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    Robinson: We must turn around form

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    Craigan: We lost more than our captain

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    Clarkson: My uncle was a true role model

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    Hammell: I smile when I think of Phil

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    Motherwell v Aberdeen picked for TV

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    Dallas to officiate Accies clash

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    TV: Highlights from Ibrox

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    Rangers in pictures

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    Robinson: Can’t afford missed chances

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    Rangers 2 – 0 Motherwell

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    Robinson: We must turn around form

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson is eyeing a positive end to 2017 ahead of the Lanarkshire Derby on Saturday. 

    The Northern Irishman is confident his team can turn around a poor run of form in what will be just their third home match in ten league games. 

    Speaking to the broadcast press this afternoon, Robinson looked ahead to the final game of the year.

    [pullquote]It’s big. We have a longer break than usual coming up and there’s the potential to go in to the top six again with a win.[/pullquote]

    He said: “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a local derby and obviously for the fans it’s something to get the bragging rights for. 

    “We need to turn our form around now. We’ve been away from home a lot so it gives us another opportunity to get the fans right behind us and we go in to the game confident again.”

    The Fir Park manager added: “It’s big. We have a longer break than usual coming up and there’s the potential to go in to the top six again with a win.”

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    Craigan: We lost more than our captain

    Craigan: We lost more than our captain

    A decade on, Stephen Craigan reflects on the day Phil O’Donnell passed away on the Fir Park turf.

    The Northern Irishman, emotional yet full of happiness when remembering Motherwell’s famous number 10, speaks so freely and openly about a man who epitomised so many important qualities as a team-mate and a captain of the Steelmen.

    “Sometimes it does feel like ten years when I think about how much has gone on in my life, but in football terms, it seems as though it was just yesterday,” Craigan said.

    “I still vividly remember the game in general. And the reason I’m mentioning the game is because during that match Phil looked so happy.

    “We had been at Ibrox a few days before and he was happy and content ahead of the game against Dundee United. His energy levels were good.

    “The way the team played that day was terrific, he was box-to-box and it was almost as though he was rolling back the years to his younger days at Motherwell.”

    When ‘Well boss Mark McGhee decided to withdraw O’Donnell from the action, Craigan recalls the horrifying moment the club captain collapsed to the deck.

    “Mark McGhee was making a substitution, and I generally remember he looked round and I said to him, “Phil, it’s your number. Time to go off.” Then I just remember his last words: “I don’t feel very well.

    “Then from there it was all so fast. He collapsed and before you knew it we were there trying to help him. At first I remember thinking he might have swallowed his tongue. But when I tried to put my fingers in his mouth ,he bit down on me, so I jumped back, then the doctor was there.

    “The game was going so well. We were 5-1 up I think and everyone was feeling good. It was a festive time of year and then, all of a sudden that one incident, quite rightly, overtakes everything. The whole darkness of coming off the pitch, going into the dressing room and not knowing what had happened, really took over.

    [pullquote]We sat in the dressing room for quite a while after the game, just in our kit, nobody really spoke and everybody was checking their phones waiting for a little bit of information.[/pullquote]

    “It was horrific, it really was. Towards the end of the game it was just silence. As players, we just looked about. You’re thinking about David Clarkson, his nephew, on the pitch, his family in the stands, so when you think about all of that, that’s the dark side of it.

    “But then you think of Phil as a guy. He wasn’t just a teammate. He was like a father figure to us all. Even though I was a bit older than most of the lads, I was early 30s and Phil was 35, he still felt like that to me.

    “No matter what problems you had, if your car had broken down you could ask Phil and he’d know somebody who could get it fixed for you. If you didn’t know how to change a light bulb, he’d probably tell you how.

    “He was the type of figure you’d go to if you had a question, and irrespective of whatever question you asked, he’d have an answer.

    “Terry brought him back for that reason, to be a good influence in the dressing room. A lot of people maybe questioned if he’d be ready or if he’d be fit, and he more than proved that he was capable to get himself fit and keep himself injury free.

    “First and foremost though, he brought a personality to the team. In a quiet way though. He wasn’t loud, he wasn’t shouting and screaming, like I said he was like a father figure.

    “But he wasn’t at Christmas time though. At that time of year he became a big kid, probably because he had a young family of course, but just how excited he’d get. He’d talk about going to Lapland, all the presents he would be getting for his family, just so many joyful things about him.

    “It didn’t seem like he had a care in the world and, to me, he just seemed like the happiest man in the world with his family, his kids and his wife.

    “That came across in his personality too. Sometimes you can tell when people are happy, when they don’t have any underlying problems or when they do, but he just seemed so free and easy, and he enjoyed his life.”

    And it was a memorable life Phil lived, fondly remembered by everyone he crossed paths with.

    Craigan captured the loss and emptiness that so many felt around Motherwell Football Club in just a few words.

