Latest News

  • Women

    No fear for the women of steel

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

  • First team

    Next up: Livingston

  • First team

    Manager reacts to win over Ross County

  • First team

    Motherwell 4-0 Ross County

  • Club

    Covid-19 tests come back negative

  • First team

    ‘We’ve worked hard to be ready’

  • Club

    Player tests positive for Covid-19

  • First team

    Declan Gallagher going from strength to strength

  • Women

    No fear for the women of steel

    No fear for the women of steel

    Glasgow City going for their 14th successive league title. Celtic and Rangers pouring big investment into the teams. Hearts joining the division. Hibs continuing to look strong.

    If the Scottish Women’s Premier League 1 was previously a formidable league for Motherwell, that challenge has only intensified further in the last 12 months or so.

    But despite that strength elsewhere, the women of steel also have plenty to offer. One of those things is the lack of fear when taking on the challenges that lie ahead.

    With Eddie Wolecki Black at the helm, Motherwell returned to league action with a 4-2 loss at Forfar Farmington on Sunday.

    Scottish women’s football’s most successful coach has made it clear to his squad that he wants more success in Lanarkshire.

    “He’s very ambitious,” says forward Lori Gardner. “His message to the squad is just not to fear anything. We’ve got nothing to lose, go into every game to win.

    “We’re not just there to take part. We want to compete and win in every game. And that’s his message in every training session, about how we can hurt teams in the league.”

    Wolecki Black famously led Glasgow City to four successive domestic trebles between 2011 and 2015, and also took them as far the Women’s Champions League quarter-final for the first time in his final season.

    He returned to the women’s game in 2017 and was instrumental in securing Motherwell promotion to the top flight and helping them reach the 2018 Women’s Scottish Cup final.

    In December last year, he made the move back to Lanarkshire, hoping to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish.

    He set to work strengthening the side all over the park with with the likes of goalkeeper Khym Ramsay, defender Lauren Gallon and midfielder Kodie Hay all joining, while he has added more firepower up front in the shape of Lisa Swanson and Nicole Pullar.

    “We want to be competitive in every game,” said Gardner. “Last season I think we were just stuck in mid-table, but obviously this season we want to push on from that.

    “We’ve got a lot of new players in, we’ve got a good squad. There’s no reason why we can’t compete with the top teams and get further up the league.

    “I think it’s good to have a manager who’s got that experience. He’s brought in a lot of good players as well that have been at clubs he’s previously worked with. So there’s a good mix and there’s a good feel about the place.

    “Obviously there’s other coaching staff there as well, there’s not just Eddie. There’s Stewart Hall and Willie Kinniburgh and they bring great experience. Stewart has worked in the women’s game for a long time and Willie’s worked in the men’s game. There’s a good balance around the club.

    “All the girls get on really well which helps. Everyone is wanting to be part of a team. We’re all helping each other. It’s just a good environment to be around just now.”

    In Motherwell’s next two games, they host last season’s top two Hibernian and champions Glasgow City.

    The headlines around the SWPL have cantered on Rangers and Celtic going full-time, setting the stage for the most competitive season the league has ever been.

    If Motherwell are to compete then the form of tenacious forward Gardner will be pivota. But it’s an expectation the Bellshill-born 23-year-old is happy to take on.

    “Obviously I want to score as many goals as possible but I just want to help the team,” said Gardner, who made the move from Hamilton Academical in 2019.

    “I’ve been playing up front for the past few seasons but I quite like playing out wide so, getting more assists to my game is something I look forward to trying to do this season.

    “The strength of the league is good for the women’s game in Scotland. Rangers and Celtic are now pushing on with Hibs and Glasgow City. So there’s a more competitive edge to the league, especially for the title and Champions League spots.

    “It’ll be good to be part of this year. It’s exciting with all the new players coming to the Scottish game.”

    For now, games are being played behind closed doors due to the current pandemic, but when the gates do open again Gardner has pinpointed one team-mate fans should look out for.

