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    Madden in charge against Dons

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    TV: Highlights from Links Park

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    Craigan: Youngsters deserve credit

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    Aberdeen U20s 1 – 9 Motherwell U20s

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    Dons await ‘Well U20s

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

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    St Johnstone draw in pictures

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    McGhee: We could have nicked a win

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    St Johnstone 1-1 Motherwell

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    Midfielder Turnbull extends contract

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    Madden in charge against Dons

    The referee for Friday night’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Aberdeen is Bobby Madden.

    The match will be Bobby’s second in charge of the Steelmen this campaign – after the 38-year-old took charge of the 3-0 loss away to Hearts last month.

    The referee took charge on five occasions last term too.

    The first was the second game of the season and the first at Fir Park which ended in a disappointing 2-0 loss to Dundee United.

    The official then took charge of a further four matches in the 2015/16 season – all away from home.

    The second match Madden oversaw was a 1-0 win against Kilmarnock, when a late strike from Louis Moult secured all three points for the Fir Parkers.

    The ‘Well met Madden next at Celtic Park, on a memorable day for Mark McGhee’s men. Nir Bitton gave Celtic the lead before Moult equalised and then fired Motherwell in to the lead from the penalty spot.

    The English striker enjoys scoring when Madden is in charge, as he bagged another goal the next time the Scot was in charge. His strike away to St Johnstone wasn’t enough for the Steelmen though, as the hosts won 2-1.

    The last time Madden officiated a ‘Well match though ended with a disappointing 4-1 loss against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen reads six wins; twelve defeats and one draw from nineteen games. The Fir Parkers have netted 25 times, and conceded 39. In those nineteen games, he has booked 50 players, 24 of those cautions flashed at players wearing Claret and Amber.

    Three players have been sent for an early shower, Anthony Stokes for a lunging tackle on Keith Lasley at Celtic Park last season, Stuart Carswell – who came off the bench against Partick and picked up two yellows – and Keith Lasley in the last match Madden was in charge for, after the skipper picked up a late red card for a late challenge on Kenny McLean.

    Bobby will be ably assisted by Willie Conquer and Jordan Stokoe, with Nick Walsh on Fourth Official duties.

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    TV: Highlights from Links Park

    Extended highlights from Links Park as the Under 20s thrash Aberdeen 1-9 with goals from Falconer, Mackin, Watt (2), Hastie (2), Campbell, Armstong and  Scott.

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    Craigan: Youngsters deserve credit

    U20s boss Stephen Craigan admitted that he urges his players to be “relentless in their pursuit of success” after he watched his side storm to a 1-9 victory away to Aberdeen.

    And despite all his hard work with the youngsters, the Northern Irishman insisted his players deserve the credit.

    Speaking to MFC TV after the match, Craigan said: “These kids deserve a lot of credit, they’ve achieved and achieved and continue to achieve, and in a sense have at times punched above where they should be in the sense that there are bigger clubs with bigger resources.

    “But they keep coming back and they keep pushing on and from the very start of this season, they came back in after winning the Youth Cup and kicked on.

    He added: “Yes we’ll have set backs and when we lose games I’ll get frustrated and there will be fall outs but the message that we’ve given to the boys over the last few weeks is ‘can they take care of themselves?’, ‘can they all improve on two or three things each?’, and I felt today there was a lot of stuff from the players that improved dramatically – whether its pass choice, whether it’s body strength, whether it’s willingness to run in behind.”

    Craigan admitted that his entire team performed at an outstanding level today, but he touched on one player who he felt took on board the advice offered to him in recent weeks.

    He said: “With big Dylan Mackin, I’m constantly on his case and I sat down with him yesterday and I told him I was going to be on his case consistently because I want him to be a first team player at this football club and there’s things you have to do to be first team quality.

    “You have to fight, you have to scrap you’ve got to do the dirty work, you have to be willing to run in behind even when you think you won’t win the ball – today he done all of that and he was an absolute handful.”

    With a number of wonder saves from Dons keeper David Craddock and some goal line clearances too, the scoreline could have been even bigger.

    Craigan said: “We had chance after chance and I think their keeper actually played quite well.

    “Over the piece I’m delighted, I wouldn’t have thought 9-1 before the game though. I was confident we would come here and win after last week’s win against Rangers and we’ve trained well ahead of this game.

    “Today’s result came as a surprise, it was a pleasant surprise and I’m pleased for everybody.”

    The boss may have seen his team go in to the break four goals ahead, but Craigan admitted he wanted to make sure they didn’t slack off.

