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    Thomson in charge of cup final

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    Win a car at Betfred Cup final

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    Hartley: We won’t change for Celtic

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    Ross County U20s 4-3 Motherwell U20s

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    Wolecki Black joins ladies team

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    Motherwell v Hamilton in Scottish Cup

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    Under 20s face Staggies trip

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    TV: Highlights from Pittodrie

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    Aberdeen victory in pictures

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    Robinson: Boys bought into game plan

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    Thomson in charge of cup final

    Referee for Sunday’s Betfred Cup final clash against Celtic at Hampden Park is Craig Thomson.

    The 45-year old takes charge of his third Motherwell fixture of the season, as the Steelmen look to end a 26-year wait for silverware.

    The official was in the middle for the trip to Hamilton earlier this campaign, when a spirited fightback saw the Steelmen come from a goal down to win 2-1, and prior to that he oversaw the forgettable clash with St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

    Thomson took charge on four occasions last term, which included both the first and last games of the season, starting with a win against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park and ending with a 3-2 loss away to Inverness.

    In between those clashes, the official oversaw a 1-1 draw away to Partick Thistle in September and the crushing Scottish Cup defeat against Rangers at Ibrox.

    One of the top Scottish referees in the game, Thomson has been in charge of fixtures at all levels, including the UEFA Champions League and World Cup Qualifiers.

    Of the three matches he refereed in Europe’s premier club competition last season, one match included 2015/16 finalists Atlético Madrid.

    His record in charge of the Steelmen is a bit of a mixed bag with 17 wins from 51 matches. There have been 24 defeats and ten draws too.

    Not included in that list was the 2007/08 Scottish Cup fourth round replay win against Hearts at Fir Park, when he replaced the injured Stuart Dougal midway through the second half.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 72 and conceded 78.

    A total of 173 players have gone into the book, 89 were wearing claret and amber. Up until the Saints clash, seven players had been shown a red card, including former captains Stephen Craigan and Keith Lasley. That total surged to ten following the dismissals of Trevor Carson, Carl McHugh and Charles Dunne back in August in Perthshire.

    Craig will be ably assisted by David McGeachie and Sean Carr. Andrew Dallas is fourth official.

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    Win a car at Betfred Cup final

    The SPFL Trust will give away a brand new car to one lucky supporter at Sunday’s Betfred Cup final.

    The official charity of the league this week launched Superdraw and have offered up the prize of a Hyundai i10.

    Tickets will be sold around Hampden Park before kick off, priced at £2. One winning ticket will be drawn during the half-time break.

    Every penny of profit from the SPFL Trust Superdraw will be used to support community activity across SPFL clubs. 

    The SPFL was recently ranked the fourth most community engaged league in the world, in the widely respected annual RESPONSIBALL ranking in a field of the world’s 25 biggest clubs. This marks a three-place rise, year on year.

    Analysis on behalf of the SPFL concluded that clubs engage with about 772,000 people every year and earlier this year, the SPFL Trust launched its mission to engage with one million people annually by 2022.

    Clubs engage with people through a range of meaningful programmes which support identifiable need in the communities in which clubs are based.

    They engage in a range of community programmes which show how sport can be used for good. These focus on improved physical and mental health, raising education standards, developing citizenship, and providing specific help to families in need.

    Twenty-three clubs now have registered charities, up from three a decade ago, with every SPFL club committed to engaging communities.

    The SPFL Trust is committed to making Scotland’s league the most community engaged in the world.

    For full information visit spfltrust.org.uk/superdraw

    The SPFL Trust’s Gambling Commission Operating Licence is 000-049950-M-327178_001.

    The SPFL Trust is committed to gambling responsibility and its social responsibility policy commits to donate sums on an annual basis to GambleAware which raises funds to support research, education and treatment of problem gambling. Visit gamblingcommission.gov.uk or gamcare.org.uk for more information.

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    Hartley: We won’t change for Celtic

    Peter Hartley says Motherwell will stick to their all-action style of play when they take on Celtic in this weekend’s Betfred Cup final.

    The Steelmen have made it to Hampden by toppling Aberdeen and Rangers along the way, and have done so with a philosophy of playing physical but fair football against their opponents.

    With the team also fifth in the Scottish Premiership table, Hartley is targeting an upset on Sunday by sticking to the style of play that has got the team this far.

    “It’s a contact sport, isn’t it?” he said “Go and play basketball if you want a non-contact sport.

    “We’re a physical team. If we try to play Celtic at their game, they’re going to beat us. We’ve got to play our game and being physical, getting on to second balls, being organised and drilled is what we’re about.

