Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan shares his post-match delight after beating Rangers U20s 1-0 at Excelsior Stadium this afternoon.
Craigan delighted with 20s winFriday 12 February 2016
Motherwell U20s 1 – 0 Rangers U20sFriday 12 February 2016
Ten-man Motherwell U20s won 1-0 for the second time in four days, edging out Rangers at the Excelsior Stadium.
In a tightly fought encounter, the game’s pivotal moment came on the 65th minute when Jake Hastie won his side a penalty, duly converted by Ross MacLean.
Goalscorer MacLean would also see red in the dying seconds, when he took one for the team, pulling down Rangers sub Ross Lyon as he broke earning himself a second yellow.
The win moves ‘Well above Rangers and into seventh, their highest spot of the campaign, just a point behind Hearts in sixth with a game in hand over the Edinburgh club.
Stephen Craigan again named an extremely young starting eleven, which contained three sixteen-year olds, five seventeen-year olds and three eighteen-year olds.
And the Claret and Amber men started the game brightly, MacLean firing a low ball across the six-yard box before a well-worked corner almost presented a chance for Luke Watt, the defender not able to quite connect with a smart cross towards the edge of the box.
However, Rangers gradually worked their way into proceedings and should have taken the lead after six minutes, Josh Jeffries dragging a shot wide after good work from Mekhi Leacock-McLeod to win the ball back deep in Motherwell territory.
Motherwell replied with a MacLean shot dragged wide before Rangers came within an inch of scoring. Bursting clear on the counter, Dylan Dykes and Ryan Hardie combined, only for the former to hit a low shot off the woodwork. The rebound spun out to Jeffries, but he curled a shot over.
Rangers continued to push and Jordan Thompson had a shot straight at Morrison, but that was that in terms of chances in the first half.
The only other noteworthy item came in the shape of a pair of yellow cards, one for Rangers’ Dykes and the other for MacLean, which would prove important later in the game.
The visitors started the second half on the front foot and Dykes had a low, bouncing shot well wide of target. Seven minutes later, David Turnbull had Motherwell’s first effort of the second period, spinning cleverly from a throw in but drilled it wide of target.
Just before the hour, Motherwell had a claim for a penalty when Falconer went down under pressure from David Brownlie, but referee Craig Napier was having none of it. A minute later, Turnbull shot from distance again, but it dropped way wide.
Brownlie was again involved, this time down the other end, when he lost his marker from a free kick, but could only steer his free header over the bar from six yards.
It was to prove a crucial miss as with their next break just four minutes later, Motherwell won the penalty that would ultimately see them take all three points.
Again Brownlie was in the thick of the action, finding himself in a foot race with Hastie after Allan Campbell had threaded him through. Hastie won it, only to be bundled to the ground by a clash of legs. After not giving the early decision, this time the referee pointed to the spot.
MacLean kept his nerve to coolly slot into the bottom right corner, sending Robby McCrorie the wrong way.
‘Well finished the game strongly and a MacLean shot forced McCrorie to save before the same player had another shot following a short corner, only to fire it way wide of target.
In the dying seconds, PJ Morrison had to make a terrific one-handed save to stop sub Roberts after ‘Well had been cut open for the only real time in the half.
Just before the final whistle, Ross MacLean picked up a second yellow for a cynical tug as Rangers broke on the counter. Taking one for the team, he hauled the blue attack but was forced to sit out the last minute.
Motherwell: Morrison, McMillan, Livingston, Maguire, Watt, Campbell, MacLean, Turnbull, Falconer (Scott – 83mins), Hastie, R. Leitch
Subs Not Used: Long, Guthrie, Moore, Leighton
Goals: MacLean (65) (pen)
Red Card: MacLean (90)
30% off all Macron replica kitFriday 12 February 2016
All 15/16 Macron replica kit has 30% off, available online and instore.
From midnight on Thursday 11th February you can receive a massive 30% off all Macron replica kit.
This season’s strip is available online at www.motherwelldirect.co.uk or via the Club shop.