    He said: “We didn’t just lose the captain of our team. We lost a huge personality from our dressing room, and I think that was the biggest void.

    “Football comes and goes and can be replaced but as a personality in the dressing room, as a father figure and as someone we could all look up to is easily what we missed the most.”

  • Archive

    Clarkson: My uncle was a true role model

    Clarkson: My uncle was a true role model

    The loss of Phil O’Donnell ten years ago was particularly hard for his teammate David Clarkson.

    Not only was the great midfielder a colleague, but he was also the striker’s uncle.

    Ten years down the line, David casts his mind back to remember the ‘Well legend, a man who played such a big role in his nephew’s life.

    “It’s hard to put a time on it because sometimes it feels like ten years but then sometimes it doesn’t,” he said.

    “As a family we’re lucky in the sense that we have good people around us and we look after each other, so that helps you through a lot of it.

    “It’s the same with friends too, speaking to people and having the support there from everybody makes a difference. That side of things was helpful at the time as well as being helpful over the years.

    “You just have to see the messages of support from people at the club and all across football. That goes a long way for myself and the family.

    “Anyone who knew him, even if they had just met him once or twice, has nothing but good things to say about him and when he is spoke about, it’s the good times people mention – the happy memories.

    “I look back on the memories I have of my uncle, from being alongside him on the pitch or off it, there are so many different things that bring a smile to my face.”

    And that visible sense of happiness is something that resonates with anyone who speaks about ‘Well’s legendary number ten.

    “For me and for the entire family it is also really nice and rather moving when you hear all of the incredibly nice things people say or talk about.

    “Growing up I learnt so much from him too. The entire family has a love for football so seeing him progress as a player and how he handled things showed and taught me a lot.

    “From seeing the way he dealt with things like moving to Celtic, moving down south, and seeing how mature he was throughout all of that and all of his career, it truly showed me how to handle yourself and is something that has helped with my career.

    “Having that figure so close to you goes a long way. When you add to that just how highly everyone thought of, and still thinks of him, and you have a true role model. One I feel so lucky to have had in my life.”

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    Hammell: I smile when I think of Phil

    Hammell: I smile when I think of Phil

    Stevie Hammell has fond memories of Phil O’Donnell.

    A teammate, a friend and an inspiration, the late and great ‘Well number 10 passed away a decade ago today.

    And for Hammell, it is fitting to see such tributes toward O’Donnell, a player and a man everyone at Motherwell Football Club can be proud of.

    “Phil is fondly remembered at the club and rightly so.” Hammell said. “Whenever I think of him, hear his name or see a picture of him it brings a smile to my face.

    “He had a real presence about him and he would fill any room with just pure positivity. I think the way he conducted himself as a player and as a family man speaks volumes and is credit to him. He’s been sorely missed.”

    In many ways I think Phil epitomised a lot of what is good about this club. We try to pride ourselves on being a family club, being open, good and welcome around the place and those are certainly things you could relate to Phil.

    “We’ve tried to remember him and we’ve done that. Even speaking about him now and thinking about him now makes you sad but you also remember the good times, the happiness and even just remembering some of the little things about him.

    “His presence was a joy to be around because he just filled you with pleasure, I was proud to call him a team-mate but also a friend as well because he was a top class person.”

    While Hammell and many more have had to process such a loss, Motherwell’s number three reiterates the fact that the thoughts of everyone at ‘Well are with Phil’s family.

    “I can’t imagine what his family has been through but they’ve certainly come through it magnificently,” he said. “I’ve met his son Luc and I’ve been lucky enough to see him grow up.

    “A few weeks ago we did a charity dinner and the wee man stood up, spoke well and it was so nice to see how his family have grown up and his son looks so like him as well. It’s uncanny.

    “I know Phil will be looking down on them all with pride because it’s a beautiful family.”

  • Archive

    Motherwell v Aberdeen picked for TV

    Motherwell’s next match with Aberdeen in the Ladbrokes Premiership has been picked for live television coverage.

    The game, which will be broadcast by Sky Sports, will still be played on the original date of Wednesday, February 28 with a 7.45pm kick off.

    Stephen Robinson’s side have won two of their three encounters with Aberdeen this season.

    The first came in the Betfred Cup quarter finals, with the Steelmen running out 3-0 winners.

    After a 1-o win for the Reds at Fir Park several days later, Motherwell then went to Pittodrie in November and ran out 2-0 winners thanks to a Louis Moult double.

  • Archive

    Dallas to officiate Accies clash

    Referee for Saturday’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Hamilton Academical at Fir Park is Andrew Dallas.

    It will be his second Motherwell game of the season, after the 34-year-old took charge at Tynecastle earlier this term.

    The referee has overseen two Accies games this term which have both been dramatic encounters.

    The first was a 2-2 draw with Killie, when Ali Crawford’s late penalty snatched a crucial point. 

