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  • First team

    Preview: Dundee v Motherwell

  • First team

    Robinson: Top six push not over

  • First team

    Tanner: Three points all that matters

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Craigan: I expected more

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Highlights as U20s lose to County

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Motherwell U20s 1 – 2 Ross County U20s

  • Club

    Talisman of the champions

  • Club

    Players take on coaches

  • First team

    Muir in the middle at Dens Park

  • First team

    Ticket information for Dundee clash

  • First team

    Preview: Dundee v Motherwell

    Motherwell return to Dens Park for the second time in three weeks in a bid to pick up three important points in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    Stephen Robinson’s side head in to the fixture on the back of a 1-0 defeat against Steve Clarke’s Killie, a first defeat at Fir Park since the turn of the year.

    It will be the third trip to Dens Park this season, and Robinson will be keen to see his side maintain their strong record against Neil McCann’s side.

    The Northern Irishman believes three points against Dundee could put his side back on track to push for the top six, but the manager admits the primary focus is to pick up the points required to remain in the top flight.

    “We need to get back to winning ways,” he said. “We have a great chance on Saturday and if we can pick up the win, it’s game on again to push for the top six.

    “First and foremost, we need to make sure we get the points we need to stay in the division though, after that, we can look up the way.

    “We played Dundee recently and as Neil said afterwards, there wasn’t a lot in the game. Unlike Saturday against Killie, we took our chances against Dundee and that’s the story of football sometimes.”

    [pullquote]Dundee play some good football, they get the ball down and play and they have some very good individuals who can win games. It’s going to be a tough game.[/pullquote]

    The manager will be without Peter Hartley through injury, whilst Elliott Frear and Liam Grimshaw will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s game.

    Ryan Bowman, Stephen Hendrie, Deimantas Petravicius and George Newell all featured for Stephen Craigan’s under 20s mid-week, and they too could make the squad.

    For Craig Tanner, the prospect of facing Dundee could not have come around quick enough for the 23-year-old, who has scored in each of the past three clashes with the Dens Park side.

    And ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Neil McCann’s side, the 23-year-old is eager to see the Steelmen return to winning ways.

    Speaking to the broadcast press, Tanner reflected on his strong run of form against the Dark Blues, and spoke about the positive attitude around Stephen Robinson’s squad.

    “I’ve got three goals in three games against Dundee which is nice personally,” the Englishman said. “But most important is that we go there and get the three points.

    “It may be luck or maybe it’s fallen right for me on the day, but if it doesn’t fall for me on Saturday hopefully it falls for someone else.

    “You can see in this division that anyone can beat anyone, so we’ll need to be on our toes and be ready with our game plan to hope that we succeed against them.”

    Essential bridge maintenance works are planned for the M90 Friarton Bridge starting in the evening on Friday 23 February for one weekend.

    The work will involve replacing some of the bridge components on the northbound carriageway at both the north and south ends of the bridge. The maintenance will help ensure the bridge continues to operate safely for road users.

    To enable the works to be completed safely, the northbound carriageway will be closed to all traffic from 8pm on Friday 23 February until around 5 am on Monday 26 February. A contraflow system will instead be in place, with single lane traffic running in both directions on the southbound carriageway.

    Supporters are advised to allow for delays and to adjust their travel plans accordingly.

    Dundee v Motherwell

    Saturday 24th February 2018
    3.00pm
    Dens Park
    Tickets available on the gate.

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£24
    STUDENTS / OVER 65S£16
    UNDER 18s£10

    If you can’t make it along, don’t miss the action by tuning in to mixlr.com/motherwellfc for live commentary or follow the match on Twitter @MotherwellFC.

    You can see the match highlights on MFC TV’s YouTube channel, as well as full reaction and a match report right here on the official website.

  • First team

    Robinson: Top six push not over

    Stephen Robinson believes three points against Dundee could put his side back on track to push for the top six.

    But the manager admits the primary focus is to pick up the points required to remain in the top flight.

