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    Two December fixtures switched

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    Partick Thistle: A closer look

  • Archive

    Clay: I’m loving my football

  • Archive

    McGhee: We have confidence

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    Thomson in charge at Firhill

  • Archive

    Motherwell Inside #3: Jim Hollman

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Hamilton

  • Archive

    Under 20s win in pictures

  • Archive

    Craigan: Players deserve great plaudits

  • Archive

    Hamilton U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

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    Two December fixtures switched

    Two of Motherwell’s December games will be covered live by both Sky Sports and BT Sport.

    The match against Celtic, scheduled for Saturday 3rd December, will go ahead on the same day, but will kick-off at 12.15pm, live on Sky.

    The home match against Aberdeen, scheduled for the Saturday 24th December, will now be played on Friday 23rd December, 7.45pm KO, live on BT Sport.

    Meanwhile, Motherwell’s match with Aberdeen at Pittodrie next month (22nd October) will be cancelled and rearranged due to the Dons’ participation in the Betfred Cup Semi Final against Greenock Morton. No new date has, as yet, been confirmed for this match.

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    Partick Thistle: A closer look

    The Fir Parkers travel to Glasgow to take on Partick Thistle tomorrow afternoon, looking to follow up on last weekend’s impressive derby win.

    Mark McGhee will be keen to string together consecutive victories and gain momentum, with his side now in the top six of the Premiership table.

    But with just one victory at Firhill since 1997 for the ‘Well, Saturday’s match is likely to be a tough test.

    Speaking to the press yesterday, McGhee touched on the fact that in this tightly contested division, every match is expected to be a challenge.

    He said: “It’ll be a difficult game and I say this all the time, even with the Hamilton game where we played very well in the first half, they were just as good as us in the second half.

    “It was the same with Ross County the week before and Dundee the week before that and I’m sure it will be the same with Thistle – there won’t be much between us.

    “On the day you can suddenly gel and get the half-hour that we got on Saturday or you get one player that plays exceptionally well and they have players that can play exceptionally well on the day as well.

    “What we do have is a bit of confidence going in to it on the back of last week and hopefully that can get us another result which would be great.”

    [pullquote]What we do have is a bit of confidence going in to it on the back of last week and hopefully that can get us another result which would be great.[/pullquote]

    McGhee knows that Partick can threaten any team in the league on their day, and added that their slow start to the season isn’t worth paying attention to.

    He said: “They have good attacking options, they have good movement, they have a variety of abilities and skills and pace, they have a bit of football as well.

    “They can be a good team on their day so we have to go there expecting the best Partick Thistle.”

    Thistle boss Alan Archibald will be keen to push on from a positive result at the weekend too, after he watched his side pick-up an important point away to Kilmarnock.

    A late equaliser from Liam Lindsay secured the draw for the Jags, but it wasn’t enough to lift them from the foot of the table, as Inverness picked up a point against Celtic.

    A win for the home-side tomorrow could lift them as high as seventh, but a win for the ‘Well could see McGhee’s men potentially surge to second.

    Midfielder Craig Cay has enjoyed a solid start to his career with Motherwell so far, nailing down his place in the starting eleven and impressing in every game he has played in.

    But despite his form, the Englishman believes he is just reaching his physical best now.

    With competition for a spot in the team surely to rise over the coming weeks with the return of Carl McHugh and Lee Lucas picking up fitness, Craig Clay’s performances will be interesting to watch – starting tomorrow.

    Speaking to the press yesterday morning, the 24-year-old said: “I had a bit-part pre-season in terms of fitness and I feel like I’m just coming up to my best now, but in terms of the games so far I’m loving it to be honest.

    “The way we play football – trying to get it down and play football – that suits me and I’m loving every minute.”

    He added: “The majority of games, give or take the Celtic game, are quite close games and one goal here or there normally nicks it and you have to be concentrated for every single minute.

