‘Well boss Stephen Robinson reflects on a spirited performance in the Scottish Cup final, as his side fall short against Celtic.
- First team
Robinson: We can build on thisSaturday 19 May 2018
- First team
Motherwell 0-2 CelticSaturday 19 May 2018
A battling, determined Motherwell side fell narrowly short of glory in the Scottish Cup, losing 2-0 against Celtic at Hampden.
After falling behind to two top quality strikes from Callum McGregor and Olivier Ntcham in the opening 25 minutes, the Steelmen showed great spirit, pressing the game in the second half and being extremely unlucky not to be rewarded by at least one goal for their efforts.
Motherwell’s outstanding season and amazing run in the cups, which began at Hampden in mid-July, ended at the National Stadium 10 months later. The players, who already written themselves into the history books with two cup final appearances in one season, fell just short of becoming legends by adding their names to the short list of Motherwell Scottish Cup winners.
Optimism around the club and town were well founded given the Fir Parker’s impressive cup record this season. However, for a second time, ‘Well found Celtic an unsurmountable hurdle in the final.
In a bright positive start, the Steelmen carved out the first couple of half chances. After two minutes a slick move down the right wing involving Liam Grimshaw and Chris Cadden resulted in Curtis Main outmuscling Kris Ajer, but, as the ball was played across the edge of the box the chance was lost.
A couple of minutes later, Ryan Bowman’s half volley from 8 yards was deflected into Main’s path, but the striker couldn’t get enough purchase on the ball to direct it towards Craig Gordon’s goal.
In the 11th minute and out of nothing, the Parkhead men took the lead. Tom Alred’s header cleared the box but only as far as McGregor, who took the ball in his stride before unleashing a terrific drive high past Trevor Carson and into the top corner to silence the ‘Well fans behind that goal.
That gave Celtic the iniative and after 25 minutes they produced another clinical finish to go two ahead. Moussa Dembele was being closely guarded at the edge of the box but when he rolled the ball back to Olivier Ntcham the midfielder drilled a shot through a packed box and into the corner to put Celtic firmly in the driving seat.
To their credit, ‘Well’s response was immediate with Cadden’s angled shot forcing a save from Gordon at his near post. Two minutes later, the Fir Park men passed up their best chance of the first half.
Bowman’s clever back heel at the edge of the box set up the ball perfectly for Main, but attempting to curl the ball into the top corner, he sent his shot over the bar.
‘Well fans were on their feet within minutes of the restart as ‘Well came close to pulling a goal back. Another slick move down the right saw Cadden sending Grimshaw in behind the Celt’s defence. His cut back found Main, who turned a fired a shot on target until Gordon leapt to direct the ball over the bar.
With Cadden more central to support the front two, ‘Well looked more like themselves. Allan Campbell, who continually held his ground against the more experienced Celtic midfield, wriggled his way across the box before curling his shot into Gordon’s arms.
After 55 minutes, and with a sense that they might be getting a hold of the game, Stephen Robinson changed his midfield formation sending on Gael Bigirimana for Carl McHugh.
The substitute then engineered a number of openings as ‘Well looked for a goal that their second half performance merited.
In the 62nd minute, Bowman’s pass found Main on the left and his attempt to get a return ball in front of goal was only denied as Mikael Lustig cleared the ball over his own bar.
From Bigirimana’s corner, the ball was cleared as far as Cadden and from 18 yards his crisp drive was well saved by Gordon.
Motherwell tried to maintain the pressure on the Gordon’s goal and Bigirimana’s drive was defelcted wide before Aldred’s header was held under the bar by the Celtic ‘keeper.
At the other end, Carson was largely idle until the 70th minute when he produced a terrific double save. Dembele seemed certain to bullet home his header at the back post but Carson reacted tremendously to claw the ball away and then get back to his feet to block the striker’s second attempt with his feet.
That allowed Motherwell to believe that a goal and a remarkable fightback was still on the cards. And they came agonizingly close to that goal 20 minutes from time.
Cadden’s burst through the centre of Celtic back four was abruptly ended when Dedryck Boyata hauled him back just outside the box. While the ‘Well players argued for a penalty, Bigirimana remained focused only to watch his measured free kick bend the ball beyond the diving Gordon and off the junction of the keeper’s cross bar and post.
A goal then would have set up a a grandstand finish as ‘Well came again within inches of scoring when Cadden nodded Richard Tait’s ball across the face of an open goal only to find Elliot Frear just failing to get a touch.
Disappointed at the final whistle, the players raised themselves from the Hampden turf to acknowledge the ovation from the huge Motherwell support who remained until after the final whistle to thank their side for a season which will be etched into the memory of the fans.
Tullibardine become whisky partnerFriday 18 May 2018
Motherwell FC have agreed a two-year sponsorship deal with Tullibardine distillery, which will see Tullibardine become our official whisky partner and official club partner.
