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    Glory in Norway for under-13 girls

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    McManus: Full of confidence

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    McGhee: We expect a difficult game

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    Celtic: Tickets and match information

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    Clancy in charge at Parkhead

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    Ainsworth: I feel amazing

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    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

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    Kilmarnock win in Pictures

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    McGhee: Good value for the win

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    Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell

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    Glory in Norway for under-13 girls

    Motherwell’s U13s girls have returned from a historic European trip – where they were runners up in the Norway Cup.

    The tournament, which has been running since 1972, is an annual competition which is competed by over 3,000 teams from across the globe.

    The seven-a-side ‘Well girls team, which even included 10 year-olds, managed to pry the second placed trophy away from a Norweigan side for the first time in its 44-year history.

    And the achievement, which has been congratulated by nations from across the globe, has left coach Linda Gibson feeling “emotional” and “over the moon”.

    She said: “Once we made it out of our group I had to inspire the girls so I said to them, ‘look at how you girls are faring against these teams – they are 13, 14 and 15 years-old and you are 10, 11 and 12’.

    “We set a target of the quarter-finals, which would mean we’d reached three quarter-finals this season, and when we got to the last sixteen we were all so nervous because we were so close to achieving our aim.

    [pullquote]When we won that game to get us to the quarter-finals it was incredibly emotional – parents were crying, the girls were crying and I was too.[/pullquote]

    “When we won that game to get us to the quarter-finals it was incredibly emotional – parents were crying, the girls were crying and I was too.”

    She added: “The response from the media back here was amazing, we had people from the SFA phoning us, wishing us all the best and congratulating us, the Motherwell first team showed their support too and that sort of response really spurred the girls on.”

    The quarterfinal went all the way to golden goal, and looked like it was heading to penalties as well, but with two minutes remaining, Jenna Woods ran the length of the park and hit a low strike past the keeper from a tight angle to send the team through to the semi-final and her coach and all of the parents in to elation.

    Linda said: “There was a pitch invasion – we all just ran on to the park and piled up on each other.

    “Tears were flowing but I tried my best to stay strong in front of the girls so I went and hid behind a tree to phone home and tell them the news: we had reached the semi-final.

    “It was so overwhelming and so emotional.”

    [pullquote]There was a pitch invasion – we all just ran on to the park and piled up on each other. It was so overwhelming and so emotional.[/pullquote]

    Those feelings continued for Linda and her team though, as they dominated the match and progressed to the final with consummate ease.

    Linda said: “The parents were the extra player on that park – singing their hearts out at every game, waving flags and everything.

    “Their support really did play a huge part in pushing the girls that extra bit more.”

    Upon reaching the final, the sense of pride and joy was tangible among the group and among the travelling parents, but Linda added that the girls spirit and personality was infectious to everyone.

    She said: “They were singing and chanting Motherwell songs wherever they went.

    “Locals and tourists would take pictures and videos of them because they just took such an atmosphere with them wherever they went.”

    The final ended in heart-breaking fashion for the girls, who were just five minutes away from being crowned joint champions.

    [pullquote]Out of the thousands and thousands of girls who competed, it’s amazing to say that my group were among the top 20 in the competition.[/pullquote]

    But Linda was not disheartened, as the sheer joy of an incredible week overshadowed the final match.

    The coach said: “Out of the thousands and thousands of girls who competed, it’s amazing to say that my group were among the top 20 in the competition.

    “It was just the most emotional journey and I cannot put in to words how proud I am of everyone who was there.”

    But it wasn’t just those who travelled, with Linda adding that the support of the Motherwell Community Trust has been a huge difference.

    “It’s testament to the support from the Community Trust General Manager Dawn Middleton that we achieved what we did.

    “Her backing of the girls football and her support has really made a huge difference since she arrived – the work of the trust and the help from Dawn, even in such a short time, has really pushed us to the next level.

    “I just hope this emotional, roller-coaster of a journey doesn’t slow down any time soon.”

  • Archive

    McManus: Full of confidence

    Centre-back Stephen McManus is assured that the ‘Well can put in a good performance at Parkhead tomorrow night.

    The ex-Celtic player admitted that playing away from home is always a disadvantage, but insists the Steelmen will travel to Glasgow “full of confidence”.

    Speaking to the press this morning, McManus said: “We’re in good form but when you get drawn in the League Cup you always prefer to be at home, so it’s going to difficult but we’ll go there full of confidence.

    “All we can do is give it our best shot and see how we go.”

    [pullquote]In the League Cup you always prefer to be at home, so it’s going to difficult but we’ll go there full of confidence.[/pullquote]

    The 33-year-old spoke about the heavy defeat at the end of last season.