    “Abby Callaghan,” she said. “She’s in and around the Scotland Under 19 squad just now, she’s an exciting young player. I think she’s one to watch.”

    By Andrew Southwick

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

    At the age of just 16, Stuart McKinstry was faced with a massive decision.

    Having already made the bench for the first team at his boyhood heroes Motherwell, the talented midfielder was in demand and attracting interest from elsewhere.

    Of the sides linked with Stuart, a sleeping giant of English football really stood out amongst the crowd and presented him with a decision that the youngster still considers the most difficult of his life so far.

    Leeds United tabled an offer for the Steelmen prospect and – following much deliberation – he would swap Fir Park for Elland Road.

    In the 16 months that have followed, Stuart has settled well with the Lilywhites, nailing down a regular place with the club’s Under 23s and regularly training with Marcelo Bielsa’s first team.

    In August, he signed a three-year extension to his deal with United, continuing a whirlwind journey that he feels he owes a great deal of gratitude to Motherwell for.

    “I’m really enjoying it, having the chance to have the chance to train with the first team almost every day and the club being in the Premier League,” said McKinstry. “It’s a great opportunity and hopefully that can continue.

    “When I heard about the interest, I wanted it so badly. But I’m quite a home person and a Motherwell fan, so to make the decision to leave was the hardest of my life.

    “I couldn’t make it off the top of my head. I had to look at it in detail and work out the rights and the wrongs of the situation.

    “In the end, I felt I had to move. I knew how big a club Leeds are and felt I could only go there and get better. It was the challenge I wanted and although leaving Motherwell wasn’t something that I wanted to do, it was too big an opportunity to turn down.

    “Right now, that’s paying off. I’m playing every game for the 23s and after a lot of ups and downs during my first 12 months, I have found myself in a much better position than I was in this time last year.”

    An early highlight for McKinstry came as Leeds took on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the Youth Cup earlier this year.

    Backed by almost 1500 travelling fans, it would end in disappointment for the youngsters as they were edged out 1-0.

    For Stuart, it was a chance to thrive at one of the most iconic stadiums in world football and served as a reminder of the magnitude of the club for whom he had left home to join.

    “I’d probably put that up there as one of the best nights of my life,” he recalled.

    “The result didn’t go our way but the full build-up with the boys was amazing and there was always an extra buzz with the Youth Cup games.

    “The fans made it so special for us all. I’ve thought back to that night so many times and I say to all the boys that if I had the chance to go back, then I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

    “To take that sort of support to a Youth Cup tie shows how big a club Leeds are and how much the fans care for the club. It’ll stay with me forever.”

    While their Youth Cup campaign ended in disappointment, Leeds’ first team were marching towards promotion to the Premier League after a 16-year absence from the top tier of the English game.

    Following a three month wait for the resumption of fixtures due to the continued spread of coronavirus, Bielsa’s team would clinch the Championship title on the penultimate day of the season.

    Their crowning moment sparked wild celebrations among the players, staff and their delirious supporters, the latter who had to make do with watching their side get the job done from the comfort of home, after enduring many years of near misses and heartache.

    During his time in Yorkshire, Stuart has regularly trained with the Leeds first team and felt great pride in playing even a small role in their success.

    “I spent that season around the first team players as they tried to get promoted and there was a real buzz about the place as we won games,” he added.

    “I know a lot of the young boys didn’t play, but things like helping out in training because a player had picked up an injury or taking part in extra sessions helps make you feel part of the setup and drives you to try and achieve similar feats to what the players in the first team have.”

    Another source of inspiration for McKinstry has come in the shape of legendary Argentine manager Bielsa.

    “Sometimes you have to pinch yourself that you are working with someone as famous in the game as the manager is.

    “He’s achieved so much and it’s something I never thought I’d be able to do especially at this young age.