    The second time the official took charge of a Hamilton fixture this season was their 4-1 defeat against Rangers at the Superseal Stadium.

    Despite going a goal up through Daniel Redmond, Rangers stormed back to secure the win. 

    Son of famous referee Hugh Dallas, Andrew takes charge of his seventh Motherwell game.

    He will be assisted by Stuart Stevenson and Michael Banks, with Greg Aitken on fourth official duties.

  • Archive

    TV: Highlights from Ibrox

    Highlights from Ibrox as Motherwell lose 2-0 to Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

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    Rangers in pictures

    Images from Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat to Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Snaps courtesy of SNSPix

    [svgallery name=”rangers271217″]

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    Robinson: Can’t afford missed chances

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson says his side couldn’t expect to win after missing some key chances at Ibrox.

    The Fir Park boss reflected on a frustrating evening in Glasgow as his side fell to a 2-0 defeat against Rangers on a cold, wintry evening. 

    Speaking to MFC TV at full time, the Northern Irishman picked out some crucial moments in the Premiership encounter. 

    [pullquote]I can’t fault their work rate and their energy or their enthusiasm, I can’t fault any of that, but the reality is people need to step up to the plate.[/pullquote]

    “It’s a real frustrating one because if you come to a place like Ibrox and and you don’t take your chances, three of which were super chances – two for Craig Tanner and one for Alex Fisher – you’re not going to win games here. 

    “The two boxes win and lose you games – if you don’t defend the second phase of a corner and you don’t take your chances, then I’ll need to look to do something about that.”

  • Archive

    Rangers 2 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Phil McGhee at Ibrox

    Motherwell slipped to another away defeat in a pretty even affair where the lack of a cutting edge in front of goal paid dear.

    The Fir Parkers created two great chances at either end of a tame first half but Craig Tanner failed to make them count. The visitors then paid the price as Rangers grabbed a second half double.

    Although a few players were carrying injuries, ‘Well made only two changes from Saturday. Andy Rose replaced Chris Cadden, while Alex Fisher was given the nod in favour of Ryan Bowman.

    Within 60 seconds, Fisher’s headed flick sent Tanner through on Wes Foderingham. Perhaps toying with the idea of lobbing the advancing ‘keeper, the striker then shot straight at the Ibrox stopper and the chance to put immediate pressure on the home side was gone.

    The Steelmen maintained their positive start and clever footwork from Tanner found space for Richard Tait to cross low towards the six yard area. But Bruno Alves reacted quickly to nip in front of Fisher and clear the danger.

    At the other end, Trevor Carson had to stand strong to beat away a thumping drive from Eduardo Herrera as Gers began to find their way towards the visitors’ goal.

    ‘Well’s injury woes continued after 19 minutes when Carl McHugh went to ground holding his head and, after a quick check from the physio, was led off the pitch with Allan Campbell taking over the captain’s deep midfield role.

    Careless play five minutes later almost cost ‘Well. Having lost possession near the home corner flag, they allowed Rangers to break quickly to the other end. But Declan John’s low left foot shot was comfortably held by Carson.

    At this stage, Rangers’ play was hardly convincing and a series of needless fouls from the Ibrox men provided Tanner with the opportunity to deliver some inviting free kicks into the home goalmouth but again nobody could produce the killer touch.

    On the stroke of half-time, an astute back healer from Richard Tait sent Tanner in behind the home defence and although he guided his low angled drive beyond Foderingham, the ball sped narrowly beyond the keeper’s right hand post.

    With neither team on top, a needlessly conceded corner led to Rangers’ opening goal 10 minutes into the second half.

    Kranjcar’s delivery eventually found its way to Wilson on the other side of the box, and the central defender’s fierce shot flashed high past Carson and into the far corner of the net to give the home side the lead.

    Determined to take something from the game, Bowman replaced Andy Rose as ‘Well went with three up front.

    However, it took a fabulous double save from Carson in the 69th minute to keep his side in the game. The ‘Well ‘keeper spread himself to block Alfredo Morelos, before quickly recovering to do likewise to Jamie Barjonas’ low drive.

    After 74 minutes, ‘Well came within a metre of an equaliser. Tanner made space on the right before sending in a cross which Fisher stooped to meet only to head the ball narrowly past the post.

    A minute later Carson and his team mates were beaten when Gers grabbed a second and decisive goal. While the Fir Park players disputed a throw in, the ball was played through to Morelos, who checked he was onside before slamming the ball into the net and wrap up the points.

    Motherwell: Carson; Tait, Kipre, Hartley, Dunne; McHugh (Campbell 20), Grimshaw, Rose (Bowman 62), Bigirimana; Tanner, Fisher (Newell 78).

    Subs not used: Xenodochov, Hammell, MacLean, Turnbull.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Ibrox

    Live Blog Rangers v Motherwel

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