    He said: “The last game of the season didn’t have much for us to play for but you still have personal pride.

    “As much as you try and sugar-coat it and say that it doesn’t matter, of course it does because as a player you don’t want to be on the receiving end of too many of them.”

    He added: “Thankfully there’s been more positive results than negative ones since Mark came in.”

    [pullquote]Thankfully there’s been more positive results than negative ones since Mark came in.[/pullquote]

    On tomorrow’s opposition, the defender claimed the Celtic players will be up for the occasion.

    McManus said: “For Celtic the main thing is they have a new manager and this is an opportunity for them to get their mind-set on winning the treble, as a player there that’s what you’re all about.

    “For us, we hope we can put in a good showing for ourselves. I’ve been involved in games there where you’re expected to win there and it hasn’t happened so we know that there’s a chance we can do it tomorrow night.”

  • Archive

    McGhee: We expect a difficult game

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee admits last season’s results against Celtic will not cross his players minds ahead of tomorrow’s Betfred Cup clash.

    Speaking to the press this morning, the manager claimed that the new season brings a fresh start, and neither the win nor the loss at Parkhead will play a part tomorrow night.

    McGhee said: “I’m excited and nervous too – last time we went to Parkhead we got absolutely hammered, but we also know that we went there last season and won.

    [pullquote]I’m excited and nervous too … We have to go there and expect a difficult game.[/pullquote]

    “I would imagine that our performance tomorrow night will be much more reminiscent of the first game rather than the last game because the last game was a bit different.”

    He added: “We have to go there and expect a very difficult game – for me Celtic look slightly different than they did last year where I thought they played a very expansive, sophisticated way; whereas this year looks a lot more like the way we play, except they do it with really good players.

    “They rely on those players to play well in that system and they do have good players who are playing well so we can see that it’s going to be a difficult game.

    [pullquote]They rely on those players to play well in that system and they do have good players who are playing well, so we can see that it’s going to be a difficult game.[/pullquote]

    “Our last result won’t be relevant – while we got beat 6-0 at Hearts and 7-0 at Celtic we still had a very good season.”

    On the future of star winger Marvin Johnson, who has been the subject of interest from English clubs, the manager insisted that the 24-year-old was good enough to play in the Championship and that the talk of a move is “all speculation”.

    He said: “I was at the Brighton vs Lazio friendly, I spoke with the Chairman and the manager and at no point did they ask me about Marvin Johnson.

    “I know them very, very well and I can assure you they’d speak to me so it’s all speculation and there’s nothing to say about it.”

  • Archive

    Celtic: Tickets and match information

    Tickets for Motherwell’s Betfred Cup clash with Celtic  on Wednesday, August 10th at Celtic Park are still available to buy.

    The last-16 tie, which kicks off at 7.45pm, will also be televised live on BT Sport.

    Tickets will be on sale  from the ticket office at Fir Park until 6.30pm on Wednesday evening, with no option to purchase at Celtic park.

    Prices as follows:

    ADULTS:   £15 
    CONCESSIONS:                           £10  
    JUVENILE:    £5
    • Concessions are listed as Over 65s and 13-15 year olds
    • Juveniles are listed as Under 13s

     

  • Archive

    Clancy in charge at Parkhead

    Referee for this Wednesday’s Betfred Cup match against Celtic at Parkhead is Kevin Clancy.

    It will be Kevin’s second Motherwell involvement of the new season; the other coming in the BetFred Cup match against Rangers, where he was on fourth official duties.

    On a frustrating afternoon for the Fir Parkers, Rangers left 2-0 winners after a tight game that could have went either way.

    He was also in the same role for the Steelmen’s 3-1 victory over Partick Thistle last season, as Mark McGhee’s men ran out 3-1 winners.

    The last time he took charge of a Motherwell fixture though came back in October 2014, when Stuart McCall’s side lost 2-1 at McDiarmid Park.

    He’ll be a relatively familiar face given this will be his tenth Motherwell game as referee.

    He took charge of a swashbuckling 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tanandice in September 2013 and that was followed a couple of months later with the 1-0 win at Pittodrie on Boxing Day, when a resolute ‘Well came away with all three points thanks to Ainsworth’s winner.

    The 33-year-old was the man in the middle again that season for the vital 2-1 win over Saints when Ainsworth and McManus got on the score sheet to put the Steelmen on the road to SPFL Premiership runners-up.