    “Hearing stories from famous players and managers about Marcelo and now being able to say that I have experienced what they have is something I can never take for granted. It’s an honour to train under such a well-known manager.”

    While McKinstry is beginning to thrive in his new surroundings, his emotional attachment to Motherwell remains.

    With his parents both Motherwell diehards, Stuart wasn’t out of nappies by the time he attended his first game at Fir Park and just like the rest of the family he was hooked almost instantly.

    He was mascot the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Panathinaikos in 2012 and was part of the club’s youth academy from the age of 10.

    During his final season at Fir Park, the athletic midfielder found was often part of Stephen Robinson’s squad and on a few occasions was named on the substitute bench, but just missed out on the chance to make his debut for the club.

    Although he fell just short of fulfilling his dream in claret and amber, Stuart holds fond memories of his time with the Steelmen.

    “I can’t describe how much I loved my time at Motherwell,” he smiled. “It was my dream growing up to be a Motherwell player.

    “Growing up, I went to games from the age of one or two. I always wanted to play for the team and to have got so close to that happening and then suddenly not to be at the club was gutting for me, though I felt moving on was the right thing for me to do at that time.

    “When I look back over the years at all the coaches and players, I just can’t thank everyone enough. Without certain people, I wouldn’t be where I am just now.

    “The gaffer was so eager to involve me in things that he probably didn’t even need to. He did it off his own back and I’m really grateful.

    “It was disappointing not to get to make my debut, but it’s something I’ll look back on with great memories. I never thought I’d get so far at Motherwell and to be able to say I was training with the first team at 15, on the bench at 16, as well as working alongside players I’d paid to watch – you can’t put a price on that.

    “My experience at Motherwell was nothing but brilliant and there’s part of me wishes I could go back and live it all over again.

    “I’m so thankful for everything the club did for me and hopefully I can pay them back one day.”

    McKinstry, of course, is one of many young talents to have emerged from the ‘Well youth academy in recent years before heading for pastures new.

    Aside from the higher profiles moves of the likes of James Scott and David Turnbull, there have also been moves for Reece McAlear (Norwich City) and Robbie Hemfrey (Stoke City) – something Stuart believes is a great endorsement for the club’s youth setup.

    “It’s obviously not the ideal situation for Motherwell losing these players, but the club can be very proud of the way that the players have turned out through the way we’ve been coached,” McKinstry added.

    “I’d been part of the academy since I was 10 and it’s played a massive part of getting me to where I am today.

    “A lot of the coaches such as Stevie Hammell, Davie Clarkson and Stephen McManus really helped me towards getting into the first team environment. All the coaches and facilities were brilliant.”

    Stuart’s dad John has made the journey down south to help him adjust away from home, though having his old man by his side is far from his only reminder of family life.

    He continues to keep close tabs on the fortunes of his boyhood team and insists that will never change.

    When pondering what lies ahead, Stuart is keen to stress he’s not setting himself any targets, though can’t hide his desire to continue to do his family proud.

    “I’ve watched a good few Motherwell games this season and made a few games last season when I wasn’t playing,” he insisted. “Every opportunity I get, I’ll be back supporting the team.

    “You can take me away from Motherwell, but the club are always going to be in my heart and I’ll always keep an eye out on everything that goes on. That’ll never change no matter where I am.

    “Hopefully this season the team can do as well as they did in the previous one or even better. Knowing a lot of the lads still at the club, I’ll be right behind them and really hope they can do well.

    “Personally, I’d like to remain where I am just now and impress in the 23’s by being a stand out player most weeks, with the view to moving into men’s football next season and taking that next step.

    “I feel like I’m in a good place and don’t give myself any excuses to have bad games. I want to impress myself, my coaches and my family.

    “I always go out to make my family proud. I’ll work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.

    “Deep down, I know where I want to be and hopefully that will work out for me.”

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

    PJ Morrison made his Falkirk debut as they were held 1-1 by Forfar Athletic at the weekend.