    “Down South in the Conference there’s a lot of games where you go in to it and it’s just hoof ball where it goes over your head as a midfielder, so I like it when you can get it down, play it through the midfield and play a bit more.”

    [pullquote]I had a bit-part pre-season in terms of fitness and I feel like I’m just coming up to my best now, but in terms of the games so far I’m loving it to be honest.[/pullquote]

    Clay eluded to the level of confidence among the squad during the press conference, where he also touched on the fact that a big win last weekend can be the catalyst for further victories.

    He said: “We already knew before Saturday that we’ve been a bit unlucky with a few of the results, like the Dundee and Rangers games.

    “We know we’ve got a good team but obviously with some players coming back, like Moulty on Saturday getting four goals on his first start since coming back, we have a confident squad.”

    He added: “That win on Saturday sets us up well for this Saturday – if we go and win that we can stay in the top six so hopefully we can go there, put in a good performance and get the three points.”

    Manager Alan Archibald has been in charge of Partick Thistle since 2013, when the Glaswegian club were in the Championship.

    But after overseeing their return to the top-flight, the Scotsman has kept Thistle there ever since.

    As a player, Archibald made over 350 appearances for the club, in a career spanning 17 years and just two clubs.

    A legend among the supporters, the manager will be hopeful to kick-start the season this weekend.

    A legend among the supporters, the manager will be hopeful to kick-start the season this weekend.

    The Jags finished 9th last term but have made a slow start to the current campaign.

    Currently bottom of the Premiership, the incentive to move up the table will be a big factor in tomorrow’s league match for the hosts.

    The last trip to Firhill ended in a 1-0 victory for the home side, thanks to a deflected strike from Steven Lawless.

    But few Partick fans will need reminded of the last time Motherwell won at the Jags home ground, when a James McFadden inspired Motherwell stormed to an incredible 5-1 victory.

    With a threatening, creative attack, Partick will be a tough test for the Steelmen tomorrow.

    But Motherwell will be looking to extend their run of form having now gone three league games undefeated.

    A busy summer window for Thistle has seen the additions of the likes of Ziggy Gordon, Danny Devine and Adam Barton.

    But it’s the signing of Chris Erskine from Dundee United that is perhaps the most exciting for Jags fans, with the midfielder already among the goals this season with two goals and an assist in five appearances.

    The 29-year-old Scotsman was signed on a free from the Championship side and is a main attacking threat for the home side.

    Last seasons top-scorer Kris Doolan is yet to get off the mark this term and once he does, manager Alan Archibald will be hopeful his goal-scoring form returns.

    Partick will be without club captain Abdul Osman, who was sent-off against Kilmarnock after picking up two bookings, meaning Adam Barton or Sean Welsh will step in for the midfielder.

  • Archive

    Clay: I’m loving my football

    Midfielder Craig Clay feels he is getting up to his peak fitness after enjoying a solid start to his debut season in Claret and Amber.

    Ahead of the Fir Parkers trip to Firhill to face Partick Thistle, the 24-year-old spoke to the press where he eluded to the level of confidence among the squad.

    The Englishman touched on the fact that a big win last weekend can be the catalyst for further victories.

    He said: “We already knew before Saturday that we’ve been a bit unlucky with a few of the results, like the Dundee and Rangers games.

    “We know we’ve got a good team but obviously with some players coming back, like Moulty on Saturday getting four goals on his first start since coming back, we have a confident squad.

    [pullquote]That win on Saturday sets us up well for this Saturday – if we go and win that we can stay in the top six so hopefully we can go there, put in a good performance and get the three points.[/pullquote]

    He added: “That win on Saturday sets us up well for this Saturday – if we go and win that we can stay in the top six so hopefully we can go there, put in a good performance and get the three points.”

    When asked about his own performance and his opinion of the game in Scotland, Clay said: “I had a bit-part pre-season in terms of fitness and I feel like I’m just coming up to my best now, but in terms of the games so far I’m loving it to be honest.

    “The way we play football – trying to get it down and play football – that suits me and I’m loving every minute.”

