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    Motherwell 1 – 2 St Johnstone

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    Get in the picture with Utilita Pix Angels

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    This weekend’s ‘Signing Zone’

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    Saints matchday magazine preview

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    St Johnstone: A closer look

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    Aitken in charge of Saints clash

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    Pearson: Everyone is delighted

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    Robinson: I feel honoured

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    Robinson: Delighted and focused

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    Robinson appointed Motherwell boss

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    Motherwell 1 – 2 St Johnstone

    [tab:Match report]

    Stephen Robinson carried no luck for his debut appearance as Motherwell manager.

    Despite twice falling behind to a Liam Craig double, his players should have had more than a Scott McDonald goal for their tireless energy and efforts as they laid siege on Saints’ goal for large periods of the game.

    Injury and suspension meant that Carl McHugh partnered Zak Jules at the centre of the home defence, with David Ferguson holding on to the right back slot.

    Louis Moult was back after suspension and within 60 seconds he worked a one –two which sent Chris Cadden in behind the visitor’s defence only for his firm cross to be held by Zander Clark at the second attempt.

    After a positive start though it was ‘Well’s reformed defence which was caught flat footed after eight minutes when Graham Cummins’ cross picked out the unmarked Liam Craig and from six-yards he bulleted his header past the helpless Craig Samson.

    In the 16th minute Elliot Frear curled his cross into the box to find Scott McDonald being grappled to the ground by Joe Shaughnessy but referee Greg Aitken ignored appeals for a penalty.

    A minute later Cummins’ rising shot forced a good save by Samson to turn the ball over his cross bar.

    ‘Well’s best chance arrived on the half hour mark when Moult chested down Stevie Hammell’s cross for Craig Clay, whose low drive was on target until it deflected off Cadden.

    A rare slip from the impressive Carl McHugh sent Saints racing towards the home goal but Samson saved his blushes comfortably blocking Steve McLean’s angled drive.

    The remainder of the half was largely spent around the Saints’ box as the Steelmen pressed for an equaliser.

    Frear, growing in confidence on the left wing, whipped in a cross which McDonald teed up for Cadden who should have done better from 10 yards than drive the ball over the bar.

    However, that miss was overshadowed four minutes from half-time. McDonald played in Moult and after his run was blocked by Clark, McDonald latched on to the loose ball, rounded the ‘keeper only to slice his finish wide of a begging goal.

    Two minutes later the Aussie striker made amends as ‘Well grabbed a deserved equaliser.

    Another great cross from Frear found its way to Clay and, although his shot was blocked, McDonald reacted to turn and squeeze the ball over a packed goal line.

    Saints swapped ‘keeper’s at half-time and the experienced Alan Mannus was lucky not to concede a goal ten minutes into the half.

    Frear’s corner was glanced towards goal by McHugh and Jules touch from a couple of yards seemed certain to give ‘Well the lead until Tam Scobbie blocked on the line.

    Louis Moult then had a couple of efforts at goal – steering a shot just over and then just wide of Saints’ goal.

    Just when it looked like the Fir Parkers had a goal in their sights, the Perth side hit them on the break, with what turned out to be the winning goal.

    McLean’s cross from the right was back headed by Ferguson but only to the waiting Craig who slammed his shot back across Samson and into the corner of the net to put the Saints back in front.

    The ‘Well boss immediately sent on Ryan Bowman for Hammell and as Saints defended their lead Frear, after an impressive home debut, made way for Lionel Ainsworth.

    In a storming finish, Moult rose to meet Cadden’s cross only to power his header wide of the post.

    Then, in injury time with Jacob Blyth on for the injured Jules and ‘Well camped in the visitor’s box, Bowman’s header drifted beyond the diving Mannus, rebounded from the inside of the ‘keeper’s post along the goal line and beyond the other post, to deprive the home side of a thoroughly deserved point.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Fir Park

     

    FT’ | Motherwell 1 – 2 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC

    90+2′ | 1-2
    Off the post! Bowman’s flicked on header comes back off the woodwork at rolls across the face of goal.

    90+1′ | 1-2
    Motherwell sub, Blyth on for Jules.

    Three minutes added on…

    87′ | 1-2
    Close! Cadden clips a ball in from the right but Moult can’t quite rise high enough to head on target.

    82′ | 1-2
    Motherwell sub, Frear off for Ainsworth

    MATCH ATTAX | Young ‘Well fans can vote for your Man of the Match. Tweet your name, age, choice and #MatchAttaxMOTM now!