    He said: “The message I gave at half time was be relentless in your pursuit of success, whether it was to win the game 4-0, or to go on and add more or to keep a clean sheet – be relentless, do not let up, you don’t win points after 45 minutes.”

    The result and performance was even more impressive due to the fact that Craigan hadn’t called on a single first team player – fielding a team with an average age of 17.

    He said: “Apart from Tom Fry, every player on the park came through the youth set up at the club and at the end of the match we had three players under the age of 17 on the park, one of those boys, Kyle McDonald, making his debut.

    “It’s extremely pleasing and exciting as a coach to watch these boys develop and we are always passing these boys on to the manager who never hesitates to put them in the first team if he thinks they are ready and it’s a great club for these boys to develop.”

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    Aberdeen U20s 1 – 9 Motherwell U20s

    Motherwell U20s put in an outstanding performance as they put nine goals past Aberdeen away from home this afternoon.

    Goals from all over the park put the Dons to the sword at Links Park, Montrose, where the young Steelmen were virtually unplayable and ran out 1-9 winners.

    The youngsters got off to a strong start in the opening 20 minutes, and could have had three or four.

    Dylan Falconer had the ball in the net after 15 minutes but the linesman’s flag cut celebrations short as the youngster was adjudged to have strayed too deep when Dylan Mackin’s low cross allowed him to tap home.

    Three minutes later, some outstanding play by Tom Fry on the edge of the box nearly produced a wonder goal. The midfielder received the ball from Jake Hastie before playing a neat one-two with Falconer in and around a number of Aberdeen defenders, which created enough space for him to strike a vicious effort on goal, but Aberdeen stopper David Craddock produced a brilliant save to palm it wide.

    Less than a minute later, Craigan’s side should have doubled their lead when Hastie pinched the ball off Craig Storie, allowing the youngster a one-on-one opportunity, but he hit it too straight and Craddock stood up when called upon to pull his side out of danger by spreading himself to block.

    It was all Motherwell at Links Park, with Craigan’s youngsters looking hungry for victory, and two minutes later it was so nearly 0-2. Mackin rose superbly to head at goal from a corner, but his effort was cleared agonisingly off the line.

    However, a minute later it was 0-2.

    Falconer was involved again as he nipped in to intercept Joe MacPherson’s stray pass, and he selflessly squared for the unmarked Mackin to take a touch and pass it neatly beyond Craddock.

    The game settled a little after the second goal as the Steelmen looked comfortable on the ball and also in defence, limiting Aberdeen to virtually no shots on target.

    But when Hastie picked the ball up out on the left, his trickery and pace was too much for Omoluken who could only hack the midfielder to stop him racing into the box. From the resulting free kick, Fry’s delivery was tapped beyond Craddock to give the Steelmen a resounding three goal lead with five minutes of the first half still to play.

    But they weren’t finished there, and neither was right back Watt, who headed beyond Craddock for a brace and Motherwell’s fourth on the stroke of half time.

    It seemed like Aberdeen were in dire need of a break but even at the start of the second half the Steelmen didn’t let up.

    An outrageous ball from Mackin carved Aberdeen apart and Hastie, on the same page as the forward, latched on to the pass, took a touch and passed it beyond Craddock from a tight angle.

    Two minutes later and it was six for the visiting Fir Parkers.

    Hastie had two in two minutes after a free kick fired in to the box was touched down by Mackin and Hastie rifled it high into the far top corner.

    Jordan Armstrong, who had been solid at the back all afternoon, got involved at the other end of the park when he struck low past Craddock to make it seven for the visitors.

    Down the other end though, the young defender conceded a penalty for a soft bit of contact in the box and Scott Wright stepped up to bag a consolation goal for the hosts and snatch Morrison’s clean sheet away from him.

    However, Craigan’s side responded immediately as Allan Campbell prodded beyond Craddock following a ball in to the box. Aberdeen had struggled to deal with them all afternoon.

    With two minutes remaining, substitute James Scott was picked out by a stunning pass from Barry Maguire over the top. The young forward beat his man and fired brilliantly in to the top corner.

    It was the final bit of action from an action packed afternoon where Craigan’s youngsters were unstoppable.

    The scale of the achievement is summed up by the fact that the average age of the starting eleven was just 17 years of age.


    Motherwell: Morrison, Watt, Livingstone, Maguire, Armstrong, Campbell, Fry, Turnbull, Hastie (Agyeman, ’75), Falconer (Scott, ’68), Mackin (K. McDonald, ’85)

    Unused subs: Pettigrew

  • Archive

    Dons await ‘Well U20s

    Motherwell U20s take on Aberdeen U20s tomorrow afternoon in the Development League as Stephen Craigan’s youngsters look to build on an impressive victory over an in-from Rangers side last week.