    He added: “The majority of games, give or take the Celtic game, are quite close games and one goal here or there normally nicks it and you have to be concentrated for every single minute.

    [pullquote]I had a bit-part pre-season in terms of fitness and I feel like I’m just coming up to my best now, but in terms of the games so far I’m loving it to be honest.[/pullquote]

    “Down South in the Conference there’s a lot of games where you go in to it and it’s just hoof ball where it goes over your head as a midfielder so I like it when you can get it down, play it through the midfield and play a bit more.”

    In the Conference, Clay played alongside or against a few familiar faces around the training ground at Motherwell – including Richard Tait, Ben Heneghan and Louis Moult.

    He also struck up a good friendship with new signing Ryan Bowman, and Clay admitted the striker is a great addition to the squad.

    He said: “I played with Ryan Bowman at York and as you can tell he’s a big strong lad, he’s a unit and he’s very good in the air and once he gets off the mark I think he’ll be very hard to stop.”

  • Archive

    McGhee: We have confidence

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee admits that Saturday’s clash with Partick Thistle “can’t come quick enough” on the back of an impressive victory last weekend.

    The Steelmen notched a 4-2 victory over Hamilton at Fir Park on Saturday but now face a tough trip to Firhill Stadium in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Speaking to the press this morning, the manager explained that his side will expect a difficult game, but he is hopeful of another big three points.

    He said: “When you get a result like we did last week in an important game like that, the next game can’t come quick enough.

    “It’s always an opportunity – when you win one game then another it always accelerates your progress.”

    He added: “It’ll be a difficult game and I say this all the time, even with the Hamilton game where we played very well in the first half, they were just as good as us in the second half.

    [pullquote]What we do have is a bit of confidence going in to it on the back of last week and hopefully that can get us another result which would be great.[/pullquote]

    “It was the same with Ross County the week before and Dundee the week before that and I’m sure it will be the same with Thistle – there won’t be much between us.

    “On the day you can suddenly gel and get the half-hour that we got on Saturday or you get one player that plays exceptionally well and they have players that can play exceptionally well on the day as well.

    “What we do have is a bit of confidence going in to it on the back of last week and hopefully that can get us another result which would be great.”

    McGhee knows that Partick can threaten any team in the league on their day, and added that their slow start to the season isn’t worth paying attention to.

    He said: “They have good attacking options, they have good movement, they have a variety of abilities and skills and pace, they have a bit of football as well.

    “They can be a good team on their day so we have to go there expecting the best Partick Thistle.”

    [pullquote]We’re not here to entertain by passing, we’re here to entertain by scoring. Yes, we passed the ball well but we passed it with a purpose and that’s the most important thing.[/pullquote]

    The Steelmen gained their fair share of plaudits last weekend, especially during a first half of attractive football.

    He said: “We’re not here to entertain by passing, we’re here to entertain by scoring. Yes, we passed the ball well but we passed it with a purpose and that’s the most important thing.

    “We passed it going forward, we passed it to make chances, we passed it to get in to areas of the pitch that would allow us to make opportunities and that’s the important thing.”

    When asked about any developments regarding team news, the manager explained: “Lee Lucas had a game at the beginning of the week and so did Luka Belić, so they’re getting closer to being ones that I would trust to put on.

    “Kieran Kennedy and Jacob Blyth are training this morning but it’s the first they’ve trained with us since they’ve been out so they’ve got a wee bit to go yet before they’ll be included.”

  • Archive

    Thomson in charge at Firhill

    Referee for Saturday’s league clash against Partick Thistle at Firhill Stadium is Craig Thomson.

    The 43-year old takes charge of his second Motherwell fixture of the season, after the 2016/17 league opener against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

    A wonderful dinked goal from Lionel Ainsworth and a header from recently departed Marvin Johnson was enough for Mark McGhee’s side to get off to a winning start.

    Last season, the official took charge on three occasions.

