Action images from today’s 2-0 win over St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
Action images from today’s 2-0 win over St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix.
‘Well boss Mark McGhee was delighted with his side’s hard-fought 2-0 win over St Johnstone tonight.
The Fir Parkers never quite reached the heights of previous games, but battled for their win thanks to goals from Ben Hall and Stephen Pearson.
The win helped the Steelmen jump a few places in the tightly-packed SPFL Premiership table, and McGhee praised the spirit and determination of his players.
He said: “I’m thrilled with the win and thrilled with the three points.
“If I am honest, I didn’t think we played quite as well as we have been and were a little fortunate to be two up at half time.
[pullquote]That said, we closed the game out well, didn’t look in any danger when we had got ourselves in front.[/pullquote]
“They came at us, which you would expect, but we may have even scored more on the counter near the end. We deserved the win!”
McGhee singled out two players for specific praise in tonight’s win.
Youngster Ben Hall and experienced front man Scott McDonald shone as ‘Well recorded their third successive victory.
Speaking of Hall, he said: “The boy only knows how to win so far. No doubt he will learn the other side at some point but I thought he was terrific, I really did.
“But on saying that I thought Scott McDonald’s performance was outstanding. He looked as good as he’s ever looked out there.
“Even in the first 15 minutes when it was a bit huff and puff, he was the one that seemed to be flat out and really at it.”
Phil McGhee Fir Park
Motherwell made it three consecutive wins with a hard-fought victory over high-flying St Johnstone at Fir Park.
It was a dogged and determined showing from the Steelmen and they took the lead after 38 minutes when Ben Hall headed home a Stevie Hammell corner.
And it got better seven minutes later when Stephen Pearson slid home a second to double Motherwell’s advantage.
Saints had a fair bit of the ball during the second half, and Connor Ripley had to make two or three excellent saves, but it was a deserved win for the Fir Park men.
Motherwell, unsurprisingly, began with the same starting 11, which had beaten Celtic at Parkhead, and the hosts had the opportunity to draw first blood in the sixth minute.
A Marvin Johnson shot was deflected into the path of Louis Moult but Motherwell’s leading marksman volleyed wastefully over from eight yards out.
Four minutes later the home supporters broke into applause to commemorate the eighth anniversary of the passing of midfielder Phil O’Donnell, who collapsed on the pitch at Fir Park towards the end of a victory over Dundee United.
Scott McDonald then cut in from the left flank to fire in a shot which found only the side netting while Chris Kane’s effort from distance beat Connor Ripley but failed to dip under the crossbar.
The impressive Ripley then dived to his right to keep out a low drive from Steven McLean which was heading for the bottom right-hand corner.
Saints had lost both Michael O’Halloran and Murray Davidson by the time Motherwell opened the scoring from a set-piece in the 37th minute.
Irish central defender Ben Hall rose to head home Steven Hammell’s inswinging corner and the home side doubled their advantage following a great escape.
Substitute Craig Thomson, who had replaced O’Halloran, matched the winger’s pace with a searing run down the right and his inch-perfect cross ought to have been swept home by Kane.
However, there was a lack of conviction about the striker’s attempted conversion and Ripley spread himself to make the save.
The Perth men paid for their profligacy immediately. Motherwell broke upfield and McDonald released Stephen Pearson on the left.
Darnell Fisher did well to block the veteran midfielder’s first effort but Pearson retained the composure to fire the rebound behind the helpless Mannus.
It was, on occasion, a feisty affair, and Brian Easton could have had no complaints about the caution he collected for his fresh-air swipe at Johnson in the 46th minute.
Ripley then produced arguably his best save of the evening, twisting to push over a header from Liam Craig, who had been picked out for a second time by a fine delivery from Thomson.
Yet the home side were not content to sit back and soak up the pressure, offering a palpable threat of their own when Saints over-committed.
McDonald has the experience to exploit such chinks in an opponent’s rearguard and he forced a fine save from Mannus with a raking 20-yarder and then was inches away with a diving header.
Substitutes David Clarkson and Lionel Ainsworth also came close for Mark McGhee’s side as Saints’ challenge petered out.
[tab:As it happened]
Ally Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME: Motherwell 2 – 0 St Johnstone
90′ | 2-0
Three minutes added on…
89′ | 2-0
‘Well break away through Pearson who clips the ball to the back stick for Ainsworth but his volley flies wide of the post.
87′ | 2-0
Lovely play down the right from Grimshaw sets up Clarkson but his shot from inside the box is well blocked by MacKay.
84′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Clarkson on for Johnson
Young ‘Well fans can vote now for their Man of the Match. Tweet their name, age, choice & #MatchAttaxMOTM.
79′ | 2-0
Johnson looking dangerous cutting in off the right. This time his shot whistles just wide of the far post.
77′ | 2-0
So nearly 3 there as McDonald gets across Anderson and meets Johnson’s cross with a diving header but its just wide of the post
76′ | 2-0
McDonald fires off a shot which Mannus can only beat away for a corner.