    First half goals from Jake Hastie and David Turnbull secured all three points and despite a much better Rangers performance in the second half, the Steelmen held strong for a much deserved 2-1 victory.

    Stephen Craigan named a young team to face the Glaswegians, with Dom Thomas the only over-age Steelman on the park.

    And ahead of the league outing against Aberdeen, midfielder Turnbull, fresh on the back of penning a two-and-a-half-year deal, will be keen to see his form in front of goal continue, with four to his name in his last three matches in all competitions.

    Aberdeen, on the other hand, come in to tomorrow’s Development League clash tenth in the table and on the back of a 0-2 victory against Hearts.

    Goals from Connor McLennan and Bruce Anderson brought an end to the Dons poor run of three straight defeats and will leave the Northern youngsters hungry to follow that up with three points tomorrow.

    The match, kicking off at 2pm, will be played at Glebe Park, Brechin and all the action can be followed live on Twitter @MotherwellFC and also on Snapchat – MotherwellFC

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    TV: Highlights from McDiarmid Park

    Extended highlights from McDiarmid Park as Zander Clark’s early own goal is cancelled out by Chris Kane’s second half goal earning ‘Well a point away from home.

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    St Johnstone draw in pictures

    Images from today’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”stjohnstone171216″]

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    McGhee: We could have nicked a win

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee felt his side could have won the match as they drew 1-1 with St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership this afternoon.

    The manager, who felt his side had the better chances and perhaps could have won the match, admitted a point was a good result against tough opponents.

    Speaking to MFC TV after the match, McGhee, who saw out the final match of his touchline ban, spoke of his happiness at seeing his side extend their unbeaten run to two matches.

    He said: “Against Kilmarnock we got a draw, then of course there was that ten minutes against Aberdeen, then a draw here today too.

    “I think at half time we wouldn’t have taken a draw but coming here is a difficult place to come at this moment in time – they’re having a good season, they work hard, they put you under pressure and they did that in the second half.”

    [pullquote]Coming here is a difficult place to come at this moment in time – they’re having a good season, they work hard, they put you under pressure and they did that in the second half.[/pullquote]

    He added: “The second half was scrappy from our point of view and I think we had lost a wee bit from our trip midweek.

    “Scott McDonald, Stephen McManus and Chris Cadden haven’t really trained flat out this week and I think that showed in the second half as we dropped off and we didn’t have the energy to get up the park like we normally do.”

    A big decision from referee Willie Collum could have changed the Steelmen’s fortunes – but the official waved play on despite Shaughnessy’s blatant hand ball in the box.

    And the ‘Well boss admitted that while a point may have been fair, his side were the ones who could have snatched the win.

    He said: “A point in the end I think was a decent point because we were good in the first half and equally the second half was quite hard work.

    [pullquote]It could have gone the other way as well, and I’m comfortable in the sense that out of all the chances if anybody could have nicked it it was us.[/pullquote]

    “We were playing with young Ferguson as our left centre-back and he’s naturally a right-sided player, Jack McMillan was at left-back and left-wing back and he’s a right back.”

    He added: “These were forced upon us and I think to come somewhere as difficult as this and get a draw is a good thing.

    “It could have gone the other way as well, and I’m comfortable in the sense that out of all the chances if anybody could have nicked it it was us.”

    Looking ahead to Friday night’s clash with Aberdeen, McGhee said: “I think Friday night is a great game for us now and we got a little flavour of Aberdeen earlier this week when the game was abandoned.

    “I think we looked a match for them so we can look forward to Friday night’s match with anticipation.”

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    St Johnstone 1-1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Motherwell extended their unbeaten run to two matches after drawing 1-1 with St Johnstone this afternoon in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    An early own-goal from Saints keeper Zander Clark was cancelled out by an equally fortunate goal from forward Chris Kane as the two sides played out for a point at McDiarmind Park.

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee named one change to the side which returned early from the trip to Aberdeen midweek, recalling youngster Jack McMillan to the side in place of forward Ryan Bowman.

    Tommy Wright named two changes, with Chris Millar and Tam Scobbie replacing Steven Anderson and Liam Craig.

    A couple of early corners led to a couple of half chances for the hosts, with Murray Davidson heading narrowly over the bar shortly after Brian Easton had a header deflected wide.

