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  • Club

    Andy Paton inducted to Hall of Fame

  • First team

    Tony Watt signs new deal

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

  • Women

    ‘Well lose out to Glasgow City

  • First team

    Manager reacts to Celtic defeat

  • First team

    Motherwell 1-4 Celtic

  • First team

    Stephen O’Donnell embracing life in ML1

  • First team

    Lang positive on ‘Well’s chances

  • First team

    Tony Watt is your October Player of the Month

  • First team

    Manager previews the visit of Celtic

  • Club

    Andy Paton inducted to Hall of Fame

    Andy Paton inducted to Hall of Fame

    Our second inductee to the Motherwell FC Hall of Fame in 2020 is Andy Paton.

    The man who was previously voted as the club’s greatest-ever player joins John Hunter in this year’s intake.

    We will honour the class of 2020 with a unique virtual induction event this winter by means of a special live, free-to-air, online event.

    We are also once again asking the fans to pick our fifth inductee.

    You can join in the vote by nominating any individual from any era in Motherwell’s past – player, manager or official – who you think is worthy of being included in the 2020 class.

    Click here to vote for who you want to see in the Motherwell FC Hall of Fame.

    “A footballing Prince amongst men” was how one enraptured newspaperman described Andy Paton in the immediate post-war years, as the multi-talented Ayrshire man emerged as one of the most cultured, yet commanding centre halves the Scottish game had ever known.

    It’s perhaps stating the obvious to say that World War Two was a defining period for Motherwell FC. But football-wise it most certainly was.

    Prior to the hostilities, ‘Well, with pretty much the same squad of players for the best part of a decade, had consistently challenge for honours in the Scottish game, playing a brand of football loved by fans up and down the land.

    By the time the war had ended, John Hunter had been left with a threadbare playing staff, which he had used to some effect in the unofficial competitions during the 1939 to 1945 years.

    Some big names in our history joined up with the club at this time, including goalkeeper Johnny Johnstone from Armadale, Willie Kilmarnock from Irvine Meadow, Willie Redpath from Polkemmet and Archie “Baldy” Shaw from Wishaw.

    The biggest of them all though was Andy Paton from Kello Rovers.

    Andy signed on the 6 November 1942 after a successful trial, impressing Hunter with his first touch and ability to read the game with consummate ease.

    The Dreghorn-born defender had spent five years learning his trade in the junior ranks having made his debut for Irvine Meadow in 1937, aged just 14.

    Because his family were specialist builders, young Andy was exempt for national service and that allowed him to develop and, in time, superbly marshal his local junior side, much to the admiration of the legendary Hunter.

    Initially at Fir Park, he was somewhat impetuous and inclined to a display of bad temper, but he would mature into a beautifully balanced and reliable performer.

    It was almost four years later that Paton made his official Steelmen debut against Rangers on 10 August 1946, after over 100 appearances in unofficial competitions. It wouldn’t be a happy occasion with the visitors notching up a 4-2 win.

    By the time of that defeat in 1946, John Hunter had decided to leave his managerial duties and take up the important secretarial role at Fir Park.

    It was decided by the board that George Stevenson would be entrusted with the manager’s job. This decision was greeted with joy by the Motherwell fans, given the previous service he’d given the club as a player.

    His debut season had its share of ups and downs, but there was a feeling amongst the Fir Park faithful that there were signs during the campaign that the new signings would continue to improve over the coming years.

    The end of the war had meant the league was no longer regionalised and suddenly for the first time, Paton had a national audience to entertain – and entertain he did.

    Fans all over the country enjoyed not only Andy’s ability but his attitude to the game and his determination to give them their money’s worth. The new 1947/48 campaign kicked off with a home League Cup tie against Queen of the South, in which Paton became the first ‘Well player ever to wear the number five on his back, as the club introduced team numbers for the first time. It seemed to galvanise the Steelmen, who ran out comfortable 4-0 winners.

    The league form was terrific from the outset with seven wins in the first eight games to go clear at the top of the league. With Paton superbly marshalling the defence, and the strike force of Wilson Humphries and Willie Watters on fire, a championship tilt was on the cards.

    However, injuries to key players for the remainder of the season saw Motherwell slip, eventually finishing eighth, 19 points behind champions Hibernian.

    An indifferent few seasons followed, including a number of near misses at the bottom of the table. The board were well aware of how close the club had come to relegation and made it clear things had to improve when they issued a statement that said that “to lose half of the total of the league games was not in the Motherwell tradition”.

