“I’m so proud that everyone dug in and kept believing. We fought together and that’s why we got what we deserved.”
- First team
Manager reacts to win over HeartsWednesday 11 May 2022
- First team
Motherwell qualify for Europe with win over HeartsWednesday 11 May 2022
Motherwell showed tremendous determination and grit to claim a place in next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League with a 2-1 win over Hearts.
A breath-taking start with two goals in the opening nine minutes heightened the drama as ‘Well chased a win which would almost certainly guarantee them at least fifth spot in the cinch Premiership.
As the Steelmen moved up to fourth place, the players took a deserved lap of honour as the ‘Well fans partied and looked out their passports.
In their bid for a European place Graham Alexander’s men made the perfect start when Joe Effort’s third-minute strike gave them the lead. But Josh Ginnelly’s equaliser killed any thoughts of celebrations.
Another crucial goal from Ricki Lamie ten minutes into the second half put the home side in the driving seat which they firmly maintained until the final whistle.
Despite his winning goal against Ross County on Saturday, Kevin van Veen was only fit enough for a place on the bench. Ross Tierney also stepped down as Callum Slattery and Dean Cornelius were restored to the starting line-up.
In their quest to collect three points and secure a European place the Fir Park men made a dream start.
Slattery diagonal pass sent Connor Shields racing into the box and when his low angled drive was parried by Ross Stewart, Efford pounced on the loose ball and lift it high into the net beyond the grounded ’keeper.
That raised the spirits and expectations of the home fans but they were grounded just seven minutes later when the Edinburgh side equalised. Ginnelly latched on to a through ball, skipped past Juhani Ojala on his way into the penalty box before sliding the ball beyond the advancing Liam Kelly to make it 1-1.
‘Well responded positively to that setback and a couple of tempting crosses sped across Stewart’s six-yard box found no takers in claret and amber.
At the other end Kelly made an impressive save when he dived low to his right to push away Peter Haring’s 20-yard drive.
As the half progressed the Tynecastle side, with a handful of first-choice players on the bench, found their passing game. That left ‘Well finding it difficult to win and retain possession, particularly in their opponent’s half.
Three minutes from the interval a speedy break breached the Hearts’ defence. Having raced clear of Toby Sibbick, though, Efford elected to shoot for goal rather than play in Sean Goss and Shields who looked better placed to test Stewart.
The introduction of Van Veen at half-time as the Steelmen went three up front almost had an immediate effect. The ‘Well striker pulled the Hearts’ defence wide leaving Efford unmarked to meet Shields floated cross only to nod the ball a couple of metres wide of Stewart’s right-hand post.
Suddenly the home side posed a threat on the visitors’ goal that was missing in the first half.
And that threat was converted into a goal after 55 minutes.
Van Veen’s turn and shot produced a corner. Slattery’s inswinger found Haring’s headed clearance fall kindly for Lamie who calmly stroked it through a packed goal line to make it 2-1.
Hearts again looked for a quick equaliser and three minutes later Kelly did well to get down and hold Alex Cochrane’s free kick as Liam Boyce hovered for a slip up.
Robbie Neilson strengthened his attack with on loan Everton striker Ellis Simms, before with 20 minutes remaining, Goss and Slattery made way for Ross Tierney and Liam Shaw.
No doubt with one eye on next week’s Scottish Cup final, Hearts made a succession of substitutions in the final 15 minutes which interrupted the flow of the game.
However, ‘Well remained focused on their objective and despite the fear of conceding a late equaliser.
Those thoughts should have been erased six minutes from time. Tierney won the ball and set up Efford on the left of the box but with plenty of support in front of goal he shot tamely toward the waiting Stewart.
That left the Fir Park fans having to endure seven minutes of added on time, erupting at the final whistle as the team stoutly defended their lead to claim a coveted European spot.
Vote for your 2021/22 goal of the seasonTuesday 10 May 2022
It’s time to vote for your Motherwell FC goal of the season for 2021/22.
The choices are viewable on the video above, and are as follows:
- A | Callum Slattery v Ross County
- B | Kevin van Veen v Aberdeen
- C | Dean Cornelius v St Johnstone
- D | Kevin van Veen v Livingston
- E | Jordan Roberts v Ross County
- F | Liam Donnelly v Morton
- G| Ross Tierney v St Mirren
- H | Kevin van Veen v St Johnstone
- I | Connor Shields v St Mirren
- J | Callum Slattery v Livingston
New hybrid pitch to be installedTuesday 10 May 2022
On Thursday of this week, we will begin significant development works at the stadium with the installation of a new hybrid pitch at Fir Park.
We have selected industry-experts SIS Pitches, who will work in partnership with AllGrass, to rebuild the pitch literally from the ground up.
That will see the clearing of the current pitch, and the previous one that still exists beneath the current surface, the installation of an enhanced drainage system, a new irrigation system and new undersoil heating piping.
When the pitch construction is concluded and seed is in the ground, around five week’s worth of work, SIS will then complete the process of ‘stitching’ the new surface.
Hybrid football pitches consist of 95% natural grass which is reinforced with synthetic stitched fibres. That allows greater durability, enhanced drainage and longer playing time with the feel of real grass.
When complete, Motherwell will be the fourth Scottish Premiership club to have a hybrid pitch following Celtic, Hearts and Rangers’ installations in recent years.
“For the last decade or more, the club has spent considerable cash, each summer, patching up the pitch to try and get us through the following season,” Chief Executive Alan Burrows said.
“Owing almost exclusively to the skill and talent of Paul Matthew, our current Head Groundsman, and his deputies, we have seen a marked improvement over the last few years, albeit the root problems continue to persist under the surface and maintaining a reliable, stable pitch is becoming increasingly more challenging, particularly through the winter months.
“We are throwing away good money every year by not fully fixing this issue.
“So the Board have decided to do just that, which will not only provide an enhanced and reliable playing surface, but will also materially reduce the annual maintenance costs and allow us to further commercialise the pitch and the stadium, much like we have done in the past, but have been unable to in recent times because of the poor pitch construction.
“As a part of that rebuilding process, we also plan to reduce the slope of the pitch, which runs from the Cooper/Hunter Stand corner at its highest point, to the McLean/O’Donnell Stand corner at its lowest, by half of what it is now.
“That will improve the playability of the pitch for players, whilst significantly enhancing the sight lines in both the Cooper and McLean stands lower corners.”
- First team
Liam Kelly: ‘We are in control’Tuesday 10 May 2022
Vice-captain Liam Kelly says Motherwell are well aware that they are in control of whether they will qualify for the Europa Conference League.
A win would secure a European spot and the Scotland international is prepared for a tight game with Hearts but knows they are more than capable of getting the job done.
- First team
Graham Alexander previews HeartsTuesday 10 May 2022
Manager Graham Alexander appreciates the following from Motherwell supporters and reckons that their incredible following could help his side get the win against Hearts.
He says his side have been mentally strong to get themselves into the position they are in and wants his side to dig even deeper to secure European football next season.
Aberdeen next in SWPL1Tuesday 10 May 2022
Motherwell will round off their 2021/22 SWPL1 campaign against Aberdeen on Sunday.
Kick off is 4:10 at Alliance Park.
Come and Watch
There will be no tickets sold before the match.
Entry is £5 for adults while children go free.
Tale of the Tape
Motherwell and Aberdeen have had two previous encounters this season in SWPL1, with each side winning their home games.
Most recently Aberdeen beat Motherwell 5-1 at Balmoral Stadium in February while the women of steel got the 4-3 win at Alliance Park in November. Carla Boyce got a hat-trick in the process.
Motherwell come into this game after winning two games out of the last three.
Aberdeen were beaten 4-1 by Hibernian last Sunday and have won one game out of the last six.
- First team
Next up: HeartsMonday 09 May 2022
Hearts are the opposition in our final home game of the 2021/22 season on Wednesday night.
Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Tickets are now available to buy online or from the Fir Park ticket office. Hearts fans are asked to buy directly from their club.
Pay at the gate is not available. Alternatively, call 01698 333333 or email email@example.com.
Ticket prices are:
O’Donnell, Cooper & McLean (away) Stand Price Adults £24 Concessions £17 Juveniles £3 One adult + two kids £28 Hunter Stand Adults £20 Concessions £16 Juveniles £3 One adult + two kids £24
– Concessions are listed as Over 60s, 16-18 year olds and full-time students with a valid matriculation card.
– Juveniles are listed as 15 and under.
Watch live online
In the UK and Ireland, you can buy a pay-per-view pass for £12. To buy, go to ppv.motherwellfc.co.uk.
If you’re based abroad, you can watch via subscription at live.motherwellfc.co.uk.
Motherwell have been struggling for form, after a great first half of the season. Recent wins over St Mirren and Ross County have shown shoots of recovery but Graham Alexander’s men still have work to do to secure a European spot.
Hearts have been in fine form; the weekend’s defeat to Celtic was their first defeat in 11 games.
Tale of the tape
This is the fourth meeting of the two sides this season and all of them have ended 2-0 to the side playing at home.
The Steelmen will be buoyed by a great three points over Ross County at the weekend as the race for Europe comes to a conclusion.
Hearts have comfortably secured third place and have a Scottish Cup final to look forward to in just under a fortnight.
Motherwell defeat Hearts in SWPL1Sunday 08 May 2022
Motherwell kept their top-six hopes alive after defeating Hearts 1-0 to record a vital three points in a crucial encounter at Park Alliance Park.
Kaela McDonald-Nguah’s second half strike proved to be the difference in what was a thoroughly deserved three points for the women of steel.
Following last weekend’s narrow 2-1 defeat to league leaders Rangers, Paul Brownlie made two changes from the previous outing, with Khym Ramsay and London Pollard replacing Ciara Duff and Jordan McLintock who dropped to the bench.
Looking for redemption after their previous meeting, Motherwell started on the front foot and almost netted the opener after two minutes.
Katie Rice’s strike from the edge of the box had Parker-Smith scrambling in the Hearts goal, but the keepers late reaction save kept the scoreline intact.
The women of steel’ continued to pile on the pressure and almost found the breakthrough midway through the first half.
London Pollard effortlessly worked her way into the box before curling an audacious attempt from distance, but her looping effort sailed wide of the target.
Minutes later, Amy Anderson did exceptionally well to shrug off her opponents with a delightful piece of skill before teeing up McDonald-Nguah at the edge of the box, but the strikers drilled effort flashed across the face of goal.
As the second half resumed, Motherwell pressed high, frustrating the visiting defence who looked to play out from the back.
Lori Gardner brilliantly read her opponents pass deep into Hearts’ final third, but the winger couldn’t capitalise, as she sent her effort high over the bar.
The hosts continued to dominate possession, and deservedly broke the deadlock midway through the second half.
Gill Inglis’ enticing delivery was superbly flicked on by Chelsie Watson into the path of McDonald-Nguah, who coolly converted from a few yards out.
Paul Brownlie’s side held on in the final few minutes to record a valuable three points which narrows the gap to Spartans in sixth, before facing Aberdeen on the final day of the season, with a top six finish at stake.
- First team
Manager on the win at Ross CountySaturday 07 May 2022
“We had everyone behind us and we gave the fans something to shout about. We’ve now given ourselves a chance.”