“That performance had everything we work for.”
- First team
Manager reacts to win over HeartsSaturday 20 November 2021
- First team
Motherwell 2-0 HeartsSaturday 20 November 2021
Motherwell produced their best cinch Premiership performance of the season to comfortably sweep aside Hearts 2-0.
Not for the first time the Fir Park side made an impressive start and Connor Shields’ first league goal after 23 minutes was a perfect foundation for a wonderful win.
On this occasion, though, Alexander’s men maintained the momentum for 90 minutes and Ricki Lamie’s goal early in the second half sealed the points.
With the Tynecastle side reduced to ten men for the final 25 minutes and ‘Well’s pressure on Craig Gordon’s goal almost relentless, the only criticism is that the winning margin should have been greater
Graham Alexander was forced into four changes from the side which won at Pittodrie.
Stephen O’Donnell, with his inclusion in Scotland’s win over Denmark on Monday making him Motherwell’s most capped Scotland player, returned from suspension – only to find himself on the bench. With Juhani Ojala still injured, Lamie was preferred to partner Sondre Solholm in the heart of the home defence. Callum Slattery was recalled to midfield for the injured Mark O’Hara.
Kevin van Veen’s yellow card at Pittodrie meant he had to sit this one out and with Jordan Roberts unable to face his parent club, it meant Tony Watt was partnered in attack with Kaiyne Woolery and Shields.
Scotland’s goal hero John Souttar and ‘keeper Craig Gordon lined up with a huge travelling support literally behind them in the newly named Tommy McLean Stand.
In a frenetic start, the Motherwell players appeared determined to make amends for their last home appearance against Rangers, fiercely competing for every ball and keeping Hearts largely pinned into their own half.
That said, the first chance came the visitors’ way after 10 minutes when Barrie McKay’s crossfield pass found Ben Woodburn racing in behind the home defence.
However, the on-loan Liverpool striker’s first touch was poor aimlessly sending the ball safely to the waiting Liam Kelly.
A minute later, Gordon made an equally simple save, after a powerful 25-yard drive from Goss took a deflection and the pace off the ball.
Woolery was next to try his luck from the edge of the box but his firmly struck shot raced just wide of the goal.
A long ball down the right channel then found Woolery with time to fire a ball low into the Hearts’ box. Goss made the initial attempt on goal but when his shot was blocked, Shields lashed the ball past Gordon for a goal their positive start deserved.
A few minutes later only a terrific save from Gordon prevented the Steelmen going two ahead.
Slattery’s corner was only cleared to Barry Maguire and his thumping drive from 20 yards was acrobatically blocked by the Scotland ‘keeper.
As ‘Well continued to press play towards the visitors’ goal, the Hearts fans were strangely subdued as the home side came close again on the half-hour mark.
Once again Woolery created the opening with his ball from the right this time finding Watt, whose turn and shot was blocked in front of Gordon.
In the opposite goal, Kelly was limited to comfortably clearing the ball with his feet as his defence kept a high line against the Hearts’ attack.
Two minutes from the interval the Tynecastle men had a final chance to force the ‘Well ‘keeper into his first save after a speedy break and inviting ball from McKay sent Josh Ginnelly through on goal.
But before he could get his shot away Lamie had raced across his box to block the danger and leave an impressive Motherwell ahead at half-time.
Any questions that the Fir Park could sustain the pressure on the Hearts were answered within three minutes of the restart.
Kelly, almost playing as a sweeper, sent a measured pass towards Watt. His cute head flick sent Woolery clear on the left and his smart cross intended for the waiting Shields was diverted over his own bar by Kingsley.
From Slattery’s corner, Mugabi’s boot sent the ball towards goal only for Souttar’s head to deflect it over the bar.
The pressure on Gordon’s goal was immense especially from Woolery’s trickery and low crosses into the six-yard area and Souttar and again provided the cover to concede yet another corner.
After 57 minutes, Kelly was required to make his first save of the game comfortably clutching Woodburn’s rising drive from 20 yards.
That gave the Hearts fans something to cheer and a minute later they were on their feet to welcome leading scorer Liam Boyce into the action.
But after Slattery squandered a good chance for the home side, firing over from 30 yards when he had Watt and Woolery in support, Robbie Neilson’s game plan was thrown into disarray as his side went down to ten men.
