James Scott and Christopher Long score as Motherwell beat St Mirren 2-0 to stay third in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
- First team
Highlights as Motherwell beat St MirrenSaturday 05 October 2019
- First team
Manager hails performance in victorySaturday 05 October 2019
“I thought the first half was our best performance of the season. There were lots and lots of positives.”
- First team
Motherwell grab assured win over St MirrenSaturday 05 October 2019
Two wonderful strikes in either half from James Scott and Chris Long were enough to overcome a dogged St Mirren and make it a very impressive five wins from their last six games.
Although the Buddies were on the defence for most of the game, and ‘keeper Vaclav Hladky kept their hopes of taking a point alive until Long’s goal five minutes from time, ‘Well’s controlled performance especially in the first half, was well worth another three points.
Motherwell were aiming for another win and tighten their grip on third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership before the international break.
Stephen Robinson’s men had to do so without the influential midfield presence of the suspended Liam Donnelly. That allowed Barry Maguire to make his first start of the season in a holding midfield role, which the Scotland Under 21 man did with some style.
Devante Cole retained the striker’s jersey in an attempt to break down a stubborn Saints defence, which had the third meanest defensive league record.
Conversely, the Paisley men have only found the net three times this season. However, they had an early chance to end their drought when Ilkay Durmas’ cross was nudged beyond the post by Jon Obika.
Other than that, all the play was towards a compacted Saints half of the pitch with the Fir Park men patient in possession.
After 10 minutes, James Scott, revelling in his role on the right, dragged the ball across the 18 yard line before driving his shot wide of goal.
A minute later ‘Well threatened from the other wing. After playing the ball out wide to Sherwin Seedorf, Polworth collected the return only to watch his low drive palmed away by Vaclav Hladky, as the Saints ‘keeper made the first in a series of fine stops.
Seedorf then decided to go on a solo run from the touchline into the six-yard area before forcing a good block from the Saints’ ‘keeper.
Declan Gallagher, poised in possession at the back then set off upfield. Arriving at the opposite goal line, his cut back was perfect for Cole but his shot was blocked on the line as the Buddies defence held firm.
The visitor’s defence was spliced open after 18 minutes, when from their corner ‘Well broke upfield. However, with Polworth racing unchallenged through the middle, Scott’s pass forced the former ICT man to check his run and his hurried drive was wide of target.
It was almost a repeat 10 minutes later. Mark Gillespie collected the corner kick and immediately sent play to the other end. When Scott’s cutback was missed by Alan Campbell, it fell perfectly for Polworth but his measured shot was well saved by Hladky.
Ten minutes from half-time ‘Well created their best chance – only to be again denied by Hladky.
Liam Grimshaw’s throw-in found Polworth and his incisive pass put Cole though on goal but the Saints’ keeper raced from his line to brilliantly block the on-loan striker’s low shot.
Two minutes later, though, the ‘keeper was helpless as the Steelmen deservedly made the breakthrough. Scott looked to have passed up the chance as he made his way across the box but after a quick exchange with Polworth the teenager found some space and from 20 yards he fired a superb shot high into the right hand corner of the net to make it 1-0.
The home side then pressed for a killer second goal before the break which provided a breather for the overworked Paisley men.
Refreshed from the interval, Saints restarted on the attack and within a minute Mark Gillespie was forced into his first save rising to push Danny Mullen’s angled drive over the bar. The Fir Park goal then survived as the ball from the resultant corner pinged about the six yard before being cleared off the line.
However, a couple of minutes later normal service was resumed when Hladky, at full stretch, palmed away Seedorf’s effort which was curling inside the keeper’s far post.
St Mirren, though, with nothing to lose were more adventurous in the second half and created more chances around the home goal.
Ten minutes into the half Robinson made his first substitution and usual change, bringing on Jermaine Hylton, this time for goal scorer James Scott.
With the game much more open, and Motherwell wary of being on the receiving end of a sucker punch for a second consecutive home game, the home side doubled their attacking intent when Chris Long replaced Seedorf after 69 minutes.