    And he was somewhat of an unlucky charm as the club slumped to defeat on all three occasions when he was in charge.

    The first two fixtures were away clashes against St Johnstone and Hamilton, with 2-1 and 1-0 losses respectively.

    The last time Thomson took charge was in November last year when the Steelmen travelled up to Inverness, losing 3-1.

    The official oversaw a twice taken penalty just before the interval and it shifted the balance of what was a very even match.

    His record in charge of the Steelmen is a bit of a mix bag with 16 wins from 46 matches. There have been 21 defeats and nine draws too.

    Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second-half.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 65 and conceded 67.

    163 players have gone into the book, 82 were wearing claret and amber, while seven players, including former and current captains Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley, have been dismissed. The most recent was Stephen McManus in the away defeat to Inverness.

    Craig will be ably assisted by David McGeachie and Alan Mulvanny; with David Munro on fourth official duties.

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    Motherwell Inside #3: Jim Hollman

    In the third instalment of the monthly Motherwell Inside feature, MFC TV catches up with Goalkeeper Coach Jim Hollman.

    The expert talks about his numerous responsibilities; including video analysis, overseeing the youth academies and he sheds some light on his top of the range techniques and equipment too.

    For exclusive content, subscribe to MFC TV’s You Tube channel.

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    TV: Highlights from Hamilton

    Extended highlights from the Superseal Stadium where a Ross MacLean double gave the Under 20s a 1-2 win over Hamilton Accies.

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    Under 20s win in pictures

    Images from today’s 1-2 win over Hamilton Accies U20s  in the Development League.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”acciesU20s190916″]

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    Craigan: Players deserve great plaudits

    Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan said his players deserve credit after a Lanarkshire Derby win away to Hamilton Accies.

    Speaking to MFC TV after his side recorded a 2-1 win over Hamilton Accies in the Development League, the former ‘Well skipper talked of a good spell for the club after both the first-team and U20s overcame their close rivals in the space of a few days.

    He said: “There’s different ways of winning games, I felt last week it was our forward players who won us the game with the way they created chances in the final third, but I feel this week at times we had to defend.

    “In the first half it felt like they had ten or twelve corners that we had to defend and we did it. I thought David Ferguson was terrific and Barry Maguire, who had a tough game a few weeks ago against Hibs and then came in last week at left back and was solid, but today he grew as the game went on and tonight our defenders can take great plaudits tonight for their performance.”

    “We’re disappointed to concede the goal because we all feel we did enough to keep the clean sheet, but overall I’m delighted.”

    A brace from Ross MacLean either side of Ronan Hughes goal was enough to claim three points and move up to second in the development league.

    Craigan added: “Coming to play Hamilton is tough, you know when you come here that you’re in for a real challenge and you have to go and compete.

    “It probably took us ten to fifteen minutes to get a hold of the ball and it was a tough opening spell for us to get through.”

    [pullquote]It’s been a good week and I think a lot of people deserve plaudits and credit, the players work hard and put the effort in, so three points is great and I think well deserved.[/pullquote]

    The Northern-Irishman felt his players have deserved the results after putting in the hard work on the training ground.

    He said: “The boys come in everyday and work hard, they have to have a target of what they’re going for and there has to be an appetite and an aim in football to keep players going so to be up the top of the table at this stage of the season is nice, I’m not saying we’ll stay there, but it’s a nice reward for the players efforts.”

    The win was made sweeter due to the rivalry between the clubs – something Craigan admits is rewarding for his team.

    He said: “It’s not the biggest rivalry in the world or not the most important in some people’s eyes, but I always think it’s nice. Sometimes you play in games and it adds a little bit of extra spice to it.

    “The first-team were excellent on Saturday – Louis Moult was great and the manager said to the young players after the game on Saturday that he saw his first-team paying the way we did last week against Dundee United and I think the first half on Saturday is the way I would say our U20s try to play – moving the ball, creating chances and being good on the ball.”

    He added: “It’s been a good week and I think a lot of people deserve plaudits and credit, the players work hard and put the effort in, so three points is great and I think well deserved.”

