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    Aaelsund win in pictures

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    Motherwell 3-0 Aalesund

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    Craigan excited for Euro clash

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    Brown eyes goals against Aalesund

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    Europa League hospitality

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    Bathgate Thistle 2-4 Motherwell XI

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    Archdeacon leaves club

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    Murphy wants big home crowd

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    U21 call-up for Murphy

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    Brown upbeat despite late draw

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    Aaelsund win in pictures

    Pictures from the 3-0 victory over Aalesund in the Europa League Third Qualifying Round second-leg. These action shots and more are available to buy online at

    [svgallery name=”aalesund050810″]

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    Motherwell 3-0 Aalesund

    [tab:Match report]

    Motherwell booked their place in the Europa League play-off round with a 3-0 victory over Aalesund at Fir Park.

    Jamie Murphy, John Sutton and Jonathan Page were on target as the Steelmen progressed 4-1 on aggregate.

    Manager Craig Brown made one change from the first-leg in Norway, replacing Ross Forbes with Chris Humphrey.

    And the winger made a telling contribution on his return to the side, crossing for Murphy to open the scoring after just four minutes.

    It was a terrific finish from Murphy – his third goal in the competition this season – beating Anders Lindegaard with a powerful strike from 12 yards.

    The Aalesund keeper was picking the ball out of his net again on 13 minutes as Motherwell doubled their advantage.

    Humphrey was involved again, producing another inviting cross from the right which caused further problems for the visiting defence.

    The ball eventually fell to Steven Saunders on the edge of the area and his low drive was diverted into the net by Sutton to make it 2-0.

    Aaelsund pressed for a way back into the match but they struggled in the final third and rarely tested Darren Randolph.

    Petter Orry Larsen had one of the better chances when the ball broke to him 20 yards from goal but his shot flew over the bar.

    Motherwell were much more dangerous going forward and Humphrey went close to adding a third when his left-footed effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide.

    Murphy then beat his man and tried to pick out a team-mate inside the box but his cross was cleared in front of goal.

    The striker also had two strong penalty claims before half-time. Firstly, he was pushed in the back when challenging for a high ball and then he saw an attempted shot blocked by the hand of Trond Fredriksen.

    However, on both occasions referee Richard Trutz ignored his appeals, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

    Aalesund improved after the break and Magnus Olsen shot inches wide from the edge of the area.

    Ville Jalasto then went close with a header from a Pablo Herrera corner as the visitors enjoyed a good spell of pressure.

    Indeed, Motherwell were on the back-foot at the start of the second-half and there were some nervy moments for the defence.

    Aalesund went close again on 75 minutes when substitute Didrik Flotre headed a Jalasto cross just wide of the target.

    And Olsen wasted a good chance late on when he shot over from the edge of the area.

    But substitute Page put the result beyond doubt with less than a minute to play following great play by Murphy.

    The striker got in behind the visiting defence and unselfishly squared to his team-mate for the simplest of tap-ins and his first senior goal.

    It put the seal on a terrific result and performance as Craig Brown’s side booked their place in the play-off round amongst the big-guns.

    [tab:As it happened]

    90+3′ FULL-TIME The referee blows the full-time whistle

    90+2′ Aarøy (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Craigan (Motherwell).

    90′ SUB Forbes (in) – Jennings (out) (Motherwell)

    89′ GOAL Page (Motherwell) scores with a low shot from 8 yards.

    88′ Fitzpatrick (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Jalasto (Aalesund).

    86′ SUB Page (in) – Sutton (out) (Motherwell)

    83′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    81′ Aarøy (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Reynolds (Motherwell).

    80′ BOOKING Fitzpatrick (Motherwell) is shown a yellow card.

    80′ Fitzpatrick (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Jalasto (Aalesund).

    77′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    74′ SUB Fitzpatrick (in) – Lasley (out) (Motherwell)

    74′ Fløtre (Aalesund) misses the target.

    73′ Herrera (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    70′ SUB Carlsen (in) – Orry Larsen (out) (Aalesund)

    68′ Herrera (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Hammell (Motherwell).

    65′ Fløtre (in) – Mathisen (out) (Aalesund)

    65′ BOOKING Herrera (Aalesund) is shown a yellow card.