Within a minute ‘Well came close to doubling their lead. Polworth’s curling shot from the edge of the box seemed destined for the back of the net and a fitting reward for a fine performance, until Hladky threw himself high to his right to bring off a spectacular save.
At the other end Kyle Magennis’ volley from 12 yards was on target until Peter Hartley’s stretched to head it behind his goal.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes and the 896 Saints’ fans behind Gillespie’s goal anticipating an equaliser, ‘Well made the final change, Christian Ilic, bolstering the midfield at the expense of Cole.
The Paisley fans were on their feet as Junior Morais fired an angled shot heading for the far corner of the net until Gillespie at full stretch palmed the shot away.
Five minutes from time, though, the tension in the home stands was relieved as ‘Well claimed the all important second goal. Chris Long chased a long ball deep into the visitor’s box before checking back onto his left foot and fire a superb finish high past Hladky and secure all three points.
Motherwell: Gillespie, Grimshaw, Gallagher, Hartley, Tait, Maguire, Campbell, Polworth, Scott, Seedorf, Cole.
Subs: Carson, Ilic, Long, Semple, Mugabi, O’Hara, Hylton.
- First team
Peter Hartley: Team bonding is keySaturday 05 October 2019
On 31 October this year, the streets will be filled with Darth Vaders, Smurfs, witches and zombies marauding across Lanarkshire with the scent of free treats in the air.
Meanwhile, at Sherwin Seedorf’s gaff, it will smell like team spirit.
“We do things together,” explains Motherwell captain Peter Hartley. “We had a virtual golf lounge day out, we try to do it at least every six weeks. We’ll have our Christmas do in December, for Hallowe’en we’re all going round to Sherwin’s house for a party. Everyone will go if they can go.”
There are many things that can make a successful team. Seeing Allan Campbell dressed up like Super Mario may not have been the obvious choice ahead of tactics or fitness, but as long as Motherwell keep riding high in the Scottish Premiership, it’s unlikely Hartley will complain.
While the Steelmen’s surge in the fledgling stage of the season may have caught those unfamiliar with Well’s formidable progress in the summer months, for the skipper, it is only now he and his team-mates are being recognised for a consistency of performance that has really only been blighted by two defeats – Hearts in the League Cup and the recent sore reverse to Ross County.
Ahead of the meeting with St Mirren, Hartley says Motherwell’s team bonding and consistency are the cornerstones for a prolonged stay in their current lofty perch.
“You want to win every game but you know there are teams you need to pick up points against. Rangers and Celtic you need them to have an off day but we feel we are capable of beating anyone here on our day.
“Even against Celtic I felt we did well at the start. It wasn’t a 5-2 game, in the first half we had Celtic on the ropes and I felt we could have been out of sight.
“If it wasn’t for the County game it would have been six wins from six. That match included a 10-minute spell when Jake was sent off and then they got the equaliser.
“I still say the winner was a great goal, you can’t defend against that. You can’t pick faults in it, credit to them. It’s how you respond and we did that at St Johnstone. We had only won there once in 11.
“Hopefully it will now be two wins in a row going into the international break. We have been working all week to set up a game plan and try and take advantage of their weaknesses. Hopefully that comes to fruition on Saturday.”
He added: “The spirit we have is phenomenal. I’ve seen two or three teams since I’ve been here and I’ve only been here two and a half years. Louis Moult, Andy Rose, Carl McHugh, Stevie Hammell, Kipre, Aldred, now we are on to a different team. We are more dynamic.
“It’s a really good grounded group of boys with no egos. We have a good bond and look after each other off the park. A lot of the English boys do things together and as a group we do spend a lot of time together.
“We also have big characters that wouldn’t let that dressing room go the other way. If it did, three or four wouldn’t let it happen. I’ve been in dressing rooms where those characters don’t exist, and cancer spreads quickly. It won’t ever happen here.”
Being part of that close-knit dressing room and forging an all-inclusive environment is perhaps something Hartley embraced last season.
