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    A Cooper Brick for Christmas?

  • Archive

    Brown frustrated after Accies defeat

  • Archive

    Hamilton defeat in pictures

  • Archive

    Motherwell 0–1 Hamilton

  • Archive

    Steve Jennings interview

  • Archive

    Hamilton Accies: Us and Them

  • Archive

    A modern derby

  • Archive

    From the Dressing Room: Alan Gow

  • Archive

    Pot Shots: Jamie Murphy

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    I’ve always remained a Hamilton fan

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    A Cooper Brick for Christmas?

    With Christmas just over seven weeks away, why not order your commemorative brick at Fir Park so it is fitted and in-place for when Santa visits.

    For a nominal sum, you can purchase a brick fascia with your own personal message; your name, motto or date of birth; to commemorate an anniversary or celebrate the life of a loved one.

    Or given the festive season is now approaching, perhaps a message with a touch of winter cheer

    Each new brick is added to our ever growing wall, which is situated at the turnstile entrances of the Davie Cooper Stand. It’s the perfect way to make your mark at Fir Park and show your unswerving loyalty to Motherwell and celebrate the holidays.

    Each brick comes with an Official Certificate, which can be framed and kept by the recipient as a permanent reminder. If you order now, this – along with the brick placement – will be yours in plenty of time for December 25th.

    Cement your name in Fir Park history now by contracting the club. Cooper Wall Bricks cost only £30, so call our commercial team on 01698 338008 or email

  • Archive

    Brown frustrated after Accies defeat

    Craig Brown admirably kept his cool in the wake of this afternoon’s defeat at the hands of Hamilton Accies.

    The Steelmen were the victims of one or two contentious decisions from the match official, Craig Thomson, but Brown refused to join in the condemnation.

    “I don’t want any player at any time to be sent off in fact, I don’t want to get into the referee debate at all,” said the former Scotland boss.

    “You saw the game, I saw the game but I’ll talk about us missing the penalty and our second-half performance, which was good.  I haven’t sought any explanation from Craig Thomson (the referee), I think you’re clutching at straws if you’re wanting an opponent to be sent off.”

    Instead, Brown praised the performance of the visitors and bemoaned the lack of breaks his team got.

    Motherwell missed a penalty, hit the post and had a header cleared off the line in their search for a leveller.

    A frustrated Brown added: “I think we did enough, we just didn’t get the breaks. We played well in the second half and poorly in the first half.

    “We should have done more with the free-kicks and we had a lot of corners, but they were scrambling them away.

    “But Hamilton are a team up for the occasion and they battled well. You can’t start as badly as we did and expect to win derby matches. When you miss a penalty and don’t play well, it’s a mountain to climb in the second half.

    “I felt we were likely to score, but quite clearly, we didn’t – and good credit to the Hamilton defence.”

  • Archive

    Hamilton defeat in pictures

    Pictures from the 1-0 defeat to Hamilton Accies in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Fir Park. These action shots and more are available to buy online at

    [svgallery name=”hamilton301010″]

  • Archive

    Motherwell 0–1 Hamilton

    [tab:Match report]

    Hamilton Accies won at Fir Park for the first time in the Premier League but the game was once again marred, sadly, by bizarre refereeing decisions.

    Accies had taken the lead through Nigel Hasselbaink, the striker doing superbly well to turn and score from the edge of the area after just fifteen minutes.

    Motherwell would push and push for an equaliser but were on the end of some debateable calls from match official Craig Thomson.

    The first; a failure to take any action against Martin Canning despite the defender denying Nick Blackman what looked like a clear goal scoring opportunity when he was brought down for a penalty. The second, as the game was nearing its climax, was a handball on the line by Dougie Imrie after Alan Gow had got on the end of a Ross Forbes cross.

    It made for an intensely frustrating afternoon for the Steelmen and brings to an end a run of three successive home victories.

    Motherwell made just one change from the midweek success against Dundee United. Ross Forbes started in place of the injured Jamie Murphy who narrowly missed out with an ankle injury.

    The visitors started much the brighter and took only two minutes to threaten when Dougie Imrie came within an inch of putting his side one up. The former Inverness man whipped in a terrific free-kick that missed everyone and somehow dropped wide of the post. An early let-off for Brown’s men no doubt!

    Two minutes later, pint-sized Hasselbaink got on the end of a Flavio Paixao cross from the right to header over. The post-mortem was quick to follow amongst the ‘Well defender at just how the 5ft 6 striker managed to win the header in a populated six yard box.

    It was end-to-end stuff and both teams were trading chances. Simon Mensing fired way wide after being set-up by a terrific Paixao through ball, and, for Motherwell, Nick Blackman got the better of Canning before firing high over the bar.

