Extended highlights from Rugby Park as the Under 20s concede a last minute penalty to lose 1-0 to Kilmarnock.
TV: Highlights from Rugby ParkTuesday 07 February 2017
Craigan: We lacked a sparkTuesday 07 February 2017
U20s boss Stephen Craigan felt his side were missing a spark as they lost 1-0 to Kilmarnock this evening.
A late penalty secured a victory for the hosts on a night when the Steelmen didn’t manage to make much of a breakthrough.
And after the match the manager admitted he was a bit disappointed with his sides performance.
Speaking to MFC TV at full time, the manager said: “It makes it worse that it’s so late in the game because there wasn’t a lot in it tonight.
“They probably had more goalmouth action than we did and it was the kind of game when we really just lacked some kind of penetration, someone to go and be the spark for us.”
He added: “We’ve had that in the last few weeks, we’ve had players who’ve stepped up and done it and tonight I just think we hit a brick wall.”
[pullquote]They probably had more goalmouth action than we did and it was the kind of game when we really just lacked some kind of penetration, someone to go and be the spark for us.[/pullquote]
Defender Barry Maguire put in a strong performance at Rugby Park, but was unlucky to see a back pass fall short for keeper Oliver Pain and Killie won a penalty.
And his manager admitted that he just has to look at the positives from his game tonight and make sure to bounce back.
He said: “You felt as the game went on that it was going to be 0-0 or there was going to be an error of judgement and unfortunately tonight Barry was the culprit tonight.
“I said to him after the game though, ‘I’m not going to shout at you because that happens, I’ve done that before – but I will shout at you if you do it again because it means you haven’t learned’.
“It’s over and done with now and we have to move on.”
He added: “Over the piece I think we could’ve been better of course but in a game when it’s so tight we have to learn to see it out and get a 0-0 draw.”
[pullquote]Overall I think defensively we were ok but going forward, considering we’ve scored 17 or 18 goals in our last four games, to not get any major efforts on goal is a disappointment.[/pullquote]
In recent weeks the youngsters have got off to poor starts and battled back to win, and in the lead up to the match, Craigan called for a better start to the match, which he was ultimately rewarded with from his side.
He said: “Defensively we were fine. We limited them to shots from distance and they had a number of corners which we dealt with well.
“Going forward though we had to put more pressure on them. I think when you’re a centre forward and you’re not getting a lot of action, when you get around the 18-yard box all you can think about is shooting.
“Maybe a more sensible and experienced player would play an extra pass and set someone up.”
He added: “Overall I think defensively we were ok but going forward, considering we’ve scored 17 or 18 goals in our last four games, to not get any major efforts on goal is a disappointment.”
Kilmarnock U20s 1 – 0 Motherwell U20sTuesday 07 February 2017
Motherwell U20s conceded late to lose 1-0 away to Kilmarnock in the Development League tonight.
A penalty from Killie defender Scott McLean in the 89th minute was enough to snatch the points during a fairly uneventful and even encounter at Rugby Park.
Stephen Craigan gave debuts to Oliver Pain and Shea Gordon in a line up that also featured the returning Stephen Pearson.
And the trio impressed in the opening half. Pain showed his ability with the ball at his feet as well as producing some comfortable stops too. Pearson displayed all of the traits he has become renowned for and it seems clear the midfielder will be up to full speed soon. Gordon, meanwhile, brought a drive to the centre of the pitch and complimented Allan Campbell well.
However, it took a while for the game to get going and it was the hosts who stumped up the first effort on goal after a quiet opening 15.
Full back Scott McLean intercepted a mishit clearance before unleashing a low drive on target, but Pain got his body behind it and then gathered at the second attempt.
Almost immediately up the other end of the pitch though, Pearson managed to drift in at the back post well, but his effort was a little mishit and didn’t trouble Curtis Lyle in the Kilmarnock goal.
