Images from tonight’s 0-2 pre-season win over Livingston.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix
Images from tonight’s 0-2 pre-season win over Livingston.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix
‘Well boss Stephen Robinson reflected on his sides 2-0 victory over Livingston as the Steelmen continue their pre-season preparations.
Goals from Gaël Bigirimana and Ryan Bowman secured the Fir Parkers second victory in four days as Robinson aims to see his side gain some valuable playing time ahead of competitive football getting underway in just under two weeks.
Speaking to MFC TV at full time, the Northern Irishman said: “I think the most important thing is getting minutes and game time in to peoples legs.
[pullquote]I think the most important thing is getting minutes and game time in to peoples legs.[/pullquote]
“There was some very good stuff played at times tonight, from both sides I have to say, Livingston popped the ball about very well.”
He added: “We made a lot of changes so the game lost it’s pattern a little bit but I have to say the players who came on did very well too so it bodes well.”
You can watch the manager’s full post match interview on MFC TV’s YouTube channel.
Motherwell continued their pre-season preparations with a 0-2 win over Livingston this evening.
The Steelmen went ahead shortly before half-time when Gaël Bigirimana slotted home from close range.
It stayed that way until the 86th minute when substitute Ryan Bowman rounded the goalkeeper and finished to confirm the win.
It was a cold, wet and damp Tony Macaroni Arena that greeted both teams. Sadly, there was little in the early exchanges to warm the 824 punters inside the ground, with both teams enjoying spells of possession, but nothing of note in the final third.
The first chance came on twelve minutes when Danny Mullen’s low shot was blocked by Charles Dunne at the expense of a corner.
Motherwell’s first real chance came five minutes later when a lovely little reverse ball from Craig Tanner played in Bigirimana whose square ball looked perfect for Alex Fisher, but the former Inverness man blazed over from eight yards.
‘Well continued to create and Fisher was the creator for Andy Rose shortly after, but the midfielder’s shot from distance took a slight deflection en route and bounced inches wide of target.
Matthew Knox had a free-kick sail high over the bar on 26 minutes before going within an inch of putting his side in front, when his looping shot from distance was brilliantly tipped over by Griffiths in the visitor’s goal.
That was to prove an important stop from the young stopper as with their next attack, the Steelmen took the lead. Burundi International Bigirimana broke up a Livi counter before playing a neat one-two with Tanner and slid the ball past Maley to put ‘Well a goal up at the break.
Stephen Robinson introduced the impressive Cédric Kipré at the interval, alongside Stevie Hammell and Richard Tait who replaced Charles Dunne, Bira Dembélé and goal scorer Bigiramana.
The Fir Parkers made a positive start to the second period and Rose had a shot wide before Chris Cadden looked set to score, but for a goal-saving challenge by Livi sub Rafa De Vita. Then, shortly after, Tanner had a low free-kick that was comfortably held by Maley.
As the hour mark approached, both teams started to change things with substitute every few minutes intrupting any real flow to the game.
One sub, Ross MacLean, almost grabbed a goal himself with a driving shot from distance, but Livi’s trialist keeper, introduced for Maley shortly before, held on well.
However, he was powerless to stop Ryan Bowman just four minutes later, when the big striker got on the end of a tantalising Hammell pass, rounded the goalkeeper and slotted home from an acute angle.
Bowman almost had a third in the dying seconds, when he got on the end of a Tuton cross, but his header was somehow bundled off the line. When it broke out to young sub Jack McMillan, he blazed over.
It was the last action of the game. The Steelmen will now travel south to Gateshead on Saturday for game three of four in the pre-season schedule.
With the opening home game of the 2017/18 campaign less than three weeks away, you can now book in to our newly revamped centenary suite for when we face Greenock Morton on July 22 in the Betfred Cup.
This means that you can enjoy the relaxing environment, a 3 course meal, a premium match seat and half-time refreshments for just £50 per person with concessions at just £35 (60 or over & under 16’s)
If you are interested in our McEwan Fraser Legal box suites, which offer a free bar before and after the game, a hot one course buffet, half time pies and the comfort of a padded seat during the game for just £75, give our team a call now.
We also have places available in our Millennium Suite. This gives you the ultimate match view from our directors box, complimentary food and drink on arrival and at half time plus a match programme and team sheets. Adults tickets are £60 with concessions just £50.
To secure your seat call 01698 333 333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
There was some transfer activity undertaken by Alex McLeish whilst in charge of Motherwell that makes fans of a certain vintage still shudder to this very day.
Without question, however, the capture of Simo Valakari was one of his best pieces of business as ‘Well boss.