As part of the deal, Motherwell FC’s Millennium Suite bar will be branded and stocked with a range of Tullibardine’s exceptional single malts. This extends to the club’s Player of the Month award, where each winner will be presented with a bottle of Tullibardine to mark their achievement.
The sponsorship agreement kicks off immediately in a deal that runs until 2020.
Suzanne Reid, head of commercial and marketing at Motherwell FC, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Tullibardine to Motherwell FC as our official whisky partner and official club partner.
“Tullibardine shares our passion for football and the desire to give our fans a fantastic experience. We’re looking forward to the opportunities this partnership will bring.”
John Torrance, Distillery Manager at Tullibardine, added: “We are delighted to be working with Motherwell FC as their official whisky partner and official club partner.
“We’re looking forward to introducing Tullibardine at Fir Park and given Motherwell’s success this season in the Scottish Cup there is no better time to be coming on board.”
- First team
‘There will be no stone left unturned’Thursday 17 May 2018
Manager Stephen Robinson says Motherwell will be as prepared as they can be going into Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final.
- First team
Chris Cadden gets Scotland callThursday 17 May 2018
Chris Cadden has been called up to the Scotland squad for their forthcoming friendlies in Peru and Mexico.
The versatile youngster has been rewarded for a fine season in claret and amber, making the step up from Under 21 level for his country.
The 21-year-old, who has made 113 appearances for the Steelmen since making his debut in 2014, will join Alex McLeish’s side for the summer tour which starts with a friendly in Peru on May 29, followed by a trip to face Mexico on June 2.
Everyone at Motherwell FC is delighted for Chris and look forward to seeing him in action for Scotland.
Cadden’s call up means academy graduates have represented the national team at every level from the senior mens A squad down to Under 16s.
Allan Campbell will travel with the Under 21s to the summer Toulon tournament. David Turnbull scored for the Under 19s earlier this season, Jamie Semple has played for the Under 17s, while a host of academy players have turned out at Under 16s level.
The last Motherwell player to be called up by Scotland was Steven Hammell in 2013. The last Scotland cap for a player while on the books at the club was Steven Saunders in 2010.
- First team
Grimshaw and Rose sign new dealsWednesday 16 May 2018
Liam Grimshaw and Andy Rose have both signed new deals with Motherwell.
The midfield pair have both committed for next season, putting pen to paper in the week the club prepare for the William Hill Scottish Cup final.
Grimshaw, 23, is in his second spell at Fir Park, having returned to the club on a permanent basis in the summer. He previously had a stint on loan with the club from Manchester United.
Rose, 28, was another summer arrival from Coventry City. The Australian-born central midfielder previously played in the USA with Seattle Sounders.
“We are delighted to secure Liam and Andy for next season,” manager Stephen Robinson said of the new deals.
“Both have been key figures in the squad this campaign and we’re glad they are staying with us.”
- First team
‘Boys as ready as they’ll ever be’Wednesday 16 May 2018
Ryan Bowman says belief is high in the Motherwell camp as they count down to Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup final with Celtic.
Having had to knock out four Ladbrokes Premiership teams on their way to the showpiece match at Hampden Park, the striker says there’s no reason the Steelmen can’t go out and pick up their first trophy since 1991.
“Why not?” he said. “The boys will be as ready as they’ll ever be.
“We beat Hearts in the quarter finals. Aberdeen in the semis. Who is to say we can’t beat Celtic in the final?
“We’ve been on the pitch this week. The manager has been going through everything to make sure we are right at it.
“The intensity has been really high as expected and everyone has just got that buzz.”
For the first time since 1950/51, Motherwell will contest both national finals in the same season.
Having put in a strong showing against Celtic in the Betfred Cup final in November, before the tide turned after a red card for Cedric Kipre, Bowman says there’s plenty incentive.
“That spurs us on even more to do better this time,” he said. “That day was a bad day. You don’t want to pick up a runners up medal.
“We’ve now got another chance. We’ve earned that chance. Now we’re hoping we can go one step further and win it this time.”
- First team
Trevor Carson called upWednesday 16 May 2018
Trevor Carson has been included in the Northern Ireland squad for two summer friendlies.
The Motherwell goalkeeper will travel with his country to Panama and Costa Rica for games on May 29 and June 3 respectively.
Carson, 30, made his belated international debut in March as his side defeated South Korea in Belfast.
- First team
‘Biggest day of my career ahead’Tuesday 15 May 2018
Chris Cadden looks ahead to Saturday’s Scottish Cup final clash with Celtic at Hampden Park.
- First team
Highlights from Fir ParkSaturday 12 May 2018
Nadir Ciftci’s double and Tom Aldred’s fist goal for the club secures a comfortable 3-0 win over Hamilton Academical.