    The Fir Parkers grew in to the game and started enjoying spells of possession in the middle of the park – looking to threaten with the pace of Chris Cadden and the overlapping runs of Richard Tait down the right flank.

    Sure enough, in the tenth minute the Steelmen took the lead and it came from a ball in from Tait. In-form Louis Moult fizzed a superb ball out wide to the marauding full-back who took a touch before whipping in a low cross which Zander Clark couldn’t deal with and turned into his own net.

    Craig Clay had a half-chance to open his goal-scoring account in Claret and Amber when the ball dropped for him on the edge of the box, but his effort flew wildly off target in the 20th minute.

    Craig Samson in the Motherwell goal was being well protected by his defence in the opening half hour, with Ben Heneghan in particular throwing his body in front of a number of attempts on goal from the Perth side.

    Keith Lasley picked out forward Scott McDonald in the middle of the park with a neat chipped pass, and some clever work from the Aussie forced the foul and allowed Mark McGhee’s men a good chance from a set piece.

    And McDonald had the ball in the back of the net following the cross, only for the linesman’s flag to cut any form of celebration short.

    Clay seemed to be in the mood for a goal, with the midfielder linking up superbly with Moult and McDonald before trying his luck from 25-yards, but his low effort didn’t trouble Clark who watched on as it went wide.

    A golden opportunity went amiss for the ‘Well when Cadden beat his man and got to the byline, but instead of firing a low cross the youngster lifted his cross and Saints managed to head clear.

    Motherwell were on the up and could have bagged a second and again it was a great chance carved from down the right flank. Moult fed a delightful ball over the top to the advancing Tait, who chopped back on to his left foot to get past his marker and tee up McDonald, but his dummy was read and Joe Shaughnessy managed to clear.

    A phenomenal save from Craig Samson on the stroke of half time ensured the Steelmen went in to the break with their lead intact. The stopper got down well to palm Steven MacLean’s goal bound header around his post.

    The second half got off on a similar foot to the first, with neither side forcing too many chances and both keepers fairly quiet until around the hour mark.

    A blatant handball decision should have given the Steelmen a glorious opportunity from the penalty spot when Lee Lucas got up to battle in the air with St Johnstone’s Shaughnessy. The defender’s hand denied the ‘Well midfielder’s header from heading towards goal but referee Willie Collum ignored the claims.

    A few minutes later the hosts drew level through Steven MacLean, when a deflected shot trundled in to the path of the striker, whose initial shot was tremendously saved by Samson but came ricocheting back off the player and in to the empty net.

    McGhee made two changes in relatively quick succession – withdrawing David Ferguson for Lee Lucas as he changed to a back four, and then replaced Lasley with Lionel Ainsworth as his side pushed for a winning goal in a delicately poised match.

    St Johnstone replaced Millar with Paul Paton with just over 20 minutes remaining and not long after, Moult went in to the referee’s book when he was adjudged to have impeded Shaughnessy when attacking the ball.

    Down the other end of the park, a golden opportunity was created for Blair Alston who tried to stroke neatly past Samson inside the box but the ‘Well stopper produced a tremendous save to keep the game level.

    Saints made their second change when they brought off Chris Kane for Graham Cummins and a couple of minutes later, it looked like the Steelmen were set to grab all three points when McDonald skipped past his man and slipped in Moult, but the forwards curling effort from an angle wouldn’t have counted if it snuck inside the post due to the linesman’s flag.

    In a nervy final few seconds, the fourth official indicated an additional four minutes was to be added at McDiarmid Park.

    Motherwell won a free kick when Ainsworth was thrown to the floor by Richard Foster, which resulted in a yellow card. The following set play was tossed in to the danger area, and a few loose headers eventually led to the home side clearing the danger and the two sides settling for a point apiece.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at McDiarmid Park


    FT: St Johnstone 1 – 1 Motherwell #SJFCvMFC

    90′ | 1-1
    There will be 4 minutes added on.

    89′ | 1-1
    Foster booked for hauling down Ainsworth as he broke away

    87′ | 1-1
    Looked like a glorious chance there for Moult as McDonald slides him in but its inches wide of the target and the flag went up

    86′ | 1-1
    Ball seems to take an eternity to fall out the sky to McDonald who opts for the first time volley but its over the bar.

    84′ | 1-1
    St Johnstone sub, Cummins on for Kane.

    83′ | 1-1
    Chance for Alston but Samson denies him with a great save as he burst through on goal.