The first half of the 1996’97 season had been very up and down for the Steelmen. Losing the likes of Coyne, Van der Gaag and Arnott for extended spells contributed to some erratic results and performances and McLeish looked to freshen his side up for the latter part of the campaign.
A swap deal that saw Jamie Dolan move to Tannadice to secure the services of Owen Coyle meant that ‘Well were in the market for a central midfielder and McLeish turned his attentions north.
With the perception that signings from Scandinavian leagues offered better value, the 1990’s saw an influx of players into Scottish football from Europe’s northern leagues. Motherwell were no different and Valakari’s countryman Johni Lehtonen was already at the club when McLeish made his move for Simo.
Making his debut in a 2-2 draw with Aberdeen on 8th February 1997, Simo quickly became a favourite with the Motherwell support. Without perhaps possessing the tigerish tenacity of say a Colin O’Neill, the artistry of a Bobby Russell or the box-to-box pace of a Phil O’Donnell, the Finn still proved to be a perfect all-rounder in the centre of the Motherwell midfield.
Comfortable in possession with an intelligent range of passing, Valakari quickly became one of the first names on McLeish’s team-sheet and latterly a mainstay under both compatriot Harri Kampman and Billy Davies thereafter.
It was no coincidence that after Valakari’s signing the Steelmen became a more resolute outfit losing only three of the last eleven games of the season culminating in avoiding relegation on the final day of the season after a late equaliser against Dunfermline.
Valakari developed his game considerably during his time at Fir Park becoming established in the Finnish national side. For a time, until he was surpassed by Stephen Craigan, he held the honour of being club’s most capped player.
In the summer of 2000, after four seasons in Lanarkshire and 104 league appearances, Simo took up an opportunity with Derby County in the English top flight.
If there was one element of Simo’s game that was lacking throughout his Motherwell career it was that inability to find the net. No matter how hard he tried and how desperate the ‘Well support were to see him break his duck it sadly never happened.
There would be wry smiles aplenty however when less than a month into his Derby career Valakari tucked home with aplomb from the edge of the box against Charlton Athletic.
Moving into coaching, Simo has been successful in his native Finland prompting links with a return to Fir Park on more than one occasion.
Highlights from Forthbank as a goal in each half gives Motherwell a 0-2 pre-season win over League 2 Stirling Albion.
Apologies that. due to a technical/cabeling fault, there is no audio on this afternoon’s highlights.
‘Well boss Stephen Robinson was content with the run-out his side got against Stirling Albion this afternoon.
A goal in each half was enough to give Motherwell a fairly comfortable win over the League 2 side, albeit there were some scares in the opening half hour.
However, Robinson was happy to focus on players getting game time, particularly when a large slice of his squad haven’t had much in the way of games in 2017.
Speaking to MFC TV, the Northern Irishman said: “We looked a bit short and a bit jaded in the opening exchanges as we had a very hard week with double and treble sessions.
[pullquote]”There were both positives and things we need to work on, particularly with fitness and players still getting their sharpness. The main thing was getting as many of them 45-mintues as possible.[/pullquote]
“Bear in mind, a lot of the lads who played today haven’t played football in a long time; Stephen McManus, Richard Tait, Charles Dunne and Andy Rose have barely kicked a ball in six months so it will take a bit of time for them.
“It’s a winning start though and we now look forward to Tuesday’s game at Livingston, which will be another step up from today.”
Motherwell got their pre-season schedule underway with a win against Stirling Albion at Forthbank this afternoon.
A goal in each half, from trialist Shaun Tuton and Ryan Bowman, was enough to edge the fixture against a plucky Stirling side.
Stephen Robinson named four of his summer recruits – Russell Griffiths, Charles Dunne, Andy Rose and Craig Tanner in his starting eleven.
There was also a spot for trialists Cedric Kipré and Shaun Tuton. Long-term absentees from last season Richard Tait and Stephen McManus also returned to the line up.
It was a fairly low-key start to the game with the first chance not coming until the 13th minute when Richard Tait managed to dig out a cross from the right for Elliott Frear who could only send his looping header wide of target.
Stirling were getting the majority of their success on the counter and they should’ve scored just after the midway point of the first half when a mix up in the visitors defence allowed former ‘Well man Darren Smith to tee up veteran striker Peter McDonald, but he could only balloon it over the bar from fifteen yards.
A long-range effort at either end, MacLean for ‘Well and Dickson for Stirling, came before the Binos really ought to have opened the scoring. Again it was Smith for McDonald, this time getting a fairly fortuitous ricochet on route, but the former St Johnstone striker dragged a shot wide despite having the freedom of the eighteen yard box.
