Highlights from Cliftonhill as Motherwell open their pre-season friendly schedule with a 1-3 win over Albion Rovers.
Highlights from CliftonhillSaturday 02 July 2016
McGhee – A decent workoutSaturday 02 July 2016
‘Well boss Mark McGhee was pleased with the attitude and work rate of his players as his side ran out 3-1 winners in their opening pre-season fixture against Albion Rovers.
Pre-season is not always plain sailing and hiccups can be easy to come-by, but after a comfortable victory at Cliftonhill, the 59-year old was full of praise for his team.
Debuts were handed to Ben Heneghan and Jacob Blyth, and youngsters Jack McMillan and Allan Campbell started for the Fir Parkers on a wet and windy afternoon that resulted in a lot of positives for the Steelmen.
McGhee said: “I’ve been manager of a lot of teams that have lost games like this. All round I think we had a little bit of energy and a lot of people got a run-out – some more than I intended, Lasley went the 90 minutes for instance – but generally speaking, yes, we’ve scored three goals and we’ve won the game.
[pullquote]We’ve introduced one or two of the new players to the crowd and to each other in a game, so yes a lot of positives.[/pullquote]
Despite falling a goal behind, the Fir Parkers showed great fighting spirit to turn the game around convincingly – something the manager highlighted towards the attitude of his team.
The boss said: “I wasn’t concerned if we’d won or lost the game, I’d be more concerned about attitude and all those sorts of things, but there was nothing wrong with that. Right from the first minute, even in the preparation, the boys looked as if they were at it.”
He added: “It was obviously disappointing to lose that first goal but that’s what we’re here for, to iron out the wrinkles and hopefully improve on that.
“They went on and showed a lot of resolve and a lot of energy and won the game deservedly.”
Albion Rovers 1 – 3 MotherwellSaturday 02 July 2016
The Steelmen got their pre-season fixtures underway with a short trip to Coatbridge to take on League One outfit Albion Rovers.
On a windy, wet afternoon, Mark McGhee’s men put in a dominant performance and ran out 3-1 winners.
Debuts were handed to Ben Heneghan and Jacob Blyth, and youngsters Jack McMillan and Allan Campbell started for the ‘Well.
It took around 20 minutes for the game to settle down, with some scrappy play in the opening exchanges.
Blyth looked hungry from the start, chasing down every ball and winning his aerial battles well.
And in defence, Ben Heneghan settled in comfortably alongside veteran McManus, and on the tenth minute the young centre-back thwarted an Albion chance by stepping up and catching trialist Calum Ferguson offside.
Blyth found himself through down the left-channel, but from a tight angle failed to test Albion stopper Ross Stewart.
Dom Thomas received the ball from Marvin Johnson after some tricky play down the right, and the midfielder curled an ambitious attempt on goal that found the target, but also the hands of Stewart.
Samson’s first real threat came just before the 20th minute, when a curled cross bounced its way in to the box, but the keeper gathered reliably with an onrushing Albion forward striding in looking for the follow-up.
Marvin Johnson produced a fine moment of individual skill to evade a number of challenges and drive towards goal, but sound defending stopped the midfielder from bursting into the box.
Thomas and Johnson swapped sides after 20 minutes, and the latter fed a neat through ball into the path of Louis Moult who found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but he fired over the bar.
Despite Motherwell’s strong start, Albion’s Paul Willis slotted the ball past Samson in the 25th minute after a fine pass left the midfielder with just the keeper to beat.
Albion grew confident after their goal, and a stinging cross was headed clear by McManus on the half hour mark.
But from then on, it was all Motherwell and Mark McGhee’s side strolled the rest of the match.
Blyth worked himself into some pace just outside the box after Lasley found the strikers feet, but the 23-year-old dragged his shot wide.
With ten-minutes of the opening half left to play, the Steelmen enjoyed a confident spell of possession around the edge of the Albion Rovers box, but a number of brave blocks kept the ‘Well out and eventually the ball ran out of play for a goal-kick.
And the growing pressure paid off just before the break as the Fir Parkers equalised.
Some hard-work in the box from Johnson to shrug off a number of challenges left the midfielder with a yard of space, and he swung the ball across goal. The cross was met by the head of Louis Moult who drew the ‘Well level with 5 minutes of the half remaining.
And a couple of minutes later, Mark McGhee’s men took the lead. Marvin Johnson turned on the edge of the area and fired low past Stewart, who could only get finger tips on the ball.
