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  • Women

    Positives to take in SWPL1 defeat at Rangers

  • Club

    When the Spurs got sent marching home

  • First team

    Juhani Ojala called up by Finland

  • Women

    Carla Boyce joins

  • Club

    John Martis to join Hall of Fame

  • Archive

    Stephen O’Donnell called up by Scotland

  • Club

    Business Breakfast returns

  • Women

    Rangers up next in SWPL1

  • First team

    Next up: Aberdeen

  • First team

    Manager reacts to Rangers loss

  • Women

    Positives to take in SWPL1 defeat at Rangers

    Positives to take in SWPL1 defeat at Rangers

    Motherwell showed fighting spirit but would ultimately suffer defeat to Rangers in a tough SWPL1 encounter on Wednesday.

    Brianna Westrup fired the hosts in front midway through the first half at the Rangers Training Centre, before Rachel McLaughlin added a second on the stroke of half-time with a clinical finish.

    Zoe Ness prodded home a third from close range minutes later to give the hosts a comfortable advantage at half-time. Then, in the second half, Kayla McCoy added a fourth, before Lizzie Arnot struck late on to seal a 5-0 defeat for Motherwell.

    The hosts came close to the opener early on with Khym Ramsay performing heroics in the Motherwell goal.

    Nicola Docherty’s floated corner fell kindly to Kirsten Reilly at the edge of the box, who set herself before drilling her effort across the face of goal. But Ramsay reacted quickly to parry her strike wide of the post.

    Rangers would break the deadlock after 22 minutes. Docherty’s deep cross found Westrup unmarked in the box, and the defender’s perfectly timed volley sailed over the head of Ramsay into the back of the net.

    The hosts doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Chelsea Cornet’s incisive pass sliced through the Motherwell defence leaving McLaughlin in space, and the forward maintained her composure to coolly slot her strike past Ramsay into the bottom right corner.

    Rangers continued to threaten the Motherwell goal and added a third in quick succession. The visitors failed to clear McLaughlin’s floated delivery and Ness calmly placed her strike past Ramsay into the bottom corner from a few yards out.

    With the women of steel chasing the game in the second half, Paul Brownlie’s side thought they should’ve been awarded a penalty after Carla Boyce’s effort appeared to strike the hand of Demi Vance.

    However, the referee looked disinterested and waved play on despite the adamant pleas of the Motherwell players.

    The hosts continued to press and added a fourth in the dying stages of the game.

    Rangers skilfully broke through the Motherwell backline with a quick counter attack, and Cornet’s low-driven effort was unfortunately deflected past Ramsay into the bottom corner by the outstretching McCoy.

    Rangers sealed all three points in the final minute with a fifth goal. Brogan Hay’s perfectly weighted through ball left Arnot one-on-one with the keeper, and the striker calmly placed her strike nto the bottom right corner to settle the tie.

    Despite the scoreline, Motherwell will have plenty of positives to take into this weekend’s encounter with Aberdeen at Alliance Park after a spirited display.

  • Club

    When the Spurs got sent marching home

    When the Spurs got sent marching home

    The last eight of the 1970/71 Texaco Cup saw Bill Nicholson’s Tottenham Hotspur head to Fir Park on 3 November with a 3-2 advantage from the first leg of the quarter-final tie.

    The Spurs side featured a host of England internationalists, including Martin Peters who had sampled World Cup glory four years prior.

    Despite their excellent pedigree, they would be swept aside by a stunning display of attacking flair by Bobby Howitt’s sublime Steelmen.

    Spurs had already recorded convincing victories over Scottish opposition in the Texaco Cup having defeated Hearts 4-0 and Dunfermline 3-0.

    In domestic competition, Spurs were also demonstrating their class and visited North Lanarkshire on the back of an eight-game undefeated run in the English First Division. It meant the North Londoners came marching into North Lanarkshire as firm favourites to build on their advantage and reach the semi-final.

    Despite the daunting task ahead of them, there was an air of confidence from those inside Fir Park that the ‘Well could spring a surprise.