    77′ | 1-2
    Davidson booked for time wasting.

    69′ | 1-2
    McDonald tries his luck witha free-kick from 30 yards but it’s relatively comfortable for Mannus.

    68′ | 1-2
    Motherwell sub, Bowman on for Hammell.

    66′ | 1-2
    Goal – Saints first venture forward in this half produces a goal. Fires beyond Samson with plenty of time.

    64′ | 1-1
    St Johnstone sub, Davidson on for Alston

    63′ | 1-1
    Great ball in from Frear which finds Moult 12 yards out but he drags his shot just wide of the post. Positive start to the half

    61′ | 1-1
    The Steelmen have a free-kick wide on the right, Frear clips it in but Mannus is off his line and punches clear.

    59′ | 1-1
    Decent effort from Moult there. Chest then volley but it’s over the bar from just inside the box.

    55′ | 1-1
    Corner for Motherwell……saved on the line by Mannus! Jules denied from close range, great chance!

    53′ | 1-1
    Moult has to improvise slightly but manages to get a volley on target from Frear’s awkward cross.

    Clay gets the second 45 underway. COYW!!!

    St Johnstone make a sub at half-time, Mannus on for Clark

    HT: Motherwell 1 – 1 St Johnstone #MFCvSJFC

    44′ | 1-1
    Moult skins his man down the left and fires in a great ball which eventually falls to McDONALD who fires home! Come on!

    GGGGOOOAAALLL!!!!!!

    42′ | 0-1
    What a chance! Moult’s shot is saved and it falls to McDonald with the goal gaping but slices his shot wide of the post!

    39′ | 0-1
    Swanson cuts inside but Clay gets enough on the shot to take the sting out of it. Samson gathers.

    35′ | 0-1
    Chance! McDonald sets up Cadden but he is leaning back and blasts over the bar from 10 yards!

    32′ | 0-1
    Saints counter in a 2v1 situation but Jules does well to guide MacLean away from goal and from narrow angle shoots at Samson.

    30′ | 0-1
    Moult chests the ball down to Clay whose shot cannons off Cadden but deflects away from goal

    18′ | 0-1
    Samson called into action, parrying Cummins’ powerful drive over the bar.

    15′ | 0-1
    Strong penalty claim there! Frear will the ball in, McDonald wrestled to the ground but nothing given!

    11′ | 0-1
    McDonald tees up Pearson on the edge of the box but he is a bit off balance and slices his shot wide

    8′ | 0-1
    Goal – Saints take the lead, Craig heading home from a Cummins cross.

    7′ | 0-0
    Cadden blocks Craig’s cross which results in a corner which Hammell heads away at the front post.

    4′ | 0-0
    St Johnsone win a free-kick about 35 yards from goal. Alston tries his luck but it’s well over the bar.

    1′ | 0-0
    Chance already for the Steelmen. Cadden bursts down the right but sees his cross gathered by Clark

    St Johnstone get the game underway.

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:

     

    St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright:

     

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”316″]

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    Get in the picture with Utilita Pix Angels

    Utilita, Motherwell Football Club’s official energy partner, want to put you in the picture.

    Look out for the Utilita Pix Angels outside Fir Park before tomorrow’s game against St Johnstone, get your picture taken by them and share it on Twitter #utilitafootball and you could win a signed Motherwell top if you do.

    Get your match tickets at the ticket office tomorrow morning and make the most of your match day experience here at Fir Park.

    For more info on Utilita go to utilita.co.uk/football/motherwell-fc

  • Archive

    This weekend’s ‘Signing Zone’

    The ‘Signing Zone’ continues this week prior to tomorrow’s fixture against St Johnstone.

    So why not come to Fir Park tomorrow afternoon and meet first-team stars Stephen McManus and January recruit and Russell Griffiths, who will be in The Well Shop’s ‘Signing Zone’ from 12:45pm until 1:15pm to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for selfies.

    Each week, two different players take their seats as the season progresses as part of the developing fan engagement programme here at Fir Park.

    Share your pics on twitter @motherwellfc using #MFCSigningZone or facebook.com/motherwellfc

    The club shop is situated at the Cooper Stand and is open from 9.30am

  • Archive

    Saints matchday magazine preview

    The sixteenth issue of the Steelmen matchday magazine is on sale ahead of tomorrow’s league clash with St Johnstone at Fir Park.

    Here, we take a look at what can be found inside the 68-page programme.

    19-year-old defender Zak Jules talks about his spell in Lanarkshire so far and talks about his development as a young player making his way in the game in the magazine’s feature interview.