Club captain, for much of Motherwell’s strong run last season he found himself on the bench, watching the group of men he leads perform beyond expectation only to narrowly miss out on a top-six finish.
The 31-year-old admits it wasn’t “hard” being on the outside looking in, but concedes he knew he would have to take his chance when it arrived to cement his place back in the Motherwell starting XI.
“I wouldn’t say it was hard. I knew what I needed to do to get back into the team but when you have good players in front of you, you have to wait for your chance. The hardest place was being away from this place. I was putting extra work and hours in but I wasn’t feeling like I was getting anywhere. I’ve been given a chance this season and in the last six games I think we have won five, I’ve played my part.
“Even though I am 31 there are a lot of things I can improve on. I’m looking at me as a person and a player and trying to make myself the best I can be. The rewards will then be there.
“I may have been out of sight last season with the fans but I wasn’t in the dressing room. I was not out of mind on the training pitch.
“It’s the first time that’s happened in my career when I’ve been fully fit, felt like I was training at the top of my game but the door was shut. But that was because I had very good players in front of me. There wasn’t much do apart from wait for my chance.
“I dealt with it in the right way and the gaffer has said that. I feel like I have been rewarded and that I’ve earned my chance.”
Now, any Motherwell fan who has supported the team for more than three days will know not to get carried away. After all, as we creep into October we are still not through a full round of fixtures.
However, the early season form by the Fir Park side has been formidable. Goals are being scored, clean sheets at places like McDiarmid Park being recorded.
While fans will not quite be dusting down passports just yet, the continued faltering of the likes of Hearts, Hibernian, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock do make this season feel like an open invitation for a team just like Motherwell to grasp the initiative and make the campaign their own.
“Consistency is the biggest thing in this league, 100,000,000%,” said Hartley.
“We have a young team so you are going to have ups and downs but it’s then down to me and the senior players to take responsibility to make sure the boys don’t get too down or too high. We just need to have a clear mind and stay level headed.”
By Scott Mullen, BBC Sport Scotland
- First team
Motherwell v St Mirren live stream availableFriday 04 October 2019
There’s live video and audio available from Motherwell v St Mirren on Saturday.
We’ve a live stream of the match available to viewers outside of the UK and Ireland for just £12 a month.
To subscribe and get all Motherwell home matches – and the majority of away games – head to tv.motherwellfc.co.uk now and sign up.
If you’re in the UK or Ireland and can’t make it, don’t worry. We’ve also got live audio commentary of the match for just £5.99 a month.
Head to tv.motherwellfc.co.uk to sign up. Just choose the UK/Ireland commentary option.
2019/20 Motherwell streaming service matches
Date Match Service available 5 October 2019 Motherwell v St Mirren Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 19 October 2019 Motherwell v Aberdeen Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 27 October 2019 Rangers v Motherwell Live audio only 30 October 2019 Motherwell v Kilmarnock Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 2 November 2019 Motherwell v Livingston Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 10 November 2019 Celtic v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 23 November 2019 Hibernian v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 30 November 2019 Motherwell v St Johnstone Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 4 December 2019 St Mirren v Motherwell Live audio only 7 December 2019 Motherwell v Hearts Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 15 December 2019 Motherwell v Rangers Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 21 December 2019 Kilmarnock v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 26 December 2019 Ross County v Motherwell Live audio only 29 December 2019 Motherwell v Hamilton Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 22 January 2020 Aberdeen v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 25 January 2020 Motherwell v Hibernian Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 1 February 2020 Livingston v Motherwell Live audio only 5 February 2020 Motherwell v Celtic Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 12 February 2020 St Johnstone v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 15 February 2020 Motherwell v St Mirren Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 22 February 2020 Hamilton v Motherwell Live audio only 4 March 2020 Motherwell v Ross County Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 7 March 2020 Hearts v Motherwell Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 14 March 2020 Motherwell v Aberdeen Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 21 March 2020 Motherwell v Kilmarnock Live video outside UK/Ireland, audio to all 4 April 2020 Rangers v Motherwell Live audio only
- First team
Manager previews St Mirren visitFriday 04 October 2019
Stephen Robinson spoke about being third in the table, the prospect of more to come from the squad, the threat St Mirren pose and Declan Gallagher’s international credentials on Friday.
