiership, with 22 wins from 38 games, but left at the end of the campaign.
A year at St Johnstone followed, but after leaving McDiarmid Park in the summer, the ‘Well legend has been training with the Steelmen for several months.
His performances at Dalziel Park and his fitness levels have prompted Mark McGhee to offer him a short-term deal, which will expire at the end of January.
[pullquote]I am delighted to be back, the club has always had a special place in my heart and I’ve always had a close bond with the supporters.[/pullquote]
Speaking to MFC TV, McFadden, who will wear the number 24 jersey and is available for tomorrow’s match at Celtic Park, said: “I am delighted to be back, the club has always had a special place in my heart and I’ve always had a close bond with the supporters.
“I’ve been training hard, feel fit and I’ve attended almost every game this season and I really believe I can help out. From my point of view, it obviously helps me get some game time.
“I’ve really enjoyed working with the manager here. Although I’ve never previously worked with him, it’s clear he’s a straight shooter and he’s not one for sentiment, so this is about what I can contribute on and off the park when I am here.
“I feel fit, I’m ready to go if selected and I just cannot wait to get started again.”
‘Well boss Mark McGhee added: “Faddy has performed superbly well in training and deserves a chance here.
“It’s fair to say he’s not doing this for the money, purely a love of the game and a desire to help.
“I see him as a great character to have about the club, he’s a winner, he passionately cares about how this club performs and that sort of enthusiasm will, I think, help inspire some of the youngsters about him.
“We’ve made no secret of the fact we plan to accelerate young talent into the side, but to do that, you also need good experienced pros who can help them on and off the park. We have that, and James is another who can help us on our journey, even if it is only for the short-term.”
Stevie Hammell reckons Motherwell’s future lies with promoting more youngsters like Ben Hall.
The left back came through the club’s Academy and was thrown in at the deep end himself as a 18-year old back in 2000.
He kept his place and has since gone on to make over 500 appearances in Claret and Amber, as he closes in on Joe Wark’s Post War record.
And the former Scotland International, who himself manages the Motherwell Under 15s, not only believes in the philosophy the club is moving towards, but is excited by some of the talent bubbling under the surface.
Asked by the Broadcast press if he felt defender Hall should keep his place in the team for the trip to Celtic, the 33-year old said: “It’s up to the manager who he picks, but I would agree he (Ben) was excellent.
“I will say that having worked with the young boys here at the club, there’s a lot more of them coming through too.
[pullquote]It’s great to have that competition within the squad and now, with hopefully four or five younger lads ready to challenge and put pressure on, that’ll be even more felt.[/pullquote]
“The battle for the youngsters is to try and get that consistency in their game. We’re lucky to have a good group at the moment, there are no attitudes within that Under 20s dressing room, and they’re willing to learn.
“For me, you can see there will be a lot from that group who will make the step up over the next year or so.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s match at Celtic Park, the veteran is pumped by the challenge of squaring off against the league leaders.
Hammell was involved the last time Motherwell picked up three points in Glasgow’s East End, and he wants the current squad to go there looking to take something from the match.
“It’s a tough one, but it’s a game you should relish and look forward to,” he continued.
“It’s probably the toughest fixture in the calendar, but it’s one you should also enjoy.
“If we play well as individuals and as a team then hopefully we can come away with a good result.”
Extended highlights from Excelsior Stadium as a late Dundee equaliser holds ‘Well to a 1-1 draw in the SPFL Development League.
U20s boss Stephen Craigan was left to rue missed chances as his Motherwell side were held to a 1-1 draw with Dundee this evening.
The Steelmen passed up a plethora of chances before finally getting their noses in front via Dylan Mackin after 73 minutes.
Even after they went ahead, Craigan’s men missed more chances to put the game to bed, and were ultimately punished with just ninety seconds left of play when Josh Skelly levelled.
Craigan, visibly disappointed, couldn’t quite believe his side hadn’t taken maximum points.
[pullquote]On the basis of play and the chances we created, we should have won the match fairly comfortably.[/pullquote]
He told MFC TV after the match: “We’ve perhaps been hard on ourselves in the past for not creating enough chances, but tonight was all about not being clinical enough.
“Clinical is a word I use an awful lot; clinical in their box, clinical in our own box and we probably didn’t do either well enough tonight.
We missed so many chances, then gave a soft goal away at the other end.
“It was obviously disappointing in terms of the result, but performance wise was good.
“On the basis of play and the chances we created, we should have won the match fairly comfortably.”
Despite creating numerous chances, a late Dundee equaliser forced ‘Well Under 20s to settle for a 1-1 draw at the Excelsior Stadium.