Already on a yellow card, Moore’s barge into the back of Shields as the ‘Well striker raced toward the penalty area earned the defender a second yellow and his side a man down for the remaining 25 minutes.
It became a double punishment when Goss curled the resultant free-kick to the back of the six-yard box, where Lamie powered his header back across Gordon and inside the ‘keeper’s right-hand post to make it 2-0.
That combined to have Hearts on the back foot for the next 10 minutes when ‘Well should have extended their lead.
Firstly, Watt’s low shot from the edge of the box took a slight deflection edging the ball just wide of the post with Gordon at full stretch.
Then in the 72nd minute, the Hearts’ ‘keeper produced a fantastic double save to deny Motherwell the third goal.
Watt’s footwork and delivery from the left found Woolery at the back post and his close-range header was brilliantly palmed onto the post by the ‘keeper.
As the ball rebounded to Shields, Gordon somehow recovered his position in the centre of his goal to block a thunderous effort from the ‘Well striker.
As the Edinburgh side chased a goal to get them back into the game it was becoming an end to end affair. The lethal Boyce had a chance to reduce the leeway but his angled drive was well blocked by Kelly.
The ‘Well boss probably thought the game was too open and sent on O’Donnell for Woolery as both players received a standing ovation from the home fans, as the Steelmen went on to hold a firm grip of the game.
A final ovation was reserved for Shields when he was substituted five minutes from time. Apart from grabbing his first league goal since arriving from Queen of the South, the striker showed a tremendous drive and pace as he gave a highly regarded Hearts’ defence a thoroughly miserable afternoon.
- First team
Kaiyne Woolery settling down in ML1Saturday 20 November 2021
Redhill, Maidstone United, Tamworth, Stafford Rangers, Bolton Wanderers, Notts County, Wigan Athletic, Forest Green Rovers, Swindon Town, Tranmere Rovers, Motherwell.
In a career spanning 10 years, Fir Park is already Kaiyne Woolery’s 11th destination.
As a 26-year-old, the pacey forward now wants to settle – and a three-year deal in Lanarkshire is enough to suggest that the Hackney-born man is eager to make Motherwell his longest-serving side.
“I have always wanted to leave the clubs I was at for a new test,” he says.
“That is what I like, it is just part of my life and part of my nature.
“But I do not want to be moving around all over the place anymore. I am at an age now that I want to settle down and have kids.
“But on the football side of things, coming here was another challenge. It is a step up from where I was playing last season and it is the top league in Scotland.
“It is a lot different from what I am used to. I am from London and life is a lot busier there, but I am still really enjoying it. Everyone here has been great with me and I am making some really good friends on and off the pitch.”
Woolery has spoken previously about how he must have “ripped apart” Graham Alexander’s sides in England’s lower leagues for the Fir Park boss to take notice.
Following his summer acquisition from Tranmere, the gaffer said our number seven was a player he had “admired for a few years”.
Alexander added how Woolery always caused his sides problems with his “pace and goal threat” – and it is that feeling of being wanted by the boss that has encouraged him to ply his trade outside England for the first time in his career.
“It is always nice when a manager really wants you,” says Woolery.. “I always played well against his teams when I was at Swindon. We played really good football and we dominated every game we played in.
“But I did not know too much about the league up here. Everyone knows the bigger teams, but I did not know how the league formatted and how it splits towards the end of the season.
“I knew it was competitive and I started to get an idea of the standard when I was watching the games on TV. It is just so mixed in terms of the level. You have Rangers and Celtic at the top of the league, then the rest are at a similar standard.
“That makes the games pretty even because the teams have different attributes. Certain teams will be hard to break down, some will run more than others. It pretty much levels out on all the teams apart from Rangers and Celtic.
“I would say I am still trying to adapt, though, it is very different from what I am used to. But everyone is pretty new at the club.
“We have made a lot of new signings and it can take a few months before everyone starts gelling together. We just have to listen to the manager and do what he asks of us.”
While Woolery’s career has stretched across a decade, his first memories of the game stem back to playing on streets in Hackney.
The raw nature of street football inspired the ex-Wigan winger to take his talent more seriously, even if that came later in his teenage years.
“I used to play cage football when I was younger,” he recalls.“It was all one touch and two touch, that was my favourite style to play. I joined a training group after that called Soccer Elite. Every Friday night we would go there. That is what really got me into football.
“I was never at a professional club until I was about 19. That is because I did not leave school until I was 18. I wanted to make sure I studied and got my A-levels first. In truth, I was not into football too much until I was about 16.
“But I started getting offered trials and it made me believe that I had something to make a career out of.
“I started taking it seriously and joined a men’s team called Redhill. After that I moved to Maidstone when I was 17, then a year later I was at Tamworth in the Conference. That is where Bolton bought me from.”
Prior to this summer, Woolery’s only other previous trip north of the border was funnily enough to Fir Park – where the forward took part in Keith Lasley’s testimonial with Bolton.
The winger struggled for game time at the Wanderers – making just 19 appearances – and subsequently moved to Wigan, where he also failed to break into the first team.
However, it was at Wigan the forward met ex-Motherwell loanee Callum Lang.
While he did not know too much about the Scottish game or Motherwell in general when the club showed their interest in the summer, he leaned on advice from his old team mate.
Thankfully, Lang did not go into much detail about the joys of Scottish weather – given that has been a stumbling block in Woolery’s decision-making down the years.
“I was at Wigan with Callum and he told me really good things about the club,” he says.
“He pretty much sold it to me up here. He said the club is run really well and that is what you want to be hearing when a club is interested in you.
“I had a couple of opportunities to come to Scotland a few years ago, but it is not something I really wanted to do at the time. Everyone put me off by saying how cold it is up here, but sinceI have been here the weather has actually been good.
“The summer was really nice and so far, touch wood, we have not had too much rain. I am not really sure what they are talking about, to be honest.”
Woolery’s teammate Kevin van Veen spoke about how he enjoyed the “toxic” nature of the game after his match-winning performance at Pittodrie last time out.
His fellow forward got a taste of that at Ibrox in September, when the ex-Bolton man scored his first Scottish Premiership goal to silence the home crowd and claim a point.
With 66 minutes on the clock, the winger slid in to poke home an equaliser ruin the Premiership champions’ title-winning party.
With no away fans in the stadium, a knee slide in front of the Rangers ultras was Woolery’s choice of celebration.
“You get stick all the way through the game,” he says. “It’s what opposition fans do. It is part of football. I thought we played really well, we deserved it. We went there as the underdogs and we were written off, so it was nice to score and celebrate with them and prove them wrong.
“It is nice to wind them up when you get the upper hand. I did not realise I did it to their ultras at the time as well. It was right in front of them. I have got some good pictures from that.”
Following the point at Ibrox, a win at home to Ross County saw Motherwell register their highest points total after seven games since three-point wins were introduced in the Scottish top flight two decades ago.
But after that victory against County, a tough set of fixtures saw Alexander’s men endure a five-game winless run.
That was brought to an end last time out when a gutsy and clinical away performance at Aberdeen saw the Steelmen come back to Lanarkshire with three points after Van Veen’s brace clinched a morale-boosting win.
That result has Motherwell sitting fifth, just six points off Saturday’s visitors Hearts – who have enjoyed an impressive start to the Scottish Premiership campaign.
“After our start to the season, the aim for us should be to finish in the top six,” he adds. “We are capable of that, we know we are.
“On a personal level, I want to score as many goals as I can as well. But as a team, anything can happen in this league. All you have to do is look at St Johnstone last season. If we can get some results going our way, something special can happen.”
- First team
Graham Alexander previews HeartsFriday 19 November 2021
The Motherwell boss looks ahead to the return of cinch Premiership action against the Edinburgh club.
Shop our Black Friday deals nowFriday 19 November 2021
Black Friday has arrived early.
Starting Friday 19 November, we’ve a host of great deals now and across the week.
First up, you can get 20% off our 2021/22 training range – our most popular training range ever.
If you’re looking for some Christmas gift inspiration, we’ve also got you covered.
Our commemorative bricks, which are placed in the wall in our Davie Cooper Stand, are reduced by 40% to £33.
Bring in the festive season
There’s also discounts to be had on our great party nights.
You can get £5 off our Christmas party night on 10 December, where you can enjoy a three-course meal.