    In the previous round they overcame Stoke City, with World Cup-winning keeper Gordon Banks in goal, on penalties but suffered a 5-0 home thrashing at the hands of Celtic just four days before taking on Tottenham.

    That evening’s match programme – the first-ever ‘Fir Park News’ to carry colour – featured positive messages from Howitt, who stated his belief that there would be ‘no inferiority complex’. Skipper Jackie McInally added his captain’s notes titled ‘Yes we can win this tie’ and Sunday Mail columnist Don Morrison predicted a proud night for Scottish football.

    Howitt went on to explain that the game had not just captured the attention of everyone in Lanarkshire, but everyone in Scotland. With the 22,688 crowd creating a raucous atmosphere – under the lights at Fir Park – the scene was set for a classic.

    Included in Howitt’s starting side was right-sided defender Davie Whiteford, who alongside the legendary Joe Wark occupying the left-back position, combined their excellent defensive capabilities with an attacking flair.

    It is an evening that Whiteford still recalls with great fondness, as well as the excitement of both players and supporters alike ahead of a meeting with one of the most accomplished sides in club football.

    “People were coming from everywhere,” Whiteford said. “I can’t recall the exact figure, but there must have been around 25,000 people inside Fir Park that night.

    “I think there were quite a few people inside the stadium who shouldn’t have been there. They got in by hook or by crook. It was one of the best atmospheres I can remember inside Fir Park. It was terrific.

    “Don’t forget we went down there and lost 3-2, with Spurs scoring the winner late on. We felt like we could turn the tie around and that we were just as good as Tottenham.

    “Pat Jennings was their keeper in the first leg, though Jimmy Hancock played in the game up here.

    “They had so many brilliant players such as Martin Peters, Martin Chivers, Alan Gilzean, Alan Mullery and Phil Beal. The list seemed endless.”

    Lifelong ‘Well fan Graham Barnstaple was one of the lucky punters to cram inside the stadium to see his beloved team achieve a legendary triumph.

    Having missed the penalty shootout success over Stoke City in the last 16, Graham was desperate to avoid the disappointment of being denied the opportunity to see his team take on English opposition on home soil. However, he would need to call in a few favours to do so – including from his school headmaster.

    “My family had moved to Prestwick in Ayrshire, and with my dad now working in Glasgow it seemed impossible I could get to Motherwell to see the game,” he recalls. “After weeks of persistent nagging of my parents about finding a way to get me there, a plan was finally hatched.

    “My gran suggested to my mum that she would come down, take me to Motherwell on the bus and meet my dad ahead of the game.

    “The only thing was at that time the bus took about two hours to get from Prestwick to Motherwell. That meant I would need to get away from school early.

    “Thankfully, our headmaster was a football man. He knew my passion for the ‘Well mainly down to me wearing my ‘Well strip at every football practice and therefore agreed I could leave school early for the bus journey to Fir Park for the big game.”

    Hopes of a memorable evening for the Steelmen were dampened in the early exchanges of the clash at Fir Park when Jimmy Pearce headed home Martin Chivers’ long throw to break the deadlock and extend Spurs’ aggregate advantage to 4-2.

    Despite looking on the brink of exiting the competition to their star-studded opponents, Motherwell had other ideas. And the home crowd erupted six minutes before the break when Dixie Deans found Brian Heron, who raced through on goal before driving the ball beyond Jimmy Hancock in the away goal.

    Hancock replaced the acclaimed Northern Irish keeper Jennings between the sticks for the second leg to make one of only three appearances for Spurs.

    Jennings had conceded twice in the first fixture between the sides, and his understudy would be unable to thwart the ruthless ‘Well attack in the second half.

    With 15 minutes remaining, Tom Donnelly fired Motherwell ahead with a long-range drive that nestled in the net via the post to level the scores on aggregate.

    Fir Park was rocking, and the near 23,000 crowd would be celebrating again when the Steelmen captain Bobby Watson steered home to clinch victory and book a place in the last four.

    “The people that were there will remember it forever,” beamed Whiteford. “We really had great footballers. We took on the same attitude as the Ancell Babes. We had the ability and the belief that we could play good football and get results.

    “It’s incredible to think that 50 years have passed since that night and unfortunately we’ve not got everyone here with us to mark the anniversary.

    “The likes of Joe Wark and Tam Forsyth have sadly passed away, and it’s sad to consider that some of the guys who played in that terrific football match are no longer with us.”

    Graham recalls a similarly exhilarating occasion. A day that began with leaving school early and a long bus journey accompanied by his gran, who would have to endure detailed analysis of what might happen at Fir Park later that night, had ended in the euphoria of witnessing one of the most famous victories in the club’s history.

    “I still remember how quickly the journey in my dad’s car back to Prestwick flew by,” he added. “I was on such a high having seen my team overcome an English giant with six full internationals in their side.

    “It’s an evening that I’ll never forget, and I’m so thankful that I was one of the supporters inside the ground for what was a historic victory.”

    The first Texaco Cup was set up for teams that had not qualified for European competition from England, Ireland and Scotland. It featured the likes of Nottingham Forrest, Wolves, West Brom and Shamrock Rovers, as well as Airdrie, Dundee, Dunfermline, Hearts and Morton from north of the border.

    It was one of the first club competitions to receive sponsorship, with American petroleum company Texaco ploughing in £100,000 – ensuring it was lucrative not only for the teams taking part, but also the players.

    “I think the Texaco Cup captured the imagination of everybody, fans and players alike,” Whiteford added. “It was one of the first sponsored tournaments, and the bonuses were absolutely amazing.

    “Just to put you in the picture, the wages at that time were about £35 to £40 a week, and we got a £10 bonus for each point in a league game.

    “For beating Stoke, we got a bonus of £250 and then £300 for beating Tottenham. At least the board were magnanimous enough to pass some of the money on to the players for going out and winning the game.

    “That was a big thing for the likes of Tam Forsyth, Joe Wark and myself who weren’t long married and in the process of buying things for the houses we were putting together. That’s how real it was, and it was a fantastic feeling.”

    Next up for Motherwell after defeating Spurs was a semi-final meeting with a much more familiar foe in Hearts.

    The first fixture took place at Tynecastle and finished 1-1, and due to a dispute over the date for the second leg, it was almost three months later when the deciding fixture took place in North Lanarkshire.

    The majority of the 25,300 crowd were dreaming of the final when Heron opened the scoring with 56 minutes on the clock, though they suffered late heartbreak when George Fleming levelled in the last few seconds of normal time.

    The ‘Well players were shattered after seeing victory slip through their fingers, and the momentum swung the way of the visitors during extra time.

    Their Texaco Cup dream would come to an end when Donald Ford shot under Billy Ritchie with five minutes left, and despite their best efforts, there would be no repeat of their heroic comeback against Tottenham.

    “We always felt like we got robbed against Hearts in the next round,” reflected Whiteford. “We were leading in that game, and they got an equaliser with the last kick of the ball,”

    “The equaliser came from a corner that shouldn’t have been awarded, and they went on to score again in extra time.

    “It was so disappointing, though despite the disappointment against Hearts, the memories of the Stoke City and Spurs games are incredible. The big games under the lights at Fir Park are so special.

    “It was a shame that as a team we couldn’t win any trophies, though many of our big players kept getting pinched away from us.

    “We lost Tam Forsyth to Rangers and Dixie Deans to Celtic. Taking those players out of the squad was a massive loss, and it still happens to this day to Motherwell.”

    Hearts would go on to face Wolves in the first-ever Texaco Cup final, with the English side narrowly clinching glory after a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

    The European credentials and qualities of both Tottenham and Wolves were backed up in the following season were backed up when the two sides contested the 1972 UEFA Cup final, with Nicholson’s men lifting the trophy following a fiercely contested two fixtures.

    The Texaco Cup would continue for a further four seasons, with Motherwell taking part in three of the four tournaments.

    The Troubles in Ireland led to the withdrawal of all Irish sides following the 1971/72 Texaco Cup, which began the steady decline of the competition.

    Organisers reacted to dwindling crowds by changing the format in 1975, with the tournament becoming the Anglo-Scottish Cup which was contested until 1981.

    Unfortunately, the status of the English sides during that time gradually declined, and many opted to play drastically weakened sides. That included one instance where Newcastle were disqualified from the competition after they were adjudged to have fielded an under-strength team in their 3-0 defeat against Ayr at Somerset Park.

    Another factor in the decline in the popularity of the tournament was increased success for British sides in European competition and a result the focus of both clubs and supporters shifted.

    Despite the Texaco Cup grinding to a reasonably unspectacular end – and five decades having passed since those memorable evenings under the Fir Park lights – Whiteford feels the tournament would be a welcome addition to the calendar if it were ever to make a return.

    “I think the very fact we were playing the top teams in the English game captured the imagination of the fans and the players,” he added.

    “It petered out, but I think it would certainly be a popular tournament if it were to return. It could be a shot in the arm if it were to be resurrected.”

    By Andy Ross.

  • First team

    Juhani Ojala called up by Finland

    Juhani Ojala called up by Finland

    Juhani Ojala is in the Finland selection for their crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

    The defender’s national team take on Bosnia away on 13 November, before hosting France three days later.

    Finland sit a point off second-placed Ukraine – who have played a game more – and four behind group leaders France.

    The group winners qualify automatically for the tournament in Qatar, with the runners-up going into the play-off.

    Ojala has been capped 31 times by his country, and was in the last selection for their October matches.

  • Women

    Carla Boyce joins

    Carla Boyce joins

    Motherwell have signed striker Carla Boyce.

    The 22-year-old, who can play across the front three, joins up after departing Hibernian last month, having netted six goals in 26 appearances for the Hibees.

    “Carla is another big signing to further aid the development of this team,” head coach Paul Brownlie said.

    “She was one of our main targets when I first arrived at Motherwell during the summer. She will add even more quality to a squad that’s really growing in confidence.

    “Carla will add goals to this team, I’m excited to see what she can add to this team.”

    Coming through the ranks at Glasgow City, and playing for Rangers and Hibernian, Boyce has established herself as a regular goalscorer and will look to add to her tally this season.

    “I’m delighted to sign for Motherwell,” she added.

    “I think the club is making great progress, which has been clear to see this season.”

    Boyce will wear the number nine shirt for the rest of the season.

  • Club

    John Martis to join Hall of Fame

    John Martis to join Hall of Fame

    John Martis is to join the Motherwell FC Hall of Fame.

    The Ancell Babe will be inducted at our event on Saturday 13 November. Limited tickets remain available.

    Martis was only 17 years old when he was signed by manager Bobby Ancell from Royal Albert in November 1957.

    A native of Motherwell and an apprentice plumber, he made his debut on 2 January 1958 in a 3-1 win over Hibs at Fir Park.

    “Motherwell had played on New Year’s Day at Airdrie losing 4-1,” he recalled. “At that time, they were losing centre-halves through injury as though there was no tomorrow.

    “Drew Paton was the first to be injured followed by Archie Shaw. Then came Willie Cowie and finally Jim Forrest. We were due to play Hibs and Andy Weir and myself had reported at the ground at midday to board the bus for the reserve game at Easter Road.

    “Mr Ancell told us to go home and come back at 2pm – we were playing in the first team. To say I was excited was a total understatement. Playing against Joe Baker aided and abetted by the legendary Lawrie Reilly was dream material. Happy to say we won 3-1, a great day.”

    John’s early football prowess shone through at primary school level.

    Selected for Motherwell and Wishaw Burgh Schools side, they went on to win the Scottish Schools Under 12 Cup in 1952 with a side containing a galaxy of future talent in the shape of Joe Baker, Bobby McCallum, Sammy Reid and Jim Conway. The interesting aspect of that side was the occupant of the outside left berth – a certain John Martis.

    “It was my former Boys’ Brigade captain who converted me into a centre half,” he said. “My father and Archie Shaw had developed a firm friendship and through that association, I was invited to train at Fir Park.

    “I played in a friendly for the club against Royal Albert at Larkhall and eventually agreed to join the Junior club. Mr Ancell was still keen for me to come to Fir Park, but with Royal Albert engaged in the Scottish Junior Cup, I would only sign for Motherwell once the Albert had been knocked out of the competition.

    “It took about five games to beat Strathclyde Juniors, followed by Douglas Water Thistle taking us apart to the tune of 5-0 in the next round. 1957 was the year I signed for Motherwell and I spent 12 very happy years at Fir Park.”

    In his first full season of 1958/59 he played in 30 out of 34 league games.

    He was only 18 years old when he played in a ‘Well team that lost 3-2 in a Scottish Cup semi-final against Clyde on 5 April 1958, with Charlie Aitken hitting the bar in injury time.

    A few years later, he played in the friendlies at Fir Park against Brazlian sides Bahia and Flamengo.

    John received his first international honour when he won a Scotland Under 23 cap, lining up beside Motherwell teammates Willie Hunter, Andy Weir and Ian St John against England in March 1960 in a 4-4 draw at Ibrox, with St John scoring twice. Jimmy Greaves scored a hat-trick and Bobby Charlton got the other goal for the visitors. He then gained his one full Scotland cap aged 20 in October 1960 in a 2-0 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

    Essentially a defender, there must have been the occasional goal in the Martis scrapbook that took pride of place and stretched the waistcoat buttons?

    “I think on balance there were as many own goals as there were good goals,” he said.

    “Funnily enough, when helping renovate and redecorate my daughter’s flat under the carpets we found an old newspaper which faithfully recorded one of the few Martis goals. It’s now a very valuable newspaper and a prized family heirloom.”

    The match which probably tingles the Martis memories most of all was the 1961 Scottish Cup third round tie replay against Rangers.

    “We were losing 2-0 at Fir Park but an Ian St John goal before half-time reduced the lead and in the second half, Bert McCann found an equaliser.

    “Rangers were down to 10 men when Jim Baxter was injured, but we held on and managed to force a draw. The 5-2 win in the replay at Ibrox before 80,000 must go down as probably one of Motherwell’s best results.”

    John scored only two league goals whilst wearing claret and amber, both against Partick Thistle. A late winner in a 2-1 victory in January 1964 was followed by a strike in a 5-0 win three years later.

    He was named the club’s Player of The Year in seasons 1965/66 and 1966/67.

    Perhaps a modicum of itchy feet materialised, encouraging John to try his luck abroad. South Africa beckoned and in January 1969, off went this Lanarkshire plumber to help the defence of the Cape Town club Hellenic, in a deal reported to be in the region of £2,500.

    Administered by a Greek consortium, the side failed after a mere two months, and two games played to hold the Martis interest.

    A return to his grassroots in Scotland was imminent. Former colleague Pat Quinn was still parading his soccer skills with East Fife and was instrumental in having manager Jimmy Bonthrone persuade the far travelling Mr Martis to drop his anchor at Bayview Park.

    John wore the black and gold colours with distinction for another six years, operating under the successive managerial directions of Bill Baxter and Pat Quinn. East Fife even achieved promotion in season 1970/71, with John at the helm.

    In just over 11 years at Fir Park, John played in 295 league games, scoring two goals. He played in 59 League Cup games and 30 Scottish Cup games. Add to these totals Lanarkshire Cup and friendly games, and his record with the ‘Well is up there with the best.

    The family home is only a good free-kick away from Fir Park and in the unlikely event of any stray balls landing in the Martis front garden, they’ll be despatched back into play with the same panache as was evident from his playing days at Fir Park.

    Our Hall of Fame will welcome its new inductees in a special event in November.

    Taking place at the Bothwell Bridge Hotel on Saturday 13 November, the event will induct the classes of both 2020 and 2021.

    The event is priced at £60 for adults and £30 for children aged under 12. Limited tickets are available.

    We will induct both the 2020 and 2021 intake at the event.

    Buy your tickets online here now.

    Current Hall of Famers include George Stevenson, Willie Pettigrew, Phil O’Donnell, Ally Maxwell and James McFadden.

    The delayed 2020 class, who will also be inducted on the night, includes John Hunter, Andy Paton, Joe Wark, Davie Cooper and Steven Hammell.

  • Archive

    Stephen O’Donnell called up by Scotland

    Stephen O’Donnell called up by Scotland

    Stephen O’Donnell is in the Scotland squad for their crucial FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

    The national team head to face Moldova on Friday 12 November, before a home clash with group leaders Denmark on Monday 15 November.

    Steve Clarke’s side stands on the cusp of clinching a play-off berth for the 2022 World Cup, knowing a win in either of their final two group stage fixtures will guarantee their spot.

    There is no spot in the squad for ‘Well goalkeeper Liam Kelly, who drops out of the selection having been in the previous two squads.

  • Club

    Business Breakfast returns

    Business Breakfast returns

    We’re hosting our first business breakfast since lockdown, offering networking opportunities for local businesses.

    Chris Mitchell, the chief finance officer of Loch Lomond Group, is the guest speaker at our event.

    It tasks place on Friday, 12 November in the Millennium Suite at Fir Park. Chris will discuss the club partnership, in addition to their sponsorship of the SPFL.

    Tickets cost just £10 per person. The price includes a breakfast roll, tea/coffee and orange juice. The event starts at 8am and runs until 9.15am.

    To book your place, email mhairi.daly@motherwellfc.co.uk, book online or call on 01698 338011.

  • Women

    Rangers up next in SWPL1

    Rangers up next in SWPL1

    Motherwell return to action after two weeks off when they face title-chasing Rangers.

    Kick-off at the Rangers Training Ground on Wednesday 3 November is at 8pm.

    Tale of the tape

    Rangers have won their last six matches with Motherwell.

    Last time out, Rangers came away with a 5-0 victory in the group stages of the SWPL Cup.

    Motherwell last took something from this fixture in April 2019, when they fought back from 3-0 down to take a point.

    Form Guide

    Rangers come into this game after exiting the SWPL Cup to rivals Celtic, falling to a 1-0 defeat.

    The Gers are unbeaten thus far in SWPL1, having only dropped points against champions Glasgow City.

    Motherwell are undefeated in their last three league games, keeping three clean sheets, and have collected seven points out of a possible nine in that time.

  • First team

    Next up: Aberdeen

    Next up: Aberdeen

    Motherwell are on the road to Aberdeen on Saturday in the cinch Premiership.

    Kick-off at Pittodrie is at 3pm.


    A cash turnstile will 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 tickets@mfcdsa.com.

    Vaccine certification is not required for this fixture.

    Watch live

    The match is available to buy on pay-per-view from Aberdeen in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Ireland for £13.99

    To buy, head to ppv.afc.co.uk.

    Due to UEFA restrictions, the game can not be sold in England.

    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 won the first encounter between the two teams this season, with Kevin van Veen and Juhani Ojala netting in a 2-0 win at Fir Park.

    Aberdeen were the victors in the last meeting at Pittodrie, winning 2-0 in January.

    Form guide

    After seven league games without a win, which brought five consecutive defeats, the Dons have bounced back in recent weeks.

    Their run of defeats was stopped by a 1-0 home win over Hibernian. That was followed by a 2-2 draw at Rangers, before a 2-1 victory over previously undefeated Hearts at Pittodrie at the weekend.

    Motherwell’s 6-1 loss to Rangers made it five league games without a win, a run which has yielded one draw and four defeats.

  • First team

    Manager reacts to Rangers loss

    “We aren’t going to feel sorry for ourselves. We are going to work hard and make sure we give a better account of ourselves than we did today.”