The Steelmen had gone ahead when Dylan Mackin forced the ball over the line from close range.
Stephen Craigan’s side had created numerous chances both before and after that strike, but failed to take any of them.
And when Josh Skelly levelled things up with two minutes left on the clock, it left ‘Well kicking themselves at dropping two points.
The Fir Parkers were able to name several experienced players in the side, including Craig Samson, Louis Laing and Wes Fletcher.
David Ferguson, Luke Watt, Chris Cadden, Dom Thomas and Dylan Mackin could also count on first-team experience.
Motherwell started the game positively and after a couple of half chances for Fletcher, Laing could and perhaps should have opened the scoring after nine minutes. The former Sunderland and Notts Forest defender got on the end of a Thomas corner, only to prod a shot straight at Kyle Gourlay.
Shortly after, Gourlay was again in action, saving from Wes Fletcher before Watt shot wide and Thomas curled over. Fletcher had another turn and shot saved by the visitor’s goalkeeper as ‘Well continued to push.
It took until the 25th minute for Dundee to register a shot at goal, but Sam Dryden’s long-range hit flew high over the bar.
John Black went much closer just sixty seconds later though, when his half volley was expertly turned around the post by Samson. From the resulting corner, Kerr Waddell’s cross found Aussie midfielder Jesse Curran, but his header was straight at the ‘Well stopper.
Motherwell were soon back on the attack though and again it was Fletcher, this time played in by Cadden, only to pull a low effort inches wide of the far post.
Dundee were still in the hunt though and had their second free header with the space of seven minutes, but Waddell could only flash it wide from the penalty spot.
Just before the break, Cadden turned terrifically well inside the area only to watch as Gourlay palmed out his low cross. The rebounded landed at David Ferguson, but he dragged a low shot off target.
Much like their first-team counterparts last weekend, Dundee came out the traps at the second half, and Samson had to again look smart to deny Black, this time palming a low shot wide for a corner.
Motherwell continued to look the more threatening of the two teams though and half time sub Allan Campbell flashed a volley at goal, only for it to deflect wide on route. When the corner came across, it fell fortuitously for Robbie Leitch, but Gourlay was on hand to comfortably stop his low shot.
After missing a couple of chances, Fletcher turned provider on the 70th minute, running the channel before cutting it back for Mackin on the edge, only for his shot to be again blocked by the stubborn Dee rear-guard.
Three minutes later, it was again Fletcher who passed up a chance to score, combining well with the vibrant Dom Thomas before smashing it over from six yards out.
However, it wasn’t long before ‘Well finally got the goal their chances merited. Sub David Turnbull, who had come on for Leitch, burst clear down the right before sending a low ball into the area. Fletcher picked up, but his shot was blocked, spinning towards Dylan Mackin who took a touch before thumping home his seventh of the campaign.
With eight minutes left on the clock, Motherwell passed up a glorious chance to secure the three points. Fletcher burst away from his marker on the left, leaving the Dundee defence in his wake. Cutting in, he had Thomas, unmarked, screaming for a square ball, but the former York man took it on himself with Gourlay blocking with his legs.
Three minutes later, Thomas almost netted after a brilliant solo run, but could only fire over the crossbar from about 20 yards out.
And Motherwell would be made pay for all those missed chances when Dundee levelled things up with just two minutes left on the clock. Skelly collected down the right flank, leaving him one on one with Maguire. After wriggling clear, cutting in on his left foot, he smashed it hard past Samson to rescue a point for his side.
Motherwell: Samson, McMillan (Livingstone – 46mins), Maguire, Laing, Ferguson, Watt (Campbell- 46mins), Cadden, R. Leitch (Turnbull – 66mins), Thomas, Fletcher, Mackin
Subs: Morrison, Moore, Hastie, Falconer
Motherwell U20s are back in action tonight (Wednesday) when they take on Dundee at the Excelsior Stadium.
After last week’s postponement, Stephen Craigan’s men will be looking to build on their previous form, a 2-0 win over Partick Thistle and a 1-0 win over Kilmarnock in the Youth Cup.
Dundee sit bottom of the table but are only 4 points off the Steelmen, after a good win last week against high-flying St Mirren.
The match will take place at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie, with kick-off at 6pm.
Stars from the first team squad visited the Children’s Ward at Wishaw General Hospital this afternoon.
Scott McDonald, Louis Moult and Liam Grimshaw visited Ward 20 and gave out Motherwell FC goody bags, which were kindly donated by the MFC Community Trust and The Well Shop, spreading some Christmas cheer to the young kids.
Motherwell FC would like to thank the hospital’s staff, who do a wonderful job and are an inspiration to all.