  • Archive

    Hamilton U20s 1 – 2 Motherwell U20s

    The Under 20s followed in the footsteps of the first-team counterparts, recording a well-deserved win over Hamilton tonight.

    A Ross MacLean brace either side of a goal from Ronan Hughes was enough for Stephen Craigan’s side, who claimed their second consecutive league win after overcoming Dundee United 3-0 last week and moved into second in the Development League table.

    It was ultimately a moment of class from MacLean that secured the win, during a quiet encounter at the SuperSeal stadium.

    Luka Belić made his first appearance in Claret and Amber since his summer loan switch from West Ham. Lee Lucas was also in the starting line-up for Stephen Craigan, who was looking to build consistency from his side’s victory over Dundee United last week.

    The Welsh midfielder replaced David Turnbull who was one of the two changes from the side that won 3-0 at the Excelsior stadium six days ago.

    In-form forward Dylan Mackin led the line and midway through the first half the game came alive thanks to the striker.

    A long ball over the top looked certain to run through to Hamilton keeper Robbie Thomson, but he retreated back in to goal allowing Mackin the opportunity to rush on to collect. Keeping his composure, the big centre-forward looked up and fed a perfect ball across goal for MacLean to rush in and tap home.

    Hamilton’s Sean McKirdy was forced to leave the field after suffering a painful knock, he was replaced by Jamie Boyd.

    In an otherwise quiet half, the Fir Parkers went close to doubling their lead with a couple of minutes left in the opening 45. From a free-kick in a dangerous position, won after Accies trialist handled the ball, Dom Thomas curled an effort agonisingly wide of the far post.

    The second half started brightly for the youngsters, with Lucas playing a brilliant through ball in to the path of Mackin, who looked to replicate his pass for the first goal, but it was just narrowly beyond Tom Fry at the back post.

    Looking to add to his first, MacLean then cut in from the right flank and attempted to strike at goal from outside the box, but his left footed effort rose over the bar.

    A few minutes later, Hamilton’s Lewis Ferguson struck narrowly over the bar from range and down the opposite end the Steelmen won a corner. From the resulting delivery, Mackin headed narrowly wide from eight yards. It was a great chance for the striker to double his sides lead.

    The home side did eventually level through Ronan Hughes who got the faintest of touches on a delivery into the box to head bundle home from close range..

    However, with just under fifteen minutes remaining, the game changed as the hosts were reduced to ten men. Lewis Ferguson was shown a straight red card for a lunging challenge on Fry, with the player having few complaints as he was given his marching orders.

    Sub Turnbull tested Thomson in the 80th minute, curling a left-footed shot towards the bottom corner after being played in by MacLean, but the keeper gathered comfortably after the youngster couldn’t get quite enough behind it.

    Craigan’s side could smell blood and thought they had the second when Mackin’s low shot was somehow blocked off the line before being gathered gratefully by Thomson.

    However, with seven minutes left, Hamilton’s resistance was shattered thanks to some brilliant play from MacLean.

    The number seven rushed down the right-wing, playing a neat one-two with Turnbull before curling a beautiful shot into the far corner; a real moment of brilliance which looked set to gift Craigan’s side with all three points.

    The manager then made a couple of changes over the minutes that followed, with Mackin being replaced by Falconer and Hastie coming on for Lucas.

    And it didn’t take long for young Falconer to get involved, beating two men down the left before being hacked to the ground to win a free-kick. The delivery from Fry was just over-hit and went out for a goal kick.

    It was the last real action of the game, as the Steelmen Under 20s ran out victors for the second consecutive match in South Lanarkshire.

    Motherwell: Morrison, Lucas (Hastie – 84mins), McMillan, Maguire, Ferguson, Campbell, MacLean, Belić (Turnbull – 46mins), Mackin (Falconer – 83mins), Thomas, Fry

    Subs Not Used: Trialist, Scott, Livingstone