    And with a big game awaiting the Steelmen on Saturday, the Northern Irishman is eager to see his players tale their chances at Dens Park.

    “We need to get back to winning ways,” he said. “We have a great chance on Saturday and if we can pick up the win, it’s game on again to push for the top six.

    [pullquote]First and foremost, we need to make sure we get the points we need to stay in the division. After that, we can look up the way.[/pullquote]

    “We played Dundee recently and as Neil said afterwards, there wasn’t a lot in the game.

    “Unlike Saturday against Killie, we took our chances against Dundee and that’s the story of football sometimes.”

  • First team

    Tanner: Three points all that matters

    Craig Tanner has enjoyed playing against Dundee this season, with three goals in three games against the Dens Park side.

    And ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Neil McCann’s side, the 23-year-old is eager to see the Steelmen return to winning ways.

    Speaking to the broadcast press, Tanner reflected on his strong run of form against the Dark Blues, and spoke about the positive attitude around Stephen Robinson’s squad.

    “I’ve got three goals in three games against Dundee which is nice personally,” the Englishman said.

    “But most important is that we go there and get the three points.

    [pullquote]”It may be luck or maybe it’s fallen right for me on the day, but if it doesn’t fall for me on Saturday hopefully it falls for someone else.[/pullquote]

    “You can see in this division that anyone can beat anyone, so we’ll need to be on our toes and be ready with our game plan to hope that we succeed against them.”

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Craigan: I expected more

    Under 20s manager Stephen Craigan says he expects more from some of his players after a disappointing loss against Ross County.

    The youngsters slipped to a 2-1 defeat in the Development League, and the Northern Irishman expressed his unhappiness after the match.

    Whilst he called for more from some of his players, he also credited Ross County on their victory at Forthbank Stadium in Stirling.

    “The message to them before the game was ‘go out there and make your mark on the game, do something different than what you normally do.'”

    “In general terms, I’m disappointed. But, credit to Ross County, I thought they were good in the first half.

    “They had a real appetite about them and that’s something you have to try and match in football.”

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Highlights as U20s lose to County

    Extended highlights from Forthbank Stadium as ‘Well under 20s lose 2-1 against Ross County in the Development League. 

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Motherwell U20s 1 – 2 Ross County U20s

    Motherwell Under 20s slipped to a 2-1 defeat in their Development League clash against Ross County.

    A Jake Hastie goal wasn’t enough for the youngsters, who looked set to salvage a point before James Wallace won it for the visitors with ten minutes remaining.

    Manager Stephen Craigan named a strong side, calling on five players with first team experience, dropping a number of his youngsters to the bench following their cup exertions on Sunday.

    But things got off to the worst possible start when Max Ashmore thundered an unstoppable strike high past Morrison in to the top corner, after just 30 seconds.

    Craigan was forced in to an early change when youngster Jason Krones made way for Kyle MacDonald, midway through the first half.

    Ryan Bowman nodded a decent header on target as ‘Well pushed for a leveller, but the home side went in to the break a goal down.

    A change of shape and another substitution at the break saw Hastie introduced to the action in place of Stephen Hendrie, and Craigan’s side began to push for that all-important goal.

    In the 74th minute, that goal arrived and it was well-worked, with a slice of fortune too.

    After playing second fiddle for so long, surviving numerous scares, a deep ball towards the back post was headed back into the danger area by Barry Maguire, for Hastie to bundle home, via his face.

    The tricky winger was involved just minutes later, beating his man in the County box before being bundled to the deck. There were half shouts for a penalty, but the referee waved play on.

    Down the other end though, and with just ten minutes remaining, the Staggies fired themselves back in front.

    A cross from the right flank found James Wallace in the box, who took a touch before firing a low effort beyond Morrison and over the line, despite the best efforts of Shaun Bowers.

  • Club

    Talisman of the champions

    Brian McLaughlin was born in Grangemouth on October 7, 1954, and snapped up by Celtic at the age of 16, joining the Parkhead side from schools football, becoming professional in 1971.

