Stuart Kettlewell’s thoughts post Hearts.
- No excuses
- Taking responsibility
- International break
Stuart Kettlewell’s thoughts post Hearts.
Motherwell slipped to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat against Hearts at Fir Park on Saturday afternoon.
Lawrence Shankland’s goal midway through the first half left the Steelmen once again chasing the game. And when the Hearts’ striker netted again 19 minutes from time it was game over.
When Blair Spittal slammed his penalty high past Clark it gave ‘Well 13 minutes to salvage something from the game but a dramatic fightback never looked on the cards.
With both teams eager rediscover some winning form, an open and evenly contested game was anticipated. And although Motherwell started the game with a great deal of intent and pressure towards the visitor’s goal, Zander Clark’s goal was rarely threatened.
Stuart Kettlewell made one change from the side which started in Perth on Tuesday. Theo Bair, who made an impact from the bench against St Johnstone as ‘Well fought back from two nil down for a draw, replacing Brodie Spencer.
And the Canadian forward had a great opportunity to open the scoring after only five minutes. Mika Biereth put Franke Kent under pressure to concede the first corner of the game. Blair Spittal’s out-swinger found Bair unmarked eight yards from goal but he screwed his header well off the target.
In an impressive opening spell the Steelmen forced Hearts onto the backfoot as the visitor’s defence looked rather nervous.
After 16 minutes though the attention was directed towards the home when Liam Boyce was given time to control the ball in the box before firing wide of Liam Kelly’s left-hand post.
It then took a couple of sturdy blocks from ‘Well defenders to prevent two consecutive drives from Shankland testing Kelly.
The Tynecastle side’s top scorer only had to wait until the 27th minute to claim his 9th goal of the season. Alex Lowry’s deep corner kick was nodded back towards the six-yard box where Shankland’s touch directed the ball into the corner of the net.
It might have been worse for the Fir Park men a couple of minutes later. But Hearts’ claims for a penalty after Dan Casey appeared to have caught Boyce just inside the box, were dismissed after a lengthy and nervous VAR review.
From then until the break Motherwell repeatedly failed to hold the ball in the opponent’s half as the Edinburgh side maintained the pressure on the home goal.
Perhaps relieved to reach half-time only one goal behind, Kettlewell kept Bair inside for the second half bringing on Brodie Spencer and allowing Spittal to move further up the park.
It took ‘Well only two minutes to respond to the change. Spencer’s pace on the left won a corner. Spittal’s delivery was only partially cleared and when the ball was returned it found Casey unmarked beyond the corner of the six-yard box. From a tight angle though, the defender fired his drive high and narrowly wide of Zander Clark’s right-hand post.
Hearts and Shankland looked more likely to double their advantage and on the hour mark the striker’s net bound shot from six yards was blocked by his fellow striker Boyce.
Three minutes later ‘Well survived another VAR check for a penalty after Shankland tumbled in the box.
Shankland, though, was not to be denied a second goal.
In the 71st minute the Scotland striker broke through the middle of the home defence, rounding Kelly and although Casey was racing back to protect the goal, Shankland calmly stroked the ball home to make it 0-2.
‘Well immediately made a double substitution, not universally received by the home fans, as talisman Biereth and Wilkinson made way for Oli Shaw and John Obika.
Six minutes later, though, the change paid off. Shaw’s quick turn and shot in the box struck Alex Cochrane’s raised hand. Referee David Munro immediately pointed to the penalty spot and VAR agreed leaving Spittal to confidently thump his spot kick high beyond Clark to give the Steelmen some hope of yet another dramatic fightback.
Spittal dragged his left foot drive wide before Shane Blaney’s lunge just failed to connect with Georgie Gent’s free kick into the six yard area.
In the now customary frenetic finish from the home side, Bevis Magubi was brought on as an extra forward for the five additional minutes.
However, Hearts controlled the closing minutes to ensure that Motherwell wouldn’t claim a late equaliser and a point they scarcely deserved.
From ML1 to the Mediterranean coast, Kayla Jardine has continued to represent the women of steel under the international spotlight.
The Scots faced a daunting triple-header with victories required over Iceland, Belarus and Serbia. However, despite missing out on their target, Jardine strengthened her international goalscoring pedigree, netting twice across the U19 Euro 2024 Qualifying campaign in the Albanian capital, Tirana.
“It’s always an honour to get the opportunity to play for my country,” Jardine explained.
“Although the results weren’t great, I still feel I performed well in each of the games and scoring two goals is an added bonus.
“I feel the experience and scoring the two-goals really gave me a confidence boost heading back into club level and hopefully I can continue that form.”
The 18-year-old, who extended her stay at the club this summer after signing a short-term loan deal in January, was recalled to her parent club Rangers before making her first appearance of the 2023/24 SWPL campaign, as injury woes hampered the Glasgow side.
Returning to Lanarkshire for the second time this season, Jardine is focused on overturning the women of steel’s tumultuous domestic form whilst continuing her development at K-Park.
“There’s definitely positives to take from the season so far.” Jardine noted.
“There’s been games and performances where we know we are capable of a lot more individually and collectively. We are aware we need to be more consistent and if we find that consistency game to game then we should pick up more points as the season goes on.
“Personally, I am hoping to get consistent game time, so that I can become more familiar with playing at first-team level which will allow me to develop more as a player.”
Paul Brownlie’s side brought their month-long goalless drought to an emphatic conclusion, drilling six-goals past a dysfunctional Dundee United side to reinvigorate their ambitions of a top-six finish this season.
However, inconsistency on the road and misfortunes at home have continued to hinder the squads progress, with Aberdeen racking up five goals in a disappointing defeat at K-Park last weekend.
“As a squad we knew it wasn’t good enough,” Jardine acknowledged.
“We could’ve taken so much more out of that game, but it ultimately came down to our mistakes which cost us the goals. [Paul] told us that it wasn’t good enough and we have to reflect on our individual performances”
Motherwell will face another week-long hiatus from domestic football, with cup action back on the horizon, providing the squad with the ideal opportunity to prepare for their third meeting with Montrose this season, whilst reflecting upon their early Sky Sports Cup exit to the Gable Endies at Links Park in October.
“The next game after a defeat is massive,” Jardine said.
“A reaction is needed from the squad and it’s good that we have an extra week to prepare for the next game. It’s important that we approach training with the right mentality and work on the things that need improved on.
“The cup game was a tough one to take as a team as we didn’t perform to the levels we know we are capable of. It’s a chance to right the wrongs made in that game which is what we will look to do come next week.”
Manager Stuart Kettlewell has offered an update on the players who are currently sidelined.
Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, the manager provided a more detailed update on the injury list.
It was announced this week that Lennon Miller has picked up a knee injury in our match against Aberdeen. The initial prognosis is that Miller will be missing for a minimum of three months.
“It’s a really unfortunate injury for Lennon and it’s a real blow for everyone,” Stuart Kettlewell said.
“He’s valuable to this team and I’m gutted for him. Despite the news however, the person with the best body language and the person with the most maturity was the 17-year-old.
“We know it’s a 12 week injury, as it’s a small fracture in his patella.
“He had to get everything else check out and has been to see the top guy in Britain for this type of injury.
“Lennon is comfortable and I have no doubts he’ll come back stronger.”
We also discovered this week that Paul McGinn picked up a facial injury against Kilmarnock and that we’d been advised that the defender will be missing for six weeks.
“Six weeks is what has been detailed for Paul,” the manager added.
“He had surgery [yesterday]. It’s a fractured cheek.”
Jon Obika has been a long-term absentee and hasn’t featured since our win over Hibernian at Fir Park in August.
“We had some positive news on Jon,” Kettlewell stated.
“The news is he starts to come into contention and hopefully for the next few games, or certainly beyond the international break, he’ll come into consideration for us.”
Bevis Mugabi has received an international call up for Uganda.
The Cranes have just named their new head coach after narrowly missing out on qualifying for AFCON back in September.
Paul Joseph has included Mugabi in his first squad as they begin their qualification campaign for the 2026 World Cup in USA and Canada.
Uganda will play their two matches in Morocco, with Guinea as their first opponent on Friday 17 November.
They will take on Somalia in their second match on Tuesday 21 November.
We are proud to announce a new partnership with the Scottish Government’s mental health campaign Mind to Mind, an initiative encouraging individuals to look after their mental wellbeing.
Hosted on NHS Inform, the website offers a library of over 30 bitesize videos featuring individuals sharing their own mental wellbeing challenges, covering a wide spectrum of topics, including managing anxiety and panic, addressing financial worries, stress management, elevating mood, and navigating grief.
These stories aim to help other people who may be going through something similar. Contributors offer practical advice drawn from their own experiences and additionally the website provides clear signposts to direct individuals toward further help and support.
“Our mental wellbeing, like other aspects of health and fitness, is something we need to think about regularly,” Dr. Alastair Cook the Scottish Government’s Principal Medical Officer for Mental Health reminded us.
“There are lots of things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing, whether it’s making lifestyle changes, moving more, connecting with others or making time to get out in the fresh air.
“If you’re finding things difficult, it’s important to remember support is available.”
“The club is delighted to support ‘Mind to Mind’ and encourage supporters to find out how they can take care of their mental wellbeing,” commercial director Suzanne Reid added.
“Please visit their website and hear from people who have experienced their own challenges.”
As a club, we’re encouraging our supporters to visit their website to take care of their mental wellbeing.
There will be an auction for a match worn shirt from Saturday’s match against Hearts.
The proceeds from Saturday’s MatchWornShirt auction will go towards Poppy Scotland.
Motherwell will face Hearts in their home kit this weekend, and the club will donate all money raised from auction to Poppy Scotland.
The auction will commence at 3pm on Saturday 11 November and will be available online.
Closing date for the auction is Sunday 19 November at 3pm.
Calum Butcher discusses how it feels to be back playing after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The defender picked up a foot injury in May and is now full recovered and enjoying being back on the pitch.
Stuart Kettlewell says the challenge for his team is finish to this round of games on a high against Hearts on Saturday.
He talks about the recent news regarding Lennon Miller and Paul McGinn, who picked up injuries in the last couple matches.
An update is provided on Jon Obika, whilst the manager goes into detail about recent head injuries in matches.
Motherwell face Hearts at Fir Park on Saturday as they look to finish on a high before the November international break.
Kick off is 3pm.
|Hunter Stand||O’Donnell, Cooper, McLean Stand|
– Concessions Tickets would be ages 65 and over and FT Students with a valid matric card.
– Young Adults tickets would ages 12 to 17.
– Juveniles would be 11 and under
Supporters are able to buy tickets online here or visit the ticket office at Fir Park.
Ticket Office open from 9am – the ticket office is open until kick-off with no pay gate facility.
If you are outside the UK, you can watch the game via Motherwell TV.
Should you be in the UK, it will be live commentary only.
We will be wearing our home kit for this match.
Pape Souaré remains missing for this match.
Lennon Miller will miss a minimum of three months while Paul McGinn has underwent facial surgery and will miss approximately six weeks.
Jon Obika is nearing recovery and will be assessed closer to Saturday.
Motherwell picked up a hard earned point in Perth, coming back from 2-0 down to pick up a draw. Shane Blaney scored his first Motherwell goal whilst Mika Biereth scored his fourth goal in five games.
It’s still been eight games without a win for the Steelmen but the second-half comeback could bring renewed confidence.
Hearts were in Viaplay semi-final action on Sunday against Rangers at Hampden, losing 3-1 to the Gers.
Prior to the trip to Hampden, the Jambos beat Livingston 1-0 at Tynecastle.
They are fifth in the table on 14 points as it stands.
Lawrence Shankland has been the main source of goals this season for Hearts. The striker is on eight goals in all competitions, but despite less minutes on the pitch, Alex Lowry has been a provider, notching four assists and one goal in 13 games.