72′ | 2-0
St Johnstone sub, Craig off for Sutton
69′ | 2-0
Big punt forward eventually finds Johnson but from an awkward angle, he can only volley wide of the post.
62′ | 2-0
Thomson’s shot is deflected wide for a corner…….from the delivery, it’s headed just wide.
60′ | 2-0
Motherwell sub, Moult off for Ainsworth
57′ | 2-0
Great save by Ripley, acrobatically tipping Craig’s looping header over the bar!
52′ | 2-0
Free-kick to St Johnstone, wide on their left……ref blows his whistle for a foul on McManus
47′ | 2-0
Johnson goes on a mazy and gets hacked at by Easton then Anderson. Free-kick about 25 yards out….
St Johnstone get the second half underway. COYW!!!
HALF TIME: Motherwell 2 – 0 St Johnstone
44′ | 2-0
PEARSON makes it 2-0!! His first shot as blocked but knocked the rebound past Mannus. Great stuff!
43′ | 1-0
HUGE save from Ripley there, sliding out at the feet of Kane as a goal looked inevitable
38′ | 1-0
HALL opens the scoring with a bullet header from a corner!!
35′ | 0-0
Another St Johnstone sub, Davidson off for Scobbie
34′ | 0-0
First test for Ripley as he has to dive low to palm away MacLeans shot on the spin. Solid save.
33′ | 0-0
Great little spell of possession football creates a chance for McDonald who goes down in the box but ref waves play on,
22′ | 0-0
Early St Johnstone change, O’Halloran off for Thomson
16′ | 0-0
Decent effort there from McDonald who skips in off the left but fires his shot into the side-netting. Positive start from ‘Well.
10′ | 0-0
Chants of “One Phil O’Donnell” ring out around Fir Park, to rapturous applause.
6′ | 0-0
Johnson cuts in off the right and his shot takes a wicked deflection to Moult who volleys just over from inside the box.Good chance
5′ | 0-0
First opening of the game as McDonald lays it off to Grimshaw who looks a little off balance and shoots well over from 20 yards
Lasley and Grimshaw get the game underway. COYW!!!!
Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:
“I didn’t think we deserved to be 2-0 up at half-time, I didn’t think we did enough.
“I was a bit concerned that the disjointed training and routine we’d had with the game being off, having to train on astro-turf and Christmas days off was going to affect us and I thought it did.
“We were off the pace a wee bit. We got a wee bit of luck.”
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright:
“I thought the performance was good. Sometimes the better team loses and that was the case in this game. We had the better chances.
“Late on when we were really going for it they had a couple of opportunities but I can’t remember Alan Mannus having anything really difficult to do.
“We gave away goals at bad times. It was a soft corner and we didn’t deal with it. The turning point is when we broke away, Kano was a little indecisive and they go up the field and score.
“It’s always difficult to come back from 2-0 but I was pleased with them second half, we created numerous opportunities and the keeper had made saves.”
Mark McGhee believes a victory over St Johnstone tomorrow would be the ideal way to remember Phil O’Donnell eight years after his untimely passing.
‘Well host the Perth Saints some eight years and a day after the club captain collapsed and died during a game against Dundee United.
McGhee was widely praised for guiding the players through their grief during his first spell in the Fir Park hotseat and he is still mindful of the effect of the anniversary on striker David Clarkson, O’Donnell’s nephew, who returned to the club this year like his manager.
McGhee said: “It was a huge thing for us all and we still remember Phil fondly.
“The first thing I did this morning was to send a text off to Clarky just to make sure he knows that I’m thinking that.
“It won’t be something we will all be talking about today. Those of us who were here and those of us who knew Phil will be thinking about that at some point.
“We get on with life and there could be no better way of doing that than maybe winning the game tomorrow night to celebrate that.”
McGhee is expecting a tough encounter against a Saints side who have shown some fantastic consistency this campaign.
The Perthshire side sit fourth, having built a considerable gap between themselves and the chasing pack.
However, the 58-year old Fir Park boss reckons there isn’t much to choose from in most of the sides, and hopes it’s his side who can edge it at Fir Park tomorrow.
He continued: “They have a very solid way of playing; they have a consistent selection and work hard to maintain an effective shape.
“They work hard for each other and have good players in good positions to have them. They have experience and are aggressive at the back with a talented goalkeeper behind them. All the bits are there.
“It’s going to be a really, really difficult game but at the same time, I think a lot of teams in this league are similar and all capable of a great performance.”
Motherwell FC remembers the late, great Phil O’Donnell, who tragically passed away eight years ago today.
O’Donnell came through the youth ranks at Fir Park before eventually making his senior debut against St Mirren 24 years ago.
He would go on to famously score in the iconic ’91 Cup Final against Dundee United, which ‘Well eventually won 4-3 in such dramatic circumstances.
Phil continued to develop, won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award in 1992 and 1994, and earned one cap for the Scottish national team, playing for 15 minutes as a substitute against Switzerland in September 1993.
His form attracted the attention of bigger clubs and Tommy Burns and Celtic eventually paid £1.75m for his services in September 1994.