Gordon, who was growing in to the match, made a clever dart through the heart of the park, and as the space opened up he played a neat through ball for the potential run of Scott – but the forward and the new arrival were on different pages and Lyle collected the loose ball.
The opening half seemed to just pass by with neither side creating much and both keepers producing routine saves.
But it was Gordon again who looked to create from midfield. The Northern Irish youngster drove through the middle, beat a couple of challenges and cut on to his right foot to fire low at goal – but Lyle gathered it.
The half came to an end with a brief flurry of shots from distance – including two from Turnbull. The first took a deflection and flashed wide and the second forced a routine stop from the Killie keeper.
But the biggest talking point was perhaps a decision from the officials. Fry, who burst forward from right back, forced his way in to the box but before he could get his shot off he tumbled to the deck and looked to have been tripped, but the match officials ignored the numerous calls and let play continue.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, however the Steelmen managed to get the ball in the back of the net, only to be denied by the linesman’s flag. A marauding run forward by centre back David Ferguson split the Killie team apart, he rolled a perfectly waited ball in to the Hastie who then squared to Scott to tap home, but Hastie was deemed to have strayed in to an offside position.
The half was failing to produce much more and Craigan decided to shuffle his pack in an attempt to find the breakthrough, replacing Pearson with prolific forward Dylan Mackin – who positioned himself alongside Scott up top.
Firmly on the front foot and hungry for the points, ‘Well pressed the hosts all over the park and Hastie found himself with a decent chance just after 60 minutes.
The winger stole the ball from McLean, burst forward but instead of rolling in one of his two supporting teammates the youngster had a pop at goal. It didn’t trouble Lyle much though and he pounced on top of it.
With time running out and the game in the balance, Craigan’s youngsters nearly took the lead through Turnbull and it would have been a tremendous goal too. Maguire pinged a delightful ball over the Killie defence in to the run of Hastie, who brought it down, teed up Turnbull but the midfielder slipped as he went to fire at goal from inside the box, and it flew well over.
The lively Killie full back McLean went close to grabbing the lead for his side with just minutes to go. He curled a terrific effort on goal from distance. With the ball destined for the top corner, Pain pulled off a stunning save to deny the young defender and keep his side level.
However, with just two minutes remaining in the match, the keeper was forced to rush for a short back pass and, with the odds against him, he tripped the advancing Killie attacker to give the home side a penalty in the dying stages.
McLean stepped up and made no mistake to snatch a late lead, and ultimately the three points too.
Made in Motherwell: Gary McAllisterTuesday 07 February 2017
Midfielder Gary McAllister had an illustrious twenty year career in the game that began with a spell at his home-town team Motherwell.
The Newarthill-born player made his senior debut in a title winning Motherwell side in May 1982. With the Steelmen having secured the First Division Championship a week earlier, McAllister came on as a substitute as Queen of the South were thrashed 5-2 by ‘Well at Palmerston.
Things were altogether more gloomy when Gary next featured in the autumn of 1983. Motherwell were struggling to repeat their form of the previous season. A mid-season change of manager when Jock Wallace left to return to Rangers saw ‘Well seriously flounder and their relegation quickly became a formality.
On a personal level however the six months McAllister spent in the first team was invaluable in his development and when Tommy McLean arrived the talented midfielder was a first pick as he sought to take ‘Well straight back up.
Gary netted his first senior goal on the opening day of the 1984’85 season and would go on to net regularly throughout the campaign. It was another of his goals, this time at Hampden against Celtic in the Scottish Cup later that season, that really drew attention to his talents.
After just a single game of the 1985’86 Leicester City swooped for both McAllister and his midfield team-mate Ally Mauchlen for a combined fee of around £350,000.
Over the next two decades McAllister would become an influential figure with the Foxes, Leeds, Coventry City (twice) and Liverpool.
A title winner with Leeds in 1991’92, Gary enjoyed something of a renaissance in his mid-thirties lifting the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup and European Super Cup with Liverpool.