It nearly looked to be three for Motherwell in the space of 5 minutes, after Moult nearly scored a great solo goal. The forward dribbled past a number of challenges and fired on goal, but his powerful strike was well held by Stewart.
The ‘Well boss made a couple of changes at the break, with Cadden and Kennedy coming on for McMillan and goal-scorer Johnson.
Albion looked to tire after the first 20 minutes as the Steelmen grew in to the game and the second half got off on the same foot in which the first ended, with Motherwell firmly on top.
Moult dribbled in to the box and got a shot away from a tight angle on the 54th minute, but the shot was collected comfortably.
Ainsworth was brought in to the action on 56 minutes. The winger replaced youngster Allan Campbell.
Cadden was drafted in to Campbell’s spot to allow Ainsworth to occupy the right flank, and the tricky winger didn’t take long to get involved, as he danced his way to the by-line, but his attempted cross was blocked.
Albion made a trio of changes on the hour mark and McGhee made a couple more himself, as Chalmers and Ferguson came on for McManus and Hammell.
A wonderful lofted ball from Moult to Blyth in the 65th minute was a stretch too far for the Englishman, who failed to get a strong, first-time shot on goal and the ball went wide of the mark.
Another change was made as debutant Ben Heneghan made way to a great reception from the travelling ‘Wells fans. The big centre-back was replaced by Davie Turnbull after a fantastic performance.
And not long after, Louis Moult and another ‘Well debutant Jacob Blyth made way to a similar reception from the fans. The forwards were replaced by Moore and Mackin.
Mackin had an ambitious strike at goal just minutes after being introduced, but it never looked to trouble the keeper and flew wide.
But before long Motherwell had three, thanks to a wonder goal from the captain.
A corner from Dom Thomas was headed clear only as far as Keith Lasley on the edge of the box, who showed incredible composure to stroke a volley into the bottom corner.
A free-kick was awarded to the Steelmen on 70 minutes, and a dipping strike on target from 25-yards from Ainsworth tested the Albion stopper.
Dithering defensive work almost rewarded Motherwell with a fourth, as Mackin looked to sniff out a chance before the ball was eventually hooked clear.
A corner from Thomas was headed away and eventually worked its way back to the youngster, who hit a neat swerving strike on the bounce to bring out a good save from Stewart.
Ainsworth’s inch perfect cross found the head of Moore, who headed just over the bar.
Some great forward play by 19-year-old Mackin fed in Ainsworth, who fired straight at Stewart.
And the youngster was involved immediately again, as he teed up Moore who fired over the bar.
Moore had another good attempt with just minutes left to play, but he failed to find the target.
The full-time whistle signalled the end of a strong first outing for Mark McGhee’s men, who showed mental strength to come back from an early set-back and then never looked in doubt as they dominated at Cliftonhill.
Motherwell: Samson, McMillan (Kennedy – 46mins), Hammell (Chalmers – 57mins), Heneghan (Turnbull – 64mins), McManus (Ferguson – 57mins), Campbell (Ainsworth – 52mins), Thomas, Lasley, Johnson (Cadden – 46mins), Moult (Moore – 69mins), Blyth (Mackin – 69mins)
Subs Not Used: Brill
McGhee – Business not finishedFriday 01 July 2016
Mark McGhee is “delighted” with the business conducted at Fir Park this summer – but insisted he is not finished yet.
Having secured the signatures of Ben Heneghan, Richard Tair and Jacob Blyth, as well as tying down veteran stars Scott McDonald, Keith Lasley and Steven Hammell to new contracts, the Steelmen boss is feeling good despite losing Stephen Pearson to the Indian Super League.
He said: “So far I’m delighted with the business we’ve done, I really am, both in terms of the ones who’ve resigned and those we’ve signed.
“Losing Pearson was a bit of a surprise but we’ve managed to resign the others we wanted to resign and then in addition we’ve added Tait, Heneghan and Blyth who all look like they’ve been good signings for us.
“We’ve watched them, we’ve done our due diligence and we think they can fit in at this level.”
The manager, who spoke to the press on Friday afternoon, outlined his plans to add to the squad further.
[pullquote]So far I’m delighted with the business we’ve done, I really am, both in terms of the ones who’ve resigned and those we’ve signed.[/pullquote]
“I’m not entirely finished, I think we need another couple.” He explained; “Now that Scott’s here I don’t think we need another striker. We have Scotty , Moultsy and Blyth now too as well as Craig Moore and Dylan Mackin all competing for places in the squad.”
McGhee added: “Central midfield we’re a little bit light after losing Pearson. Early last season we had Grimshaw but Cadden stepped in there and now Allan Campbell’s competing in there for a place so we’ll see how he does. But I think it’s in central midfield where we’re a little bit light.”
