Motherwell host St Johnstone on Saturday, with both teams slugging it out to catch Hibernian for place in the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top six.
Here’s the game previewed in numbers.
It’s a battle to be in the running for sixth spot on Saturday, as both teams try and chase down Hibernian with games running out.
Motherwell currently sit on 40 points, five behind the Edinburgh club with three matches to play. St Johnstone, meanwhile, are on 41, after defeating St Mirren on Wednesday night.
St Johnstone ended a nine-game run without a victory in all competitions when they beat St Mirren 1-0.
In that run they lost eight and drawn one, with their one positive result coming in a 0-0 draw at Rangers, before the home win over the Buddies.
Up to Saturday, Motherwell will have went 95 days without a home defeat in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Kilmarnock’s 1-0 win on Boxing Day was the last time the Steelmen went down at Fir Park on league business. Since then, Hibernian, Livingston, Hearts and Hamilton Academical have all been defeated.
Simple Group partner with Motherwell FC
Wednesday 27 March 2019
Simple Group Holdings are the new face of our Cooper Stand.
A leading supplier of office equipment and services to businesses throughout the UK, the company provide solutions for photocopiers, printers, telecoms, IT support, web design and wifi marketing, offering organisations a one-stop shop for their business requirements.
Simple’s banner now adorns the top of our stand behind the goal.
“We are pleased to welcome Simple Group as the latest partner of the club,” Motherwell’s head of commercial, Suzanne Reid, said.
“Their work with the club has already helped us significantly, and their continued investment through our Cooper Stand is appreciated.”
Simple group chairman, Vincent Moore, added: “Simple Group are delighted to support Motherwell Football Club with this sponsorship.
“We have now established partnerships with four Premiership clubs in Scotland and we are always looking to support clubs who match our ambitions and values.
“Motherwell’s dedicated work in the local community is in line with our focus on helping local businesses.
“We are excited to work with Motherwell FC in the seasons to come and we are also looking forward to working with Motherwell’s partners and supporters to offer them our superb range of products and services.”
Setting the scene on St Johnstone
Wednesday 27 March 2019
Motherwell host St Johnstone in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday, with both teams still chasing down Hibernian for a place in the league’s top six come the split.
Here’s an early look ahead to the match.
Tale of the tape
Both sides retain top six ambitions heading into the game on Saturday.
St Johnstone’s Wednesday night win over St Mirren put them above Motherwell in seventh, just four points behind sixth-placed Hibernian with three fixtures to play.
Motherwell currently sit five points behind Hibs, who travel to Livingston on Friday night. A win on Saturday for Stephen Robinson’s men could close the gap again as the race to the split nears its conclusion.
Head to head
Both teams have won on opposition territory in the two games so far this season.
An October encounter at Fir Park saw the Saints score a last-gasp winner from a corner, with Jason Kerr’s goal sparking an eight-game unbeaten, which included six victories.
Motherwell then ended that run in December, with Danny Johnson and Tom Aldred netting in a deserved 2-1 win at McDiarmid Park.
The winner will be notified on Monday 1 April, 2019.
Reserves & Under 18s
Reserves see off St Mirren
Monday 25 March 2019
The reserves made it back-to-back wins with a comfortable 4-1 victory over St Mirren.
Liam Donnelly and the returning Chris Cadden were the notable inclusions in the ‘Well starting XI.
Scotland international Cadden was playing his first Motherwell match for four and a half months, having been sidelined with a knee injury.
The young Steelmen got off to the best possible start when David Devine opened the scoring after just 85 seconds.
Jamie Semple’s near post corner was met perfectly from the big centre back, and his downward header across the goalkeeper found the back of the net.
The visitors were dominating and added a second just 17 minutes later.
Semple’s free-kick towards the penalty spot was only partially cleared and when it dropped for Cadden on the edge of the box, he unleashed an unstoppable volley past David Wilson and into the net.
Motherwell continued to push for a third before the interval.