    The chances would eventually lead to a goal and it was the visitors who would take the lead. Hasselbaink, who had earlier missed a header, picked up the ball on the edge of the area. Turning Ross Forbes, he flashed a curling shot in off the far post for 1-0.

    Accies followed that with a long range free-kick from Paixao that was comfortable for Randolph to pluck out the air. Five minutes later, they again threatened with Paixao somehow managed to squeeze past Hammell on the flank and his cutback fell kindly for Mensing but his deflected effort was well saved by Randolph at the second attempt.

    Hamilton were doing an efficient job in nullifying the Motherwell threat and, at the same time hitting on the counter. They almost made it two-nil when a Paixao corner from the left drifted all the way to Jim Goodwin at the back post but the defender could only slice way over the bar.

    The game descended into a midfield scrap with both teams guilty of being slack in possession. It would be Brown’s men who would threaten next. Left-back Hammell robbed Paixao on the flank and, striding forward, he unleashed a shot that flew over Cerny’s bar. The Steelmen veteran probably had better options but with six and a half years since his last ‘Well goal, few could blame the 28-year-old.

    Five minutes before the break came the game-changing call from the referee. Chris Humphrey did well to dribble past McLaughlin and get to the byline. His pulled-back pass was perfect for Blackman who had an easy tap in but, before he could, he was crudely pushed by Martin Canning and referee Thomson rightly pointed to the spot. Incredibly though, no further action was taken against the former Gretna man despite clearly denying a goal scoring opportunity.

    Worse was to follow as Tom Hateley’s spot kick was expertly saved by Tomas Cerny low to his right hand post.

    Into the second half and it took about fifteen minutes for either side to threaten and it was ‘Well who should’ve got level. Ross Forbes’ lovely teed up ball found Alan Gow all alone inside the box but his header was somehow bundled off the line by the arm of Imrie. How much he knew about it is up for debate but it most certainly hit his arm on the line and it stopped the ball going into the net. Decision from the referee… Corner!

    ‘Well went closer still when Saunders headed a Hateley header off the post.

    Down the other end, Accies were content to sit in but had a rare venture up the park when Dougie Imrie fired a free-kick just over Randolph’s bar.

    The remaining quarter of an hour was spent with the Steelmen camped in Accies half but despite good chances for Forbes and Hateley from free-kick’s, and a succession of corners, all of which cleared by the packed Accies defence, Motherwell couldn’t find an equaliser.

    Referee Thomson brought the game to an end with just four minutes of injury time, itself bizarrely short give the amount of time the game had to be stopped. A chorus of boos filled Fir Park – how much of that was directed at the match officials was anyone’s guess.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+4 FULL TIME The referee brings the game to a close.

    90+3 Corner from left by-line taken by Ross Forbes.

    90+1 Foul by Mark McLaughlin on Nick Blackman, free kick awarded. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Tom Hateley, save by Tomas Cerny.

    90+1 BOOKING Mark McLaughlin shown a yellow card.

    89′ Foul by Jonathon Routledge on Chris Humphrey, free kick awarded. Ross Forbes has an effort direct from the free kick.

    88′ Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes from the left by-line to the near post, Alex Neil manages to make a clearance.

    86′ Corner taken right-footed by Flavio Paixao, save by Darren Randolph. Long range effort by Mark McLaughlin goes harmlessly over the bar.

    86′ Marco Paixao takes a shot. Mark Reynolds gets a block in.

    84′  SUB Damian Casalinuovo is brought on as a substitute for Douglas Imrie.

    80′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Ross Forbes on Flavio Paixao. Martin Canning takes the free kick.

    80′ BOOKING Booking for Alex Neil.

    80′ BOOKING Ross Forbes goes into the book.

    78′ Corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes from the left by-line, Flavio Paixao manages to make a clearance.

    77′ The assistant referee signals for offside against Flavio Paixao. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

    77′ SUB Motherwell makes a substitution, with Robert McHugh coming on for Alan Gow.

    75′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marco Paixao by Mark Reynolds. Douglas Imrie has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.

    74′ Outswinging corner taken by Ross Forbes from the left by-line played to the near post, Tomas Cerny makes a save.

    73′ Corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes to the near post, clearance made by David Elebert.

    72′ SUB John Sutton is brought on as a substitute for Steven Saunders.

    71′ SUB Marco Paixao replaces Nigel Hasselbaink.

    69′ Martin Canning concedes a free kick for a foul on Nick Blackman. Tom Hateley crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, save made by Tomas Cerny.