One of the biggest boosts for the Fir Parkers this summer was the announcement that Scott McDonald would be extending his stay with the club, and the manager believes the club have an identity with the Aussie forward in the starting eleven.
The manager said: “Scott is a player who is important not only in terms of his ability and his performance on a Saturday, but Scott is one of these player in a sense that dictates how we can play. He’s a boy that gets us up the park, allows us to get out, he keeps the ball.
“There’s not a lot of defences in the SPL who enjoy playing against Scott McDonald when he’s playing well, so we’re delighted obviously and it also means that we have that natural consistency to the way we want to play – we don’t have to start scratching our heads and wondering how Jacob Blyth and Moult and [the others] are going to combine.
“The starting point is Scott McDonald and we can build the rest around that.”
McDonald – Happy to be backFriday 01 July 2016
‘Well striker Scott McDonald is happy to be back at Fir Park – a place he described as “special” to his career.
In his first press conference of the new season, the Aussie forward spoke of his fond memories with the club, and his aims for this season.
The 32-year-old said: “It’s a special place that kick-started my career. We had a great season last year and hopefully we can replicate that once again.”
[pullquote]I have so many good friends and memories in this building and there’s still a lot of good friends here and hopefully there’s a few more memories to be made.[/pullquote]
McDonald also took the opportunity to address the rumours circulating a proposed move to Hibs.
He said: “To clarify everything, there was an offer on from last season that was still there over the summer. A couple of other opportunities arose and we spoke and I looked at them, but as it was, I wanted to come back and I’m happy to be back.
“Yes [Hibs] was a possibility but being down the line with it like someone was saying, I don’t think it was ever there. I never spoke to a chief-executive or a manager.
“I had time to think about it and reflect and I wanted to come back here and that’s why I am here.”
McDonald extends his ‘Well contractFriday 01 July 2016
Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm Scott McDonald has renewed his contract for season 2016/17.
McDonald, 32, was a hugely important figure for the Fir Parkers last term, helping the Steelmen back into the top-six with a fourteen-goal return.
The 26 times capped former Aussie international returned to the club in February of 2015, scoring five goals in eleven league games to help stave off the threat of relegation before forming a formidable partnership with Louis Moult that returned over thirty goals during 2015/16.
McDonald, who has also played for Southampton, Bournemouth, Celtic and Middlesbrough, had several offers from elsewhere, but after lengthy discussions, opted to stay at Fir Park and aiming to build on his 64 goals in 160 starts in Claret and Amber.
[pullquote]There were a couple of serious offers on the table for me, but I always had it in my mind that Motherwell was a club where I love being, playing with players and a manager who I respect and supporters who have been very good to me.[/pullquote]
Skippy, who can operate in midfield or attack, told motherwellfc.co.uk: “I am so happy to be back at the club and can’t wait to get started again.
“There were a couple of serious offers on the table for me, but I always had it in my mind that Motherwell was a club where I love being, playing with players and a manager who I respect and supporters who have been very good to me.”
Mark McGhee added: “Scotty is one of the best players in the country, so we’re naturally delighted he has chose Motherwell over the other options he had.
“We can’t compete with some of the bigger sides in Scotland for cash, but Motherwell is a special club that draws people to it, particularly those who have been here for a period of time. It’s a welcoming, family environment that both players and staff enjoy.
“We have real competition in the goalkeeping, defensive and forward areas now. We are working hard on central midfield targets and hope to announce some new additions soon.”
2016/17 squad numbers confirmedWednesday 29 June 2016
Squad numbers for the forthcoming 2016/17 season have been confirmed.
These numbers are subject to change should players arrive or depart.
The list thus far reads:
1. Craig SAMSON (GK)
2. Richard TAIT
3. Stevie HAMMELL
4. Ben HENEGHAN
5. Louis LAING
6. Stephen McMANUS
7. Lionel AINSWORTH
9. Louis MOULT
11. Marvin JOHNSON
12. Chris CADDEN
13. Dean BRILL (GK)
14. Keith LASLEY
15. Joe CHALMERS
16. Kieran KENNEDY
18. Josh LAW
19. Jacob BLYTH
22. Craig MOORE
23. Dom THOMAS
25. David FERGUSON
26. Allan CAMPBELL
27. Ross MacLEAN
28. Luke WATT
29. Dylan MACKIN
30. Jack McMILLAN
31. Josh STACHINI
32. David TURNBULL
33. Barry MAGUIRE
34. Jake HASTIE
35. Dylan FALCONER
36. Ryan WATTERS
37. Jordan ARMSTRONG
38. James SCOTT
41. Peter MORRISON (GK)
42. Josh MOORE
43. Adam LIVINGSTONE
Pearson departs for IndiaWednesday 29 June 2016
Motherwell FC can today confirm it has reluctantly allowed midfielder Stephen Pearson to join Indian Super League side Atlético de Kolkata.