    64′ Humphrey (Motherwell) has an effort on goal.

    64′ Murphy (Motherwell) is adjudged to be in an offside position.

    62′ Murphy (Motherwell) misses the target.

    62′ Mathisen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Saunders (Motherwell).

    59′ Herrera (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    53′ Jalasto (Aalesund) misses the target.

    53′ Herrera (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    50′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    50′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    50′ Hammell (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Herrera (Aalesund).

    48′ Lasley (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    48′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    47′ Reynolds (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Herrera (Aalesund).

    46′ Humphrey (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    46′ KICK-OFF The second half begins.

    45+1′ HALF-TIME The referee blows for half-time.

    45+1′ Hateley (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    45+1′ Hateley (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    45′ Humphrey (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    40′ Orry Larsen (Aalesund) misses the target.

    37′ Orry Larsen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Lasley (Motherwell).

    34′ Parr (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Humphrey (Motherwell).

    33′ Humphrey (Motherwell) misses the target.

    32′ Humphrey (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Parr (Aalesund).

    29′ Sutton (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Orry Larsen (Aalesund).

    29′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    29′ Mathisen (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    27′ Orry Larsen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Lasley (Motherwell).

    26′ Hammell (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Herrera (Aalesund).

    25′ Hateley (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Arneng (Aalesund).

    22′ Jennings (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Aarøy (Aalesund).

    22′ Sylling Olsen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Randolph (Motherwell).

    21′ Randolph (Motherwell) makes a save.

    21′ Parr (Aalesund) has an effort on goal.

    20′ Jennings (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Sylling Olsen (Aalesund).

    18′ Mathisen (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Hammell (Motherwell).

    17′ Jennings (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Orry Larsen (Aalesund).

    13′ GOAL Sutton (Motherwell) scores with a low shot from inside the box.

    12′ Aarøy (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Randolph (Motherwell).

    11′ Arneng (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    9′ Humphrey (Motherwell) delivers the corner.

    8′ Herrera (Aalesund) delivers the corner.

    5′ Hateley (Motherwell) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Arneng (Aalesund).

    4′ GOAL Murphy (Motherwell) scores with a rising shot from 12 yards.

    1′ Arneng (Aalesund) gives away a free-kick following a challenge on Jennings (Motherwell).

    1′ KICK-OFF The match is under way.


    Motherwell boss Craig Brown:

    “Aalesund played very well, as we knew they would. They put us under a lot of pressure and if they could finish their chances a little better they could have scored a goal here.

    “I would say the result flattered us. We were very disciplined and organised, and we defended very well, but there is definitely and argument to say that we actually played better over in Norway.

    “At no point did I feel the game was safe. I knew Rekdal would be in the dressing room telling his players to get one more goal, and then they would be right back in the game; and, in fairness, they had a real go in the second-half and played very well.

    “I warned before the game that Aalesund were a very good side and that the crowd would have to be patient. Our fans understood that and backed us all night.”

    Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan:

    “We knew if we got the first goal it was going to be tough for them and they’d come at us a little gung-ho, and fair play to them they did.

    “Our statistician said they score the majority of their goals between 40 and 50 minutes, so it was important to come out strong in the first 10-15 minutes of the second-half.

    “We knew they were going to come out sharp and we knew we had to come out careful at the start of the half, and we did. After that it became a little bit like the Alamo.

    “Credit to the boys up front though, young Jamie Murphy just runs and runs and runs, and it was a great bit of skill at the end to nick past the defender and square the ball and show great composure.”

    Motherwell striker John Sutton:

    “It is just fantastic to get through this round and we know now that there is a really good chance we could get a glamour tie in the next round.

    “That was an incentive for us to go out and get the right result tonight and we managed it. It has to be said that we just played a very good team – and we beat them convincingly.

    “There is an element of luck to every match but we deserved this result. We defended very well and proved extremely hard for the opposition to break down.”


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    Craigan excited for Euro clash

    Motherwell skipper Stephen Craigan admits he can’t wait to lead the team out against Aalesund on Thursday night.

    The Northern Ireland international has experienced a lot for both club and country in his 15-year playing career.

    But he reckons European night’s are still the most special occasions.

    “When I don’t get excited about playing games or get nervous I know it’s time to give up.” said the 33-year-old.

