Extended highlights from Forthbank Stadium as the under 20s come from behind and beat Queen’s Park 2-1 in the IRN-BRU Cup.
TV: Highlights from Forthbank StadiumWednesday 16 August 2017
Craigan: We coped with tough cup clashWednesday 16 August 2017
Under-20s boss Stephen Craigan was happy with the way his side coped with hard opposition in the Irn-Bru Cup tonight.
Going up against League One side Queen’s Park, the youngsters turned around a 1-0 half time deficit to win 2-1 at Forthbank Stadium.
Speaking to MFC TV at full time, the Northern Irishman reflected on his side’s first competitive game of the 2017/18 season.
[pullquote]You find out a lot about your players when they play against men and there’s things that go on against senior teams off the ball and things that make them learn.[/pullquote]
He said: “You find out a lot about your players when they play against men and there’s things that go on against senior teams off the ball and things that make them learn.”
He added: “It would be great if we could play against that kind of intensity every week and play against that sort of opposition.
“But when we arrive at games like this we have to be able to cope with it and I felt that we did.”
Motherwell U20s 2 – 1 Queen’s ParkWednesday 16 August 2017
Motherwell under-20s got their competitive season off to a winning start with a 2-1 victory over Queen’s Park in the Irn-Bru Cup.
Second half goals from Ellis Plummer and Adam Livingstone secured a comeback victory against the League One side who presented a tough challenge for the Fir Park youngsters.
Stephen Craigan fielded a young starting line-up at the Forthbank Stadium in Stirling, including two over-age players in Jack McMillan and goal-scorer Plummer.
And the Fir Parkers started well against the League One side, holding their own as neither side created much in the opening 25 minutes.
However, Gus MacPherson’s men started growing in to the match and took the lead just before the half-hour mark.
An in-swinging corner was met buy the head of ex-Well man Adam Cummins, who powered the ball beyond Morrison. Despite the stopper getting a hand to it, it had too much on it from close range.
The Steelmen grew in to the game though and Davie Turnbull, wearing the captain’s armband, had an effort from distance denied by a good block on the edge of the area.
That block led to a corner though and the set piece, which was only half cleared, fell for Shea Gordon who struck a terrific effort on goal, only to be denied by a wonderful save from Michael White in the Queen’s Park goal.
The second half brought with it an almost entirely different ‘Well performance as the youngsters came out firing.
Dominating much of the opening exchanges of the half, Plummer grabbed the equaliser on the hour mark with a close-range header. An inch-perfect cross from Turnbull was met well by the defender, who, unmarked, did well to direct his header low past White.
And in a frantic ten minute spell, suddenly, Craigan’s side were ahead.
A brilliant move was worked down the right and was tee’d up for Livingstone over 20-yards out. The youngster had no doubt in his mind as he unleashed an unstoppable strike for the top corner – leaving White with no chance.
Two minutes later, the Steelmen could have had three as James Scott burst through one-on-one but the youngster dragged his shot wide of the far post.
And the under-20s started playing with bags of confidence, summed up by Turnbull nearly firing a wonder strike in to the top corner from 25-yards, but White tipped the ball over at the expense of a corner.
From the resulting set piece, Dylan King rose well to head on goal but it rose over the bar and the score remained 2-1.
Jake Hastie and substitute Dylan Falconer both went close to grabbing the third goal for Craigan’s youngsters at Forthbank Stadium – the former doing terrifically well down the right hand side to beat two men and go close from a tight angle.
Some late pressure in stoppage time forced the Fir Parkers to see the game out and right on cue, PJ Morrison rushed out to clutch a dangerous cross and quell any late equaliser.
And it was enough, with the referee’s whistle sending the youngsters in to the second round of the Irn-Bru cup.
Craigan: Looking forward to cup clashTuesday 15 August 2017
Under-20s manager Stephen Craigan is looking forward to his sides first competitive game of the season as they prepare to face Queen’s Park in the Irn-Bru Cup.
Following an impressive campaign last term, the youngsters get started for the 2017/18 season with a cup-tie against League One opposition.
And Craigan admits his players have had to be patient over the summer break.
[pullquote]When there’s a game on the horizon, training becomes a little bit different, players know that there’s something at stake.[/pullquote]
Speaking to MFC TV, he said: “We’re looking forward to it because we’ve had to be patient over the past five or six weeks, it’s been a long pre-season for us.
“We would’ve ideally liked some more games because we managed to play Ayr United and Clyde about six weeks ago and it would have been nice to play some more senior teams in the build-up to this.”
He added: “When there’s a game on the horizon, training becomes a little bit different, players know that there’s something at stake.”
You can see the under-20 boss’ full interview on MFC TV’s official YouTube channel.
