Extended highlights from Kelty as the Under 20s lose 1-0 away to St Johnstone in the Development league.
- Reserves & Under 18s
Highlights as Under 20s lose to SaintsTuesday 20 March 2018
- Reserves & Under 18s
Craigan: Our final decision was poorTuesday 20 March 2018
Stephen Craigan had mixed emotions after his side slipped to a narrow defeat against St Johnstone in the Development League.
A largely positive performance was marred by a lack of cutting edge as the Under 20s couldn’t find the back of the net at New Central Park.
And for the Northern Irishman, there were positives to take from the first half, which was followed by a disappointing second.
[pullquote]It was largely down to the last thing we did with the ball. Whether that be our final pass, our final touch or our final decision at the top end of the pitch.[/pullquote]
“There were lots of spells where we dominated the game, especially in the first half,” Craigan said. “I thought we moved the ball well and we got in behind them quite a lot of times.
He added: “When you’re on top in games you want to put it to bed or get one or two ahead and I felt out first half performance deserved it.
“But I’m disappointed with the second half because St Johnstone really only had that one chance and they took it.”
- Reserves & Under 18s
U20s: St Johnstone 1 – 0 MotherwellTuesday 20 March 2018
Motherwell Under 20s slipped to their second consecutive defeat with a 1-0 loss against St Johnstone in the Development League.
Despite dominating large parts of the game, the youngsters conceded early in the second half and couldn’t find the response required to get back in to the match.
Barry Maguire, Adam Livingstone and David Turnbull returned to Stephen Craigan’s starting line up, whilst Gaël Bigirimana was also included from the start.
But it was George Newell, leading the line, who so nearly opened the scoring inside two minutes.
A terrific ball in from Ross MacLean was glanced towards the far post by the striker, but it flashed narrowly wide of the mark.
Deimantas Petravičius, proving lively on the right flank, caused early problems for the Saints back line but failed to properly test goalkeeper Mark Hurst.
Bigirimana went closest in the opening 45, when Newell slipped the midfielder in on the edge of the area and he curled a decent effort on target, only to be denied by a strong hand from Hurst.
As the second half got underway, St Johnstone came out looking revived and took the game to Craigan’s side in the first ten minutes of the second period.
A well-worked move down the left flank was finished off with a smart cut-back from John Robertson which allowed Jamie McKenzie to tap in from just a few yards to open the scoring.
Stephen Craigan introduced James Scott shortly after the hour mark in place of Bigirimana, shuffling his shape with two strikers on the park in search for a response.
And the young striker was almost immediately involved in the action when big calls for a penalty were waived by the referee.
Keith Watson slid to the deck, bringing down the teenager in the progress. The official ignored numerous shouts despite the defender failing to get a touch on the ball.
It was the biggest opportunity for the youngsters, who went close in the final minute from Petravičius’ strike from the edge of the box, as Saints held on for all three points at New Central Park in Kelty.
- Reserves & Under 18s
Under 20s away to St JohnstoneTuesday 20 March 2018
Motherwell Under 20s are in SPFL Development League action against on Tuesday as they travel to face St Johnstone.
The match, which will be played at New Central Park in Kelty, kicks off at 2pm.
Stephen Craigan’s side lost in their last outing, going down 2-0 against Dundee United.
- First team
Club appeal Cédric Kipré red cardMonday 19 March 2018
Motherwell Football Club have lodged an appeal against the red card shown to Cédric Kipré in Sunday’s fixture with Celtic.
The French defender was dismissed for violent conduct by referee Craig Thomson in the 41st minute of the Ladbrokes Premiership match.
The club believes this is a case of wrongful dismissal and, having submitted a Player Reference to the Scottish FA on behalf of the player, the matter will now go to a fast track tribunal.
The principal hearing will take place on Thursday, 22 March 2018.
- First team
Highlights as ‘Well draw with CelticSunday 18 March 2018
Highlights from Fir Park as 10-man Motherwell draw 0-0 with league leaders Celtic.
- First team
Players react after hard-fought drawSunday 18 March 2018
Richard Tait, Curtis Main and Allan Campbell reflect on a hard-fought point against Celtic after going down to 10 men.
- First team
Boys did everything asked of themSunday 18 March 2018
A proud Stephen Robinson hailed his determined players as they picked up a hard-fought point against Celtic.
Despite going down ten men in the first half, the spirited Steelmen held on for nearly an hour against the league leaders.
And the Northern Irishman couldn’t single anyone out as he reflected on the game at full time.
[pullquote]I’m really, really proud of them. To a man they did everything we asked of them against a very good team.[/pullquote]
“In the first half we took the game to them. A lot of teams sit back and wait to be beat by Celtic but we took the game to them and I really felt we could have got three points today.”
He added: “The boys dug in against a very good team and we asked them to play a certain way. Let’s be honest, we weren’t much of an attacking threat in the second half, but that was dictated to by a decision.
“It’s difficult to pick any individual out. Richard Tait and Allan Campbell were absolutely superb, so was everyone on the pitch, but I just think their energy, work-rate and desire to stay in the game was inspiring at times.”
- First team
Motherwell 0 – 0 CelticSunday 18 March 2018
Phil McGhee at Fir Park
Ten-man Motherwell picked up a hard-fought point against league leaders Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Despite Cédric Kipré being sent off before half time, the Fir Parkers held on for nearly an hour on a bitterly cold afternoon at Fir Park.