    Stephen Robinson gives his thoughts ahead of the game in his first column as manager of the Steelmen. Regular pieces including the pre-match column from club captain Keith Lasley, along with ‘5 Fast Facts’ and ‘Getting to Know You’ – where midfielder Chris Cadden is profiled – all remain in the latest issue of the 2016/17 season programme.

    The interesting feature ‘Well in Numbers’, where feature writer Andrew Paterson looks at some of the key numbers in Motherwell history, continues.

    As part of the clubs aims to work closely with the Motherwell FC Community Trust and The ‘Well Society, regular updates are included in the programme.

    This week’s main features on tomorrow’s opposition remain, including an in depth look at St Johnstone as well as this season’s new ‘Tactics Board’, where we look at Tommy Wright’s starting eleven from the Saint’s win over Dundee last weekend.

    Our match report section looks back on the Fir Parker’s spirited performance as they fell 2-0 against a strong Celtic side at Parkhead.

    An update on Stephen Craigan’s U20s side is included too, reporting on the youngster’s recent run of results.

    All the latest news from Fir Park is included too, and you’ll get all the latest from the Ticket Office as well as an in-depth look at tomorrow’s match-officials.

    All this and more is available for £3 and is on sale from the Club Shop as well as the usual sellers located in and around the ground pre-match.

    You can also order back editions or take a subscription to the magazine for the rest of the season by visiting the website of our publishers, Curtis-Sports.

  • Archive

    St Johnstone: A closer look

    Motherwell host St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership tomorrow afternoon in the 29th game of the 2016/17 campaign.

    It is also Stephen Robinson’s first match in charge and, with just five games until the split, comes with added importance for the Fir Parkers.

    In his spell as caretaker boss, Robinson led the Steelmen to a crucial three points away to Kilmarnock before being dealt a very difficult loss away to Aberdeen – when a last minute goal from Niall McGinn nicked all three points for the Dons.

    Now the Northern Irishman has the job permanently, it is an extremely important spell coming up for the club – starting today.

    But for Robinson, nothing changes as the 42-year-old sets his sights on maintaining the form that has seen the Steelmen become resilient and tighter at the back.

    The new Fir Park gaffer said: “First and foremost the criteria set out is to stay in this division.

    “When I took over we found ourselves conceding a lot of goals and in the short term we’ve stopped that.”

    He added: “That’s only the start of the process – we have to continue with the performances we’ve had in the last two games and start to pick up results very quickly.”

    Motherwell will be without Stephen McManus, Kieran Kennedy and Richard Tait through injury, whilst Ben Heneghan is suspended.

    [pullquote]The way I see it is staying undefeated against Kilmarnock could spark the start of a run –hopefully now we can go on and stay unbeaten.[/pullquote]

    The return of Louis Moult from suspension is a huge boost for the club though – who welcome back the top scorer for what is a crucial encounter at Fir Park.

    Chris Kane and Keith Watson are both out of action for the Saints through knee injuries, whilst Steven Anderson and David Wotherspoon are doubts for Tommy Wright’s side.

    Don’t miss a moment tomorrow afternoon, starting with live build up on Motherwell FC’s Official Facebook page at 2:15pm.

    You can listen to live commentary of tomorrow’s clash from 2:50pm on mixlr.com/MotherwellFC as well as follow all the action on Twitter @MotherwellFC

    All that is followed by an in-depth match report and a selection of images from the game, as well as MFC TV’s post match reaction and highlights from Fir Park.

     

    Midfielder Stephen Pearson is confident that Stephen Robinson is the right man for the job as the new manager takes charge of his first game tomorrow. 

    And since he stepped in as caretaker, Pearson admitted that Robinson has managed to bring about an improvement in performances.

    The January signing looked ahead to tomorrow’s clash with the Saints and admitted that everyone around the club is “delighted” to have the Northern Irishman in charge.

    Pearson said: “I think everyone is delighted and the last couple of weeks has shown that with a real improvement in the performances.

    “He’s somebody that the majority of the players know well so I think it’s a good appointment from the club.”

    [pullquote]He’s somebody that the majority of the players know well so I think it’s a good appointment from the club.[/pullquote]

    He added: “He’s tactically very good, he’s got a good knowledge of the game and he’s good on the training ground.

    “He’s bubbly, he’s bright and he’s a good character to have around the place.

    “He’s demanding of the players which I think is crucial and I think he’ll be able to get the best out of the group of players that we’ve got.”