    Brian starred in the reserve team alongside Kenny Dalglish and Lou Macari that were christened the “Quality Street Kids” by an attentive press. He eventually made his first team debut in September 1972 against Clydebank, and by the following year he had established himself as a regular. No less of an opinion than Jock Stein noted that McLaughlin was the most naturally talented player he had ever signed.

    Disaster struck for Brian after 14 successive appearances when he was badly injured by a tackle from Clyde centre half, Willie McVie. The resultant cruciate ligament damage removed him from the game for two years and although he fought back gamely, he lacked the previous mobility and was released to join Ayr United in November 1977.

    Manager Ally MacLeod gave Brian a platform to display his talent on a consistent basis, and the midfielder certainly repaid Ally’s faith in him and, much more besides, blossoming into a midfield maestro of great quality. Those who had considered Brian to be finished misjudged the young mans’ great determination.

    He went on to have an incredibly good two seasons with the Honest Men, even managing to score the winner against Celtic on Hogmanay 1977 in a famous 2-1 win for Ayr. Such was the quality of his play at Somerset Park, he was rewarded with the Players’ First Division Player of the Year award in 1979.

    Meanwhile, 40 minutes up the road and following relegation from the Premier League, Motherwell had made a poor start to the season being knocked out the League Cup by Queen’s Park and failing to win any of their first five league matches.

    In September 1979, Ally signed Brian McLaughlin once again, this time for Motherwell where his skills ensured that he would go on to be a firm favourite of the fans on the east terracing.

    The manager had been trying to sign Brian since that summer, but Ayr weren’t for letting him go. However, when Motherwell offered £100,000, United accepted and the deal was finally done.

    It didn’t take McLaughlin long to make his mark for the Steelmen, scoring on his debut at Douglas Park, but couldn’t prevent a 3-2 defeat for the club. Four days later, despite scoring again, Motherwell were humbled 5-2 by Raith Rovers at Starks Park as pressure began to increase on the manager from the fans.

    The following midweek saw Hearts visit Fir Park under the light of the silvery moon, and for the third time on the bounce the new signing was on target again as he finally picked up his first win bonus in North Lanarkshire as the Jambos were humbled 4-2 on a memorable night under the Fir Park lights.

    After another three straight wins over Clyde, Dumbarton and St Johnstone it seemed Motherwell were on a roll. However, as is often the case around these parts, the wheels came off. One win in the next eight, a 1-0 victory over Stirling Albion at home, sealed with a McLaughlin pile driver, pretty much ended any promotion hopes that the Steelmen and their fans had harboured.

    Although things did pick up after the arrival of Albert Kidd and Joe Carson from Arbroath, the Fir Parkers were always playing catch up with Hearts and Airdrieonians, who both had established a good lead at the top of the table.

    Despite ten wins after New Year in the league, Motherwell never really got into contention at the top and finished a rather disappointing sixth, eight points behind Airdrie who, along with winners Hearts, both went up to the Premier League.

    After his arrival, Brian was an ever present in the Motherwell line up, playing 35 times and scoring a very respectable ten goals. McLaughlin’s promptings initially lifted Motherwell, flirting with the leaders, but try as he might the Steelmen slipped back down the table, leaving the ‘Well fans feeling frustrated with the form of the side in a division that they were expected to win rather easily.

    His first full campaign at Fir Park was 1980/81, which opened brightly for Brian with a hat trick in the second leg of the League Cup first round tie against Stenhousemuir.

    The league campaign kicked off disastrously however, hammered 5-0 by a rampant Ayr United side down at Somerset Park. In what was a tough division in this year, Motherwell suffered from our old failing: inconsistency.

    Despite recording decisive, good wins against Falkirk, Dundee, Dunfermline and Hibernian there was always a shock scoreline around the corner, like defeats to Berwick Rangers and Stirling Albion. Come New Year’s Day, it felt like the club absolutely had to beat the Accies at Fir Park. Despite Brian scoring, the visitors finished comfortable 3-1 winners, to pretty much end once again our promotion hopes.