    The Motherwell goalkeeper came off the bench after 65 minutes to replace Robbie Mutch, who was sent off as he gave away a penalty.

    Morrison was unable to keep out the resulting spot kick but helped his side pick up the point.

    Jamie Semple was also in action in League One as Cove Rangers kept up a 100% record with a 2-0 win at Peterhead.

    Paul Hartley’s side now have two wins from two, with Semple playing 73 minutes of the match.

    In the Championship, Ross MacIver came on in the 58th minute for Morton as they lost 1-0 at Dundee in the Championship, while Harry Robinson was an unused substitute as Queen of the South as they lost 5-2 at home to table-toppers Raith Rovers.

    Meanwhile in the Lowland League, Sam Muir again started for Gretna as they lost 3-0 at home to BSC Glasgow.

  • First team

    Next up: Livingston

    Next up: Livingston

    We head to Livingston for our next Scottish Premiership match.

    A month-long absence from action came to an end emphatically, with a 4-0 victory over Ross County.

    A pay-per-view match pass is available from Livingston FC for £20 at ppv.livingstonfc.co.uk.

    Tale of the tape

    The last encounter between the pair came earlier this campaign, with a 2-2 draw at Fir Park.

    Motherwell were pegged back twice, with David Turnbull and Allan Campbell’s goals being cancelled out by Lyndon Dykes and Alan Forrest.

    Livingston are unbeaten in their last three at home against the Steelmen, picking up two wins and one draw.

    Form guide

    Livi have won two of their last five league matches, claiming victories at home to St Johnstone and away to Dundee United.

    Defeats in that sequence have came at Celtic and Rangers, and in a 3-1 home loss to Kilmarnock.

  • First team

    Manager reacts to win over Ross County

    “We haven’t played for a month. We’ve got injuries. But everything went our way today.”

    Stephen Robinson reacts to the 4-0 win over Ross County.

  • First team

    Motherwell 4-0 Ross County

    Motherwell 4-0 Ross County

    Motherwell waved aside any excuses of injuries and lack of action to comfortably beat Ross County and make it three wins from their last four league games.

    While the Fir Park players have been left kicking their heels for four weeks, County have had four competitive games during ‘Well’s forced inactivity.

    But after a tight first half when only Tony Watt’s goal separated the sides, the Fir Park men dominated the second 45, with goals from Mark O’Hara, Callum Lang and Devante Cole helping to record the Steelmen’s best win of the season.

    Injuries to Liam Grimshaw, Bevis Mugabi and Ricki Lamie meant a couple of defensive changes to the side which last started against Rangers four weeks ago.

    Stephen Robinson reverted to a back four with Mark O’Hara a surprise partner alongside Declan Gallagher and a fully fit Nathan McGinley filling the left back position. That allowed Barry Maguire to start his first game of the season, covering O’Hara’s role in front of the back four.

    Cole, returning for his second loan spell, made his first appearance in a front three with Tony Watt and Christopher Long.

    Despite the long lay-off the Steelmen made a spirited start with Cole and Watt looking lively around the visitors’ box. After six minutes the pair combined to feed the ball to Allan Campbell at the edge of the box but on his left foot, the Scotland Under 21 star lifted his shot wide of goal.

    A few minutes later Watt earned a free kick, but although he got his head to Liam Polworth’s ball he could only guide it away from goal.

    There was a good pace to the game with both sides eager to exchange quick passes to move the ball from end to end but without exerting any pressure on either goal.

    However, Motherwell’s defensive problems were extended after 23 minutes when Trevor Carson raced from his box to head the ball clear but collided with Regan Charles-Cook in the process. After some treatment to his left knee the Northern Ireland ‘keeper played on for a few minutes before he limped off the field allowing Aaron Chapman, signed at the start of the month, to pull on the goalkeeper’s gloves.

    While the tall former Peterborough United stopper was settling in front of the empty David Cooper stand, ‘Well raced to the other end and produce the opening goal.