Hospitality available for Staggies clashMonday 14 August 2017
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McManus retires to take up coaching roleMonday 14 August 2017
Motherwell Football Club can today confirm Stephen McManus will retire from playing to take up a coaching role within the club’s Academy.
Former Scotland captain McManus, 34, enjoyed a very successful career, coming through the youth ranks to eventually captain Celtic. He played over 200 times across seven seasons for the Parkhead club, winning the SPL title on three occasions, two Scottish Cups and two League Cups.
It was at that point where the Lanark-born defender earned the majority of his International honours, eventually collecting 26 caps, scoring twice.
A £1.5m move to Middlesbrough followed and he was on Teeside for four years and played 77 times. During that spell, he also had a couple of loan stints with English Championship rivals Bristol City before joining the Steelmen in the summer of 2013.
He has turned out over 150 times in Claret and Amber and was a virtual ever-present until an injury at Celtic Park in early 2017 ended his season and required a double operation.
McManus played once during the Betfred Cup campaign this year, but has decided to call a halt to his playing career to take up a role within the Academy as the club prepares for the new era under the Project Brave initiative.
[pullquote]I want to thank the fans of every club I’ve played for, particularly at ‘Well where I’ve enjoyed myself tremendously over the past five seasons. I now look forward to the next chapter in my career.[/pullquote]
Speaking to motherwellfc.co.uk, McManus said: “Obviously when it comes to the point where you are going to officially retire from playing, you always do so with a bit of a heavy heart.
“However, I’ve given this a lot of thought and I believe this is the right time for me, particularly with the club giving me this opportunity in a new era for Academies in Scotland.
“I am also very excited to be learning from the great coaching staff we have at Motherwell at the moment; that was the main attraction for me. I want to develop myself as a coach and this is a wonderful opportunity.
“I want to thank the fans of every club I’ve played for, particularly at ‘Well where I’ve enjoyed myself tremendously over the past five seasons. I now look forward to the next chapter in my career.”
‘Well boss Stephen Robinson said: “We are absolutely delighted to be brining someone like Stephen onto our staff as he will be a huge asset to the club.
“He’s a former Celtic and Scotland captain and has played almost 500 career games; that’s a wealth of experience that our younger players now have at their disposal.
“It was a massive decision for him personally and it’s a real testament to Stephen as a guy that he wants to make this step at this stage of his life.
“I believe he’ll make a tremendous coach one day and he’s doing it in the correct way, getting his badges and doing the hard work on the training ground first.”
Academy Director Scott Leitch said: “We’re delighted Stephen has formalised his role within the Academy and he can step up some of the excellent work he’s already carried out with us.
“We’ve got a great tradition of ex-Motherwell players giving back to the Academy; as well as Stephen, we’ve also had the likes of Willie Pettigrew, Steven Hammell, David Clarkson, James McFadden, and Keith Lasley.
“This will only enhance what we can offer and I am excited to be working with Stephen in the months and years to come.”
TV: Highlights from McDiarmid ParkSaturday 12 August 2017
The best of the action from McDiarmid Park where eight -man Motherwell lose 4-1 to St Johnstone.
St Johnstone in picturesSaturday 12 August 2017
Images from this afternoon’s 4-1 defeat to St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Snaps courtesy of SNSPix
Robinson: Decisions changed the gameSaturday 12 August 2017
Stephen Robinson admitted that a number of decisions influenced the outcome of today’s game at McDiarmid Park.
However, despite ending the encounter with eight men on the park, the ‘Well boss added that he was proud of the way his team never gave up.
Speaking to MFC TV, the Northern Irishman reflected on a frustrating day in Perth.
He said: “I’m disappointed but I’m really proud of the boys. After coming down from Dingwall midweek and to keep going today despite some decisions today which were incredible at times.
[pullquote]I’m disappointed but I’m really proud of the boys. After coming down from Dingwall midweek and to keep going today despite some decisions today which were incredible at times.[/pullquote]
“We made mistakes ourselves today so we can improve but we can’t affect the decisions that went against us today.”
He added: “There was only one team on top at that stage, it was 2-1 at that time, we were playing good football and creating lots of chances.
“I thought we were in total control at that stage of the game and then the decision turns everything on its head.”
St Johnstone 4 – 1 MotherwellSaturday 12 August 2017
Motherwell ended their first away game in the 2017/18 campaign with eight men on the park as controversial decisions overshadowed what looked like being another positive performance.
Trevor Carson, Carl McHugh and Charles Dunne were all sent off on an afternoon when the Steelmen were searching for their first win at McDiarmid Park since 2011.
Stephen Robinson named two changes to the side which made the long trip north on Wednesday night, replacing Louis Moult and Craig Tanner with Ryan Bowman and Alex Fisher, with the former two being included on the bench.
But despite a positive start to the game, somehow Robinson’s men found themselves a goal down when Steven MacLean turned the ball over Carson’s head via a slice of good fortune when Stefan Scougall’s shot deflected in to the forward’s path.