    81′ | 1-1
    Final Motherwell change, Bowman on for McMillan

    76′ | 1-1
    Moult booked for impeding Shaughnessy with his arm as he rose to head the ball.

    73′ | 1-1
    Motherwell sub, Lasley off for Ainsworth

    69′ | 1-1
    St Johnstone sub, Millar off for Paton.

    62′ | 1-1
    Goal – Saints draw level. MacLean gets played in and his shot is well saved by Samson but the rebound cannons in off the striker

    61′ | 0-1
    McDonald gets down the right hand side and hangs up up at the back post but Lucas can’t test Clark with his header.

    60′ | 0-1
    McManus is booked for a foul on the touchline. From the free-kick Davidson heads wide.

    58′ | 0-1
    Motherwell sub, Ferguson makes way for Lucas

    56′ | 0-1
    Moult gets the break of the ball wide on the left but as he gets inside the area, he curls his shot well over the bar.

    54′ | 0-1
    Nearly the equaliser but Samson gathers Davidson’s header at the second time of asking.

    St Johnstone get the second half underway. COYW!!

    HT: St Johnstone 0 – 1 Motherwell #SJFCvMFC

    A quiet first 45 but ‘Well have the lead through that Clark own goal.

    45+1′ | 0-1
    Great save by Samson to deny MacLean’s header from 5 yards!!!

    45′ | 0-1
    St Johnstone forced into a change as Coulson limps off for Alston

    37′ | 0-1
    McMillan gets forward and tee’s up Lasley but he can’t hit the target with his strike.

    34′ | 0-1
    Clay looks off balance but attempts a shot from 25 yards, which trickles well wide of the post.

    25 | 0-1
    ‘Well defence holding strong as Heneghan blocks another Scobbie header on goal from a corner.

    17′ | 0-1
    MacLean gets a bit of space inside the area but Heneghan gets enough on it to take the sting out it and Samson gathers

    12′ | 0-1
    TAIT whips in a low cross which seems to go straight through Clark and into the net! 0-1 to the Steelmen!!!


    4′ | 0-0
    Couple of early chances for Saints. Easton’s header is put wide then from corner Davidson heads over the bar

    Motherwell get the first half underway. COYW!!


    Motherwell manager Mark McGhee:


    St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright:



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    Midfielder Turnbull extends contract

    ‘Well starlet David Turnbull has committed his future to the club by penning a two-and-a-half year contract extension.

    The 17-year-old Academy product has been in sparkling form recently and is enjoying his second professional season in Claret and Amber.

    Operating in his preferred advanced role or as a deeper lying playmaker, Turnbull admitted he was “delighted” to secure his future with the club until summer 2019.

    He said: “I’m absolutely delighted to sign the new deal, it’s been going on a while now and I hope I can go on to really progress as a player over the next few years.”

    The youngster follows in the footsteps of youngsters Ross MacLea, Jack McMillan, Chris Cadden and Allan Campbell in extending his stay with the Steelmen, and Turnbull admits he thinks the future is bright for not only himself, but for the club too.

    [pullquote]I’m absolutely delighted to sign the new deal, it’s been going on a while now and I hope I can go on to really progress as a player over the next few years.[/pullquote]

    He said: “It’s great seeing the lads get a chance in the first team and as a player it shows you that you’ll get your chance here.

    “I think that attention to the youth team is something that makes Motherwell the club it is today.”

    Under Stephen Craigan, the young player admitted that he has learnt a lot and is happy with the way he is playing at the moment.

    He said: “I’ve learnt a lot from Crags, he gives us a lot of advice and is always looking to build on your strengths and teach you how to get rid of your weaknesses.

    “It took me a little while to get off the mark in terms of goals, but now that I have they’ve kept coming and I’ve been delighted with the way I’m playing at the moment.”

    [pullquote]It took me a little while to get off the mark in terms of goals, but now that I have they’ve kept coming and I’ve been delighted with the way I’m playing at the moment.[/pullquote]

    He added: “Looking forward, I just hope that I can continue to play well for the 20s and take my opportunity to break in to the first team when I’m given the chance.”

    ‘Well boss Mark McGhee said: “It’s been a productive few weeks for us in terms of securing some of our brightest prospects to new deals.

    “I’m delighted to see that David has extended his stay with us because I have high hopes for him and I know Stephen Craigan does too.”

    “At just 17 years of age, he has all the attributes needed for a player in his position – a fantastic touch, great vision and an eye for goal too. He still has things he needs to work on, and he knows that, but you he’s still so very young and we are very confident it won’t be long before he, like the others, is chapping on the door.”