Stephen Robinson made two changes to his side following last weekends defeat against Hamilton, with Ryan Bowman and Elliott Frear coming in to the team in place of the injured duo of Craig Tanner and Andy Rose.
And his side started the match firmly on the front foot, with a long range effort from Chris Cadden testing Scott Bain in the Celtic goal after just 12 minutes.
Within a minute later, Frear’s pinpoint cross found the head of Main six yards from goal, whose powered header was matched by a terrific stop from the keeper.
Then, before the 20th minute, Main turned provider when he chested down for Bowman to send a volley on target, which was a little too central and was gathered by Bain.
Celtic created a couple of opportunities, with Tom Rogic proving difficult to handle in the final third. The Aussie went close from the edge of the area when he curled an effort narrowly past the post.
Stephen Robinson’s side continued to create the better chances in the first half though, and Main nearly thundered a wonderful free kick home from over 25-yards, but Bain got down well to turn it wide of the mark.
But things changed drastically for on-top ‘Well when Craig Thomson flashed his fifth red card of the season, all of which have been shown for a player in claret and amber.
Sliding in on Kipré, Celtic skipper Scott Brown had a small altercation off the ball which was deemed a red card offence.
As expected, that decision drastically swayed the momentum of the match for the second half as Brendan Rodgers side went on to control the remainder of the game.
But that only brought out a battling, determined performance from the home side.
Trevor Carson produced a couple of wonderful stops, and Richard Tait’s stunning last ditch tackle denied substitute Scott Sinclair a certain goal as he raced through one-on-one with ‘Well’s Northern Irish stopper.
In the dying seconds, a downward header from Moussa Dembele forced a stunning save from Carson, who tipped the effort over the bar as a spirited ‘Well held on for a more than deserved point.
- First team
McHugh: Our preparation is vitalSaturday 17 March 2018
As the ball looped high off the head of Christophe Berra, it looked set for Harry Cochrane to hook the ball clear from danger, almost certainly resulting in a Scottish Cup quarter final replay between Hearts and Motherwell.
But Carl McHugh burst forward to control the ball on his chest ahead of the young Jambo’s midfielder, before unleashing one of the most memorable strikes seen at Fir Park in a decade.
On his apparently weaker right foot, Motherwell’s captain thundered an unstoppable volley in to the top corner from 25-yards to send the Steelmen back to Hampden.
It is somewhat fitting that the midfielder scored the goal responsible for securing another semi final, given that he will be suspended for that very fixture on April 14.
For Carl, as always, it isn’t about him.
“It was a special goal, one that will live with me forever, but all that matters is the team,” he said.
[pullquote]Sure it’s frustrating that I won’t be able to play in the semi’s, but the lads will go out there and give it their all like they do every week.[/pullquote]
He added: “But to be honest, I’m not thinking that far ahead, because we have some huge games coming up, starting today.
“While we’ve spoke about the Hearts game and the goal in this interview, that’s long gone in our minds now. We just have to be focused on the league and on picking up as many points as possible because we still have a lot to play for.”
With Celtic set for Fir Park this afternoon, Motherwell’s number eight has his sight’s set on three important points.
“Celtic have proved for a number of years now that they’re the best team in the country,” the midfielder said. “We’ll need to be at our very best if we hope to get a result.
“But we’re here at home, where we’ve played well this season. It’s been something we’ve aimed to do; make Fir Park a hard place to come. I think that’s been the cornerstone of what success we’ve had this year.
[pullquote]We’ve had a lot of good results here and we’re going to have to continue to do that if we want to finish the season strongly.[/pullquote]
He added: “We put in a really good performance the last time Celtic came here, and we were unlucky not to get more than just a point from the game.
“But we know how hard a game it will be this afternoon so we need to be sure we’re at our best from the first whistle.”
In his second season with the club, and his first with the armband, Carl allows himself to reflect fondly on what has been a season of highs for the club so far.
“I don’t think for a second that anyone in the dressing room would have been surprised if you told them we’d make it to a final, be challenging for the top six and be in the last four of the Scottish Cup,” the Irishman admitted.
“Sure, it may have surprised the media, but for us as a group, we have high standards and huge determination.”
That determination is something that has been ever-present in the dressing room this term.
And following a disappointing defeat in last weekend’s Lanarkshire derby, the skipper knows him and his teammates will need to show that in abundance this afternoon.
He said: “The defeat to Hamilton was a sore one to take, it’s never nice losing a derby match but I just felt we let ourselves down in our overall performance.
[pullquote]We didn’t do enough on the day and ultimately paid for our mistakes, so we’ll need to be sure to be at it today so that we can bounce back.[/pullquote]
“We’re big enough to admit that and take it on the chin. To be honest, it’s not just about today, if we can use that to bounce back for the next four hugely important games then it’ll help push us on for a strong end to the season.”
And ahead of today’s clash with Brendan Rodgers side, the Steelmen have been focused in their preparations in training.
“We were gutted after the game last weekend,” Carl admitted. “But the boys always bounce back, we don’t expect anything different.
“We’ve done that when we’ve needed to most this season, we don’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. If you do that, you won’t get very far in football!
“But training’s been very good this week, we’ve been working hard to ensure we go in with a game plan to get a result today.”
Those preparations play a big role for the team, Carl reveals.
“We work really, really hard on the training pitch and we have a real togetherness. I think when you go in to games with that sort of preparation and attitude you go in with a bit more confidence.
“We all know our jobs, we all know exactly what we’re doing on the pitch and I think when you can safely feel like the man next to you is just as prepared as you are, it ultimately makes you a better team.”