The shop, located at the Cooper Stand, is open Friday 9.30am – 4pm and on match day, 9.30am until kick off then for 30mins after the game.
McGhee – Keep plugging awayThursday 11 February 2016
‘Well boss Mark McGhee has urged his side to keep pushing and reckons their luck will turn in upcoming games.
The Steelmen have lost five late goals since the turn of the year, costing them numerous points and a spot in the Scottish Cup, made worse by some debatable refereeing decisions along the way.
However, the Fir Park boss has backed his squad to get back to winning ways, and doesn’t think their performances have dropped significantly.
Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s pre-match news conference, the 58-year old said: “We just need to keep going and hope for more of a rub of the green.
“I’m certainly not saying it’s all bad luck, not in a million years, and while every team needs things to go their way, we know we have to do things better ourselves too.
[pullquote]We just need to keep going and hope for more of a rub of the green.[/pullquote]
“If you look at the Inverness game, there were things we could have done to stop both goals. The first one, we probably have two or three chances to either stop it at source or deal with it better, then for the winner, even after the error from Steven McLean, we have people back and should have made a better job of it. Everyone is well aware of that.
“However, do I think this squad of players have the talent to get us where we want to be? Absolutely. I don’t think we are playing much differently from when we were winning games through December.
“Whether that is because we are playing teams who are playing better or whether or not we are getting punished for one decision or the other, who knows? I certainly feel there is no loss of spirit or determination and I think the performances overall have not been too bad.”
Hamilton Accies game switchedThursday 11 February 2016
Motherwell’s match against Hamilton, originally scheduled for Wednesday 2nd March, will now go ahead on Saturday 5th March.
With both teams having a free weekend, they agreed to put the game back three days, to hopefully allow more fans to attend.
The kick-off for the match at New Douglas Park will be 3pm.
Highlights from Station ParkTuesday 09 February 2016
Extended highlights from Station Park as Ryan Watters’ 40th minute winner booked Motherwell’s place in the Youth Cup Semi Final.
Craigan – Delighted to progressTuesday 09 February 2016
Stephen Craigan was pleased for his side after a fine 0-1 away win against St Johnstone booked their place in the Youth Cup Semis.
In a tightly fought encounter, Ryan Watters’ 40th minute goal separated the sides at a sun-soaked Station Park.
The Steelmen had to show their metal in the second period, with Saints throwing everything at it, but they held their nerve to secure a Semi Final showdown with Ross County.
Stephen Craigan told MFC TV after the match: “Performance doesn’t really come into consideration when it comes to Cup football; it’s all about progressing.
[pullquote]There were one or two hairy moments in the last ten or fifteen minutes, but over the piece, with the work-ethic, desire and determination of the kids, I thought we deserved it.[/pullquote]
“Breaking it down, I thought we were good in the first half, particularly the second part of it. We dictated the ball and got up to top speed.
“We probably had the one real piece of quality in the game, which was Dom Thomas for the goal.
“Second half, St Johnstone were a little more direct which posed problems for us and we had to defend. There were one or two hairy moments in the last ten or fifteen minutes, but over the piece, with the work-ethic, desire and determination of the kids, I thought we deserved it.
“It’s Ross County away in the next round, we will look forward to that and give everything we can to try and reach the Final.”
St Johnstone U20s 0 – 1 Motherwell U20sTuesday 09 February 2016
Motherwell progressed to the Semi Final of the Little Big Shot Youth Cup with a fine 0-1 win away to St Johnstone.
The Steelmen, who had already eliminated Partick Thistle, Stenhousemuir and Kilmarnock in the previous rounds, won it with a single goal five minutes before the interval; Ryan Watters poking home a Dom Thomas cross.
The second half belonged to Saints, who currently sit joint fourth in the SPFL Development League, but despite a lot of the ball and plenty of crosses into the area, they rarely troubled Brett Long in the visitor’s goal.
The win means Stephen Craigan’s side face a journey north to take on Ross County in the Semi Final, the winner of that taking their spot at the showpiece final at Hampden Park.