    His only other Motherwell match outwith the League was in the 2011/12 campaign in the Scottish Cup, where he was the man in the middle as the Fir Parkers demolished Queen’s Park 4-0, a certain Henrik Ojamaa smashing home a fabulous debut goal.

    His overall record in charge of Motherwell reads nine matches in total, Motherwell winning four, drawing two and losing three. ‘Well have scored twelve and conceded ten.

    There have been twenty-seven cautions dished out in those matches, sixteen of them to a man wearing Claret and Amber and zero dismissals.

    Kevin will be ably assisted by Alan Mulvanny and David McGeachie with Kevin Graham on Fourth Official duties. The referee observer is Willie Young and the SPFL Delegate is Tim Love.

  • Archive

    Ainsworth: I feel amazing

    Motherwell winger Lionel Ainsworth admits he is feeling “amazing” after the club started the season with a 2-1 win over Kilmarnock.

    The Fir Parkers number seven opened the scoring with an incredible dinked finish over Killie keeper Jamie MacDonald.

    But the 28-year-old admitted that the afternoon was about the three points.

    Speaking to MFC TV, he said: “I feel amazing, first game of the season you want to start off with a bang and the way we played today, especially for a good hour or so we did really well.”

    [pullquote]I feel amazing, first game of the season you want to start off with a bang and the way we played today, especially for a good hour or so we did really well.[/pullquote]

    Ainsworth admitted that the home side took the game to the Steelmen towards the end.

    He said: “There was a bit of pressure, but teams will do that to you when you’ve got the attacking threat we’ve got, so we have to be prepared for that.

    “Three points is the main thing today and I think the boys at the back seen it out really well so it’s a good win for us.”

    Speaking about his goal, the winger said: “Like you just said: it was class.

    [pullquote]Three points is the main thing today and I think the boys at the back seen it out really well so it’s a good win for us.[/pullquote]

    “I had been told to keep running between the full-back and the centre-back and Scott’s played a great ball – I think the bit of water on the pitch helped and the keeper came and he’s made up my mind.

    “I just thought ‘I’m going to lift this’ but I was also thinking about Parkhead again.”

    Playing on a park that had recently been reduced in size, the winger admitted the rotation between him and fellow attackers McDonald and Johnson helped to get round the restrictions.

    He said: “Being as small as me the pitch is still massive, but when I’m playing out in the wide area I suppose it would make a bit of a difference but I was interchanging with Scott and Marvin today.”

    He added: “We dealt with it well today though and I definitely think Kilmarnock will beat teams here this season.”

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Rugby Park

    Lionel Ainsworth and Marvin Johnson give Motherwell a winning start to the 2016/17 campaign.

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    Kilmarnock win in Pictures

    Action images from today’s 1-2 win over Kilmarnock in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”kilmarnock060816″]

  • Archive

    McGhee: Good value for the win

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee felt his side were good value for the three points as they won 2-1 against Kilmarnock.

    The Steelmen travelled to Rugby Park on what was a tough afternoon of football littered with injuries and stoppages.

    But moments of class from Lionel Ainsworth and Marvin Johnson shone through and sealed the win for Motherwell on the first day of the league season.

    Speaking to MFC TV, McGhee said: “I thought the first half was fairly straightforward; I thought we deserved the lead and I thought we played well.

    [pullquote] I thought the first half was fairly straightforward; I thought we deserved the lead and I thought we played well.[/pullquote]

    “The second half was interrupted a bit by an awful lot of head injuries and people going down and physio’s going on.”

    He added: “We got the second goal early in the half that gave us that cushion and to lose the goal when we did, they’re going to put us under pressure.”

    Kilmarnock, who saw their manager sent to the stands after 10 minutes, made it a nervy final ten minutes when they pulled a goal back, and McGhee admitted they played well.

    He said: “They worked hard today so you’ve got to give them credit. They worked their socks off in the first-half closing us down and getting up to us, but we showed at times a little bit of composure to get through that and then punch back.

    [pullquote]You’ve got to see games out and defensively I felt we did, the goalkeeper was terrific.[/pullquote]

    He added: “You’ve got to see games out and defensively I felt we did, the goalkeeper was terrific – he took an injury, dislocated his toe and the doc put it back and he got on with it.”

    The pitch at Rugby Park had recently been narrowed and shortened, but the ‘Well manager said it didn’t impact on the game and instead added that the artificial turf plays more of a part.

    He said: “I’m not complaining about the pitch but it does change the nature of the game – it’s a difficult surface.”

    Speaking about the two goals, he added: “I think that’s the standout thing about the game – the two goals.