    As one of the experienced members of Robinson’s squad, Pearson revealed his optimism ahead of tomorrow’s match, admitting it isn’t all just about safety.

    He said: “Top six is still attainable but obviously the most immediate thought in our mind is to get away from the relegation spots.

    “We know it’s very tight down there and a couple of wins back to back can see you jump two or three places, so that’s what we’re looking for right now.”

    MFC TV

     

    After a solid 2015/16 season, St Johnstone have enjoyed a similar campaign so far this term and will be full of confidence ahead of tomorrow’s clash.

    Consecutive league defeats were brushed aside when Tommy Wright’s team bounced back to winning ways with a 2-0 win against Dundee last weekend.

    The Saints breezed past their Tayside rivals thanks to a Paul Paton header in the 12th-minute and Blair Alston’s neat finish seven minutes later.

    With three defeats in their last three home games, the hosts may have been full of nerves prior to kick-off last weekend but Tommy Wright clearly had his players fired-up for the task – all but wrapping up the points inside 20 minutes.

    Scott Bain perhaps should have kept out Alston’s 22-yard drive, but the scoreline was no less than the Saints deserved.

    It closed the gap on fourth placed Hearts to just one point and will have given the Perthshire outfit a boost ahead of today’s match.

    And with a clash against the side from the Capital coming up soon for St Johnstone, the squad will not be without incentive as they arrive at Fir Park tomorrow afternoon – looking to aim for a third straight fourth placed finish in the top flight.

    Tomorrow marks the third meeting between the two clubs this season following the 2-1 Saints win at Fir Park back in August and the 1-1 draw at McDiarmid Park in mid-December.

    The Saints have recorded impressive victories over Hearts this season and picked up important points against Aberdeen too.

    But in recent weeks, a slump in form has seen the fifth placed club lose four of their last six fixtures – including a fifth round Scottish Cup loss against Partick Thistle.

    As the season heads in to it’s crucial stages, Tommy Wright will be hoping that his side can remain positive following last weekends win over Dundee.

    After the match, the Northern Irishman admitted that he was pleased with the chances his side created.

    He said: “The tempo we played at from the first whistle to the last was excellent and that was with or without the ball. We created a lot of opportunities.

    “Dundee may have had more possession but in the shot count and crosses we were way ahead in terms of creating more chances.”

    With the Saints hungry for a fourth placed finish this term and the Steelmen eager to keep their momentum going with a big three points today – this afternoon’s clash makes for an interesting encounter in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

     

  • Archive

    Aitken in charge of Saints clash

    Referee for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership match against St Johnstone at Fir Park is Greg Aitken.

    Greg is handling just his third Motherwell FC match in league football.

    It’s his fourth in charge of Motherwell in all competitions though, as he was the man in the middle for the painfully disappointing Cup exit at Cappielow back in late September 2015.

    That match turned out to be Ian Baraclough’s last as ‘Well boss as the Steelmen crashed out 3-2 after extra time.

    But from one managers last game, Greg has gone full circle in just three ‘Well matches and will take charge of a manager’s first match in charge after the appointment of Stephen Robinson earlier this week.

    The official will be ably assisted by Graham Chambers and Ivan Stakovic, with Grant Irvine on Fourth Official duties.

  • Archive

    Pearson: Everyone is delighted

    Midfielder Stephen Pearson believes new boss Stephen Robinson was the right appointment for Motherwell.

    The January signing spoke to the press this morning following the news of Robinson’s appointment yesterday.

    And the ‘Well number 88 admitted everyone around the club is “delighted” to have the Northern Irishman in charge.

    Pearson said: “I think everyone is delighted and the last couple of weeks has shown that with a real improvement in the performances.

    [pullquote]He’s somebody that the majority of the players know well so I think it’s a good appointment from the club.[/pullquote]

    “He’s somebody that the majority of the players know well so I think it’s a good appointment from the club.”

    He added: “He’s tactically very good, he’s got a good knowledge of the game and he’s good on the training ground.

    “He’s bubbly, he’s bright and he’s a good character to have around the place.

    “He’s demanding of the players which I think is crucial and I think he’ll be able to get the best out of the group of players that we’ve got.”

    You can watch Stephen’s full press conference at MFC TV’s YouTube channel.

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Robinson: I feel honoured

    New ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson spoke to the press for the first time since he was unveiled as the clubs new manager.

    And the Northern Irishman took the opportunity to look ahead to Saturday’s clash wioth St Johnstone, as well as his aims for the remainder of the season.