We’ve also got our 80s Christmas night with buffet down to just £30 per person.
You can also bring in the bells at Fir Park on Hogmanay for just £15.
More great events
Enjoy a two-course meal in the Centenary Suite, half-time refreshments, match programme, teamsheet and a pay bar at our match with Ross County on 2 February.
Our special Black Friday prices are just £20 per person for season ticket holders, £30 for non-season ticket holders and £5 for kids.
Tickets for our ABBA tribute night on 19 March are also discounted to just £5 per person.
Keep an eye out too for even more great deals on some of our top products, including our replica kits.
Laurie Ross Insurance are our new 50/50 draw sponsorsThursday 18 November 2021
Laurie Ross Insurance are the new sponsors of Motherwell FC’s 50/50 half-time draw.
We’re delighted to welcome the local insurance broker to the club.
Proceeds from the 50/50 half-time draw go to support the club’s youth academy.
To play, just look out for our 50/50 sellers outside the ground on home match days.
Book our Italian night hospitality against Dundee UnitedTuesday 16 November 2021
Enjoy an Italian themed hospitality evening when Motherwell host Dundee United on 30 November.
Our package commences from 5.30pm and includes:
- Two-course Italian meal
- Two bottles of Peroni
- Match programme and teamsheet
- Main stand seating
- Half-time refreshments
- Access to pay bar
Season book holders can upgrade for £30 per person. Non-season ticket holders can buy for £40 per person.
To book, you can buy online now.
Alternatively, email email@example.com or call 01698 338003.
- First team
Internationals round-upTuesday 16 November 2021
Two of our players were in action for their nations over the international break.
Stephen O’Donnell broke the club’s Scotland cap record with his 13th appearance while on the books at Motherwell.
His standout performance against Denmark helped towards a huge 2-0 win for the national team, ensuring Steve Clarke’s men will be seeds in the 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off semi-final next March.
Bevis Mugabi’s Uganda went into their final two matches knowing they had a chance of clinching a play-off place.
However, a 1-1 draw with Kenya on Friday, paired with Mali’s win over Rwanda, meant their hopes were ended before a potentially decisive match with Mali.
In the end, the Cranes also lost out 1-0 to Mali on Sunday, leaving them second in the group and out of the competition.
Injury prevented Juhani Ojala from linking up with the Finland national team for their decisive double header with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and then France.
The Finns won 3-1 in Zenica to set up a decisive game with France on Tuesday, with Ojala’s men two points ahead of Ukraine in the play-off spot going into that crucial match.
Stephen O’Donnell breaks club Scotland cap recordMonday 15 November 2021
Stephen O’Donnell has broken the record for the most number of Scotland caps earned while on the books at Motherwell.
His start for the national team in their victory over Denmark on Monday night took him to 13 caps earned as a Motherwell player.
That appearance took him past George Stevenson on 12, who held the club record since October 1934.
O’Donnell joined Motherwell in August 2020 and his is first outing in dark blue as a ‘Well player came in October last year against Israel in a 0-0 draw at Hampden.
Caps then followed against Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Israel, Austria, Israel, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, England, Croatia, Austria and now Denmark.
He now sits proudly out on his own, ahead of legendary names such as Stevenson, Willie Redpath, Ian St John, Andy Weir and Willie Pettigrew.
Click here for a full list of Motherwell FC’s Scottish international caps.
Glasgow City next in SWPL1Monday 15 November 2021
Motherwell return to league action on 21 November at Alliance Park, when they face champions Glasgow City.
Kick off is at 4pm.
Adult entry to the stadium will cost £5. Children will get in for free. All spectators will be housed in our covered seating area.
Tale of the tape
Glasgow City have won each of the last nine matches with Motherwell in SWPL1.
Motherwell last faced City in the league opener back in August, where the champions ran out 6-0 winners.
Motherwell come into this game off the back of a 4-3 victory against Aberdeen to climb up to fifth in the table.
The women of steel have picked up ten points out of a possible 15 in the last five games.
Glasgow City sit in second place after the first round of fixtures, two points behind leaders Rangers.
The champions have yet to be beaten after the first nine games, having won seven and drawn two games against Celtic and Rangers.
New manager Eileen Gleeson got her tenure off to a strong start with a 3-0 win against Spartans in her first game last week.