McAllister also spent time managing Coventry City, Leeds and Aston Villa and was linked with the manager’s job at Fir Park on more than one occasion.
First capped by Scotland against East Germany in 1990, Gary would accrue 57 caps for his country captaining the national side on a number of occasions and netting a total of five goals.
In 2001, such was his contribution to football in the UK, Gary was made an MBE in the New Years Honours list that year.
Craigan: We’re in good formMonday 06 February 2017
Under 20s boss Stephen Craigan believes his sides good run of form sets them up well for tomorrow’s trip to Kilmarnock.
A dramatic comeback victory against rivals Hamilton last week meant the young ‘Well team have now strung together five consecutive victories.
Speaking to MFC TV this afternoon, the U20s boss looked ahead to tomorrow’s Development League fixture.
He said: “We’re looking forward to it after last week’s comeback and the enthusiasm and hunger the players showed tells me that they are all ready for tomorrow’s game.
“It’s just about churning out performances now because we’ve had quite a tough spell with a lot of games and we have another tough week coming up.”
[pullquote]That’s five wins in a row now and it shows that they’re taking on the information about just trying to replicate their performance all the time and trying to maintain their high standards.[/pullquote]
He added: “We want to get off on the front foot and put in a good, positive performance. That’s five wins in a row now and it shows that they’re taking on the information about just trying to replicate their performance all the time and trying to maintain their high standards.”
Kilmarnock will prove to be tough opponents at Rugby Park tomorrow night, and Craigan believes his side have to make sure they get off to better starts than they have in recent weeks.
He said: “In the last couple of weeks we’ve given ourselves a mountain to climb, with the cup game against Partick Thistle and the game against Hamilton too.
“We can’t afford to do that though because somewhere along the line the mountain becomes too high and you can’t reach the top.”
He added: “We need to try and dictate the game from the start, the players know what’s required of them and we worked on some shape this morning, some patterns of play and just reemphasised some of the good stuff that we can do. Hopefully that will come to fruition tomorrow night.”
[pullquote]We’re full of confidence and we feel that if we can go to Rugby Park tomorrow, put in a good performance and replicate the things we’ve talked about, we’ll do ok.[/pullquote]
The Northern Irishman, who has sent a few of his players out on development loans to gain valuable experience, believes that competition is healthy among the squad.
He said: “It’s good because we’ve now got 13 or 14 players who can play, that’s the key message. Some players have come in and done well, some have stayed in the team, some weren’t in the team in the first half of the season but have got in the team and stayed in the team.
“There’s always that little bit of pressure on they boys knowing that there’s someone over their shoulder who can come in.”
He added: “We’re full of confidence and we feel that if we can go to Rugby Park tomorrow, put in a good performance and replicate the things we’ve talked about, we’ll do ok.”
Future Steel: Barry MaguireMonday 06 February 2017
At just 18-years of age, Barry Maguire boasts a number of qualities that can be hard to find in even the most experienced centre-backs.
The Scottish defender reads the game superbly, most do, but he also has an eye for both short and long passes and is very, very two footed – so much so in fact that on a number of occasions it is often questioned, ‘what foot is Barry again?’
The truth is he doesn’t have a preferred foot due to the fact he is so comfortable on either side.
Of course, that is a huge positive to the youngster’s game, but it is just one of many qualities which make Barry likely to eventually force his way in to first team contention.
Primarily a central defender, Barry’s future is not limited to that position due to the fact that he has something his manager believes is vital… the ability to adapt.
With the Scottish FA Youth Cup quarter final delicately poised at 3-3, Stephen Craigan made a clever tactical switch which ultimately led to the crucial winner.
Withdrawing Reece Rintoul, the Northern Irishman changed his sides shape and shifted Maguire in to midfield.
He thrived. And soon enough he justified Craigan’s tactical switch by winning the ball in a key area and springing the Steelmen on their way to Dylan Mackin’s 87th minute winner.