    The manager said: “I’m delighted that it’s sorted now so we can move forward and importantly we start putting results on the table.

    “To be working for this club and to be in charge of it is a great honour for me as well.”

    [pullquote]We put a structure in place to try and make ourselves hard to beat and stop conceding goals and we’ll continue to do that to make sure we stay in this division.[/pullquote]

    He added: “It’s got great history and tradition and as I’ve said numerous times there’s a lot of good people around this club that we owe performances to.

    “Under the last two managers here they both let me take a lot of the training so I’m used to that.

    “I dealt with a lot of issues at Oldham and you soon learn very quickly on the job.

    Not a lot will change from what I’ve done in the last two weeks because we put a structure in place to try and make ourselves hard to beat and stop conceding goals and we’ll continue to do that to make sure we stay in this division.”

    You can watch the new manager speak to the press for the first time in full on MFC TV’s YouTube channel.

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Robinson: Delighted and focused

    New ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson expressed his aims for the remainder of the season, as well as his delight, upon being confirmed as the clubs new manager.

    Speaking to MFC TV, the Northern Irishman looked ahead, starting with a big match on Saturday.

    He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. The club went through a process of speaking to people and we just get on with things.

    “I’ve met with the board and we’re just looking forward to the job in hand.”

    [pullquote]We have to continue with the performances we’ve had in the last two games and start to pick up results very quickly.[/pullquote]

    With St Johnstone up next, Robinson revealed his aims for the remainder of the campaign.

    He said: “First and foremost the criteria set out is to stay in this division.

    “When I took over we found ourselves conceding a lot of goals and in the short term we’ve stopped that.”

    He added: “That’s only the start of the process – we have to continue with the performances we’ve had in the last two games and start to pick up results very quickly.”

    You can watch MFC TV’s interview with the new manager on the official YouTube channel.

    MFC TV

  • Archive

    Robinson appointed Motherwell boss

    Motherwell FC is today delighted to confirm Stephen Robinson as its new permanent manager.

    The club had a shortlist of five candidates and following background research and interviews, Stephen emerged as the outstanding candidate, with the Board extremely impressed by his plan and vision and how that matched the needs of the club.

    42-year old Robinson is a former Northern Irish International, but a long playing career with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Leyton Orient, Bournemouth, Preston North End, Bristol City and Luton Town He also collected several youth international caps and seven senior caps for his country of birth.

    When he retired from playing, he was employed by the Irish FA and coached at every youth level from schoolboys to U21s. In September 2014 he joined-up with the senior set-up as coach, working with Michael O’Neil. He helped them qualify for Euro 2016 in France and, eventually, progress from the group stages into the last sixteen.

    He became Motherwell Assistant Manager in February of 2015, a post he held until last summer, where he left for a spell at Oldham Atheltic in the EFL League One. Things didn’t quite work out as planned at Latics despite a complete overhaul in the playing and coaching staff and he left his position at Boundary Park back in January to return to Fir Park.

    Following Mark McGhee’s departure two weeks ago, Robinson has taken the team on a temporary basis but has been handed the reigns on a full-time capacity, with a contract until May 2018.

    Robinson, who is the twenty-fourth different boss to lead Motherwell in its 131-year history and the clubs’ first Northern Irish gaffer said: “I am absolutely delighted and proud to lead this football club, a club with a rich history in the Scottish game.

    [pullquote]“It’s a great place to be with great people with a support that deserve success.[/pullquote]

    “My mission from the Board is absolutely clear. Firstly, to ensure the team have a strong finish to the SPFL Premiership season and finish as high as we possibly can between now and May.

    “Then, to help shape the club going forward with a strong emphasis on hard-work, discipline and a real passion and desire for Motherwell FC that the fans can get behind and be proud of.”

    Club Chairman Jim McMahon added: “We are extremely pleased Stephen has taken the role of manager and we look forward to working with him in the future.

    “The Executive Board, together with representatives from both the Supervisory Board and the ‘Well Society, identified a shortlist of five candidates from over fifty applicants and as well as doing a extensive amount of background work, took its time to conclude an rigorous interview process.

    “It was clear that Stephen was the outstanding candidate. He has a real vision of what the club needed in the short, medium and long-term and a plan of how he would implement it.

    “His values, skills and attributes matched exactly with the criteria we developed to be the manager of this football club and we wish him every success. I would ask our fantastic supporters to get behind Stephen and the players as we aim to finish the campaign strongly.”