    [pullquote] I think that’s the standout thing about the game – the two goals.[/pullquote]

    “Lionel’s finish was sublime and Marvin Johnson getting on the end of a fantastic cross from Chris Cadden, a header that was reminiscent of Thierry Henry or Les Ferdinand or any of these great forwards – he’s headed it with such conviction.

    Carl McHugh suffered a bad head injury and had to leave the park just after half-time, and the manager said: “I’m concerned that there’s a chance he won’t be available on Wednesday night, he’s got a horrific gash on the side of his head that the doc has stitched up.

    “But we’ve learned already that Carl McHugh is one of these boys that regardless of that if the doc can stitch it up and put some sort of cover on it, he’ll want to be out there on Wednesday night.”

  • Archive

    Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

     Phil McGhee at Rugby Park

    Goals from Lionel Ainsworth and Marvin Johnson either side of half-time made it a perfect start to the new season for the Steelmen.

    However, having been in control for most of the game, the Fir Park men survived a frantic finale after Martin Wilson pulled a goal back for Kilmarnock.

    ‘Well kicked off the new SPFL season with four players; Richard Tait, Ben Heneghan, Craig Clay and Carl McHugh, making their league debut in claret and Amber. And they made major contributions as the visitors made a confident start.

    With a holding four in midfield, Lionel Ainsworth was deployed through the middle to support lone striker Scott McDonald.

    And with Kilmarnock boasting half a dozen new faces in their line-up, the opening exchanges found both sides trying to find their feet and new teammates on the artificial surface.

    The first chance came ‘Well’s way after seven minutes when prompted by McDonald’s through ball Chris Cadden wriggled into the box but his left foot finish lacked any power.

    Just 12 minutes into the new season Killie boss Lee Clarke was sent to the stand by Craig Thompson just in time to watch a speedy break from Ainsworth set up the unmarked McDonald but he volleyed the ball into the pitch and wide of target.

    Marvin Johnson then had a couple of attempts at goal the first a scorching left foot drive which skimmed narrowly over the bar before he curled a 20 yard free kick wide of Jamie MacDonald’s goal.

    While Motherwell had the bulk of the play in the opening half hour the only threat to their goal came from a Steven Smith free kick which Craig Samson, on his first return to Rugby Park, was happy to watch sail over his cross bar.

    In the 38th minute the Fir Park side almost sneaked the lead with what would have been a bit of a fluke. Clay’s close in drive was on target until it was blocked by Gary Dicker in front of his ‘keeper but the rebound ricocheted off the ‘Well midfielder and was racing over the line until MacDonald made an incredible reflex save – surely one of the stops of the season already.

    There was nothing fortunate when the ‘Well goal did arrive 90 seconds later though. McDonald sent Ainsworth racing towards the box and with the delicate of touches he lifted the ball over the advancing MacDonald and under the ‘keeper’s bar for a quality finish.

    A minute later and with ‘Well pressing for a second Ainsworth found Johnson on the left and his low angled drive was blocked by the ‘keeper’s legs.

    However, within 20 seconds of the restart Johnson made it 2-0 nodding home Richard Tait’s cross to claim his fourth goal of the season and put Mark McGhee’s men in the driving seat.

    The home side immediately sent on Kris Boyd and the veteran striker’s first touch was a bouncing shot which Samson did well to beat away low to his left.

    The Motherwell physios were then overworked as McHugh had to be replaced after a nasty clash of heads with Willie Boyle. Treatment for Samson and McDonald then followed as players tangled and tumbled on the hard artificial surface.

    Killie were then susceptible to the counter attack and after 74 minutes a lightening break saw Ainsworth release Johnson but his sprint from the halfway line was matched by Smith who blocked the threat 8 yards from his goal.

    Three minutes later Boyd came close to pulling a goal back with a terrific free kick but his strike was matched by Samson who threw himself low to his left to turn the ball behind.

    The ‘Well goal was finally breached nine minutes from time when Greg Taylor crossed the ball into a packed box where Martin Smith’s glancing header carried the ball past Samson.

    The Steelmen defended in numbers after that and survived a few nervous moments with the referee under pressure from the home fans waving aside a couple of penalty claims.

    Overall, though, it was a deserved and confident win to take into the Betfred Cup tie at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Lewis Irons at Rugby Park

    A hard-earned three points at Rugby Park but a very welcome start to the season. COYW!

    FULL TIME!

    Kilmarnock 1 – 2 Motherwell

    90+3′ | 1-2

    Heneghan booked for a mistimed challenge on Coulibaly…

    6 minutes added on…..

    87′ | 1-2

    Motherwell sub, Ross MacLean on for Lionel Ainsworth

    81′ | 1-2

    Goal – Killie pull a goal back courtesy of a header from M. Smith.