Here’s what he had to say to the broadcast media ahead of the match.
On early season good form
“It’s early days. We won’t get too carried away with things. It is tempering expectations a little bit.
“We’ve done great. We’ve started well.Our away form has been really, really good. We’ve had a couple of upsets at home that hopefully we can put right on Saturday.
“We are going in the right direction. With people I think there’s still more to come in terms of fitness and understanding. And hopefully we will keep improving.
“I wasn’t too down after the Ross County game. Of course the result dictates everybody’s emotions.
“We played well against Ross County but people don’t see that. We didn’t play particularly well against St Johnstone and we won. So everybody thinks you’re great.
“It’s tempering again that emotion and realising what was still very good about the Ross County game. What we can improve on were the two goals and, with the St Johnstone game, what we can make better.
“So this week we’ve worked hard. We haven’t taken our foot off the gas because we won a game. We’ve actually worked even harder this week to make sure we are ready to go and well prepared for St Mirren.”
On players buying into the style
“They are a really good group of boys. It’s one of the biggest pre-requests we have when we sign players, that their attitudes to learning, their desire to work hard and to be as good as they possibly can.
“It’s free to be as fit as you can, as strong as you can, to try and prevent injuries. All that is free.
“We do our homework. Some we get right. Some we get wrong. I feel we are getting the vast majority of them right, and it’s shown. It’s shown by the pure commitment to what we’re trying to do tactically or how we press and what we are trying to do off the ball and on the ball.”
On facing St Mirren
“You don’t have the third best defensive record in the league if you’re not hard to break down. I watched Rangers play them away at St Mirren, and they were very difficult to break down.
“They will sit in, they will make it hard, they’ll hit us on the break. And they’ve got players that can do that. So it’s up to us to try and break them down.
“Again, I think patience is going to be the key.People who watch us play know we will have quite a lot of the ball.
“It’s what we do in that final third. Not everybody coming to the ball. People running in front of the ball, making space for others and sometimes being unselfish is what we’re trying to work on.”
On Declan Gallagher’s potential to play for Scotland
“I don’t tell anybody how to do their job. International management is a difficult enough job.
“Steve Clarke’s got a big pool of players to pick from. Some very, very good players.
“Declan Gallagher has been fantastic for me. He really has. As a boy. In the changing room. Especially on the pitch. I think he is getting better and better.
“I think it is only a matter of time before Declan gets picked for Scotland.
“Steve will be well aware of him. He’s been at our games. Him and his staff will be very aware of Declan.
“For me, it’s only a matter of time. He just needs to keep doing what he’s doing.”
- First team
Motherwell pair in Northern Ireland squadThursday 03 October 2019
Liam Donnelly and Trevor Carson are in the Northern Ireland squad for matches with the Netherlands and Czech Republic.
The national side take on the Dutch in Euro 2020 qualifying on 10 October in Rotterdam, before a trip to Prague four days later for a friendly.
Donnelly earned his second cap for his country in last month’s friendly with Luxembourg, while Carson also featured in the squad.
- First team
Opposition report: A look at St MirrenThursday 03 October 2019
Following on from another summer of managerial change, St Mirren fans seem to be getting much-needed stability under the guidance of Jim Goodwin.
A hugely popular figure during his time as a player with Saints, Goodwin was lured back to Paisley following on from the departure of Oran Kearney to Coleraine, just one month after guiding the team to Scottish Premiership safety courtesy of a penalty shootout victory over Dundee United.
The story so far
The Buddies have kept things tight at the back in the league so far this season. In fact, they have the best defensive record outside of Celtic and Rangers, having conceded six goals in seven games.
That hasn’t translated too much into results, however, with one win, two draws and four defeats so far putting them 1oth in the division.
Goodwin’s men have drawn their last two matches 0-0, off the back of three defeats.
Their last win came at home in August, when Aberdeen were defeated 1-0 in Paisley.