    “We’re not going to change the way we are.

    “I fully believe we can get a result. I think we’ve got a great group of lads and we’ve shown that we’re no pushover.

    “It’s not a fluke or luck that we’ve beaten Aberdeen because we’ve scored five goals against them in three games.

    [pullquote]I fully believe we can get a result. We have shown we are no pushover. It’s not a fluke that we beat Aberdeen 3-0 because we have scored five goals against Aberdeen now in three games.[/pullquote]

    “I know Celtic’s a completely different team to Aberdeen but we’re going out there with full belief.”

    Hartley scored against a star-studded Chelsea side last season, but says it will all pale into insignificance if Motherwell can beat Celtic and lift the Betfred Cup.

    The centre back headed past Asmir Begovic at Stamford Bridge as Bristol Rovers narrowly came close to beating a side with £150m worth of talent on the pitch.

    “I played in the League Cup against Chelsea last season with Bristol Rovers,” he said. “They put practically a first team out against us. It was a tough game at Stamford Bridge with 45,000 there.

    “I managed to score but this is going to be completely different. This is a cup final and there’s a trophy to lift at the end of it.”

    The 29-year-old was also on target in the quarter-final win against Aberdeen at Fir Park and has been an ever-present in Stephen Robinson’s defence since making the switch north.

    The playing squad turned down the chance to wear suits to Hampden Park for the big occasion, with Hartley saying that’s down to their attitude towards trying to win the match.

    “That’s not for us, the suits and stuff,” he added. “That doesn’t win you a game. We are not a suits type of team.

    “We don’t want to be sweating on the coach driving to Hampden and YouTubeing how to do a Windsor Knot and stuff like that. We will wear a tracksuit, turn up and do what we’re there to do, which is play football, and hopefully we will come out with a result.

    “I fully believe we can get a result. We have shown we are no pushover. It’s not a fluke that we beat Aberdeen 3-0 because we have scored five goals against Aberdeen now in three games.

    “I know Celtic are a completely different team to Aberdeen but we are going out there with full belief. We’ll get a game plan and I’d like to think we will execute it.”

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    Ross County U20s 4-3 Motherwell U20s

    ‘Well Under 20s suffered just their second loss of the season as Ross County edged a seven-goal thriller in the Highlands on Tuesday.

    And it was a spirited performance from the Fir Park youngsters, who battled their way back in to the game after falling two goals behind to an experienced, strong Staggies side – including Billy Mckay and Thomas Mikkelsen.

    But ultimately, it was the hosts who edged the encounter and picked up three points in the Development League.

    A bright start from Stephen Craigan’s side was knocked by County’s opener, which came somewhat against the run of play.

    Thomas Mikkelsen’s downward header on 25 minutes opened the scoring, and things got worse for the ‘Well when the Danish forward bagged his second from 15-yards after half an hour.

    With the youngsters still pressing as the first period wore on, the half time whistle was the spark in which Craigan’s youngsters sparked in to life.

    Davie Turnbull lashed a 20-yard strike past the diving Ross Munro on the hour mark, and it was very much a case of game on.

    No less than four minutes later and Motherwell were on target again to level the match at 2-2, with Luke Watt drilling home at the back post after stepping neatly beyond his marker.

    County went ahead just three minutes later though through senior player Billy Mckay, who lifted a cute finish over Rohan Ferguson, making his first appearance in Claret and Amber.

    And in a thrilling second half, the Steelmen were level again when Jack McMillan nipped in at the back post and finished low past Munro to make it 3-3.

    With 15 minutes left to play, Ross MacIver conjured up the winning goal, crashing a deflected effort beyond the ‘Well youngster to make it 4-3.

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    Wolecki Black joins ladies team

    Motherwell FC is delighted to announce the appointment of Eddie Wolecki Black as the new manager of the senior ladies team.

    The appointment forms part of a complete review of the girls and ladies programme at Fir Park.

    Previously the MFC Community Trust has had sole responsibility for the running of all the programmes and teams from under 10s to first team.

    Under the new system, the senior ladies team will fall under the direct remit of the club, whereas the development pathway will continue with the Community Trust.

    The senior ladies team currently competes in SWPL2, the second tier of the Scottish women’s game. They recently finished third in their debut season at that level. That followed back-to-back promotions in 2015 and 2016.

    Wolecki Black, a UEFA pro licence coach, has a sterling reputation within the women’s game. He is best known for a four-year spell at Glasgow City, where he won an historic ‘quadruple treble’ of the SWPL1 title, the Scottish Cup and the League Cup.