    “It still gives me a buzz and it’s great to also see so many young players in the squad getting to experience these matches.

    “It’s great to go to other stadiums and see how other clubs are run and see how fans react to their team abroad.

    “That’s all exciting and I’m always looking to pick up little tips about how other teams do things and it’s exciting to be involved in.”

    Motherwell go into the second-leg at Fir Park with the advantage after a 1-1 draw in Norway last week.

    And Craigan is confident the Steelmen can build on that result and seal a place in the next round.

    “The main aim was to go over to Norway and bring the game back to Fir Park with it all to play for,” he said.

    “We didn’t necessarily play the way we’d hoped in the first-half but that can sometimes happen against good opposition, if you don’t know a lot about the team.

    “This time we can be a little more forward thinking and try and be a lot more positive.”

    It will be a young Motherwell team which takes to the field against Aalesund but they already have plenty of European experience.

    This is the third season in a row in which the Steelmen have competed in Europe and Craigan believes it is great for the youngsters at the club.

    “In the SPL you know every team, you know how they are going to play and you know their qualities,” he said.

    “It can be much easier to set up a game plan – but it’s a challenge to play in European football against different players and different styles and different formations.”

    “This level of competition is great for the younger players. Sometimes you have to adapt during a game and change the style and shape of your play.

    “Because we have been involved in European football for the past three seasons the players become accustomed to it, but it doesn’t mean it will happen every single season and the players know they need to keep working hard.”

    One of those young players who have undoubtedly progressed over the past few years is 21-year-old Jamie Murphy, whose goal in Norway took him ahead of cup winning hero Stevie Kirk.

    Craigan has praised the prodigious young striker as he attempts to fill the void left by the departure of Lukas Jutkiewicz over the summer.

    “Strikers are judged on their goals and their performance in the final third. If you judge Jamie on that in the first three matches then he has done very well. He knows himself that he is looking for consistency.

    “He has been forced to grow and learn, even though he is only 21. This is because of the strikers that have left and the small pool of strikers that we have at the club. His work rate has improved, he is fitter than ever and his effort is brilliant.”

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    Brown eyes goals against Aalesund

    Motherwell boss Craig Brown says his team will take the game to Aalesund in the second-leg of the Europa League tie.

    The Steelmen have the upper hand in the Third Qualifying Round after a 1-1 draw in Norway last week.

    And Brown wants to make the most of the home advantage at Fir Park to seal a place in the play-offs.

    “We’ll try to win the game,” he said. “It is only fair to our fans. “They want to see us play and to see us attack.

    “That is the way we will look to play but we have to bear in mind that the formula to success in two-legged European football, with away goals counting double, is to score away from home and not concede in your home game.

    “A 1-1 draw in the first-leg was a good result against a team which, I think, is comparable to our own. To get an away goal was excellent and for us not to lose the game was good too.

    “Now we want to entertain and win at home but we will not take unnecessary chances at the back either.”

    Aalesund come into the match with it all to do after the draw in Norway and Brown believes he knows how they will line-up on Thursday night.

    “I expect the Norwegians to play the exact same way they have every time I have seen them,” said the former Scotland boss, who first encountered Kjetil Rekdal while he was coach of the national team at France ’98.

    “I saw them play the match before the first-leg on DVD and I saw their game on Sunday on DVD as well as the match against us. They will almost certainly play a 4-3-3, with Tor Hogne Aarøy up front and two spritely wingers either side.

    “Their main danger will certainly come from the front three, but overall they are a similar standard to us.”

    Jamie Murphy became Motherwell’s all-time leading European scorer last week when he slotted home the all-important away goal in Aalesund, and as Murphy steps up to the plate this season following the departure of Lukas Jutkiewicz, his boss was full of praise for the Scotland U21 star.

    Brown said: “Jamie Murphy has done very well ever since we came here. He has proven himself to be a very accomplished striker and I think the whole SPL understands that, as does Billy Stark, because he has made Jamie a key part of his Scotland U21 squad.

    “We know his capabilities and we are looking to provide him with chances, and if we do that I’m sure he will score goals.”

    If Murphy and co can do the business on Thursday night it may provide the manager with an elusive budget to bring in re-enforcements.

    Brown has been forthright about the financial constraints at the club this season and sees the Europa League run as the best chance to raise the cash which he needs to supplement what he describes as a “threadbare” squad.

    “There is no budget at the moment to augment the squad,” he said. “We are resigned to the fact that the only way we will be able to supplement the squad is to have a good run in the competition. That may allow us to bring someone in.

    “It would be great if we could at least get through this round and in to the play-off round and our result in the first-leg has at least given us a chance.

    “That would be a massive achievement for Motherwell and it could be very financially lucrative if we can get through these preliminary rounds.”

  • Archive

    Europa League hospitality

    Fans can watch the Europa League Third Qualifying Round clash with Aalesund in style from as little as £59.

    After a 1-1 draw in the first-leg, there’s everything to play for when the two teams meet again this Thursday at Fir Park.

    And for only £59 you can enjoy a delicious three course meal, served with our house wine, in the comfort of the recently renovated Centenary Suite. 

    Our new hospitality partners En Croute Catering made their debut in the clash with Breidablik and this is another an ideal opportunity for you to come along and sample the new and improved menu. 

    Former striker Stevie Kirk will entertain you with stories from past adventures as well as give you the team news before anyone else in the ground.

    And fellow legend Dougie Arnott will pour you a pint and enjoy a chat with you at the bar.

    As well as access to our exclusive pay bar facility both pre and post match, you’ll get treated to some excellent half-time food and a complimentary matchday programme and teamsheet. 

    For more information or to book your table, contact Diane or Wilma on 01698 338008 or email

  • Archive

    Bathgate Thistle 2-4 Motherwell XI

    Motherwell claimed the inaugural Paul McGrillen Memorial Trophy with a 4-2 win over Bathgathe Thistle.

    Gary Smith (2), Marc Fiztpatrick and Bob McHugh were on target for the Steelmen at Creamery Park.

    Fitzpatrick and Jamie Pollock were both thwarted by some excellent goalkeeping in the opening stages as Motherwell dominated.

    They eventually took the lead midway through the first-half when Smith latched on to a Peter Innes pass before rounding the goalkeeper and firing into the empty net.

    And the visitors doubled their advantage shortly afterwards when Chris Humphrey’s ball from the right was met by a combination of McHugh and Smith, with the latter later credited with the goal.

    Bathgate hit back straight away to reduce the deficit but the two goal parity was restored minutes before the interval when Fitzpatrick met a Jamie Pollock corner with a firm header at the near post.

    A free-kick allowed the home side to pull another goal back after the break but Motherwell sealed the vicxtory with 20 minutes remaining when McHugh got on the end of a Pollock cut-back to claim his customary goal.

    Head of Youth Development Gordon Young said: “It was a pleasure to come and play the game today, particularly under the auspices of the Paul McGrillen Memorial Trophy.

    “We have exceptionally good links with Bathgate and we are proud to play our Reserve and U19 games at the Creamery Park. The pitch is in such a good condition, you would struggle to find a better surface anywhere in Scotland.

    “Aside from competing for such a worthwhile trophy, games like this are also important to keep the guys who aren’t starting fit.

    “We’ve had great success with the games and, if required, all the guys out there today would be more than capable of stepping up to first-team duty.”

    Motherwell: Hollis, Humphrey, Quinn (McKinnon 70), Hutchinson, Page, Innes (Meechan 65), Trialist, Pollock (Erwin 80), Fitzpatrick, McHugh, Smith. Subs not used: Bradley.

  • Archive

    Archdeacon leaves club

    The club can confirm that it has reached an agreement with Mark Archdeacon and the striker will leave the club with immediate effect.

    Archdeacon, 20, burst onto the scene three years ago, scoring eleven goals in his first seven games for the U19s.

    He was soon promoted to the first-team squad and signed a three-year contract but he has not made a sufficient impact.

    Indeed, his one and only appearance came as a substitute in the 3-0 victory over Llanelli in the Europa League First Qualifying Round last season.

    The striker has had two loan spells away from the club, at Albion Rovers and more recently, Brechin City.

    However, he does not feature in Craig Brown’s plans and so he has been allowed to move on in search of regular first-team football.

    Also leaving the club are former youth team players Shaun Thomson and Greg Pollock.

    The club would like to thank all three for their effort whilst at Fir Park and wish them every success in their future careers.

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    Murphy wants big home crowd

    Jamie Murphy hopes the Motherwell fans turn out in their numbers for the second-leg of the Europa League clash with Aalesund.

    The Steelmen have the upper hand in the tie following a 1-1 draw in Norway last night and they have a great chance of reaching the play-off round.

    And Murphy, who overtook Stevie Kirk as the club’s all-time leading scorer in Europe, knows the importance of a big crowd.

    “The boys have worked so hard last night and we now face a massive tie at Fir Park next Thursday,” he said.

    “We need as many fans there, making noise, supporting the team, and shouting the boys on to what will hopefully be a famous win.

    “Aalesund were very difficult opponents and will be again next week. We need the Motherwell fans to help push us on.”

    Ticket prices are as follows:

    • Adults £15 (all stands)
    • Juveniles £5 (all stands) *
    • Families £20 (Cooper stand) **

    Tickets are now on sale and and fans are reminded that they, in line with UEFA guidelines, will be required to supply name and address details for each ticket holder.

    Please also note that there will be no purchasing restrictions on home tickets at any time. Fans should also be aware that season tickets are not valid for the game.

    *Juveniles are listed as Under 16’s.
    **Family Tickets are listed as 1x Adult and up to x3 Juveniles and can only be purchased at the Ticket Office or over the phone.

  • Archive

    U21 call-up for Murphy

    Jamie Murphy has been included in the Scotland U21 squad for the upcoming challenge match against Sweden.

    The in-form striker, who marked his 100th game for Motherwell lasn night with his sixth European goal – a new club record – will look to continue his scoring streak when the teams meet on August 11th at St Mirren Park.

    Murphy is part of a 23-man squad and boss Billy Stark hopes his latest goals will boost the youngster’s confidence.

    “Footballers are human beings and they all have different personalities and characteristics,” he said. “Jamie is a quiet boy and is very unassuming.

    “I think he knows he can play but I still think he has to find himself at first-team level playing consistently.

    “Last season he was in and out, which is understandable at his age. But once you get playing regularly at first-team level then in those type of boys that confidence comes.

    “He’ll take confidence from what he has done in the under-21 internationals, no doubt about that.”

    Stark is looking for Murphy to take his form into the international game, with second-placed Scotland facing their final two UEFA qualifiers against main rivals Belarus and Austria in September.

    “It’s great to see him doing well with his club,” Stark said. “He has started every game so far and to get that status as Motherwell’s all-time leading scorer means Jamie is confident.

    “We’re going to Belarus for the first championship game in September, and he came on and scored the vital goal for us against Belarus at home. It augurs well.”

  • Archive

    Brown upbeat despite late draw

    Motherwell boss Craig Brown was pleased with the 1-1 draw against Aalesund despite seeing his side concede a late equaliser in Norway.

    The Steelmen were set to bring back a one goal lead back to Fir Park after Jamie Murphy put them ahead in the first-leg.

    But Alexander Mathisen drew the home side level from the penalty spot in the 93rd minute following a foul on Demar Phillips inside the box.

    It was a cruel end to the match but Brown was still happy with the performance and believes his side defended well throughout.

    “I think it’s a solid result,” said the Motherwell boss afterwards.

    “We’re not getting carried away. It’s only half-time so we are not going to get complacent.

    “We played very, very assured football and defended competently. I thought they weren’t going to manage to score.
    “They didn’t look like scoring in the last 20 minutes. They don’t usually score in the last 20 minutes, I don’t know why, whether it’s through fitness or whatever.

    “The players knew that if they got to the hour mark and they hadn’t scored then we had a solid base to build on.

    “It looked like they would only score from a set-piece and they got a penalty, which was very softly-conceded.”

    Brown was also full of praise for Murphy, who became the club’s all-time leading scorer in Europe thanks to his 48th minute strike.

    The Scotland U21 international surpassed Stevie Kirk’s long-standing record of five goals at the Color Line stadium.

    “It was a terrific goal he scored tonight,” said Brown.

    “He deserves it because he’s a conscientious boy. He works hard and you never hear him boasting. He puts a shift in for the team.”