Graham Alexander speaks as Motherwell surrender a two-goal lead in controversial circumstances to draw with St Mirren.
- First team
Manager reacts to St Mirren drawWednesday 27 October 2021
- First team
Motherwell 2-2 St MirrenWednesday 27 October 2021
A dramatic second half saw the points shared between Motherwell and St Mirren.
While the goals rained in at every other Premiership ground, this game had all the hallmarks of a dull no-scoring affair until the game burst into life in an exciting and controversial second half.
A quick double from Tony Watt within the first seven minutes of the restart seemed to atone for ‘Well’s poor first half.
However, thoughts of a welcome three points were quelled when Eamonn Brophy grabbed a quick double, the second in questionable circumstances, to leave the teams settling for a point each and status quo in terms of the league table.
Graham Alexander was hoping that his players could recapture their winning form and end the first round of matches with three points and strengthen ‘Well’s position in the top six.
The ‘Well boss made two changes from the side which was unlucky not to return from Tannadice with something to show for their efforts.
Sondre Solholm was recalled to the defence in place of Bevis Mugabi, while Connor Shields made his home debut, with Kevin van Veen stepping down to the bench.
Three straight defeats, after a six-game unbeaten run, put pressure on the home side for the visit of an on-form Saints, with Jim Goodwin equally hopeful that his side could respond after Sunday’s reversal to Rangers.
Despite the torrential rain, the Fir Park pitch looked in great condition.
It was Saints who made the most of the welcoming playing surface, retaining possession to press Motherwell deep into their own half in the opening spell.
The first strike on goal came after 10 minutes when Main was given time 20 yards from goal but his low drive was easily held by Liam Kelly.
Eight minutes later the former ‘Well striker but from eight yards he headed Scott Tanser’s tempting cross wide of goal.
By comparison, the Steelmen found it difficult to get into the game and make any real threat towards Jak Alnwick’s goal.
With 27 minutes on the clock, Alexander was forced into an early change in his defence with Juhani Ojala limping off and replaced with Mugabi.
As Saints continued to dictate the first half, without ever really testing Kelly, the ‘Well boss must have been quite content that his side were at least still level at the interval.
No doubt, though, as the players left the field to the disapproval of the home fans, Alexander would have demanded that a big improvement was required in the second half.
Although there were no personnel changes, there was an immediate change in ‘Well’s attitude and fortunes with the opening goal within three minutes of the restart.
Shields fed the ball to Goss on the left touchline and when he whipped in a cross to the back of the six-yard box, Watt bulleted his header into the ground to send the ball high past Alnwick and inside the ‘keeper’s far post.
That injected some much-needed energy into the home side and from Stephen O’Donnell’s run and pass from the right, Watt’s thumping drive rebounded from Alnwick with nobody in claret and amber able to pounce on the loose ball.
It was turning into Watt’s evening and after showing great determination to power his way through two challenges inside the box the striker was felled as he nudged the ball past Alnwick. There was no doubting it was a penalty and no question that Watt was going to take it, calmly sending the Saints’ ‘keeper diving the wrong way as he stroked the spot-kick into the bottom left-hand corner.
Two up and with the home fans back on song, the home side looked a threat every time they broke upfield.
However, as the Buddies recovered from that double whammy they exerted some pressure on the home goal and Kelly had to make a couple of smart saves from Eamonn Brophy and Kyle McAllister to preserve ‘Well’s two-goal advantage.
With 25 minutes remaining, ‘Well strengthened the midfield replacing Kaiyne Woolery with Mark O’Hara.
Five minutes later it was almost 3-0 when Solholm stooped to meet a Goss inswinging free-kick but his low header was saved on the line by Alnwick.
Sixteen minutes from time, Saints pulled a goal back.
Brophy chased the ball to the byline at the edge of the home penalty area and as Kelly advanced from his goal, the former Accies striker squeezed the ball into the unguarded net.
Two minutes later, the Buddies were level under controversial circumstances.
Firstly, Brophy won his side a penalty when he played the ball beyond Solholm and ran straight into the Danish defender. After ‘Well’s protests, Brophy stepped up to take the award and although he struck the kick low to the right, Kelly produced a wonderful one-handed save to push the ball away.
The Fir Park celebrations were cut short when referee Bobby Madden somehow adjudged the ‘Well ‘keeper had left his line, allowing Brophy to hammer home the spot-kick at the second time of asking.
There was still a sense of injustice around the home stands as the game moved into the final minutes, as the visitors threatened to steal it.
As Saints’ fired a corner into a packed box, Kelly made two spectacular saves to prevent all three points heading along the M8 to Paisley. and ensure a share of the spoils.
Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell, Ojala (Mugabi 27), Solholm, McGinley, Grimshaw, Goss, Slattery, Woolery (O’Hara 65), Watt, Shields.
Subs not used: Fox, Carroll, Maguire, Roberts, Van Veen.
- First team
Get your tickets for AberdeenWednesday 27 October 2021
Tickets are now on sale for our trip to Aberdeen.
The Steelmen head north on Saturday 6 November. Kick-off at Pittodrie is at 3pm.
Tickets can be bought via our ticket website or from the ticket office at Fir Park. A cash turnstile will also be in operation on the day.
Prices are as follows.
- Adults: £26
- Over 65s: £20
- Over 75s: £16
- 18-21s: £16
- Under 18s: £12
- Under 12s: £6
Fans who require ambulant or wheelchair access should contact Andy Sim on 07428 225254 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- First team
The rise and rise of Bevis MugabiTuesday 26 October 2021
It was only five years ago Bevis Mugabi was in academy football at Southampton – and it feels closer to 10.
After learning his trade with players such as Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse at St Mary’s, the Ugandan international made his way to ML1 via Yeovil Town.
He’s made himself a fans’ favourite, broke a world record set by Cristiano Ronaldo and cemented himself as a solid part of Graham Alexander’s side.
Still only 26, his time in senior football has been brief in the grand scheme of things.
But it’s been a learning curve of the steepest gradient. It was either sink or swim if you wanted a football career after time in the Southampton academy, something Mugabi knew all too well.
Some of his former team-mates have hit football’s summit. Ward-Prowse is captain of the Premier League club and Shaw scored for England in the Euro 2020 final during the summer. Others aren’t involved in football anymore.
Mugabi was desperate not to fall into the latter category. Both he and former Motherwell winger Gboly Ariyibi were team-mates in the Saints academy, and it was tough to witness the brutal reality of trying to become a star.
“Five years ago I was playing academy football,” explained Mugabi. “I moved to Yeovil from Southampton before I came here. I feel I’ve been a professional for so much longer.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given to be honest, because a lot of the boys ended up falling out of football, ending up nowhere. I’ve seen it first-hand with some of my former team-mates.
“Me and Gboly were so close at Southampton and we still speak to each other now. With our age group at that time, we had guys like James Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw, and Callum Chambers. Then there’s me and Gboly.
“A few of us have gone on to have careers. Others have fallen off, which is sad to see as they were talented players. It’s all hard work and dedication. So I’m very grateful to be in professional football.”
You might be wondering which Ronaldo record was broken by Motherwell’s Ugandan centre-back this year.
The chosen setting for this probably wouldn’t have been Dingwall, the home of Ross County, midweek in January as Alexander’s men scrapped for Premiership survival, but there it was.
Leaping very, very high to head into the net to seal a 2-1 victory, Mugabi’s jump was measured once he had left Highland airspace and returned to the ground.
In December 2019, Ronaldo scored a pretty spectacular header for Juventus against Sampdoria. it was a crazy piece of physical strength as he soared 8ft 5in in the air to nod home the winner.
The vertical leap was a record goal-scoring jump at the time before Mugabi jumped 8ft 6in off the ground for his winner in Dingwall.
He said after the match in Dingwall that Manchester United’s talisman forward would need to up his game after that moment in January. There’s been no response since as the Ugandan international holds the mantle.
“At the time I wasn’t even aware of how high I had actually jumped,” Mugabi said. “My brothers were telling me that I really leapt for that header.
“It got a bit of publicity and it went viral. The pitch was very heavy that day so I don’t even know how I managed to jump. But we needed the three points desperately at the time. So that was a nice goal to have.
“It was a bit weird, having that comparison to a such a football legend. It was a special moment just to have that kind of talk with your name mentioned.”
Like any king, there’s always someone eager to have your throne. Kampala Capital City Authority Club forward Sadat Happy Anaku had a go at taking the record, but his leap fell short and reached the fair height of 8.44ft.
“They are a team over in Uganda,” added Mugabi. “It was some leap to be fair to them. I can only imagine how my one looked because at the time.”
Bringing things quite literally back to the ground, the old cliche of ‘can he do it on a cold and rainy night in Stoke’ is often thrown about. It essentially means could the best players strut their stuff in the harshest conditions.
Whatever those conditions are in Stoke, it’s probably child’s play to Mugabi’s time at Yeovil. It was straight from academy football and into the environment that would help shape him as a player, and a person.
Huish Park is an old-school ground with terracing to boot. No longer was Mugabi in the often pampered world of academy football at the elite level, he was in the rough and tumble of England’s fourth tier.
Firing long balls up to ex-Well striker Alex Fisher in the middle of February against Forest Green Rovers was certainly a fresh experience, but one Mugabi is grateful for.
“Feed the fish and he will score,” joked Mugabi. “Some guys maybe struggled to make that transition into men’s football. At academy level, everything is done for you.
“You get pampered and then you get thrown into the real world. You have your own flat, you cook your own dinner. At some clubs, you have to wash your own kit and do your own gym sessions.
“Some people just can’t make that transition. Getting into men’s football was the best thing I did – but nobody likes making that trip down to Yeovil. It’s far.
“But it was good to be there and get some sort of experience. It did me the world of good. League Two level is direct so I was getting a lot of action at a young age. The majority of the team was young, full of guys who needed exposure.
“It helped me a lot to be honest. Big Fisher was a great target to be fair. He was a great guy and a great target to aim for.”
There are differences to be found in Motherwell and Yeovil, in Mugabi’s eyes. Both are community clubs at the centre of their respective areas.
That’s certainly the case in ML1. Mugabi and the rest of the Motherwell changing room recently opted to join the Well Society.
The players, together with the coaching staff, decided to collectively join and contribute monthly to the club’s fan ownership group, playing their part in the continuing health and growth of Motherwell as a football club.
It comes off the back of Motherwell fans raising over £60,000 towards the Well In initiative, which handed season tickets to those less fortunate. The club matched this generosity.
“I feel like the club does an amazing job of including the community and being supportive of the environment around us,” said Mugabi. “It makes sure everyone around us is supported.
“Everyone is connected. It’s the least we can do to give back. We don’t make £10,000 each week or anything like that, but even the small amount we contribute could hopefully make a big difference.
“That would be amazing. With my previous club Yeovil, I feel it was similar to Motherwell. It was a family club, they tried to include the community in things.
“It’s important, I feel, to have everything connected and everyone pushing in the same direction.”
Mugabi’s focus remains on securing his place at the heart of Alexander’s defence, with fierce competition from the likes of Sondre Solholm Johansen, Ricki Lamie, Darragh O’Connor and Juhani Ojala.
Johansen and Ojala hail from Norway and Finland, and there’s a chance for the remaining trio to pick up a new language. Lamie hasn’t started, and neither has Mugabi though.
“My second language isn’t coming along, to be honest,” Mugabi laughed. “But I should probably start picking up different bits and bobs to be fair to them. It’s difficult but they have had a good transition into Scottish football and Scotland in general.
“They’ve equipped themselves really well. They have settled into the club well itself and they are integrating into our group very well. They are also good quality players that the gaffer has brought in.
“So for me, it’s going well. It’s a young squad, and I feel I’ve had enough experience to be one of the more experienced guys in the changing room.
“That’s with the way I lead and train before a game. But I’m not old yet.”
Mugabi has also battled back from fitness concerns to form part of Alexander’s defence this season. A shoulder injury troubled him throughout last season’s campaign.
After going through Lanarkshire’s tape supply and undergoing an operation to get his shoulder sorted, Mugabi has been right back in the thick of the action for his manager.
It was a tough period, but he’s on the other side fit and healthy, ready to continue making his mark.
“I am fully recovered from my shoulder injury at the end of last season,” added Mugabi with a sigh of relief. “That was really needed.
“It was more so getting the strapping done before every training session and then again before every game. Myself and definitely the physios, I do not know how much money we spent on tape, just for me.
“I guess it was probably a hefty amount to be honest. But I am just glad it is over with and I can move on from it.”
Motherwell are in the top half of the Premiership after the first 10 league fixtures and Mugabi is playing almost every week. It’s been a good spell for the defender after a tough time with injury.
He’s been due some luck and this season he’s got his break, playing regular football without the worry of a shoulder popping out of place or dislocating. Form progression is key now.
“Personally I think the season is going well,” added Mugabi. “I missed the majority of pre-season with the shoulder injury I had at the end of last season, but I was thrown in on the first day of the season.
“That was good, to just be thrown into the deep end of playing games again.”
Bevis’ interview appears in the latest edition of the Motherwell FC programme, along with a host of other great features.
You can pick yours up at Fir Park ahead of Motherwell v St Mirren on Wednesday night, or order online here.
- First team
Manager looks ahead to St MirrenTuesday 26 October 2021
Graham Alexander pays tribute to Walter Smith, and also previews the visit of St Mirren in the cinch Premiership on Wednesday night.
- First team
Next up: St MirrenMonday 25 October 2021
St Mirren visit Fir Park next in the cinch Premiership.
Kick-off on Wednesday is at 7.45pm.
Tickets must be purchased in advance. Cash gates will not be in operation.
The easiest way to buy is online from our ticket site. You can choose to print your ticket at home, or use a digital ticket with a QR code.
You can also call 01698 333333 or visit the ticket office at Fir Park. The ticket office is open 9am to 5pm Monday and Tuesday, and until kick off on Wednesday.
Our capacity will be limited to under 10,000 for this match. Vaccine certification is not required.
Away fan sales
St Mirren fans can also buy direct from us via our ticket site.
You can also buy from the ticket office at St Mirren Park.
On matchday, an away ticket booth will be operation outside of the South Stand at Fir Park from 6.45pm until kick off. Cash and card payments will be available.
Fans of both clubs can buy a live stream of the game from ppv.motherwellfc.co.uk for £12.
The game is available to purchase in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Please note that due to UEFA restrictions, this game is not purchasable if you are in England.
If you’re a Motherwell season ticket holder who cannot make the match, you can still watch a live stream for free at live.motherwellfc.co.uk.
International viewers can watch through our subscription service at live.motherwellfc.co.uk. Packages start at as little as £12.50 per month to watch all 38 cinch Premiership fixtures.
Tale of the tape
Motherwell are unbeaten in three in the fixture.
A win in the last encounter at Fir Park in April came after two draws, both at St Mirren Park.
Motherwell are without a win in three, having lost to Hearts, Celtic and Dundee United.
St Mirren were unbeaten in six – having drawn three and won three – before their 2-1 loss at home to Rangers on Sunday.
- First team
Manager reacts to Dundee United lossSaturday 23 October 2021
“I thought we were the better team. We should have won the game but you don’t always get what you deserve.”
- First team
Dundee United 2-1 MotherwellSaturday 23 October 2021
Motherwell fell to defeat in a 2-1 loss at Dundee United.
Close-range goals from Ryan Edwards and Charlie Mulgrew, either side of Tony Watt’s penalty leveller, gave the hosts the three points.
Motherwell started with real attacking intent and should have been ahead within minutes.
Goss stole in to steer a cross in at the left post but Siegrist did brilliantly to get down and tip it round the post.
Woolery would also be denied by the goalkeeper in a first half where Motherwell saw plenty of the ball, but chances were at a premium.
United took time to grow into the match but took their first big chance when it landed.
With 10 minutes left in the half, a throw on the right presented Mulgrew with the option to receive and swing the ball into the box.
Picking his man out perfectly, the former Scotland international found Edwards tight at the back post to knock the ball home.
Motherwell were out the traps fast in the second half and dominated proceedings, as they waited patiently for the chance to come.
With 65 minutes played, they thought they were level.
After a corner, a ball back into the box found Watt unmarked on the penalty spot. His steer towards goal was precise and goalbound, only for goalkeeper Siegrist to pull off an incredible one-handed save.
The goalkeeper, however, would give ‘Well the route back into the game with 20 minutes left.
After a succession of high balls into the area, Watt contested with the goalkeeper and was caught as the United man came to make the punch.
Referee Kevin Clancy pointed straight at the spot, presenting Watt with the chance to get a deserved equaliser.
The in-form striker stayed cool and placed his shot into the bottom-left corner of the net, sending Siegrist the wrong way.
Motherwell though would be suckered by a set play seven minutes later.
A free-kick from the right was half met by Mulgrew, but the ball evaded all to take a deflection back into the defender’s path.
He still had work to do, but acrobatically steered the ball into the net from five yards.
Motherwell again picked up. A succession of balls into the box came close to finding the decisive man, but the visitors couldn’t drag themselves back level.
- First team
Manager looks ahead to Dundee UnitedFriday 22 October 2021
Graham Alexander speaks about competition for places and the weekend trip to Tannadice.
- Reserves & Under 18s
‘Well exit Youth Cup at hands of Queen’s ParkFriday 22 October 2021
Motherwell exited the Scottish Youth Cup at the second round stage with a defeat at Queen’s Park on Friday.
Having been under severe early pressure, Motherwell found themselves a goal behind with 20 minutes on the clock.
A cross from the left stood up perfectly to meet the head of Mahon, who powered his header past goalkeeper Wallace.
Ten minutes later, it was two. Good play through the middle presented McCormick with the chance to shoot from 15 yards, and he placed his shot into the bottom-left corner of the net.
Motherwell grew back into it. Rice’s perfectly-placed low free-kick from 25 yards was just turned around the post by the home ‘keeper towards the end of the half.
‘Well then came out flying at the start of the second half and were back in it within two minutes.
Wilson’s drive down the left saw him fire in a low cross, which Adam was on hand to tap home at the back post after a great late run.
The pressure continued. MacDonald’s cross from the left met the head of Adam at the front post, but the forward would be denied an instant second as he headed wide.
A vastly improved ‘Well side had plenty in attack on the pitch as they pushed for an equaliser but they were thanking their goalkeeper for keeping them in with a chance with 15 minutes to go.
With the ball played to a Queen’s man 10 yards out, a certain goal was denied by the acrobatics of Wallace to turn the ball away, with the rebound then being fired wide.
Wallace was again at the rescue as the game raced towards the end, pulling off a great save one-on-one before Motherwell cranked the pressure back up.
It looked like the leveller came with three minutes to go. Rice’s brilliant ball into the area was matched by the run of Gould, but he headed wide from close range and with it, the young Steelmen’s game would end in defeat.
Motherwell: Wallace, Hunter, Gould, Dunnachie, Rice, Wilson, Miller, Spiers (Kasongo 65), MacDonald (Beattie 75), Adam, Ferrie (Ross 22).
Subs not used: Bogan, Boyd.