    Despite the determination of all concerned to improve the club’s fortunes, season 1949/50 would finish with Motherwell on the same 25 points total they had the previous campaign. 1950/51 saw no discernible improvement to our league placing, but happily, Paton became the first, and only, Motherwell captain to lift the League Cup to finally land our first-ever top-level silverware.

    Our group section included Airdrie, Hearts and Partick Thistle. The Steelmen won five of the six games to progress to the quarter-final. Celtic were despatched with ease over the two legs, before coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller against Ayr United at Ibrox in the last four.

    The final would be against champions’ elect Hibernian. The game apparently disappointed the neutrals in the ground as the build-up to the tie had indicated that the two best attacking teams of that era would be going at it toe to toe from the first whistle.

    In reality, it appears that both teams seemed to cancel each other out somewhat until Archie Kelly struck to give the Fir Parkers the lead in front of the 64,000 fans. Two minutes later Jim Forrest swept home a cross and Willie Watters clinched the cup when he added a third near the end.

    The League Cup victory whetted the appetite of all at Fir Park, and season 1951/52 would end in more success and immortality for 11 heroes in claret and amber.

    In the league, Motherwell finished seventh, their best effort since the war, but the marginal improvement in that competition was overshadowed with the string of results the club managed in the 1952 Scottish Cup.

    With Forfar Athletic and St Mirren beaten in the first two rounds, Dunfermline proved to be a tougher proposition, with a replay required to knock out the Fifers.

    Rangers in the quarter-final also took the Steelmen to a replay, with Wilson Humphries driving home the winner at Fir Park.

    The semi-final against Hearts would prove to be an epic, with no less than three games needed to at last despatch the Jambos. Cumulatively, almost half a million fans turned up to watch the tie finally put to be by Kelly, Humphries and Redpath in a 3-1 victory.

    The final was a master class by manager Stevenson as his team produced a display of counter-attacking play rarely seen in that era. Despite Dundee having the lion share of possession, it was the Steelmen who had the pace and scoring prowess in front of a crowd just short of 140,000.

    Goals from Watson, Redpath, Kelly and Humphries brought the famous old trophy back to Motherwell for the first time ever.

    Andy Paton was a cornerstone of this Scottish Cup win, alongside the other seven “ever-presents” in the cup-ties. They were ‘keeper Johnstone, skipper Kilmarnock, half back Redpath, right winger Sloan, inside forwards Humphries and Kelly and left winger Aitkenhead.

    After the cup successes of the previous two campaigns, everyone was upbeat about the progress the club were making on the pitch. Andy was by this time at the peak of his powers, and the success for Paton in claret and amber brought recognition from national selectors, gaining a rather meagre nine caps in total.

    In truth, it was a poor return for a player who displayed such anticipation which bordered on being clairvoyant, along with sublime ball control and dribbling ability that belied his centre half status.

    The start to 1952/53 campaign brought a red-letter day for Andy. Occasionally his adventurous habit of dribbling the ball away from dangerous situations caused palpitations among Motherwell fans, but they loved him for the thrills he bestowed and talked for decades about such exploits.

    One such mazy resulted in his one and only goal for the Steelmen, at home to Rangers in a 3-3 League Cup draw on 27 August 1952.

    Sadly, the season would end in calamitous fashion with Motherwell being relegated to Division B. Thankfully, the team bounced back at the first attempt in spectacular style, scoring 109 goals in the 30 games bringing Andy, and the club, back to the level where they belonged.

    By the time the summer of 1958 arrived with a new Motherwell boss, Bobby Ancell installed, and the new incumbent going down the road of developing the Ancell “Babes”,

    Andy was allowed to leave Fir Park for Hamilton Academical. He played for a full season before taking over as manager at Douglas Park, where he remained for a further nine years, including masterminding a famous championship win for the Accies.

    He was, without doubt, a player before his time. These days, his footballing ability would be far better appreciated than it was during his career. Indeed, in 2007 Andy Paton was voted by fans as Motherwell FC’s best-ever player, and that’s an accolade that will never be taken away from the original Motherwell maverick.

    Andy may not have been the biggest of defenders, measuring 5ft 10in tall. But without doubt he was one of the best, and fiercest tacklers ever to wear our famous colours. He had an uncompromising streak that the fans in the Hunter Stand today would have absolutely loved.

    The Motherwell legend passed away at his home in Markinch in February 2014 at the grand old age of 91, having the distinction of being Scotland’s oldest football internationalist at the time. He may not be amongst us anymore, but no Motherwell fan reading this should ever forget his contribution to our fantastic club.

    Andy Paton. The greatest ever Steelman.

  • First team

    Tony Watt signs new deal

    Tony Watt signs new deal

    Tony Watt has signed a new deal with Motherwell FC.

    The in-form striker has extended his contract until the summer of 2022.

    “I’m delighted to have signed another deal,” said the 26-year-old.

    “The club have been great with me and I was really keen to stay longer. I’m settled and I feel like I am getting better and better here.

    “It’s home – and I’m ready to kick on even more.”

    Watt joined the club in February 2020 on an initial short-term deal, before extending his stay for the 2020/21 season in the summer.

    This campaign, he has netted four times to add to his six club goals in 20 appearances to date, becoming an integral part of the team.

    “Tony has been fantastic since he came to the club,” said manager Stephen Robinson.

    “He has worked his way to fitness to show us the player he is capable of being. He deserves this recognition.

    “We will keep pushing Tony to be the best he can be, and I am sure he also will continue to work hard now he sees what he’s capable of.”

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

    PJ Morrison continues to impress at Falkirk, saving a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Partick Thistle on Saturday.

    The on-loan Motherwell goalkeeper kept out Brian Graham’s spot kick early on at Firhill, beating away the powerful effort to keep the Bairns 1-0 in front.

    Morrison would be helpless to prevent the two goals the Jags would go on to score, before his side got a late leveller to take a share of the spoils.

    Ross MacIver was an unused substitute for Morton in their 5-0 loss at Championship leaders Raith Rovers, while Harry Robinson was absent from Queen of the South’s 1-1 draw with Arbroath.

    In League One, Jamie Semple was on the bench as Cove Rangers maintained their 100% record through four games with a 3-0 home win over Forfar Athletic.

  • Women

    ‘Well lose out to Glasgow City

    ‘Well lose out to Glasgow City

    Motherwell gave perennial champions Glasgow City a close contest, before eventually losing 3-0 in SWPL1.

    Eddie Wolecki Black’s side had the Champions League participants locked at 0-0 at the break before the resistance finally broke in the second half.

    But the women of steel were more than a match for their opponents and, on another day, may have taken chances which would have put a different complexion on the scoreline.

    City had the most of possession in the first 45 and had a good number of chances, coming closest with a header crashing off the bar.

    ‘Well’s back four though defended well to limiting the number of clear shots on goal, with goalkeeper Ailey Tebbett only having to make a handful of saves.

    Lori Gardner came closest for Motherwell in the opening half, with a looping shot from out wide landing on the roof of the net.

    City started the brighter of the two teams with several chances early in the second half. That pressure finally resulted in a penalty being given for a handball in the area with 63 minutes played.

    The resultant spot kick was slotted into the corner of the net by Leanne Ross at Tebbett’s right-hand side.

    The second goal came four minutes later. With Tebbett saving onto the bar and the ball falling at the back post, Jo Love did well to get the touch and take the ball into the net.

    City then started to make their greater amount of possession count by adding a third with 18 minutes to go.

    A good ball in from the right-hand side found Tyler Toland at the far post, who struck the ball well into the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.

    Motherwell created a couple of chances late on. However, they were unable to capitalise on them.

  • First team

    Manager reacts to Celtic defeat

    “The scoreline suggests it was a doing. It wasn’t. We created opportunities but we have to defend better.”

    Stephen Robinson reacts to the home loss to Celtic.

  • First team

    Motherwell 1-4 Celtic

    Motherwell 1-4 Celtic

    Motherwell’s battling efforts were in vain as Celtic ran out 4-1 winners at Fir Park.

    The scoreline, though, didn’t reflect on the home side’s contribution, especially in the second half, as they bravely fought to reduce the leeway.

    A double from Mohamed Elyounoussi gave the Parkhead men a 2-0 half-time lead. But for the first 25 minutes of the second half, the determined hosts were denied several times before Declan Gallagher’s goal raised hopes of taking something from the game.

    However, clinical finishing from Neil Lennon’s men – as Elyounoussi grabbed his hat-trick and Olivier Ntcham made it 4-1 – saw Motherwell slump to only their second loss in six games.

    Despite it being a midday kick-off, the floodlights were required to brighten up the proceedings on a damp and murky Remembrance Sunday.

    With no additional injury problems, Stephen Robinson, not surprisingly, stood by the same starting side which has served him so well in recent games.

    That meant that Mark O’Hara was once again paired with Declan Gallagher at the heart of a ‘Well defence which was prepared for a Celtic backlash after their disappointing midweek Europa League performance.

    However, the first threat on the home defence was self-inflicted as the under-pressure Parkhead side opened the scoring after only seven minutes.

    Liam Polworth’s slack backpass put Gallagher under pressure. Albian Ajeti stole possession to drive the ball across Aaron Chapman and when the ball rebounded from the ‘keeper’s right hand post, Elyounoussi stabbed it home to punish the home side.

    The Steelmen recovered from that early blow and for the next 20 minutes had the bulk of the action around Scott Bain’s goal.

    ‘Well came within a metre of an immediate equaliser when Tony Watt drove the ball low across the six-yard box and Kristoffer Ajer’s boot diverted the ball narrowly past his own goal post.

    Motherwell’s possession around the Celtic penalty area was reflected in the number of free-kicks conceded by the visitors. But from a number of promising positions, Polworth’s free kicks failed to find a teammate. After 17 minutes Polworth’s free-kick was missed by everyone forcing Bain into a one-handed stop.

    Five minutes later a powerful run from Callum Lang ended when he tumbled in the box under pressure from Scott Brown but strong appeals for a penalty were waved away.

    At the other end of the pitch Chapman’s goal was rarely threatened until the 27th minute when Celtic doubled their lead. An interchange on the left side of the home box allowed Tom Rogic to wriggle his way to the byline before the Australian cut the ball back for Elyounoussi to slide the ball into the net for his second goal of the game.

    The Fir Park men might have wilted as efforts from Jeremaine Frimpong and Ryan Christie flew over Chapman’s crossbar.

    The home side still remained a threat and only a last gasp intervention from Frimpong at the corner of his six-yard box prevented Watt from forcing the ball beyond Bain and give ‘Well some belief for the second half.

    ‘Well came even closer to pulling a goal back within two minutes of the restart. Polworth sent his corner beyond the far post for Gallagher to head it back across goal but despite the combined efforts of Lang and then Devante Cole, they couldn’t force the ball past Laxalt on the goal line.

    The Uruguayan defender came to Celtic’s rescue again just before the hour mark. Watt’s head flick found Lang six yards from goal but as he seemed certain to blast the ball home Laxalt stepped in to brilliantly block the effort.

    Motherwell kept pressing for a deserved goal at it almost arrived when Nathan McGinley, providing great support down the left channel, whipped in a cross only to watch in dismay as Watt’s goal-bound drive from 10 yards blocked by Lang.

    With 29 minutes remaining Robinson made a double substitution bringing on Robbie Crawford and Christopher Long.

    And the former Everton striker almost made an immediate impact when within a minute he had created some space at the edge of the Celtic box before firing a low shot and forcing a save from Bain.

    The much-deserved goal was only delayed another minute, Gallagher stretching to head Polworth’s free-kick low past Bain to give ‘Well hopes of a dramatic fightback.

    Those hopes were killed off three minutes later as Elynounoussi claimed his hat-trick rising high eight yards from goal to send a powerful header high past Chapman.

    ‘Well brought another forward into the game when Jordan White replaced Cole and the former Inverness CT striker almost slid the ball home from Polworth’s pass.

    But it was the Celtic subs who combined five minutes from time to complete the scoring. Odsonne Edouard set up Ntcham, to drive the ball low beyond Chapman, to make it 4-1 and a scoreline that reflected harshly on Motherwell’s performance.

    Motherwell: Chapman, O’Donnell, O’Hara, Gallagher, McGinley, Maguire (Crawford), Campbell, Polworth, Lang, Cole (Long), Watt (White).

    Subs: Archer, Grimshaw, Johnston, Devine, Cornelius, Hastie.

  • First team

    Stephen O’Donnell embracing life in ML1

    Stephen O’Donnell embracing life in ML1

    Stephen O’Donnell is putting the ML on the map.

    The Lanarkshire lad is currently living the local hero dream. Born and bred in Wishaw, O’Donnell is no stranger to high-flying domestic success or international recognition through his time at Kilmarnock, but this time it feels different.

    Still living in the area, the defender is embracing life at Fir Park.