Then, with virtually their second attack, the Saints were two up when Michael O’Halloran cut inside far too easily to finish neatly beyond Carson low at the far post.
However, that didn’t dent the Fir Parkers confidence as they continued to enjoy far more possession and looked eager to play good football.
That was rewarded when a well worked free kick was turned home by Andy Rose to score his first goal in Claret and Amber. McHugh’s in-swinging set piece was nodded on to the far post where Rose was on hand to head beyond Mannus.
That lifted the side and the travelling support and, as the second half got underway, it seemed the goal had buoyed the Steelmen as they came back out playing just like they had ended the first half – on top.
And Rose went close, again with his head, but was denied by a superb save from Alan Mannus in the Saints goal.
Everything changed just after the hour mark when Carson rushed out to collect a loose ball but, under pressure from the onrushing MacLean and having looked to have misjudged the situation, the stopper was sent off for a deliberate hand ball despite being on the line of his box when he handled it.
Robinson then brought on Russell Griffiths, sacrificing the energetic Gaël Bigirimana, as he tried to see his side remain in touch in the game.
Despite being a man down, an equaliser nearly arrived when substitute Louis Moult curled a freekick inches over the crossbar.
Just under ten minutes later, O’Halloran grabbed his second of the game when his low effort deflected past Griffiths with just fifteen minutes remaining.
Things got worse when McHugh followed Carson down the tunnel when he picked up his second yellow card of the game for a sliding challenge on Steven Anderson.
But the Steelmen didn’t let that knock them, as Rose again went close to grabbing his second of the game when his low effort fizzed towards goal but was turned wide by Mannus.
Down the other end of the park, somehow, there was another red card.
Substitute Graham Cummins broke in to the box before kicking the ground, yet referee Craig Thomson inexplicably awarded a penalty to the hosts and, on top of that, issued a third red card of the afternoon, this time for Charles Dunne, who just happened to be closest to the forward.
O’Halloran looked set to grab his hattrick but Griffiths produced a fine save to deny the Saints man and keep the score to 3-1.
The game, which had become farcical, wasn’t finished and Murray Davidson finished things off with a neat finish from a cut back in the 94th minute.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at McDiarmid Park
FT: St Johnstone 4 – 1 Motherwell
92′ | 4-1
Goal – Davidson slots home to make it 4 from a cut-back
From the penalty, Griffiths makes the save!
88′ | 3-1
Red card! Cummins appears to trip in the box and the ref sends off Dunne!
81′ | 3-1
St Johnstone sub, MacLean off for Hendry
80′ | 3-1
Rose’s fizzing low shot is pushed wide for a corner.
76′ | 3-1
Red card! McHugh gets his second booking and is sent off!
75′ | 3-1
St Johnstone sub, Alston on for Wotherspoon
74′ | 3-1
Goal – O’Halloran makes it 3-1 with a powerful low shot from just inside the box
69′ | 2-1
Couple of subs, Tanner on for Tait and Scougall off for Cummins
65′ | 2-1
Free-kick to ‘Well about 30 yards out. Moult hits it….inches over the bar!
63′ | 2-1
Motherwell sub, Griffiths on for Bigirimana
62′ | 2-1
Red card! Carson sent off for a deliberate handball outside the area.
57′ | 2-1
Incredibly Moult beats two men and with a good break on the ref pulls it back for a foul and books Scougall.
56′ | 2-1
Motherwell sub, Bowman off for Moult
53′ | 2-1
A header falls into the path of Cadden but he gets it wrong and blasts into row z.
49′ | 2-1
Free-kick to Motherwell on the right-hand side…Rose’s header is palmed wide for a corner by Mannus!!
Both teams are back out and Saints get the second 45 underway. COYW!!
HT: St Johnstone 2 – 1 Motherwell
45′ | 2-1
Bigirimana drags his shot just wide of the post from 20 yards
One minute added on
36′ | 2-1
McHugh booked for a foul on Scougall
34′ | 2-1
Dunne does well to get forward but his drilled cross is plucked out the air by Mannus.
28′ | 2-1
Motherwell’s dominance of the ball finally paid off! McHugh’s free-kick is headed in at the back post by Rose! Come on!!
17′ | 2-0
Goal – Incredibly Saints are 2 up. O’Halloran comes in off the right and places it past Carson.
16′ | 1-0
Half-chane for ‘Well. Bowman turns his man from a throw-in but can’t pick out Fisher and the chance goes.
8′ | 1-0
Goal – Saints open the scoring. MacLean gets the break of the ball and reacts quickly to flick the ball into the net over Carson
7′ | 0-0
No real chances as of yet but a couple of decent balls put into the area with no takers.
Cadden gets the action underway. COYW!!!
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright