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    Rangers 2 – 1 Motherwell

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    Rangers vs Motherwell: LIVE

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    Hampden Tickets & Travel

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    Halsman joins Dumbarton

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    McCall wants magic Hampden occasion

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    ‘Well complete Gunning signing

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    St Mirren U19s 0 – 2 Motherwell U19s

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    Humphrey pens contract extension

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    Saunders earns a suspension

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    Ticket Office: Extended Hours

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    Rangers 2 – 1 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    A brave performance from Motherwell wasn’t enough to secure a Co-operative Cup Final berth as Rangers scraped to a 2-1 win at Hampden.

    Walter Smith’s side went in, at the break, one goal to the good thanks to a spectacular Maurice Edu strike, in an otherwise even first half.

    The Steelmen were superb in the second half, and gained a deserved equaliser thanks to a low drive from Keith Lasley, who was excellent on his return from injury.

    But heartbreak was to follow as a moment of magic and a superb assist from Nikica Jelavic set up Steven Naismith to head home – and set up an Old Firm cup final.

    Stuart McCall welcomed the influential Keith Lasley back into the starting line-up; the ‘Well stalwart slotting into a three-man central midfield alongside Hateley and Jennings. Murphy and Humphrey were charged with providing the width, either side of John Sutton.

    Meanwhile Rangers notably left out Vladimir Weiss, who tormented the Steelmen on a previous visit to Fir Park in December.

    After Aberdeen’s early capitulation the previous day, there must have been fears that the Steelmen would succumb to a similar stage-fright, but ‘Well settled confidently and after 70 seconds Jamie Murphy registered a decent poked effort following a Sutton flick-on.

    In response, Lee McCulloch seemed on a personal mission to break the hearts of his old club. In the opening 15 minutes the former ‘Well man slashed two shots off target from just outside the box.

    Another effort from outside the box – this time from a Whittaker free-kick – proved to be simply a prelude for a truly special Rangers opener.

    Maurice Edu was given far too much space 25 yards out and, after shifting the ball on to his ‘weaker’ left foot, the American launched a stunning strike into the top corner, giving Randolph no chance – a piercing blow for a Motherwell side which had been tidy in the early stages and restricted the Gers to long-range efforts.

    McCall’s men responded admirably from that hammer-blow, having the better of the possession for the rest of the half and firing a few shots towards Neil Alexander in the Rangers goal. Tom Hateley, Stevie Hammell and Jamie Murphy all looked to find their range with efforts from outside the area as the Steelmen looked to hit back.

    Motherwell were first to threaten after a low-key opening to the second period. After some scrappy play in the final third the ball found its way to Steve Jennings 25 yards from goal, and the former Everton youth fired a powerful effort on target. Neil Alexander was aware enough to parry the ball away.

    ‘Well were unlucky to be behind at this point, and soon remedied the deficit with a special strike of their own. John Sutton showed marvelous strength and determination on the edge of the area to hold off two challenges and feed the ball back to Keith Lasley, and Motherwell’s returning hero arrowed a splendid low effort past the statuesque Neil Alexander.

    Stuart McCall’s side had the wind at their sails, but Rangers reminded the Steelmen of their own threat with a powerful Lee McCulloch header and a Steve Davis strike as a very watchable contest entered the last 20 minutes.

    And Rangers’ added touch of true quality saw them regain the lead after 75 minutes. £4 Million man Nikica Jelavic produced a moment of skill in the box befitting of his price-tag; a stunning step-over, leaving Hutchison for dead, before providing a pinpoint cross which Stevie Naismith stooped to head home.

    There was enough time for another terrific chance for the Steelmen.  Jamie Murphy whipped in a teasing back-post cross with five minutes left on the clock, and Stevie Saunders leapt highest to nod towards to bottom corner. Neil Alexander managed to cross his legs quickly enough to deny the Scotland cap, before Rangers smuggled clear.

    Alexander had to be alive moments later as he dived to stop a low Jamie Murphy shot from just inside the box. The keeper held on to the drive – and ‘Well’s hopes for a place in the final slipped away. 

    [tab:As it happened]

    Alan Burrows at Hampden Park

    Full time – heroic effort but just not enough on the day – Lads applauded off by fans who appreciated the effort.

    90+2mins – A late, late chance for Murphy. The young star just couldn’t get a hold of the shot and Alexander gathers easier.

    90mins – Three mins of added time – C’mon ‘Well!

    88mins – Awwwwwww! Saunders goes so close with a header. Alexander somehow saves it. Gutted!

    79mins – Jones on for Tom Hateley!

    76mins – GOAL Davis! Jelavic picks up loose ball – his cross to the back post finds Davis who heads home.

    75mins – Quick fire double chance from Rangers. Davis almost hits the corner flag and Jelavic blasts wide.

    73mins – McCulloch header over the bar. Fleck corner met by the ex Well man but his effort was way over,

    67mins – Great goal from Lasley. Ball bounced about on the edge of the area and the midfielder drilled home from the edge of the box,

    GOOOOALLLLL Motherwell! Keith Lasley!

    59mins – Jennings shot from distance brings out an excellent save from Alexander. Unlucky from the Steelmen!

    55mins – Fairly even first ten minutes of the 2nd half. Ball has spent enough time at both ends of the park. Rangers corner tho…

    46mins – Kick Off in the 2nd half. No changes!

    Half Time – Rangers 1 – 0 Motherwell. Steelmen were excellent and so unlucky to be behind.

    43mins – Right footed half volley from Edu; no more than a pass back from the American.

    42mins – Murphy turns inside and fires a decent shot just over the bar. Unlucky from the youngster…

    35mins – Motherwell follow that with a lot shot of their own. Low bouncing free-kick from Hammell was easy enough for Alexander to catch.

    34mins – Low shot by Davis is easy enough to catch. Hutchinson almost got caught out but wasn’t punished thankfully…

    31mins – Neat corner from Motherwell – right from the training pitch. Short corner, dummied by Humph for Hateley but shot flew over.

    26mins – Motherwell are playing some really decent stuff on the deck. Still can’t believe we’re 1-0 down.

    20mins – GOAL for Rangers out of nothing. Edu shot from 30 yards nestles into the top right hand corner. That’s harsh on Motherwell.

    19mins – Free-kick to Rangers on the outside the box. Whiitaker takes, Craigan, I think, heads over. Looked net bound…

    17mins – Wee half chance for Well. Slack play in the Gers backline. Humphrey latches on to a ball, dinks it up for Sutton – header saved!

    15mins – Offt, nearly kiss of death. Rangers move down the righr.. Jelavic lay-off to McCulloch who powers wide of the post.

    14mins – Decent start so far… Tocuh wood (and the press box is wooden) that it keeps up!

    5mins – Lafferty bursts through the middle but Randolph is out quick to clear. McCulloch follows with a shot that blazes over…

    2mins – Murphy breaks onto a Sutton flick on but his shot from distance was easy enough for Alexander in the Rangers goal

    1mins –  Teams are out and ready! Let’s go! ‘Well to kick-off!

    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:

    “All I asked of them was to give a good account of themselves. To come off the back pitch as good as they can be and have no regrets.

    “From the keeper to everyone up front, I think they all were excellent.

    “I’m proud of the players – they gave a great performance. We probably deserved a little bit more than that.”

    Rangers manager Walter Smith:

    “Motherwell, having the extra man in midfield, were always going to make it difficult for us unless we were right on top of our game.

    “There were spells where we played well throughout the match but others where Motherwell had good possession of the ball because of that extra man.

    “There were not that many opportunities for either side and we are just delighted to get through.

    “We are disappointed at the goal we lost, but we are happy to be in the final and that was the object.”

    [tab:Man-of-the-match]

    [poll id=”32″]

  • Archive

    Rangers vs Motherwell: LIVE

    Live twitter updates from Hampden as Motherwell take on Rangers in the Co-operative Insurance Cup Semi Final.

    JOIN IN THE TWEETS

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    Hampden Tickets & Travel

    All the relevant fan information ahead of tomorrow’s Co-operative Insurance Cup Semi Final at Hampden Park.

    MOTHERWELL SUPPORTERS’ COACHES

    The drivers of all supporters’ coaches, irrespective of size and including minibuses, must adhere to the following police instructions.
     
    There are a limited number of spaces available for those in possession of authorised SFL parking passes for Motherwell supporters coaches within the Purple car park,Hampden Park .

    PRE MATCH ROUTES APPROACHING THE EAST OF THE STADIUM

    M74 Northbound: Exit the M74 at Junction 1 (Fullarton).  Turn right onto Fullarton Road, then left onto London Road and continue past Motherwell Park to the crossroads junction of London Road at Dunn Street. Turn left onto Dunn Street.  Continue on Dunn Street, at the junction with Main Street turn left onto Main Street and continue onto Shawfield Drive, turn right onto Rutherglen Road, right onto Polmadie Road  where you will be directed to park on arrival.

    M80 Southbound: Continue onto the A80 and onto M73 Junction 3 at (Mollinsburn).  Thereafter continue to Junction 1, and join the M74 and follow the above route.

    M8 Eastbound: Continue on the M8 to Junction 8 (Baillieston) and join the M73 southbound.  Thereafter take the offside lane to join the M74 and follow the above route.

    A8 Westbound: Continue onto the M8 to Junction 8 (Baillieston) and join the M73 southbound. Thereafter take the offside lane to join the M74 and follow the above route.

    PRIVATE TRANSPORT

    Motherwell supporters using private vehicles will have limited facilities to park within Polmadie playing fields, Polmadie Road, Glasgow (on payment of a small fee)

    M74 Northbound: To avoid congestion on Rutherglen Main Street.  Exit the M74 at Junction 1 (Fullarton).  Turn right onto Fullarton Road, then left onto London Road and continue past Celtic Park to the crossroads junction of London Road at Dunn Street. Turn left onto Dunn Street.  Continue on Dunn Street, at the junction with Main Street turn left onto Main Street and continue onto Shawfield Drive, turn right into Rutherglen Road then left into Polmadie Road where you will be directed to park on arrival.

    POST MATCH ROUTES EXITING THE STADIUM

    After the match, all supporters’ coaches should follow the reverse of the routes shown above.

    Supporters using private vehicles should follow the reverse of the routes shown above. 

    Strathclyde Police would like to take this opportunity to wish you a safe and pleasant day at the National Stadium.  We ask for your patience and co-operation by following the above routes, which may be subject to police control and have been specifically chosen with your safety in mind.

    Further information can be obtained by contacting the Strathclyde Police web site www.strathclyde.police.uk

    TICKET INFORMATION

    Motherwell supporters should purchase tickets from the Ticket Office Booth located on the East side of the Stadium (off Aikenhead Road).

    To assist in the strict policy of segregation of supporters, the following instructions must be strictly adhered to:

    Motherwell supporters will occupy:-

    BT SCOTLAND SOUTH STAND (SECTIONS I & J)
    EAST STAND (SECTION G)

    Please refer to your match ticket for correct entry details.

    For your information:

    • Turnstiles will be opened at 1.30pm. Please note it is important that supporters sit in the seat to which their ticket refers.
    • Extra-Time:  If the score is level at the end of normal play, 30 minutes extra-time will be played and thereafter, if required, Kicks from the Penalty Mark in accordance with the Rules laid down by the International Football Association Board will be taken.
    • The Police Authorities will be extremely vigilant in the policing of The Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act, 1995.

    Please ensure that your travel arrangements allow that you are in the environs of the National Stadium, Hampden Park, not later than 1.30pm.

    FURTHER FAN INFORMATION

    • Only musical instruments small enough to fit through the turnstiles will be permitted into the ground.
    • No prohibited items including controlled containers, smoke flares, fireworks, etc… will be allowed in the stadium
    • Only flags which conform with the ground regulations will be permitted.  Large poles, including telescope-poles which may be fixed together to display flags will not be allowed into the stadium.
  • Archive

    Halsman joins Dumbarton

    Young defender Jordan Halsman has joined Dumbarton on loan until the end of the current season.

    [onlymembers]Halsman, 19, who made his Motherwell first-team debut against Celtic last season, enjoyed a terrifically successful loan spell with Annan Athletic during the first half of the campaign, playing 22 times for the Black and Golds, scoring five goals.

    He returned to Fir Park last week and was included in the Motherwell squad that travelled to McDiarmid Park on Wednesday night.

    However, with the arrival of Gavin Gunning from Blackburn, ‘Well boss Stuart McCall has allowed the left-back to go out on loan again, this time to the Second Division side.

    McCall told motherwellfc.co.uk, “We’ve had some great reports about Jordan from Annan and it’s important for him to continue that progress playing first-team games.

    “We will closely monitor how he is getting on at Dumbarton and our hope is he’ll return to us in the summer pushing for a place in the first-team squad.”

    Halsman goes straight into the Sons squad to face Brechin City tomorrow.[/onlymembers]

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    McCall wants magic Hampden occasion

    Stuart McCall has called on his players to ensure they do not leave Hampden with any regrets on Sunday afternoon.

    The Steelmen boss is no stranger to these huge encounters, having won this competition twice as a player, and he insists that if his players give their all, and don’t let the occasion get to them, then they could pull off a shock.

    [onlymembers]“If my players come off the pitch having done their best and made their families proud then I’m happy – and hopefully that will be enough to get us a win,” the gaffer insisted

    “I’m looking forward to being involved in a semi-final. Obviously more gets made about the fact that I’m up against Rangers, but it’s not about me, it’s about the group of players I’ve got and it’s about the fans who are getting a trip to Hampden for the first time in a while.

    “I’m desperate for the lads to do well on the occasion. I don’t want the young boys to freeze; they should grasp the opportunity and enjoy the game, and not worry about the all the things that go along with a big semi-final.

    “They shouldn’t come off that pitch with any regrets. I believe that we have players – if they are at the top of their game – that can cause Rangers problems.”

    There is certainly a degree of irony about the fact Stuart McCall faces his old gaffer and team-mate in one of the defining moments of his short management career so far.

    The 46-year old played under Walter Smith for seven years after the veteran Ibrox gaffer paid £1.2M for his services, and he was a close friend of Gers’ current assistant Ally McCoist during a hugely successful period for the blue half of Glasgow.

    Now the current ‘Well boss is fully committed to bringing silverware to Fir Park, although he acknowledges that the Rangers duo are favourites to reach the final.

    “It would be an unbelievable achievement to get to a final. The record is that we haven’t beaten Rangers in about eight years, so that’s not ideal,” McCall was honest enough to acknowledge.

    “I respect Walter as a manager and as a man. He is undoubtedly the best manager I ever worked under, and whatever happens at the weekend won’t change that.

    “I remember facing Walter Smith when I was caretaker boss at Bradford and he was in charge at Everton. They robbed us that day with a last-minute Naysmith goal, so I’m hoping for some role-reversal on Sunday.”[/onlymembers]

  • Archive

    ‘Well complete Gunning signing

    Motherwell have tonight completed the signing of Blackburn Rovers defender Gavin Gunning on loan until the end of the season.

    Gunning, an Irish U21 International, has had loan spells with Tranmere Rovers, Rotherham and, most recently, League Two outfit Bury.

    [onlymembers]The 20-year-old joins the club as cover for the departed Mark Reynolds, who left for Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the transfer window.

    Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, ‘Well boss Stuart McCall said, “It’s been no secret that we have been looking for a left sided centre-back.

    “Young Gavin is a good option, not just to fill the void left by Mark Reynolds but also the fact we had no natural cover for Stevie Hammell. We needed someone who could also fill in at left-back if required; previously, either Reynolds or Marc Fitzpatrick would do that but given both have left, it was important to have someone versatile for that role.

    “We have some really talented youngsters coming through on the left flank but they are not quite ready as yet.

    “Gavin is someone who is highly rated at Blackburn and, importantly, someone who has experience of being out on loan before. Sometimes young lads can get overawed going out for the first time but given he’s been at Tranmere, Rotherham and Bury means he’ll have experienced different styles of football at different clubs.

    “We’re excited to see how well he does here.”

    Gunning has already received clearance and is eligible to play in Sunday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup Semi Final at Hampden.[/onlymembers]

  • Archive

    St Mirren U19s 0 – 2 Motherwell U19s

    Motherwell U19s returned to action with a good win over St Mirren courtesy of a goal in each half from Lee Erwin.

    The youths hadn’t kicked a ball since the 3-1 away defeat with Celtic but showed no signs of rustiness with a slick performance against the Saints.

    The home side were the first to threaten after just eight minutes. Right back Dom Kennedy started the quick counter with a forward pass that was flicked on by Thomas Reilly into the path of Joel Kasubandi. Through on goal, the big striker’s low shot was expertly saved by Tom Bradley only for the rebound to fall kindly for the supporting Graeme Ramage. However, the midfielder snatched at the effort and ballooned a half volley high over the cross bar as the Steelmen survived.

    Motherwell replied immediately, and industrious play by Josh Watt allowed Steve Howarth a chance to run in behind the Saints defence. With a shot on, the striker chose the unselfish, but ultimately wrong, option by trying to pick out partner Erwin inside the area, but Saints were able to clear before the Scotland U17 International could strike home from close range.

    Play swung from end to end but it was ‘Well who threatened next just before the midway point of the first half. Neat play on the left between Ross McKinnon and Erwin opened space for Howarth who rasped a shot from distance. It looked to be heading wide but Dom McHugh took no chances and turned it round for a corner. The resulting kick from the quadrant wasn’t properly cleared and Watt smashed in another long range effort that was held by the Saints keeper.