He spent five years in Glasgow, winning the Scottish Cup again and formed part of the Hoops side that famously denied Rangers ten-in-a-row under Wim Jansen back in 1998.
He would later join Sheffield Wednesday and spend four years at Hillsbrough before returning home to Fir Park under Terry Butcher in 2004.
After being named Captain, he enjoyed a real resurgence in form, particularly under Mark McGhee in the Autumn of 2007, before being tragically taken before his time in a game against Dundee United eight years ago this very day.
The thoughts of everyone at Motherwell FC is always with his wife Eileen, four children Megan, Olivia, Christopher and Luc and the rest of the close and extended O’Donnell family.
Phil O’Donnell, brave as a lion. Our Captain, Forever 10.
Today’s scheduled Ladbrokes Premiership match at Tannadice has been postponed due to a water-logged pitch.
The Steelmen were hoping to make it four matches undefeated when they faced the Terrors, but extremely heavy overnight rain, together with a bleak forecast for the rest of the day, forced the match official to call the game off after a 10am inspection.
No date has, as yet, been confirmed for the re-arranged fixture.
On behalf of the Board, staff and players, we would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a very happy, healthy and successful 2016.
We all received an early Christmas present from Mark, his coaching staff and the players last weekend… Very well done to all concerned.
In addition, I would like to say a special thanks to the 624 people who have currently made a regular financial commitment to the ‘Well Society, at an average of £11.46 per month.
Without your funds the club would be in some financial difficulty during this transition period toward the new plan for Motherwell FC. I am sure you would agree, thanks to the hard working employees of the Club, we are heading in the right direction.
I would once again encourage everyone to join the fight for fan ownership and for the future stability of the club.
We need at least 2000 people donating on average £10 per month if we are to be successful during this transition period.
Because this target was not achieved this year, there is now some urgency to push for this target as soon as possible in 2016.
My final thanks are to you, the Motherwell supporters and the ‘Well Bois’ group, who have stood by the team and provided much needed noise and encouragement through “Thick and Thin”.
Very best wishes,
Mark McGhee hopes last weekend’s stunning win at Celtic Park will further boost the player’s confidence ahead of the Boxing Day clash at Tanandice.
The Steelmen have taken seven points from the last nine available, including a rare win in the east end of Glasgow.
And the 58-year old current Scotland assistant says that’s the benchmark the players have set, and encouraged them to redouble their efforts to maintain the recent improved form.
Speaking to the Broadcast media at Thursday’s pre-match news conference, McGhee said, “A win like that, and particularly a performance like that, should give the players the belief they can beat anyone in this league.
“Of course we’re not going to always beat everyone, we’ll obviously lose again before the end of the season although I hope it’s not this Saturday.
“However, what we have now is a measure and a benchmark for me to say to the lads ‘that’s the standard and what you’ve got to achieve’.
“I still maintain it’s much more about us than the opposition. If we can produce more performances like we did last weekend, we’ll win games. We’ve had three good results and we’ve now got to work hard for another.”
Despite their current position in the table, McGhee insists absolutely no one at Fir Park is under any illusions as to how difficult a task it will be.
United, under Mixu Paatelainen and former Motherwell Academy Director Gordon Young, have been playing well and creating chances, but have been unlucky with results.
However, the Fir Park boss is adamant his mindset is focusing on what ‘Well need to do to win the match.
He continued: “I view the Dundee United match as a big game. I still of the same psyche as I was when I was a player and that is a fixture against Dundee Utd is one of ‘the’ big ones in the calendar.
“When I think of them, I think of one of Scotland’s biggest clubs and therefor, I fully expect a very difficult game, regardless of their current position in the table.
“I saw them first half at Kilmarnock the other week and they were decent, and I’ve watched some of their recent matches on DVD, so I know what to expect and know we’re going to have to play as well as we did at Parkhead to come away with three points.
“From our point of view though, we’ll concentrate on ourselves, we’ll concentrate on trying to remain unbeaten and if we’re making our way down the road with our recent run still intact, I think we can be quite satisfied.”
On Tuesday 29th December, we are offering a limited number of places for this fantastic festive experience to meet and greet the current squad of players, have your picture taken with them and sign your memorabilia – an ideal Christmas gift for any ‘Well supporter!
You’ll enjoy the same lunch as the players, freshly prepared by our in-house Chef with your day culminating in a memorable behind the scenes, access all areas tour of Fir Park where you will learn all about the Club’s history, a fantastic trip down memory lane for all fan’s – young and old!
If you’re a season ticket holder or a member of The Well Society, lunch places can be purchased at a favourable £24.95 for adults and £14.95 for Juveniles with a family ticket priced at £34.95
Regular adult places are priced at £29.95 and £19.95 for a juvenile or a family ticket at £39.95
Arrival on the day from 12pm at the Centenary Suite here at Fir Park.
To book your place, call 01698 333333 or buy online at www.motherwellbuyonline.co.uk
Highlights from Balmoor Stadium in Peterhead where ten man Motherwell lose 2-1 to Aberdeen in the Development League.