    After the Ne’erday defeat the Steelmen went on a 15-game unbeaten run in the league, which left the club a hugely disappointing fifth in the final league table of the season. There had been a little flirtation with silverware when 3,000 ‘Well fans headed to Tannadice for a Scottish Cup quarter final against the all conquering Dundee United, after a battle cry from Ally MacLeod. The manager had caught the imagination of everyone claiming that Motherwell were definite contenders to lift the old trophy despite being mid table in the second tier of Scottish Football.

    Sadly, by half time, Motherwell were 4-1 down and out of the competition. By the end of the campaign, Ally MacLeod was somewhat under pressure from sections of the Motherwell support, as the club reluctantly looked forward to a third season out with the top flight of Scottish football.

    The board decided that there had been enough positives in the last 15 matches of the campaign to remain firmly behind the manager in his attempt to finally secure a berth back in amongst the big guns. Brian had played in 42 games that season, the most he had every managed, scoring nine goals. It wasn’t long into the new season that the Motherwell board did lose its confidence in Ally MacLeod and he left his position which was quickly filled by his assistant, David Hay.

    Hay’s first game in charge was a disappointing defeat down at Rugby Park, but a single Willie Irvine goal beat Queen’s Park at Fir Park a week later in front of a paltry crowd of less than 2,000 fans, which did spark an upturn in fortunes.

    Brian McLaughlin scored nine times in six of the next seven matches as the Steelmen beat St Johnstone, Falkirk, Dumbarton, Raith Rovers, Dunfermline Athletic and East Stirlingshire, after finishing level with Hamilton Accies in an enthralling 2-2 draw.

    That impressive run took the Fir Parkers to the top of the table as confidence began to build within the ranks. The transformation in the Steelmen from the early season under McLeod, to the quality of play produced by the team under Hay just a few weeks later, was remarkable without adding anyone to the squad.

    As October arrived, Motherwell went from strength to strength as McLaughlin opened the scoring when East Stirlingshire were defeated away at Fir Park 3-0, before two weeks later producing a memorable display at Kilbowie against Clydebank.

    The home side were ripped apart in a vintage performance by the Steelmen in a 7-1 rout. The man of the match that day be a country mile was Brian McLaughlin, who dictated the pace and control of the game in a manner I have rarely seen.

    Incredibly, Brian didn’t find the net that afternoon, but had a hand in five of the seven goals Motherwell scored, as belief that the title might be heading our way began to spread throughout the claret and amber support.

    As promotion got closer, Brian continued to have a major influence on those around him, while still scoring vital goals in important games for the club. He shot Motherwell ahead in the Lanarkshire derby against the Accies in March, before setting up both Bruce Clelland and Willie Irvine to score in a 3-2 win.

    Two further single goal victories over Kilmarnock at Fir Park and away at Raith Rovers, both scored by McLaughlin took Motherwell to the brink of the Championship.

    Four days later the title was clinched, after one of the poorest performances from the Steelmen in what had been a terrific campaign, at home to Clydebank in front of the BBC TV cameras. It finished goalless, before the Motherwell fans swarmed onto the pitch in celebration at the final whistle to mob the players, signalling the end of the club’s three-year exile from the Premier Division.

    The season had been a triumph for David Hay as he saw his side romp away with the title, scoring 92 times to create a First Division record for goal scoring. Quite amazingly, three players claimed 56 of them, Willie Irvine, along with Brian netting 20 goals apiece and Bruce Clelland contributing 16.

    An indication of how much McLaughlin had an effect on the championship win is the fact that 11 of his goals opened the scoring for Motherwell in matches in which only two points were dropped by the Steelmen.

    In a Motherwell squad that was packed with very good footballers, it was evident to everyone who watched them play that season that Brian McLaughlin was the talismanic figure in which Davie Hay had built his successful side around.

    Brian played 43 times in that memorable season. Only Steve McLelland, John Gahagan and Willie Irvine played more as he made a mockery of the injury prone tag often attached to him.