How they shaped up last time
St Mirren lined up in a 4-4-2 formation in their 0-0 draw with Hearts last time out. They kept the same starting team from the one that also held Hamilton 0-0 the week previous.
Three to watch
Czech stopper Vaclav Hladky was a pivotal figure in ensuring St Mirren’s Scottish Premiership safety last term.
The 28-year-old enjoyed a fantastic first five months in Paisley, highlighted by his display in the Premiership play-off final in which he saved penalties from Peter Pawlett, Paol Safranko and Callum Booth as Dundee United failed to convert a single effort from the spot.
During the summer Azerbaijani champions Qarabag reportedly bid £200,000 for the keeper, though Saints were able to stave off interest in their highly rated star who is aiming to make it three successive clean sheets this afternoon.
After returning to St Mirren on a six-month loan deal in January, Kyle McAllister showed all of the qualities that led to Derby splashing out £225,000 to take the midfielder from Paisley to the Midlands in 2017.
He scored three times in 12 appearances, including the crucial opener in Saints’ 2-0 victory over Hamilton in their penultimate league fixture.
In early August, McAllister would return on a permanent basis and has featured in every match since. The draws with Hamilton and Hearts have seen the winger restricted to appearances from the bench, though with goals at a premium for the Buddies, McAllister will be hoping to be unleashed from the start at Fir Park today.
Kyle Magennis has shown maturity beyond his 21 years as he’s pulled on the captain’s armband in the absence of Stephen McGinn.
A graduate of the Saints academy and a Scotland U21 internationalist, Magennis has accumulated 79 appearances so far in black and white scoring nine goals.
Magennis possesses many attacking qualities, especially his ability to power forward and deliver a dangerous cross or powerful shot, this is shown in his one v one dribbling attempts per match. He currently is third in the Premiership with an average of 10 every game, Sherwin Seedorf is second with 10.23.
Willie Pettigrew to be inducted to Hall of FameWednesday 02 October 2019
Willie Pettigrew is the first inductee in the Motherwell FC Hall of Fame.
A goal scorer of distinction at the club during the 1970s, Pettigrew netted 20 top-flight goals at the peak of his powers in 1974/75, and 21 more the following campaign.
His partnership with Bobby Graham brought goals but also international recognition, where he went on to score on his debut for Scotland against Switzerland in April 1976.
Over 166 appearances for the Steelmen, Pettigrew scored 80 goals and is a deserving first member in our Hall of Fame.
He will be formally inducted at a dinner at the Bothwell Bridge Hotel on Saturday, 23 November, along with four others.
Hosted by Tam Cowan, tickets for the event are now on sale online. Adult tickets are £45, with kids tickets £22.
A fan vote to induct others will be held soon.
- First team
Liam Donnelly signs extended contractWednesday 02 October 2019
Liam Donnelly has extended his contract with Motherwell until the summer of 2022.
The Northern Irishman becomes the first this campaign to commit to the club, after a storming start to the season in claret and amber.
“I am delighted to have signed a new deal at the club”. Donnelly said. “This season has completely exceeded my expectations.
“It was my goal to establish myself in the first team, first and foremost. It was also my ambition to get back into the Northern Ireland setup, and to have achieved both so early in the campaign has been fantastic.
“I’m set now on continuing to improve and contribute to the team.”
The former Fulham and Hartlepool midfielder has started the season in sensational form, scoring eight goals in 11 games, scooping the July and August player of the month awards in the process.
His form was rewarded with a recall to the full Northern Ireland squad, where he made his return and earned his second full cap against Luxembourg last month, five years after making his debut against Chile.
The 23-year-old’s deal was due to expire at the end of 2019/20. His new agreement will take him through to the summer of 2022.
Manager Stephen Robinson added: “We are delighted Liam has committed to the club for the foreseeable future.
“Liam has earned the new deal with some very good performances and being rewarded with full international recognition.
“He will continue to improve in all aspects and he is someone we felt we need to protect as an asset to the football club.
“By extending his deal, it ensures we continue to build and protect key players in the last year of their contracts.”