Semple had a free-kick in a good area that sailed over the cross bar, Broque Watson brought about a smart save from Wilson with a low shot from inside the box and Donnelly fired over at the back post after good build-up play and cross from Adam Livingstone.
The second half was a similar story to the first, with ‘Well dominating much of the proceedings.
Watson had the first effort of the second half, connecting with a back-post header that was comfortable for Wilson to catch.
Shaun Bowers was introduced on the hour, in place of Cadden, and he almost got amongst the goals himself, finishing off a superb passing manoeuvre, only to see his close range shot well stopped by the Buddies keeper.
However, it was only a matter of time before a third goal arrived and when it did, it was a deserved one for the excellent Jamie Semple, who got himself on the scoresheet with a sweet low strike from the edge of the area.
Akeal Rehman came close to a fourth shortly after, cutting inside on his left foot, but Wilson was on hand to turn his low shot around for a corner.
‘Well introduced two 16-year-olds from the bench, with Jack Brown replacing David Devine and Liam Motherwell making his first bow for the reserves, taking the place of Kyle MacDonald.
The only blotch on the copybook for the visitors was a Saints goal five minutes from time. Matthew Grant forced the error inside the Motherwell box, before squaring it for the unmarked Josh Jack, with the sub having the simplest of tasks to tuck home.
However, there was no danger of a comeback and just to make sure, Liam Donnelly added an exclamation point with a fourth on the stroke of full time. Semple had been brought down on the edge of the area, allowing the former Northern Ireland Under 21 captain to step up and curl home a stunning strike to make the points safe.
This year’s event will take place at the Alona Hotel in Strathclyde Park on Saturday, April 20. Tickets are now sold out.
Reserves & Under 18s
Reserves face St Mirren
Monday 25 March 2019
With a week to go until their SPFL Reserve Cup final, Motherwell are on league duty on Monday.
Maurice Ross’ team travel to face St Mirren at the Ralston Training Complex. Kick-off is at 2pm.
Motherwell exit SWPL Cup
Sunday 24 March 2019
Motherwell were defeated 5-0 by Spartans at Ravenscraig on Sunday, ending their run in the SWPL Cup for this season at the quarter-final stage.
An emphatic first-half performance from the visitors all but sealed the fate of the tie, as they scored five goals in under half an hour.
A hat-trick from Beth McKay and a double from Zoe-Ann Johnstone ensured that the Spartans were well in control at the end of the half. But an improved second-half performance from the women of steel ensured that the scoreline would remain to spare further blushes.
Spartans enjoyed most of the possession in the opening stages of the match before eventually finding the net through Johnstone with 10 minutes played. The attacker found space with the ball in the middle of the pitch before spotting Morgan Hunter off her line, she turned and fired her shot into the top right corner.
Goal number two came a matter of minutes later with McKay getting her first of the match. The attacker continued to exploit the space in the middle of the pitch before unleashing her effort just inside the box. Hunter couldn’t do anything to stop the ball hitting the net.
The onslaught continued, with McKay getting her second goal three minutes later. From a corner the on-form attacker prodded the ball into the net with 15 minutes on the clock.
The Spartans blitzkrieg continued as McKay got her hat-trick with 21 minutes played. The initial cross into the box was pushed away by Hunter, but McKay was there unmarked at the edge of the box to pass into an empty net.
Goal number five came with just under half an hour played, as Johnstone get her second after converting an inviting through ball into the box. The ball was played in front of the attacker, who dribbled past her marker before firing home.
Motherwell managed to contain Spartans more effectively in the second-half and even threatened the opposition goal at times. But confidence remained low as Spartans seemed to have the tie won at the break.
Second-half substitute Mhairi Fyfe got Motherwell’s best chance of the match as the game entered its closing stages, picking up a through ball she stepped past her marker before aiming her shot. The striker was off balance however, and the keeper was able to tip it out for a corner.
That proved to be as good as it got for the women of steel after a disappointing result ends their run in the SWPL Cup.
Motherwell return to league duty next Sunday as they face Spartans once more. The match will be at Ainslie Park Stadium, with the match kicking off at 1pm.