    79′ | 0-2

    Kilmarnock sub, M. Smith on for Kiltie.

    77′ | 0-2

    Chance for Killie, free-kick from 25 yards…….drilled in by Boyd, beaten clear by Samson. Good save!

    74′ | 0-2

    Very nearly 3!! Johnson uses his blistering pace to get past Smith but his effort is turned wide for a corner.

    Today’s attendance is 4,308.

    Ref ends up doing nothing in the end.

    69′ | 0-2

    Another crazy spell there as Killie’s physios run onto the park without play being stopped then Coulibaly shoves over Samson.

    67′ | 0-2

    What a chance that is as Ainsworth springs the offside trap but can’t get enough on his poke at goal to beat MacDonald.

    66′ | 0-2

    Ainsworth with what looked like a spot of break-dancing there as he tries to clear and is fouled by Smith.

    63′ | 0-2

    Been a busy few minutes for physio @aileen_and

    61′ | 0-2

    Another head knock! This time McDonald is the victim and Smith is booked.

    59′ | 0-2

    More drama as Samson does down after a knock. Initially signalled to be subbed off but will continue.

    56′ | 0-2

    Motherwell sub, McHugh off for Chalmers. ‘Well taking no chances with that head-knock.

    55′ | 0-2

    Strong penalty shout there! Cadden had his man beaten but is hauled down. Ref not interested!!

    51′ | 0-2

    Ouch! Nasty clash of heads there involving McHugh and Smith. The Motherwell man is booed off the pitch and booked, bizarrely.

    48′ | 0-2

    Killie almost with an instant reply but Boyd’s bouncing volley is dealt with by Samson.

    48′ | 0-2

    Kilmarnock sub, MacFadzean off for Boyd

    46′ | 0-2

    Wow! Second half off to a flier! Tait gets down the right and swings in a great ball which JOHNSON heads superbly into the net!!!

    GGOOOOAALLLLL!!

    Johnson gets the second 45 underway. COYW!

    Both sides back out for the second 45

    HALF TIME’ | Kilmarnock 0 – 1 Motherwell

    42′ | 0-1

    Nearly a second! Johnson bursts away and his powerful takes a touch but bounces just wide of the post.

    40′ | 0-1

    WHAT A GOAL!!! Ainsworth is slid in and he nonchalantly chips the ball over MacDonald’s head. Exquisite finish!!

    GGGOOOOAAALLLLL!!!

    39′ | 0-0

    What a save from MacDonald as the ball cannons off Clay from close range but the keeper gets down and saves well.

    35′ | 0-0

    Addison goes close for Killie, heading a corner just over the bar.

    24′ | 0-0

    From that free-kick, Johnson’s delivery is headed away to safety.

    24′ | 0-0

    This time Motherwell get the free-kick after Cadden was blocked by MacFadzean.

    23′ | 0-0

    Ainsworth wrestled to the ground but somehow the decision goes against him.

    …..not far away! His curling strike lands on the roof of the net.

    19′ | 0-0

    Chance for Killie as Smith stands over a free-kick some 30 yards out……

    17′ | 0-0

    Ainsworth wins a free-kick about 20 yards out which Johnson curls just wide of the post

    15′ | 0-0

    Close! Johnson with a bullet of a shot from 25 yards which goes narrowly over the bar.

    13′ | 0-0

    Chance!! Ainsworth uses his pace to burst clear and clips in a ball to McDonald who drags his volley just past!

    12′ | 0-0

    Some good possession play ends with Clay’s header which lacks power and direction to trouble MacDonald

    10′ | 0-0

    Bit of drama here as Lee Clark has been sent to the stand already.

    8′ | 0-0

    First corner of the game goes Killie’s way….Hawkshaw’s delivery is headed clear by McHugh.

    7′ | 0-0

    Strong overlapping run there from Cadden gets himself into the box but Addison does enough to intercept his cross.

    4′ | 0-0

    First sniff of goal for Killie, but Coulibaly’s shot from 20 yards is harmlessly high and wide.

    Kick-off! Coulibaly gets the action underway.

    Out come both sides, it’s claret and amber for ‘Well and blue and white for Killie.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:

    “I thought the first half was fairly straightforward; I thought we deserved the lead and I thought we played well.

    “The second half was interrupted a bit by an awful lot of head injuries and people going down and physio’s going on.

    “We got the second goal early in the half that gave us that cushion and to lose the goal when we did, they’re going to put us under pressure.”

    Kilmarnock  Manager  Lee Clark:

     

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”279″]