Former ‘Well skipper Craigan had a selection headache before the match with three of his most influential players missing. Ben Hall and Chris Cadden are now with the first-team squad and Allan Campbell, enjoying a terrific campaign in centre midfield, was suspended.
However, the Fir Parkers were able to call on the likes of Dom Thomas and on-loan Airdrie duo David Ferguson and Dylan Mackin.
The Lanarkshire side made a positive start, with Robbie Leitch posting early intentions with a low shot well held by Jordan Millar.
Then, six minutes later, Luke Watt stung the palms of the on-loan Montrose stopper with a free kick from distance that forced the keeper to palm away.
Saints eventually settled into things and had their first attempt after fourteen minutes, left-back Greg Page curling a free kick that forced Long to save.
Both teams had half chances as the half wore on; Kyle Lander flicked a header wide of target at one end, before David Turnbull’s shot from the edge of the area had to be deflected out for a corner.
Motherwell were gaining the upper hand as the match approached the break and almost took the lead after 37 minutes.
Leitch was sent scampering away, but with defenders breathing down his neck, he squared it for the supporting Dom Thomas. The winger lashed a shot, which was palmed out by Millar only for the Motherwell man to smash the rebound off the crossbar.
‘Well were proving more and more of a threat and with their next attack just three minutes later, they got their noses in front.
The goal was the creation of Thomas, who did superbly well to somehow wriggle clear from two defenders in the corner, skip past a third in the area before firing it low across goal for Ryan Watters who nipped between two defenders to prod home.
Just before the interval, ‘Well almost doubled their lead. Thomas was again involved, this time cutting in and shooting towards goal. On route, Dylan Mackin managed to flick it on, but sent his header spinning over the crossbar.
The second half was controlled by the home side, who tried hard to get back into the match.
They started with a long-range effort from Jason Kerr that bounced harmlessly through to Long. Motherwell’s reply, their only real effort of the second half, was a long-range hit from Ross MacLean, but it was easily held by Millar.
Most of the action was going at the Motherwell goal.
Lander turned Eoghan McCawl’s cross towards goal, but it was straight at Long who saved. Then, seven minutes later, Connor McLaren had an acrobatic effort from the edge of the box that again bounced harmlessly back to the Fir Park keeper.
Saints had a couple more half chancesin the closing stages, Hunter shot over and Greg Hurst hit the side net, but they weren’t able to get level, allowing ‘Well to progress.
Motherwell: Long, Ferguson, McMillan, Maguire, Watt, Turnbull, Watters (Hastie – 63mins), MacLean, Mackin, Thomas, R.Leitch (Livingstone – 90mins)
Subs Not Used: Morrison, Falconer, Moore
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkSunday 07 February 2016
Extended highlights from Fir Park as Jordan Roberts scores in the last minute to give ICT a 2-1 win over Motherwell in the Scottish Cup.
McGhee – Gutted at Cup exitSaturday 06 February 2016
‘Well boss Mark McGhee was left gutted after another late goal saw his side crash out the Scottish Cup.
Inverness scored late in the first-half, Carl Tremarco’s low cross deflected Stephen McManus as it ricocheted into the net.
Motherwell battled hard and got them back into the game, Scott McDonald tucking home after McManus’ bulleted header from a Hammell corner.
It looked as if it was heading for a replay but Jordan Roberts’ last-minute thunderbolt gave John Hughes’ men the victory.
“We set out to do what we done, we did it well at times,” McGhee said. “They are a difficult team to play against. Tactically I always feel Inverness and Celtic are the most difficult teams to play against because they play a different shape.
“You’ve got to take care of that third midfielder with them or they will batter you.
“We would have been out-passed, we would never have got the ball, we would have undermined our confidence, the crowd would have been on top of us from the beginning.
“We were disappointed to lose the first goal as we did, but we played our way back into it, we got the goal and I was quite satisfied to go up the road and take them on again.
“Then Gomis is barged in the back, he goes to ground and the boy runs through and scores. We are gutted. The referee is five yards away.”