    Motherwell were beginning to get the upper hand and almost took the lead with a classic bit of route one football. Tom Bradley’s goal kick was flicked on by Erwin putting Howarth through on goal. Just as the former Clyde man was about to pull the trigger, he was expertly tackled by Craeg Little at the expense of another corner kick for the Steelmen.

    That warning shot wasn’t heeded by the home side though as ‘Well went ahead from the resulting corner. Watt swung in a tantalising near post cross that was met by Lee Erwin who used all the pace on the ball to steer it past McHugh virtually unopposed.

    It was to prove the last action of an otherwise entertaining first forty-five. Saints started the second period on the front foot and Ramage fired just over Bradley’s crossbar after a neat lay off by Kasubandi on the edge of the area.

    It took ‘Well sixteen minutes to register an effort but even then, Watt’s low shot from twenty-five yards was more than comfortable for McHugh. Three minutes later, Watt turned provider and after some excellent wing play, picked out Howarth in the area but the striker could only head over from close range.

    Incredibly, the same player had another header shortly after, getting on the end of an excellent Keiran MacDonald cross from the left, but McHugh made an incredible one-handed save from point blank range to deny the Steelmen a second.

    St Mirren weathered that spell of Motherwell pressure and responded with a decent shot of their own. Good play on the right opened up space for Kenny McLean on the inside right flank. Taking a decent touch to set himself, the midfielder struck a stinging drive that forced Bradley to tip wide, although it was probably going a yard or two wide of the post in any case.

    However, with fourteen minutes left on the clock, Motherwell tied up the game with the all important second. Ross McKinnon picked up the ball ten yards inside the Saints half, and dinked up a fantastic ball towards the penalty spot where Howarth nipped in ahead of the outrushing McHugh and knocked the ball sideways, where the grateful Erwin tucked into an empty net for his second of the match.

    Saints had a few efforts from distance in an attempt to get themselves back into the match but nothing that would trouble Bradley in the visitor’s goal.

    But neither team would add to their score and Gordon Young’s men would head back to Lanarkshire with all three points.

    Motherwell: Bradley, Brown, Sloan, Murray, McKinnon, Carswell, Halsman, MacDonald (Griffin – 86mins), Watt (Connor – 81mins), Erwin (McGachie – 79mins), Howarth

  • Archive

    Humphrey pens contract extension

    Motherwell Football Club are today delighted to confirm that winger Chris Humphrey has signed a one-year extension to his current contract.

    The Jamaican-born winger has been in sensational form this term, so much so, a call-up to Craig Levein’s Scotland squad has been muted in some quarters.

    Despite interest from both north and south of the border, the 23-year-old has penned an extended deal that will keep him at Fir Park until the summer of 2013.

    [onlymembers]Speaking exclusively to motherwellfc.co.uk, Humphrey said, “When the club approached me and asked if I would sign an extension to my contract it was an immediate answer.

    “When my family and I were going through a very difficult time the Club and the fans offered us amazing support. We are very much settled here and I could not be happier than to agree to extend my contract with a club that offers the support that we received when we needed it. 

    “I just hope I can perform to the best of my ability and repay the faith shown in me by both the club and the fans.”

    Chief Executive Leeann Dempster added, “This is yet another example of the club trying to keep the best young talent here at Motherwell and I, along with the rest of the board and the manager, am thrilled Chris has agreed to extend his deal.

    “Chris has been excellent and this show of loyalty to the club should not be underplayed.”[/onlymembers]

  • Archive

    Saunders earns a suspension

    Scotland International Steven Saunders has gone through the disciplinary points threshold and picked up a one-match ban.

    The 19-year-old, who has played 59 games in Claret and Amber, has amassed five cautions and one red card in all competitions this campaign.

    [onlymembers]His most recent, against Hibs, has earned him a one match SPL suspension, starting 5th February 2011, which means he is scheduled to sit out the Rangers game at Ibrox on February 12th.[/onlymembers]

  • Archive

    Ticket Office: Extended Hours

    With the Semi Final against Rangers right around the corner, the Ticket Office opening hours have been extended.

    The Fir Park Ticket Office will be open:

    Friday: 9.30am – 3.30pm
    Saturday: 10am – 2pm

    Then the Ticket Office at Hampden Park will be open:

    Sunday: 12pm – Kick Off (3pm)

    • Telephone bookings can still be taken provided they can be collected from Fir Park on either Friday or Saturday. Tickets cannot be posted and there will be no collections from Hampden Park.
    • There is no online booking available for this match.