    [pullquote]“I am absolutely delighted to welcome Eddie to the club and believe it’s a huge coup for us to get him here.[/pullquote]

    He also guided City to the quarter final of the Women’s Champions League, eliminated by eventual finalists Paris Saint Germain back in 2015.

    That success at Glasgow came after a title-winning season with Junior side Lochee Utd and a year at League Two team Montrose.

    After leaving the women’s game, he had a brief spell with Scottish Lowland League side Edusport Academy, before joining Airdrieonians with the team battling for promotion to the Scottish Championship.

    Sadly, Eddie took ill at a game against Cowdenbeath at Central Park and was unable to fulfill his role for the remainder of that campaign. He left Airdrie later that year and did some coaching with another lowland league side, BSC Glasgow.

    With his health improving each day, he now feels ready to return to management and, alongside assistant Donald Jennow, will spearhead Motherwell’s campaign in 2018.

    “I’m delighted to be honest,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to come back in, I’d obviously been looking around and had been unsuccessful in one or two applications.

    “But I was contacted by Alan Burrows, we had some conversations which have led to this day so I’m very keen now just to get started.”

    Motherwell Chief Operating Officer Alan Burrows added: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Eddie to the club and believe it’s a huge coup for us to get him here.

    “Not only is he a hugely respected and qualified coach with experience at various levels, I can see a real huge hunger and determination in him to get back involved.

    “I’m delighted Motherwell can be a club that can give people the chance to get their lives back on track after a setback. I am certain Eddie will build on the fantastic progress already made within the ladies team as we strive for promotion to the top level.”

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    Motherwell v Hamilton in Scottish Cup

    Motherwell will play Hamilton Academical in the fourth round of the 2017/18 William Hill Scottish Cup.

    The Steelmen will host the Accies on the weekend of Saturday, January 20, 2018.

    Doddie Weir and Colin Cameron conducted the draw on Monday.

    Thirty-two teams will take part in the fourth round, with all Scottish Premiership sides entering at this stage.

    2017/18 Scottish Cup fourth round draw

    Dunfermline Athletic v Greenock Morton

    Ayr United v Arbroath

    Albion Rovers v St Johnstone

    Motherwell v Hamilton Academical

    Hearts v Hibernian

    Livingston v Falkirk

    Dundee v Inverness CT

    Formartine United v Cove Rangers

    Montrose/Queen of the South v Partick Thistle

    Celtic v Brechin City

    Peterhead v Dumbarton

    East Fife v Brora Rangers

    Alloa Athletic v Dundee United

    Fraserburgh v Rangers

    Aberdeen v St Mirren

    Kilmarnock v Ross County

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    Under 20s face Staggies trip

    Motherwell Under 20s face a long trip north to face Ross County on Tuesday afternoon in the Development League.

    Stephen Craigan’s youngsters will be keen to bounce back to winning ways, following a run of two draws, as they prepare to face the northern outfit at the Global Energy Stadium.

    County, sitting in sixth, come in to the encounter on the back of a 3-2 victory over Dundee United last Tuesday. 

    And with two points separating County from the Fir Parkers in third, Craigan will be keen to see his side pick up three points. 

    You can follow all the action on live twitter @MotherwellFC with kick off at 2pm. 

     

     

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    TV: Highlights from Pittodrie

    Highlights from Pittodrie where Louis Moult’s double secured all three points in a comfortable 0-2 win over Aberdeen.

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    Aberdeen victory in pictures

    Images from Saturday’s game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”aberdeen181117″]

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    Robinson: Boys bought into game plan

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson hailed his players for implementing a new system as they returned to action with a 2-0 win over Aberdeen.
     
    The Steelmen put in a fine display at Pittodrie, nullifying the host’s attacking threat on an afternoon when Louis Moult bagged his 50th goal in claret and amber. 
     
    Speaking to MFC TV at full time, Robinson praised his side ahead of next weekend’s Betfred Cup Final. 
     
    [pullquote]From start to finish we implemented a new system today, we worked on it all week and the boys really bought in to it, really applied themselves well and we probably could have won by more goals today.[/pullquote]
     
    “It was a terrific performance today,” he said. “We had the performance against Ross County but we had the end product today.
     
    “From start to finish we implemented a new system today, we worked on it all week and the boys really bought in to it, really applied themselves well and we probably could have won by more goals today.
     
    “Tactically, I can do what I want but if the players don’t buy in to it or take it on board then they’re the ones who have to go out there on the pitch and deliver it, and they did.”