    McGinley’s terrific run to the byline and tempting cross into the six-yard box was greatly accepted by Watt who nudged into the net past Ross Doohan.

    Two minutes from the end of normal time Polworth’s nod on found Cole at the edge of the box. His swift turn took out Coll Donaldson but his left foot finish sent the ball over the crossbar.

    In added on time Chapman came off his line to impressively clutch an Iain Vigurs corner under pressure.

    Just before the half time whistle, though, from a tight angle Charles-Cook squeezed the ball under the stand-in ‘keeper, leaving Gallagher to clear the ball off his goal line and keep ‘Well’s slender lead intact at the interval.

    That lead might have been extended in a positive start to the second half.

    Firstly, Polworth collected the ball 40 yards from goal and with an eye for a drive, advanced past a couple of County players before his well-controlled low shot slipped past the post. Then his corner kick found Gallagher 10 yards in front of goal but the ‘Well captain could only send his header over the bar.

    ‘Well eventually found the net after 53 minutes when Watt burst into the penalty area only to fall to the deck under Tom Grivosti’s sliding challenge. Referee Craig Napier had no hesitation pointing to the penalty spot and although the Staggies protested, O’Hara calmly stepped up to slam the ball low into the corner of the net to make it 2-0.

    Not unexpectedly the Fir Park goal had to survive a response from the Highlanders.

    Tony Watt turned goal stopper as he headed Ross Stewart’s net bound effort up and over his own bar. County then had appeals for a penalty of their own as Stewart tumbled to the ground after screwing his shot wide from eight yards.

    Hoping to kill off the visitor’s Robinson made his second substitution on the hour, Callum Lang replacing Long. And the move paid off immediately as the Fir Park grabbed a third to wrap up the points.

    Polworth’s deep corner found Gallagher and when he headed the ball back across goal, Lang with his first touch slid it inside the post.

    Motherwell looked to add to their tally and after 69 minutes Lang did well on the right to release Watt who’s angled drive was well blocked by Doohan.

    The County ‘keeper was helpless two minutes later when Cole eased past Donaldson and had time to pick his spot beyond Doohan for a calm finish to make it 4-0 and round off an impressive return to action for the Steemen.

  • Club

    Covid-19 tests come back negative

    Covid-19 tests come back negative

    Our precautionary round of Covid-19 testing has returned negative results for the entire playing squad and coaching staff.

    After one player tested positive earlier this week, we took the measure of an additional round of tests to ensure the health and safety of all, including our weekend opponents Ross County.

    With no-one other than our positive player required to isolate and no further Covid-19 cases, Saturday’s Premiership match will go ahead as planned.

  • First team

    ‘We’ve worked hard to be ready’

    “We’ve trained hard and pushed the squad to try and recreate the match environment.”

    Stephen Robinson previews the visit of Ross County.

  • Club

    Player tests positive for Covid-19

    Player tests positive for Covid-19

    A member of our playing squad has tested positive for Covid-19.

    Following testing on Tuesday morning, we then learned of the result.

    The player in question immediately went into self-isolation and underwent a secondary test on Wednesday, which also returned positive.

    No other squad members or staff members tested positive in that round of testing, and no-one has been required to isolate under contact tracing procedure.

    As a precaution, the playing squad and coaching staff will undergo further tests on Friday morning.

  • First team

    Declan Gallagher going from strength to strength

    Declan Gallagher going from strength to strength

    Andrew Robertson is a Champions League winner. Andrew Robertson is a Premier League winner.

    He’s also a mean table tennis hustler and a Twitter PR guru, by all accounts.

    Motherwell’s Declan Gallagher has learned first hand how much of a class act the former Queen’s Park left-back is over the last few weeks.

    The Fir Park skipper has played an integral part in the national side’s recent surge in form, playing all three of Scotland’s undefeated run that has them just one game away from UEFA EURO 2020.