    Back in the big time, Brian had the stage he had been craving for: an opportunity to display his talents and show everyone that he could dictate matches at the highest level in this country.

    However, new manager Jock Wallace didn’t share Brian’s vision for the future. After starting the first two fixtures against Rangers and Dundee, he left both Brian and record goal scorer, Willie Irvine on the substitute bench for the visit of a Charlie Nicholas inspired Celtic. The game ended in a heavy defeat and Brian was rarely seen again in claret and amber.

    Midway through the Premier League campaign, and after being unfairly treated by Wallace, Brian was allowed to leave for pastures new, which he did, joining Hamilton Accies back in the First Division. He then served his local side Falkirk, before a brief spell in Australia and then back to Ayr United before hanging up his boots, ending a career that had promised so much.

    In August 2009, Brian died as a result of an accident in tragic circumstances, being found in the Union Canal near his home in Falkirk. He was only 54 years old.

    Brian McLaughlin played for Motherwell 131 times, scoring 41 goals from midfield and was the architect and focal point of one of the most entertaining squads ever witnessed. It would be stretching it a little to suggest that Brian had this football club in his heart, but his contribution in just over three years cannot be understated.

    The pressure everyone at Fir Park were under as they tried to win promotion at the third attempt, reportedly the last throw of the dice for Motherwell before going part time, cannot be underestimated.

    Had Brian not produced the stats and the goods he did in the championship winning season, there is every chance we would be watching the Steelmen this afternoon in lower league football lining up against our peers of the 80s such as Morton, Ayr United, Airdrie and Clyde.

    They say success and failure in football is all about fine margins. If that’s the case, then we all should be grateful that when Brian joined Motherwell, the odds shifted distinctly in our favour.

  • Club

    Players take on coaches

    Motherwell players and coaches are going head-to-head in a series of challenges to see who comes out on top.

    In the first of five, this week Trevor Carson and Nadir Çiftçi took on Stephen McManus and Craig Hinchliffe in a game of Speak Out, with hilarious consequences.

  • First team

    Muir in the middle at Dens Park

    Alan Muir is the man in charge as Motherwell travel to face Dundee at Dens Park for the second time in three weeks. 

    The 42-year-old takes charge of his third ‘Well match of the season, and his second at Fir Park.

    In those two matches, ‘Well have notched one victory and suffered one defeat, with a 2-0 win over Ross County at home before losing 2-1 away to Hibs.

    The official has dished out seven yellow cards and one red in those two games, when Kenny Van Der Weg was given his marching orders.

    ‘Well travel to a ground they have a perfect record at so far this season, having won twice and kept two clean sheet in the process.

    His overall record in charge of the Steelmen is a fairly mixed bag.

    When the Scotsman has been in charge, ‘Well have won on 11 occasions, drawn five and lost ten.

    In those games, Motherwell have scored 32 and conceded 39.

    Muir will be ably assisted by Douglas Ross and Jordan Stokoe; with Andrew Dallas on fourth official duties.

     

  • First team

    Ticket information for Dundee clash

    Motherwell return to Dens Park for the second time in three weeks as they travel to face Dundee in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    After a 2-0 victory in the William Hill Scottish Cup on their last visit, Stephen Robinson’s men travel north with confidence of continuing their push for a place in the top six.

    The Fir Park men are unbeaten at Dens this season, keeping two clean sheets in the process, including a 1-0 league win back in October.

    Craig Tanner’s solitary strike sealed the three points that afternoon, and ‘Well’s number 27 also opened the scoring as ‘Well progressed to the quarter final of the Scottish Cup.

    The adult ticket price for the match is £24. Over 65s and students can get in for £16, while under 18s go for £10.


    Dundee v Motherwell

    Saturday 24th February 2018
    3pm
    Dens Park
    Tickets available on the gate.

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£24
    STUDENT / OVER 65s£16
    UNDER 18s£10
    • Motherwell fans who require ambulant or wheelchair access should contact Brian Davidson on 07428 225254 or tickets@mfcdsa.com. Fans must contact Brian by Wednesday night before the match.