It would be a missed chance the hosts would most certain rue as with the next attack, Motherwell took the lead. Ross MacLean got the assist, sliding a firm pass into the feet of Tuton who managed to use the pace on the ball to wriggle clear of his marker before unleashing a rocket into the top right hand corner.
Stirling had another half decent chance to level when Smith found himself in some space on the edge of the area, but his shot was straight at Griffiths who comfortably saved.
However, it was the Claret and Amber men who finished the half stronger, with Rose firing just over from distance, MacLean sending a curling shot straight at Binnie then, on the stroke of half-time, the Stirling keeper produced a neat stop to deny Stephen McManus who had let fly from 25-yards.
The Steelmen replaced every outfield player at the break with recognisable names such as Carl McHugh, Stephen Hammell, Chris Cadden, Ben Heneghan, Ryan Bowman and Craig Clay all getting a run. In addition, trialist Bira Dembélé took his place at the heart of the Steelmen’s defence.
Motherwell dominated much of the second half as the hosts began to tire. Heneghan almost doubled the lead ten minutes in, getting on the end of a Thomas corner, only for his header to be deflected wide. The next corner found Dembélé, and his effort was bundled off the line before being cleared as the Binos held on.
However, it looked like a matter of time before ‘Well would make their possession count and the second goal eventually came just before the hour mark.
Shay Gordon burst clear from midfield and timed his pass perfectly for the supporting Cadden on the right flank. The Scotland U21 International picked out Ryan Bowman with an inch perfect cross, allowing the former Gateshead man the space to tuck home at the far post.
Bowman almost doubled his tally for the day just minutes later when he got on the end of a majestic Heneghan pass over the top, controlled it brilliantly on the chest before fluffing his lines when it came to the finish, screwing it high and wide of target with just the keeper to beat.
Dom Thomas almost got lucky with a cross that caught the wind and almost dropped in at the far post before sending over another teasing corner for Dembélé who found space, only to header narrowly wide of target.
It was one-way traffic by this point and Cadden spurned a great change to get amongst the goals too after a cross from the left wasn’t properly cleared, but his first-time shot flew over the bar and into the terracing behind the goal.
Clay had a free kick sail wide, Gordon had a cut-inside-shot that fizzed wide and Cadden had a low effort that was well held by Binnie as Motherwell looked to extend their advantage.
However, there would be no more scoring as the game soon finished, with Robinson happy with a victory to kick off, but just as important, no injuries during a run of four games in fourteen days.
First Half: Griffiths, Tait, McManus, Frear, Rose, Dunne, Kipré (t), Campbell, Tuton (t), MacLean, Tanner
Second Half: Griffiths, Hammell, Heneghan, Cadden, McHugh, Bowman, Dembélé (t), Clay, Thomas, McMillan, Gordon
Motherwell FC will continue to support the campaign to tackle suicide by displaying the North Lanarkshire Suicide Prevention logo on the back of the first team shirts.
In partnership with North Lanarkshire Council, the ‘Steelmen’ will also be displaying messages and helpline information around Fir Park stadium during matches in the forthcoming season.
Almost one person every week dies by suicide in North Lanarkshire and Motherwell FC has pledged its support to the Suicide Prevention North Lanarkshire campaign to help raise awareness of this issue.
Cllr Frank McNally, Convener of Education, said: “We work with Motherwell FC on a number of local initiatives and this partnership is vital in helping raise awareness around this sensitive area.
[pullquote]We are delighted to extend the partnership with Suicide Prevention and have their logo displayed on the back of the team shirts. It will be seen by not just Motherwell fans but supporters across the country.[/pullquote]
“We want to engage with our local community so people are comfortable and confident in talking about what can be a difficult subject to discuss. By working together we can have a greater impact in preventing suicide.”
This is the second consecutive year the local authority has entered into the partnership with the football club on this issue.
Bobby Miller Head of Adult Social Works Services with the council added: “Football gives the ideal platform to reach out to people about suicide prevention. By raising awareness of the signs that someone may be considering suicide, any of us might be able to offer support and help save lives.”
Motherwell FC Head of Commercial & Marketing Suzanne Reid says: “We are delighted to extend the partnership with Suicide Prevention and have their logo displayed on the back of the team shirts. It will be seen by not just Motherwell fans but supporters across the country. The partnership will raise awareness and is a positive step towards improving the mental health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.”
For more information go to www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk/safer or call Well-informed on 0800 073 0918.