    It was enough to earn him praise on Twitter from Robertson, who lauded Gallagher’s showing to his 1.4m followers. And after tagging the Motherwell man, he is now reaping the rewards as his own online disciple tally reached the heady heights of 3500.

    “We were having a laugh about it during the week,” he said. “The boys are on Twitter and me and Andy were having a laugh as we were playing lots of table tennis when we were away, obviously while social distancing.

    “We got a good bond off the field and he said to me ‘don’t worry mate, I’ll help your Twitter followers go up’. He put up a tweet and I told him that he better tag me next time, then the next one goes up and he has. It was good of him.

    “He meant what he said when he said I’d done well and deserved it. At the end of the day, he’s a Champions League and Premier League winner, so it’s great, but he’s come through the ranks just as I did in the lower leagues. He knows what it’s all about.

    “It’s amazing to get praise from the captain of your country and someone like that.

    “To be fair, I did say to him my Twitter following did go up. I’m now up to around 3,500 followers. My phone didn’t stop going after he tweeted about me, but it was probably folk just replying to him.”

    Gallagher was at the heart of a Scotland defence which kept three clean sheets in three consecutive victories in October, putting the national team top of their UEFA Nations League group and also setting up a date with destiny in Serbia next month.

    With manager Steve Clarke putting his faith in Gallagher, the influential defender is hopeful he’ll get the nod again for the potentially history-defining match.

    “I was delighted just to play my part,” Gallagher added.

    “You are always disappointed when you’re not playing, and I thought I did well in my two previous games, but there are some great players in my position for Scotland.

    “To get the chance this time is that wee bit sweeter, and to do as well as I did was the cherry on the cake.

    “To get to a play-off final game to get to a major tournament, it’s just an unbelievable thing.

    “Steve Clarke has given a lot of the Scottish Premiership boys a fair look. Myself, Paul Hanlon, Andy Considine. He’s not scared to put in the Scottish–based lads and there’s no bias towards the boys in a bigger league as some may like to see it.

    “Just because you’re not playing down south doesn’t mean you are a bad player. It just means you’ve not had that chance to go and do it. We have proven we can match these European teams.”

    The ‘Well skipper was expecting to go straight into action last weekend with only a handful of days to prepare, only for the Steelmen’s clash away to St Mirren to fall victim to a Covid-19 outbreak at the Paisley club.

    It means Well will have gone the best part of a month without kicking a competitive ball, but Gallagher insists there will be no ring rust from him or his team-mates.

    “I know the boys will have been working hard. You work hard for two weeks to play football, so the boys will have been a wee bit upset that the game against St Mirren didn’t go ahead. It’s coming up to a month since we last played, it was a bit devastating for us.

    “But our minds are focused on the Ross County game. I know for a fact we will be raring to go for the Ross County game.

    “I’m not worried about sharpness. We have a good squad of boys and hopefully we will get a few back.

    “I think if you said to the boys they’d rather play midweek than train. We are all professionals. It’ll be tough, I’ll not say it won’t be, but we will be looking forward to it.

    “Hopefully we can take maximum points when they come around.”

    Of course, Gallagher was not the only one away on international duty. Stephen O’Donnell joined him in the Scotland camp, Barry Maguire, PJ Morrison and Allan Campbell were away with the Under 21s, Bevis Mugabi was with Uganda. At the same time, Trevor Carson started for Northern Ireland in their clash with Norway.

    And it’s that international springboard that the Well skipper reckons will get Stephen Robinson’s men flying into this weekend’s meeting with Ross County.

    “We brought a natural buzz when we came back from the international break. So did Trevor Carson getting his first start for Northern Ireland in a long time.

    “The boys are always on a high, we were on a decent run outside the Old Firm games and obviously we want to get the momentum going.

    “We had hoped that would start against St Mirren but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully when the Ross County game we will keep that buzz and we will go into the game flying.”

    By Scott Mullen.