    69′ BOOKING Martin Canning is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

    66′ David Buchanan fouled by Chris Humphrey, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.

    66′ SUB Alex Neil replaces Jim Goodwin.

    65′ The offside flag is raised against Steven Saunders. Tomas Cerny takes the direct free kick.

    64′ Unfair challenge on Chris Humphrey by David Buchanan results in a free kick. Ross Forbes delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel.

    64′ The assistant referee flags for offside against Nigel Hasselbaink. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    62′ Unfair challenge on Ross Forbes by Jim Goodwin results in a free kick. Stevie Hammell takes the direct free kick.

    60′ Mark McLaughlin fouled by Tom Hateley, the ref awards a free kick. David Elebert restarts play with the free kick.

    59′ Foul by Steven Saunders on Douglas Imrie, free kick awarded. David Elebert takes the free kick.

    58′ Corner taken by Chris Humphrey from the right by-line, Martin Canning manages to make a clearance.

    58′ Alan Gow takes a shot. Clearance made by Douglas Imrie.

    55′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Mensing by Ross Forbes. Tomas Cerny restarts play with the free kick.

    55′ Corner taken by Ross Forbes from the left by-line, clearance made by Simon Mensing. Chris Humphrey takes the outswinging corner, Martin Canning manages to make a clearance.

    53′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark McLaughlin on Alan Gow. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    53′ Steven Saunders gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Douglas Imrie. Free kick taken by Tomas Cerny.

    52′ Corner from the right by-line taken by Chris Humphrey, Mark McLaughlin makes a clearance.

    50′ Martin Canning fouled by Alan Gow, the ref awards a free kick. Martin Canning takes the direct free kick.

    49′ Foul by Douglas Imrie on Tom Hateley, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    47′ Nigel Hasselbaink concedes a free kick for a foul on Steve Jennings. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    45′ KICK OFF The referee gets the second half started.

    45+2 HALF TIME

    45+1 Alan Gow gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Douglas Imrie. Flavio Paixao restarts play with the free kick.

    45+1 Free kick awarded for a foul by Tom Hateley on Douglas Imrie. Tomas Cerny takes the direct free kick.

    44′ Placed penalty taken by Tom Hateley saved by Tomas Cerny. Motherwell 0-1 Hamilton.

    43′ PENALTY awarded for a foul by Martin Canning on Nick Blackman.

    39′ Stevie Hammell produces a left-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.

    38′ Ross Forbes takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Flavio Paixao.

    37′ Douglas Imrie concedes a free kick for a foul on Tom Hateley. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

    32′ Corner taken by Flavio Paixao, Effort on goal by Jim Goodwin from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

    28′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Jim Goodwin on Tom Hateley. Darren Randolph takes the free kick.

    25′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nigel Hasselbaink by Ross Forbes. Jim Goodwin takes the free kick.

    23′ Shot by Simon Mensing. Darren Randolph makes a comfortable save.

    21′ The referee blows for offside against Nigel Hasselbaink. Darren Randolph restarts play with the free kick.

    19′ Mark McLaughlin challenges Nick Blackman unfairly and gives away a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Tom Hateley from the free kick.

    19′ Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark McLaughlin on Nick Blackman. Direct free kick taken by Tom Hateley.

    17′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Douglas Imrie by Steve Jennings. Flavio Paixao has an effort direct from the free kick, save byTomas Cerny.

    14′ Assist by Martin Canning.

    14′ GOAL – Nigel Hasselbaink: Motherwell 0 – 1 Hamilton A goal is scored by Nigel Hasselbaink from just inside the penalty area low into the middle of the goal.

    11′ Mark McLaughlin takes a shot. Save by Darren Randolph.

    11′ Ross Forbes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Simon Mensing. Martin Canning takes the free kick.

    10′ Nick Blackman takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.

    9′ Simon Mensing produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.

    9′ Ross Forbes takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Flavio Paixao.

    7′ Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Steven Saunders misses to the left of the goal.

    6′ Tom Hateley fouled by Jim Goodwin, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen Craigan.

    6′ The offside flag is raised against Nigel Hasselbaink. Stevie Hammell takes the free kick.

    4′ The ball is crossed by Flavio Paixao, Header from deep inside the area by Nigel Hasselbaink goes over the bar.

    3′ Corner taken left-footed by Ross Forbes, Martin Canning manages to make a clearance.

    2′ Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Douglas Imrie by Steven Saunders. Free kick crossed right-footed by Flavio Paixao from left wing.

    2′ Foul by Steven Saunders on Douglas Imrie, free kick awarded. Flavio Paixao takes the free kick.

    1′ KICK OFF The match begins.


    Motherwell boss Craig Brown:

    “Hamilton are a team up for the occasion and they battled well. You can’t start as badly as we did and expect to win derby matches.

    “When you miss a penalty and don’t play well, it’s a mountain to climb in the second half. I felt we were likely to score, but quite clearly, we didn’t – and good credit to the Hamilton defence.

    “This club is respectful of referees and will never criticise the referee publicly. If I spoke to the referee personally, I would say something – but I have no intention of getting involved, because the referees are under enough pressure.

    “Public statements to the media doesn’t help the situation, so I would rather not get involved in any controversy at all and give my wholehearted support to the refereeing regime in Scotland, which I think is very good.”

    Hamilton manager Billy Reid:

    “I’m delighted with three points. I thought we started well, we made a couple of chances and scored a fantastic goal.

    “But in the second half, we had so many leads, then we seemed to freeze. The second half was horrible – Motherwell pinned us back and they almost got the breakthrough.

    “We hung on; we’ve played really well in recent weeks so I felt we deserved something – and we got three points.

    “It’s not pretty at times, it’s not exactly how I want to play, but the most important thing when you’re scrapping for points is to pick up three points.

    “In weeks before, we’ve played much better football and got nothing. Today, we ground it out and got three points.”


    [poll id=”15″]

  • Archive

    Steve Jennings interview

    As a youngster Steve Jennings dreamed of featuring in a somewhat grander derby than the one which sees North meet South in Lanarkshire, and he insists that the derby-day passion he experienced growing up in Merseyside stands him in good stead for what’s to come this afternoon.

    Jennings is a lifelong Everton fan and chased his dream as a boy, joining The Toffees’ youth team as a talented young midfielder.

    At that point it was thoughts of Everton v Liverpool under the Goodison lights that drove the gifted teen on.

    “Everton were great with the young lads. They would take us to every home game so we could get the experience of what Goodison was like on a match day,” Jennings recalled.

    “I’m a football fan and always have been. I had seven or eight season tickets at Goodison Park as a kid before I joined the club and I loved the derby experience.

    “The nerves are unbelievable when I watch every Merseyside derby; even now I can hardly watch any time Liverpool get the ball in the Everton half – especially Gerrard; my heart starts pounding ten to the dozen, so I know what the fans feel on these occasions.”

    Things weren’t to work out with the blue half of Merseyside and Jennings moved on to Tranmere Rovers, where he excelled in their School of Excellence before graduating into the first team – even winning the clubs’ Young Player of the Year award in 2008.

    Yet, as an Everton supporter and former Everton youth player, the Liverpudlian midfielder obviously has not lost that appreciation of a good derby, and the move up north has given him the chance to excel in Motherwell vs. Hamilton encounters. 

    He is grateful to former boss Jim Gannon for that opportunity. The former boss brought Jenning’s up to Motherwell, and despite initial injury problems Steve was to end up playing a starring role last season:

    “It has been an unbelievable turnaround from missing out on the play-offs down in England to coming up here and playing in Europe, local derbies, and the latter stages of cup competitions,” he said, referring back to his time with Tranmere Rovers.

    It certainly didn’t take the 25-year old long to get into the groove of the Lanarkshire derby. In his first taste of the rivalry Jennings turned in a dynamic display – complete with booking – in an utterly enthralling 2-2 draw at New Douglas Park.

    Two more starts, and one more booking, would follow as Motherwell managed to complete an unbeaten 09/10 season against their rivals from down the road.

    You can’t help but look at the way Jennings’ plays the game and think that it is simply made for high-intensity, passionate derby football. Crunching tackles, impeccable work rate and an eye for a pass in the most manic of midfield battles is a must – and the former Tranmere player ticks all the boxes.

    In a typically tenacious assessment, Jennings confirmed: “I’m a straight-forward guy and I wear my heart on my sleeve and work hard, and going into games like this it might sound daft but if you get a couple of good tackles in straight away that can set you up for the game.

    “On these occasions if you can start the game well then you can kick on from there and put in a good performance.

    “So on Saturday we need to start sharply – which we’ve done the last few games at home – and get a grip of the game.”

    There is little doubt that a match against Hamilton is very different from most other SPL encounters, and there are just certain types of players who seem to thrive in a derby-day cauldron. This is confirmed with the enthusiasm with which he talks about this afternoon’s encounter.

    “I know what this type of game is all about,” he smiled. “The tempo is cranked up, the fans are up for it and whole experience is more hyped up than a lot of other matches.

    “With that in mind we’ll come out with all guns blazing and give it a really good go.”

    Hamilton visit Fir Park on the back of a difficult start to the season. Billy Reid’s men haven’t won a match in six attempts, and were defeated 2-1 at home last week thanks to a Danny Grainger goal for St. Johnstone.

    The Accies currently sit second-bottom of the SPL, just two points ahead of bottom side St Mirren.

    The Steelmen, on the other hand, are flying high. Brown’s men are lying in third spot – best-of-the-rest – and have only lost two games in the SPL all season; utterly understandable defeats to Rangers and Celtic – the latter an unlucky reverse thanks to a late, and somewhat dubious, penalty.

    Nonetheless, you all know how the cliché goes: when rivals meet form goes out the window.

    “Hamilton can come in to this game knowing Motherwell are perhaps the slight favourites to win,” Jennings noted. “That could give them a boost.

    “We’ll go into the game with the utmost respect for Hamilton; there’s not one player in that dressing room who doesn’t give every opposition team the respect they deserve – the management team make sure of that.

    “Hopefully if we play as well as we have done recently then the game will go by the form book, but that isn’t certain.”

    The midfield dynamo’s insistence that the team must be ready for a battle today further emphasises the need for the team to have sole focus on the SPL. It seems Motherwell’s season has been punctured with distractions; firstly the Europa League qualifiers and now Tuesday’s Co-operative Insurance Cup quarter-final victory over Dundee United.

    So far the players – in a remarkably small squad given the amount of games they have played – have coped well with bouncing back to SPL duty following a midweek challenge, and Jennings knows that is the task once more.

    Putting a trip to Hampden out his mind he said: “The gaffer and Archie said straight after the cup game that we have to focus on the league now. Saturday is a massive game for everyone here and we all know that the SPL is our bread and butter.

    “We’ll be fit and ready for it. Because of the Europa League we started our pre-season a little earlier, and I think you are seeing the benefit with how fit and strong we have been in the second half of games.”

    Last season the midfielder was part of something of an ‘Everton mafia’ with Toffees’ loan stars Lukas Jutkiewicz and keeper John Ruddy, before this summer saw both players sold on by their parent club to Coventry and Norwich respectively.

    It was undoubtedly a blow to Jennings to see two talented players, and good friends, leave Motherwell but he has dealt with the disappointment and carried on the form of last season.

    “I lived with Jukes (Lukas Jutkiewicz) last season, and we speak pretty much every day. I’ve just booked a holiday next summer with him, Jim O’Brien and a few of the lad’s here now – it just goes to show the great bunch of guys we had last season, and the great atmosphere you get at this club.

    “But the nature of football is that people leave. You could be at one end of the country one day and at the other end the next day – you just have to get your head down and get on with it.”

    His own determination to keep performing mirrors the achievement of the current Motherwell team, which has collectively shaken off the loss of all the quality which departed Fir Park over the summer; not just Ruddy and Lukas, but Jim O’Brien and Giles Coke too.

    It’s something Steve acknowledges: “I spoke to a few of the lads who left and they were asking whether we had brought anyone in. At that point we were trying but we couldn’t get any deals done – and I thought it could be a really tough season.

    “A lot of the lads knew they had to stand up and be counted with other players leaving and the results show that everyone has done that.”

    One constant which remained over the summer was the presence of Craig Brown and Archie Knox, and they are quickly proving that players may come and go, but with good coaching, man-management and tactical awareness they can keep ‘Well performing.

    “Craig and Archie coming in have helped my game a lot,” he said.

    “It’s not just me; a lot of the guys in that dressing room have come on leaps and bounds since the new management team came in.”

    The next test for Craig, Archie, Steve and the rest of the lads will be to illustrate that progress against Accies who will, no doubt, be right up for it.

    Alan Temple

  • Archive

    Hamilton Accies: Us and Them

    In May 1886 representatives of Glencairn and Alpha met in Baillie’s Pub in Parkneuk and decided to form a new club altogether; Motherwell Football Club.

    The first match of the club we know and love saw us defeat today’s opponents Hamilton Accies 3-2. Motherwell’s first ever goalscorers were Kemp with a brace and McMaster. There is no truth in the rumour that ‘Fergie’ was thrown out of our Roman Road ground that day for foul and abusive language!!

    Between 1926 and 1934 Motherwell were never out of the top three, and won an amazing fourteen out of sixteen against the Accies in that time! Our only defeat came on New Year’s Day 1931 at Douglas Park, the home side securing a 1-0 win.

    However that period was one of Motherwell domination, with two 5-1s and three 3-0s amongst the fourteen wins over our near neighbours. George Stevenson’s Motherwell side reached the final of both domestic trophies in the 1950/51 season, and en route to the Scottish Cup Final they easily despatched Accies 4-1 at Fir Park, with cup final hero of 1952 Archie Kelly amongst the goals.

    With both sides in different divisions for many years, league meetings were few and far between.

    So the Lanarkshire Cup was the best chance of a derby, and sadly for Accies they met the full force of the Ancell Babes in 1961, suffering a 7-0 hammering at Fir Park. Accies made a brief return to the top flight in 1965, but it was business as usual as far as Motherwell were concerned. The lads from Hamilton were relegated with a miserable return of only eight points, with Motherwell turning them over 4-1 and 4-2.

    Motherwell’s demotion in 1968 saw the sides lock horns once more, and as luck would have it the League Cup sectional draw paired the sides together too!

    It was two league wins for a rampant Motherwell, but it was Accies who held sway in the cup with a win and a draw early in the season. It would be another ten years before the sides would meet again following Motherwell’s pitiful relegation in 1979. In truth it took Motherwell some time to adjust, and Accies took advantage by winning the first derby 3-2 at Douglas Park. Happily Motherwell won the next two clashes at Fir Park, showing the Accies who was boss!

    The next season went the way of Accies though, with two wins to one in the league. The most infamous was the New Year’s Day clash of 1981 when, with Accies leading 2-1 at Fir Park, ‘Well’s cult hero ‘keeper Shuggie Sproat went upfield at a last minute corner. Sadly for us and hilariously for our visitors, the ball was cleared and with Shuggie unable to deal with the swift counter attack, Accies forward Neil Howie netted easily to clinch victory.

    Motherwell finally won promotion back to the Premier League in 1982, but once again Accies proved a tough nut to crack. Both teams won a game each with the first encounter ending level.

    Peter Elder

  • Archive

    A modern derby

    Graciousness and gratuity may not be the first two emotions going through the heads of die-hard ‘Well fans when they think about Billy Reid ahead of this afternoon’s derby, but they should be. If it wasn’t for the Accies gaffer then this occasion wouldn’t even be taking place.

    Motherwell against Hamilton Academical isn’t a fixture that would historically get Lanarkshire pulses racing. Accies have spent a yo-yo existence bouncing between the different levels of Scottish football; they were in the third division as recently as 2001.

    Promotions to the top flight in ’53, ’65, ‘86 and ’88 were quickly followed by immediate relegations as the men from down the road struggled to arrive at the top table of Scottish football.

    Thankfully Motherwell’s history is more stably rooted in the upper echelons of the Scottish game, meaning there has been something of a gulf preventing any real rivalry to manifest itself between the two neighbours.

    Generally Airdrieonians was always the more tumultuous rivalry.

    It is generally accepted that if The Steelmen were to face up to the reincarnation of Airdrieonians, Airdrie United, a little more often, that would be the biggest derby in Lanarkshire. The clubs have only met once in a competitive match, in the Scottish Cup in 2007 at New Broomfield. Motherwell won 1-0 that day and the crowd of approaching 6000 remains the record attendance for an Airdrie United match at New Broomfield.

    The fact that people still feel that Alan Gow’s arrival at Motherwell from a now-defunct Airdrieonians (via six other clubs mind) is noteworthy is testament to the fierce rivalry between these North Lanarkshire rivals.

    Graham Barnstaple, a Lanarkshire-based journalist and lifelong Motherwell fan, recalls: “The Lanarkshire Derby for the majority of Well fans was always against Airdrieonians rather than the Accies, mainly due to the frequency – or lack – of the games against the New Douglas Park side.

    “Motherwell fans would watch our home games and then the following week travel over to Douglas Park to watch The Accies.

    “As Chick Young would have said they would be seen by many as the “cuddly toy” of Lanarkshire football at that time.”

    Yet Hamilton – and, in particular, Billy Reid – have succeeded creating a real interest in this ‘new’  Lanarkshire derby following the Accies’ promotion back to the big time in 2008. It helps that this time they have managed to hang around for more than one season.

    Although the ‘banter’ between the sets of fans isn’t quite as vociferous as it used to be in the Airdrieonians days, there is certainly a buzz about Fir Park when the visitors from two miles away in South Lanarkshire come to the north.

    The derby experience is made all the more pleasurable for The Steelmen by the fact that Motherwell have had to cope, until 2008, with having no discernable top-flight rival. Granted, Fir Park is a cauldron when either half of the Old Firm visit from Glasgow, but nothing quite compares to the local pride which comes from beating an opponent from just down the road.

    Motherwell pride themselves on being a community club; the links with the local area are strong, and with that in mind it is all the more special to be able to enjoy a real local derby.

    It also helps that since the North-South Lanarkshire derby came to the SPL both clubs seem to have embraced the passion, energy and desperation to win which defines all the best derbies.

    The first two encounters between the teams back in the top flight saw both teams win their home games 2-0. Braces from Chris Porter and James McCarthy respectively settled two very watchable matches as the two foes got to know each other and began to redefine the rivalry.

    Motherwell would go on to dominate the derby that season. A 1-0 win on Valentines’ Day 2009 was followed up by a spectacular 3-0 win at New Douglas Park, as a youthful ‘Well side including Hutchison, Quinn,  Paul Slane, Murphy and Cillian Sheridan decimated their hosts.

    In November of last season the two sides served up an absolute cracker at New Douglas Park in the first derby of the season. An effervescent 90 minutes ended with a share of the points in a four-goal thriller. A match that had pretty much everything even saw a red card for Guillaume Beuzelin after just half an hour.

    That match was even more memorable as the over-exuberant celebrations of Mr. Reid saw him take a spectacular tumble in the dugout when Marco Paixao made it 2-1 to the home side (it’s a job for YouTube if you haven’t yet had the pleasure). This was all the more embarrassing for the Accies gaffer as it didn’t even turn out to be the winning goal; a spectacular Jamie Murphy strike secured a point for Jim Gannon’s troops three minutes from time.

    In fact Hamilton only have one win against ‘Well since their promotion. That follows a pattern which sees Motherwell with a better than 50% record in head-to-heads, stretching over a little more than 100 encounters.

    This is a derby day which is very much still evolving, but nearly 5000 fans attended the last Hamilton match at Fir Park (above average for non-Old Firm and European matches in the SPL at Fir Park), proving that there is certainly an appetite for the fixture.

    That appetite should be exascerbated by the fact both sides have plenty riding on this match. Accies are scrapping at the wrong end of the table and Motherwell are desperate for points to keep them clear in third; it’s all set up for a cracker.

    You get the feeling ‘Well fans will be gracious in their thanks to Hamilton and Billy Reid for bringing a derby back to Lanarkshire – as long as they don’t have the audacity to try and usurp Motherwell; or, as Graham Barnstaple says: “As long as they remember we are still Lanarkshire’s premier club! With a 25 year unbroken run in the top flight, a cup win, a League Cup final, a second place finish and regular trips to Europe.”

    You see, gracious.

    Alan Temple

  • Archive

    From the Dressing Room: Alan Gow

    It was very pleasing to get my first goal for the club in the midweek Cup win against Dundee United.

    It was a bit of a sucker punch, it killed them at the end. But they nearly had a chance actually so the boys did great to defend as well.

    They are a good side, Dundee United, and we’ve done well and proved we can beat anybody on our day.

    I thought we deserved it. They had spells in the game where they were better than us but at the start of the game I had a wee chance and a few other boys had chances.

    I’ve had to work hard for a few weeks to get my fitness up, but after the 4-1 defeat at Ibrox, I managed to get in the side. I knew when I came the team was playing well. We have a lot of good, young players. The manager just said: ‘Bide your time’.

    I thought I played well enough at the weekend (against Dundee Utd) and I got a goal on Tuesday so hopefully that will be enough to keep me in the side for Hamilton.

    It’s only one goal but it means a lot scoring the first goal for a new club. Hopefully I will keep scoring and go on a run.

    I was asked by some of the press if I wanted to stay at play a part in the Semi Final at the end of January. The simple answer to that is yes. I love it here, all the boys are great and the management is great as well.

    I’m happy being here but it will be up to the club if they want to keep me. I’ve not spoken to the management (Craig Brown) of the club yet. It will be up to them if they want to contact me. But I’ve played a semi-final before whilst with Falkirk but it didn’t go too well. It was here at Fir Park actually.

    We got beat and my mate Steven Naismith (then of Kilmarnock) done us over. Hopefully we can progress into the final once it comes and I would love to be part of that.

    Alan Gow

  • Archive

    Pot Shots: Jamie Murphy

    VILLAIN >> Steve “Tiger” Jennings and Stevie Hammell beating me and Keith Lasley at golf a few weeks back… I was gutted!

    HERO >> Jenno somehow carrying Hammell, as well as his clubs, on his back that whole round. A great achievement.

    BAD DEAL >> Big Esteban being stuck up the gym all the time with all the different Scottish accents! He’s no chance of understanding or picking up the language.

    STARK REALITY >> Got a scare the other night when I went down injured. I thought I was done. You realise all it takes is one bad injury and it could be over.

    FIRST GOAL >> Playing for Westwood Rovers Under 8s. It was only 7-a-side but I felt on top of the world at the time.

    PLAYED WITH HIM >> Will always remember Ross McCormack for being a great player and handing me the ball to score my first ever goal for ‘Well from the penalty spot at Easter Road a few years ago.

    FIRST CAR >> It was a Peugeot 306 from the car auction. I had it for a few months before someone crashed into me on the way home from my debut. I spent the night getting X-rays on my neck.

    COACH >> Jenno is the man on the park who’s always getting people to do their job. Because I’m usually next to him, I get it the most!

    FIRST TROPHY >> I remember winning the Cup with my Primary School team. We won 14 – 2 and I managed to get eight goals.

    REASON TO BE PROUD >> Playing professional football which is what I have always wanted to do.

    FIRST MISTAKE >> Forgetting to take the 1st team footballs to training in my first week in the YT’s. Never did that again…

    HEARTACHE >> Getting beat by Iceland U21s a few weeks ago was hard to take. We’ve got a right decent U21 side and going to the Championships would’ve topped it off.

    IF I WASN’T IN FOOTBALL >> I would be at Uni studying hard. Winning the Motherwell programme quiz will have to do!

    GOAL OF THE MONTH >> Maguire’s goal from halfway line for the Scotland U21s takes some beating.

    SAVE OF THE MONTH >> Mark Reynolds against Dundee Utd during the week. He ended up lying on the goal line, taking kicks from everywhere but still somehow managed to stop the ball going in the net.

    ASSIST OF THE MONTH >> That would be myself for Maguire’s aforementioned goal against Iceland. Great weight of pass.

    TACKLE OF THE MONTH >> The ball hitting me on the face, making me go over on my ankle midweek. Still don’t quite know how I managed it.

    MUG OF THE MONTH >> Big Nick is struggling with the new FIFA.  He is still looking for a win against me.

    LOOK-A-LIKE >> The boys say Fizzy, young Stuart Carswell and I all look like brothers. I can’t see it myself…..

    Jamie Murphy

  • Archive

    I’ve always remained a Hamilton fan

    I think it is fairly well known that I was brought up in Hamilton and my father insisted that I supported the local team. It was a pleasure in those days to go to the old Douglas Park and watch Accies and I’ve always remained a Hamilton fan.

    However, unlike Motherwell, Accies never ever employed me so my allegiance is firmly with the ‘Well. Naturally, I wish Billy Reid and his side every success, as I always do, but certainly not in games against their Lanarkshire rivals.

    I am well aware that Hamilton are in a false position in the table. I look for their results, TV Clips and match reports with great interest. Clearly, they are much better than second bottom of the SPL but again, I repeat, I hope their recovery begins next week and not here at Fir Park.

    Anyway, enough about Hamilton!

    My sole concern is the welfare of our club. Along with my colleagues on the staff and the players, we are desperate to appease our loyal fan base. We received great support right to the end of the game and that was influential, I am sure, in us getting that winning goal.

    Some people have complained about the quality of our play in the second game with Dundee United but I am sure most agree that there were mitigating circumstances. We lost Keith Lasley before the game, Jamie Murphy early in the game and playing a team for whom we were very familiar. The same obviously applied to Peter Houston’s men given the experience of the league match four days earlier.

    Inevitably, we cancelled each other for most of the match but I still think we shaded it. The stats indicate that we were well ahead in terms of possession, had more chances and scored that all important goal.

    We invariably have as many as eight or nine U21 players in the squad for any one SPL game but, with the reduced listing in Co-op Cup ties, we only listed seven last night; six of those played. Getting past a team as good as Dundee United with such a young squad is an excellent achievement.

    Moving on, it’s difficult to avoid the contentious subject of referees although I must admit, I often hope that it is never an issue. However, as winners of the Fair Play award last year and the team who currently sit top of this year’s table, I feel we’re in a pretty solid position to comment.

    I have always been hugely supportive of Scottish officials having had experience of sixteen years of International football, getting the alleged best referees Europe has to offer. Believe me, Scottish officials are as good, if not better, than their counterparts on the continent and that also goes for the full-timers in England!

    I thought our game in midweek was very well handled by Willie Collum in difficult circumstances. I always insist that referees are respected as are their decisions and that’s the way it has got to be.

    Just finally, I would like to welcome Gavin Lawson, an Accies season ticket holder, along with his son Fraser, Robin Fisher and Jim Finlay who are my guests at Fir Park this afternoon. Gavin is a great family friend and I hope they all enjoy the game, but not too much!

    Thanks again
    Craig Brown