Lanark-born Pearson, who turns 34 in October, was under contract until next May, and as such, the club have been compensated for releasing him.
Two long-term injuries (knee and rib) restricted the influential former Scotland International to 28 appearances in all competitions last term, pitching in with an important ten goals (eight in the SPFL Premiership and two against Cove Rangers in the Scottish Cup).
Pearson will join the ISL side, who are owned and are a franchise of La Liga outfit Atlético de Madrid, for their four-month 2016 season that runs between September and December.
‘Well boss Mark McGhee said: “We are desperately disappointed to lose Stephen, but we’ve known for some time now that this move was on the cards.
[pullquote]It was very much our first option that the player remained at Motherwell, but when we spoke with Pearo it was clear he really wanted to go over there.[/pullquote]
“There was absolutely no fall out, it was all extremely amicable, and we understand his personal circumstances. He leaves with the best wishes of everyone at Motherwell FC.
“However, it was then incumbent upon us to try and recoup something to help us find someone else, and that’s what we’ve done. We have been and are engaged in trying to secure a replacement and the midfield area is our priority.”
Pearson added: “This was something I was really keen to do and I want to thank everyone at Motherwell for the way they’ve handled this.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I go, but at the same time, I am confident the club is in decent shape, with a very good manager and some exciting young talent bubbling under the surface waiting to get their chance, alongside the excellent senior professionals already there.
“I’ve enjoyed my second spell at Fir Park; I want to thank the fans for all their support and who knows, one day I may be back for another go at it.”
Hammell signs extended dealWednesday 29 June 2016
Motherwell have today confirmed legendary defender Stevie Hammell has signed a two-year contract extension.
The 34-year old, Motherwell’s post war record appearance holder for league matches, has played over 530 times in Claret and Amber over 15 seasons. He also enjoyed a testimonial season back in 2012, culminating with a friendly against Everton at Fir Park.
The left back, a mainstay in Mark McGhee’s side who adds vital experience both on and off the park, will also combine his role with taking the Elite Academy Under 15s side, who he coached with James McFadden and Brian Kerr last year.
Speaking of Hammell, Motherwell’s joint record European appearance holder, boss Mark McGhee said: “We’re delighted Hammy is staying as he’s got so much to offer both on and off the park.
[pullquote]We’re delighted Hammy is staying as he’s got so much to offer both on and off the park.[/pullquote]
“He, along with the likes of Keith Lasley, are club legends but my desire to retain both isn’t anything about that, it’s about what they give us here and now. You need only look at our games last season when one or both weren’t available and there was a marked difference.
“We’ve now got a very solid, experienced group of defenders and goalkeepers; our focus now is to bolster our midfield and attacking areas of the pitch.”
Hammell added: “I’m extremely pleased to have got the deal finalised and to be staying at Motherwell.
“I’ve never made any secret of my feelings for this club so there is no one happier that my future is sorted out, and I can get on with my football.
“I am still hugely ambitious not only personally, but what we can do as a team. There’s a good vibe about training the last few days, there’s a freshness with some new faces and we’re looking forward to the season ahead.
“For me I want to try and help the team as much as I can and play as much football as possible. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Forthcoming Matches: Ticket InformationTuesday 28 June 2016
vs Rangers – All ticket | HOME | Saturday 16th July
ADULTS: £15 CONCESSIONS: £10 JUVENILE: £5
- Concessions are listed as Over 60s, 16s-18s and Full time students
- Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.
vs Annan Athletic – All ticket | AWAY |Saturday 23rd July
ADULTS: £12 CONCESSIONS: £6
- Concessions are listed as Over 65s and Under 16s
vs East Stirlingshire | HOME | Tuesday 26th July
ADULTS: £10 CONCESSIONS: £7 JUVENILE: £5
- Concessions are listed as Over 60s, 16s-18s and Full time students
- Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.
vs Stranraer | AWAY | Saturday 30th July
ADULTS: £12 CONCESSIONS: £8 JUVENILE: £5 UNDER 12 FREE
- Concessions are listed as Over 65s
- Juveniles are listed as Under 16s.