    Handed a short-term deal in the summer, he has been part of a side that made it to the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, is now prospering in the Premiership and is involved in a Scotland setup that’s just one game away from taking the nation to its first major finals since 1998.

    However, the 28-year-old insists there is more to come from him.

    “It’s been great being able to represent your club at international level, regardless of what club,” he said.

    “But what makes this special for me is this is where I’m from. I grew up in Wishaw and it’s good to be part of that. The amount of people I know Motherwell because it’s their local team is huge, the negative of that is if we lose I’m quick to hear how bad I was…

    “Just hopefully I can perform better, I think I have a lot more to offer at Motherwell. I’ve shown it in glimpses but not as consistently as I would have liked.

    “I love going away with Scotland and being able to play a part. I think Declan is the same, we are in a squad that’s full of top talent and for us to play any part is fantastic.”

    The form of the national side in recent months has been incredible.

    Currently on an eight-game undefeated run, Steve Clarke has brought together a side that people were doubting, and turned them around to a formidable force on the cusp of something big once more.

    Parallels can be drawn with what Stephen Robinson is doing with the Motherwell squad. A slow start to the season caused many outside the club to believe a top-three finish had been swapped for a relegation scrap, but that prospect is a million miles away from their current outlook.

    Now with two games in hand over some, the Steelmen are well in the hunt to get into the top six.

    O’Donnell acknowledges the high of last year may well have been a hindrance, not that he or any of the squad are complaining. A run in the Europa League, on the back of a prolonged summer break, “took its toll” on the sharpness of the squad in those early weeks, reckons the former Killie man.

    But recent landmark results against the likes of Aberdeen, Ross County and Livingston have demonstrated to the doubters what this Motherwell team are capable of.

    “The results have changed,” he said. “There were signs at the start that we were a good side but it just wasn’t falling for us. There were also key players missing which I think is why I was probably brought in.

    “You can see the quality the squad has, and maybe they were victims of the success of last year.

    “You were coming back from the long Covid-19 break going into a European campaign with few warm-up games, it’s Sunday-Thursday-Sunday-Thursday.

    “It’s then you realise you have to take your hat off to guys like Callum McGregor who do that for six months of a season. We aren’t quite used to that.

    “It was a challenge we enjoyed and maybe it took a toll on our cutting edge on the weekends that followed. Now we’ve started to get some wins on the board and climb the table, which is always nice.

    “You defend from the front and their work rate against Ross County and Livi was incredible. Even going into training the intensity is huge, it gets you ready.

    “We are disappointed we couldn’t play the two games that were cancelled but hopefully we’ll get them played soon or get the points, and we can make that league position look even better.”

    Of course, the challenge of continuing their upward trajectory today is a formidable task.

    Some scaremongers would have you believe Celtic were a side on the slide after defeats to Rangers and AC Milan, along with a draw at Pittodrie.

    A credible draw in Lille and a comfortable Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen have discredited that theory, and Celtic arrive at Fir Park today still well in the hunt to nail their 10th title in a row.

    Having said that, O’Donnell insists the home side are up for the challenge of giving the Scottish champions another tough day at the office when they step on to that Fir Park pitch.

    “Celtic are a top side,” said the right-back. “They came under criticism recently but they have top players and a top manager. They maybe had a wee dip just there but we’ve had ours, every team has one.

    “We hopefully are clear of ours now and we can go on and finish at least in the top six.

    “We just need to make sure we build on them dropping points against Rangers and Aberdeen.

    “It’ll be a very tough task, but we’ve had a week to prepare for it while they’ll have had another game, so we’ll be trying to capitalise on that.”

    By Scott Mullen.

  • First team

    Lang positive on ‘Well’s chances

    “We are positive we can put in a performance.”

    Callum Lang, who is in goal scoring form, previews the visit of the champions on Sunday.

  • First team

    Tony Watt is your October Player of the Month

    Tony Watt is your October Player of the Month

    Tony Watt is our Paycare Motherwell FC Player of the Month for October.

    The forward was instrumental in the two wins picked up from two matches across the month, netting both in wins against Ross County and Livingston.

    Watt beat off competition from fellow forward Callum Lang, as well as defensive duo Declan Gallagher and Mark O’Hara, who contributed to two clean sheets in the month.

  • First team

    Manager previews the visit of Celtic

    “We have to be at the top of our game. But there’s no reason we can’t get a result.”

    Stephen Robinson looks ahead to Sunday’s Scottish Premiership encounter with Celtic.