After the match, the U20s boss couldn’t hide his delight and touched on Maguire’s ability as a young footballer trying to make his way in the game.
He said: “We decided to put Barry in to midfield and he played terrifically.
“He’s full of energy, he’s full of heart, he’s full of desire – he’s full of everything you want from a young football player.”
He added: “Putting Barry in to midfield gave us a physical presence and a bit of energy to go and close the game down and press.
“The winning goal ended up coming from him being ahead of the midfield, winning the ball and getting us on to the front foot.
“Players have to adapt, and Barry can do that due to the ability he has with the ball at his feet and the physical presence he has too.”
Whether Maguire gets his chance for Mark McGhee’s first team doesn’t seem unlikely – when it happens is the thing that is harder to predict.
What isn’t hard to predict though is that Barry Maguire has all the right components to have a bright future in the game.
‘Well fans, watch this space.
Killie up next for ‘Well U20sSunday 05 February 2017
Motherwell U20s face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Tuesday night in the Development League.
After last weeks impressive 4-3 comeback win over rivals Hamilton, the Fir Parkers will be keen to follow up and keep the pressure on top of the table Hibs.
And Stephen Craigan may be forced to revise his options due to Luke Watt, Tom Fry and Dylan Mackin being involved for their loan clubs at the weekend.
Mackin, on loan at Alloa Atletic, bagged a late equaliser as his side took on Livingston.
New arrivals Oliver Pain and Shea Gordon could be in line to make their debuts after completing loan switches in the January window.
You can follow all the action live on twitter @MotherwellFC
TV: Highlights from Fir ParkSaturday 04 February 2017
Extended highlights from Fir Park Stadium as ten-man Motherwell lose 0-3 to Hearts at Fir Park.
McGhee: Decisions defined gameSaturday 04 February 2017
‘Well boss Mark McGhee expressed his frustration after a crucial red card for Carl McHugh turned today’s clash with Hearts on its head.
The Irish midfielder won the ball in a 50/50 tackle with Don Cowie, but referee Andrew Dallas deemed it to be dangerous and sent the ‘Well number eight off early in the second half.
Speaking to MFC TV after the match, the manager admitted the decisions were the difference between the sides today.
He said: “There were ridiculous decisions. I’m delighted with the performance, and at 1-0 down with ten men we dominated the game and we did everything apart from turn good possession in good areas in to a goal.
[pullquote] There’s nothing we can do about it, what we can do is look at that last third where we got into those areas lots of times but couldn’t turn it in to goals.[/pullquote]
“Other than that the sending off is never a sending off and I’m convinced by that. For me, it was all about decisions today.”
Looking forward, McGhee admitted his side cannot let today dampen their spirits moving forward.
He said: “There’s nothing we can do about it, what we can do is look at that last third where we got into those areas lots of times but couldn’t turn it in to goals.
“I thought we were the best team when we had ten men at 1-0. We were sensible, we picked and chose our moments to go forward we didn’t just go forward and abandon defence.”
[pullquote]We’ve got a lot to look forward to, I’m not disappointed with the performance, I’m gutted with the result and for me it in no way reflects the nature of the game today.[/pullquote]
He added: “We defended when we had to and then got back behind the ball, we took our time because we knew we had plenty of time left in the match to get a goal and I was convinced we were going to get a goal with the way we were playing.
“You can’t legislate for going down to ten men, with ten men you’re going to be at a disadvantage.”
On new arrival Stephen Pearson, the manager said: “He set the tone, he had a couple of magnificent tackles, he showed his energy, getting up and down the park he’ll be a great asset for us now he’s here.
“We’ve got a lot to look forward to, I’m not disappointed with the performance, I’m gutted with the result and for me it in no way reflects the nature of the game today and even at ten men we deserved something from the game.”
Hearts defeat in picturesSaturday 04 February 2017
Images from today’s 0-3 loss to Hearts in the Ladbrokes Premiership at Fir Park.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix