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  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Trio in action

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan Report: Experience gained for PJ Morrison

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Clash of the two loanees

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Goals and clean sheets for youngsters

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Four in action

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan stars get first league minutes

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Youngsters involved in first loan action

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Trio in action

    Loan report: Trio in action

    Three Motherwell loanees were in action at the weekend.

    Ross MacIver started for Morton in their televised Friday night Championship fixture at home to Hearts.

    The forward played 75 minutes as the Edinburgh side ran out 2-0 winners.

    PJ Morrison continued his run of form for Falkirk in League One, as the Bairns defeated Peterhead 2-1 to open a four-point gap at the top of the division.

    Cove Rangers’ 2-1 home loss to Montrose contributed to opening that gap, with Jamie Semple coming on for the final 15 minutes.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan Report: Experience gained for PJ Morrison

    Loan Report: Experience gained for PJ Morrison

    PJ Morrison faced arguably the toughest test of his young career at the weekend.

    The goalkeeper, performing well for League One leaders Falkirk on loan, found himself pitched against a rampant Rangers team in the Betfred Cup last 16.

    In the end, the Glasgow side ran out 4-0 winners but valuable experience was gained against Jermaine Defoe and company.

    Elsewhere, Jamie Semple was an unused sub for Cove Rangers in their 1-1 draw at Airdrie, while Sam Muir was also on the bench as Gretna won 1-0 against Berwick Rangers.

    Ross MacIver’s Greenock Morton weren’t in action at the weekend, while Harry Robinson remains on the sidelines.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Clash of the two loanees

    Loan report: Clash of the two loanees

    It was the clash of two loanees at the weekend, as PJ Morrison’s Falkirk hosted Jamie Semple’s Cove Rangers in a top-of-the-table clash.

    The goalkeeper would prevail with a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory, with Semple coming off the bench with 20 minutes to go but unable to breach the goal of his team-mate.

    Calumn Morrison’s goal early in the second half ended Cove’s 100% start to the League One season, with Falkirk now moving to within a point of them with five games played.

    PJ has now kept three clean sheets in four starts for the Bairns, starting off impressively in his loan spell.

    Ross MacIver got 90 minutes for Morton in their 0-0 draw at Arbroath, a result which leaves them one point off the promotion play-off places.

    Harry Robinson remains sidelined, while Sam Muir saw Gretna’s game at Penicuik Athletic postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Goals and clean sheets for youngsters

    Loan report: Goals and clean sheets for youngsters

    Motherwell’s young loanees have been in action across the international break.

    With Betfred Cup and Lowland League matches continuing, there was a chance for the four fit players to get valuable game time. Harry Robinson is currently injured.

    Ross MacIver

    The forward got a big goal for his club Greenock Morton in the Renfrewshire Derby match with St Mirren.

    The game – the first of two Betfred Cup ties for the Ton – saw the player climb off the bench in the 60th minute and then score immediately to level the tie at 1-1.

    He also scored his penalty in the shootout for a bonus point in the group stage fixture, but his side lost out 6-5.

    Ross’ award would be a start in the crucial trip to face Partick Thistle in the final match, where a win could potentially send the Championship team through to the knockout stages.

    However, a 0-0 draw and a loss in the shootout would ensure they finished fourth in their group.

    Jamie Semple

    A trip to Dundee in Cove Rangers’ penultimate group stage match would prove a stern test, even for a side flying high in League One.

    Jamie played the first 45 minutes as his team went in 1-0 down at the break, before eventually succumbing to a 3-0 loss through two goals in the last five minutes.

    An appearance from the bench with 25 minutes left would come next for the midfielder in their final home match with Forfar Athletic.

    Rory McAllister’s penalty two minutes after Semple’s introduction would prove the difference, but Cove’s elimination from the competition was already secured.

    A trip to face Falkirk – and come face to face with fellow loanee PJ Morrison – lies in wait this weekend.

    PJ Morrison

    Falkirk had one remaining Betfred Cup match over the international period – a trip to face fellow League One side Dumbarton.

    Victory would put the Bairns in with the chance of progression to the knockout stages as an unseeded team and they did exactly that, routing the Sons 4-0.

    The win would give PJ the clean sheet, to add to his penalty save in the 2-2 draw at Partick Thistle last weekend. And the reward for progression for Falkirk was a home tie with Rangers in the last 16.

    Sam Muir

    A win and a defeat would come for Gretna 2008 in the Lowland League, defeating Caledonian Braves 5-0 away and then losing 1-0 at Civil Service Strollers.

    Central defender Sam was an unused sub for the game against the Braves, before coming on for the last five minutes in the second match.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

    Loan report: PJ impressing at Falkirk

    PJ Morrison continues to impress at Falkirk, saving a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Partick Thistle on Saturday.

    The on-loan Motherwell goalkeeper kept out Brian Graham’s spot kick early on at Firhill, beating away the powerful effort to keep the Bairns 1-0 in front.

    Morrison would be helpless to prevent the two goals the Jags would go on to score, before his side got a late leveller to take a share of the spoils.

    Ross MacIver was an unused substitute for Morton in their 5-0 loss at Championship leaders Raith Rovers, while Harry Robinson was absent from Queen of the South’s 1-1 draw with Arbroath.

    In League One, Jamie Semple was on the bench as Cove Rangers maintained their 100% record through four games with a 3-0 home win over Forfar Athletic.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan report: Four in action

    Loan report: Four in action

    Ross MacIver was in the thick of the action as Morton pulled off the result of the weekend amongst the Motherwell loanees.

    His side found themselves 2-0 down at home to Ayr United, with the forward introduced in the 69th minute.

    Morton then started their comeback in the 83rd, with MacIver setting up the equaliser an excellent through ball, before his side pulled off a 3-2 win in the 88th minute.

    Harry Robinson played the last 15 minutes as Queen of the South lost 3-2 at Championship leaders Dunfermline Athletic.

    The winger came on as Queens chased the equaliser but couldn’t avoid their third defeat of the season.

    PJ Morrison made his first start in goal for Falkirk as they took in East Fife in League One.

    The ‘keeper kept a clean sheet as his side picked up their second win of the campaign in a 2-0 victory.

    Jamie Semple was an unused substitute as Cove kept up their 100% record in League One with a 1-0 home win over Partick Thistle, and Sam Muir got the full 90 as Gretna lost 1-0 at Edinburgh University in the Lowland League.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

    Stuart McKinstry making strides with Leeds United

    At the age of just 16, Stuart McKinstry was faced with a massive decision.

    Having already made the bench for the first team at his boyhood heroes Motherwell, the talented midfielder was in demand and attracting interest from elsewhere.

    Of the sides linked with Stuart, a sleeping giant of English football really stood out amongst the crowd and presented him with a decision that the youngster still considers the most difficult of his life so far.

    Leeds United tabled an offer for the Steelmen prospect and – following much deliberation – he would swap Fir Park for Elland Road.

    In the 16 months that have followed, Stuart has settled well with the Lilywhites, nailing down a regular place with the club’s Under 23s and regularly training with Marcelo Bielsa’s first team.

    In August, he signed a three-year extension to his deal with United, continuing a whirlwind journey that he feels he owes a great deal of gratitude to Motherwell for.

    “I’m really enjoying it, having the chance to have the chance to train with the first team almost every day and the club being in the Premier League,” said McKinstry. “It’s a great opportunity and hopefully that can continue.

    “When I heard about the interest, I wanted it so badly. But I’m quite a home person and a Motherwell fan, so to make the decision to leave was the hardest of my life.

    “I couldn’t make it off the top of my head. I had to look at it in detail and work out the rights and the wrongs of the situation.

    “In the end, I felt I had to move. I knew how big a club Leeds are and felt I could only go there and get better. It was the challenge I wanted and although leaving Motherwell wasn’t something that I wanted to do, it was too big an opportunity to turn down.

    “Right now, that’s paying off. I’m playing every game for the 23s and after a lot of ups and downs during my first 12 months, I have found myself in a much better position than I was in this time last year.”

    An early highlight for McKinstry came as Leeds took on Manchester United at Old Trafford in the quarter-final of the Youth Cup earlier this year.

    Backed by almost 1500 travelling fans, it would end in disappointment for the youngsters as they were edged out 1-0.

    For Stuart, it was a chance to thrive at one of the most iconic stadiums in world football and served as a reminder of the magnitude of the club for whom he had left home to join.

    “I’d probably put that up there as one of the best nights of my life,” he recalled.

    “The result didn’t go our way but the full build-up with the boys was amazing and there was always an extra buzz with the Youth Cup games.

    “The fans made it so special for us all. I’ve thought back to that night so many times and I say to all the boys that if I had the chance to go back, then I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

    “To take that sort of support to a Youth Cup tie shows how big a club Leeds are and how much the fans care for the club. It’ll stay with me forever.”

    While their Youth Cup campaign ended in disappointment, Leeds’ first team were marching towards promotion to the Premier League after a 16-year absence from the top tier of the English game.

    Following a three month wait for the resumption of fixtures due to the continued spread of coronavirus, Bielsa’s team would clinch the Championship title on the penultimate day of the season.

    Their crowning moment sparked wild celebrations among the players, staff and their delirious supporters, the latter who had to make do with watching their side get the job done from the comfort of home, after enduring many years of near misses and heartache.

    During his time in Yorkshire, Stuart has regularly trained with the Leeds first team and felt great pride in playing even a small role in their success.

    “I spent that season around the first team players as they tried to get promoted and there was a real buzz about the place as we won games,” he added.

    “I know a lot of the young boys didn’t play, but things like helping out in training because a player had picked up an injury or taking part in extra sessions helps make you feel part of the setup and drives you to try and achieve similar feats to what the players in the first team have.”

    Another source of inspiration for McKinstry has come in the shape of legendary Argentine manager Bielsa.

    “Sometimes you have to pinch yourself that you are working with someone as famous in the game as the manager is.

    “He’s achieved so much and it’s something I never thought I’d be able to do especially at this young age.

    “Hearing stories from famous players and managers about Marcelo and now being able to say that I have experienced what they have is something I can never take for granted. It’s an honour to train under such a well-known manager.”

    While McKinstry is beginning to thrive in his new surroundings, his emotional attachment to Motherwell remains.

    With his parents both Motherwell diehards, Stuart wasn’t out of nappies by the time he attended his first game at Fir Park and just like the rest of the family he was hooked almost instantly.

    He was mascot the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Panathinaikos in 2012 and was part of the club’s youth academy from the age of 10.

    During his final season at Fir Park, the athletic midfielder found was often part of Stephen Robinson’s squad and on a few occasions was named on the substitute bench, but just missed out on the chance to make his debut for the club.

    Although he fell just short of fulfilling his dream in claret and amber, Stuart holds fond memories of his time with the Steelmen.

    “I can’t describe how much I loved my time at Motherwell,” he smiled. “It was my dream growing up to be a Motherwell player.

    “Growing up, I went to games from the age of one or two. I always wanted to play for the team and to have got so close to that happening and then suddenly not to be at the club was gutting for me, though I felt moving on was the right thing for me to do at that time.

    “When I look back over the years at all the coaches and players, I just can’t thank everyone enough. Without certain people, I wouldn’t be where I am just now.

    “The gaffer was so eager to involve me in things that he probably didn’t even need to. He did it off his own back and I’m really grateful.

    “It was disappointing not to get to make my debut, but it’s something I’ll look back on with great memories. I never thought I’d get so far at Motherwell and to be able to say I was training with the first team at 15, on the bench at 16, as well as working alongside players I’d paid to watch – you can’t put a price on that.

    “My experience at Motherwell was nothing but brilliant and there’s part of me wishes I could go back and live it all over again.

    “I’m so thankful for everything the club did for me and hopefully I can pay them back one day.”

    McKinstry, of course, is one of many young talents to have emerged from the ‘Well youth academy in recent years before heading for pastures new.

    Aside from the higher profiles moves of the likes of James Scott and David Turnbull, there have also been moves for Reece McAlear (Norwich City) and Robbie Hemfrey (Stoke City) – something Stuart believes is a great endorsement for the club’s youth setup.

    “It’s obviously not the ideal situation for Motherwell losing these players, but the club can be very proud of the way that the players have turned out through the way we’ve been coached,” McKinstry added.

    “I’d been part of the academy since I was 10 and it’s played a massive part of getting me to where I am today.

    “A lot of the coaches such as Stevie Hammell, Davie Clarkson and Stephen McManus really helped me towards getting into the first team environment. All the coaches and facilities were brilliant.”

    Stuart’s dad John has made the journey down south to help him adjust away from home, though having his old man by his side is far from his only reminder of family life.

    He continues to keep close tabs on the fortunes of his boyhood team and insists that will never change.

    When pondering what lies ahead, Stuart is keen to stress he’s not setting himself any targets, though can’t hide his desire to continue to do his family proud.

    “I’ve watched a good few Motherwell games this season and made a few games last season when I wasn’t playing,” he insisted. “Every opportunity I get, I’ll be back supporting the team.

    “You can take me away from Motherwell, but the club are always going to be in my heart and I’ll always keep an eye out on everything that goes on. That’ll never change no matter where I am.

    “Hopefully this season the team can do as well as they did in the previous one or even better. Knowing a lot of the lads still at the club, I’ll be right behind them and really hope they can do well.

    “Personally, I’d like to remain where I am just now and impress in the 23’s by being a stand out player most weeks, with the view to moving into men’s football next season and taking that next step.

    “I feel like I’m in a good place and don’t give myself any excuses to have bad games. I want to impress myself, my coaches and my family.

    “I always go out to make my family proud. I’ll work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.

    “Deep down, I know where I want to be and hopefully that will work out for me.”

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

    Four ‘Well men in action on loan

    PJ Morrison made his Falkirk debut as they were held 1-1 by Forfar Athletic at the weekend.

    The Motherwell goalkeeper came off the bench after 65 minutes to replace Robbie Mutch, who was sent off as he gave away a penalty.

    Morrison was unable to keep out the resulting spot kick but helped his side pick up the point.

    Jamie Semple was also in action in League One as Cove Rangers kept up a 100% record with a 2-0 win at Peterhead.

    Paul Hartley’s side now have two wins from two, with Semple playing 73 minutes of the match.

    In the Championship, Ross MacIver came on in the 58th minute for Morton as they lost 1-0 at Dundee in the Championship, while Harry Robinson was an unused substitute as Queen of the South as they lost 5-2 at home to table-toppers Raith Rovers.

    Meanwhile in the Lowland League, Sam Muir again started for Gretna as they lost 3-0 at home to BSC Glasgow.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Loan stars get first league minutes

    Loan stars get first league minutes

    The start of lower league action in Scotland at the weekend saw a number of Motherwell’s young stars in action.

    Harry Robinson started as Queen of the South travelled to face Ayr United minus their coaching staff, who were in isolation due to Covid-19.

    The Championship encounter ended 2-1 to the Ayrshire club, with the winger playing 66 minutes.

    Ross MacIver came on as a substitute for the last 19 minutes as Morton won 1-0 at home to Alloa Athletic.

    Jamie Semple got his first league minutes for Cove Rangers as they started the League One season with a 3-1 home win over East Fife.

    The midfielder played 75 minutes in the victory for Paul Hartley’s side, before being replaced by ex-Well man Broque Watson.

    PJ Morrison was an unused substitute as Falkirk started their League One season with a 3-1 win at Montrose, while Sam Muir started as Gretna lost 3-0 at Bonnyrigg Rose in the Lowland League.

  • Reserves & Under 18s

    Youngsters involved in first loan action

    Youngsters involved in first loan action

    Two Motherwell loanees lined up against each other on their debuts in the Betfred Cup group stages.

    Ross MacIver played the full 90 minutes for Morton, with Harry Robinson coming on as a substitute for Queen of the South, in a 2-2 draw last midweek.

    Robinson was then an unused substitute at the weekend as Queens surrendered a two-goal lead at home to St Mirren to draw 2-2, before failing to take the bonus point on penalties.

    Jamie Semple got his first top team minutes in 14 months as he made his debut for Cove Rangers at the weekend.

    The midfielder replaced former ‘Well man Adam Livingstone as the League One side lost a one-goal lead against top flight Hibernian, being defeated 2-1.

    He then followed that up with a goal against Brora Rangers on Tuesday night, in a match which ended level before Cove took the bonus point on penalties.

    Young goalkeeper Matty Connolly was also on the bench for Falkirk as they lost 2-0 at Dunfermline Athletic in the same competition on Friday night, and again in the 2-1 win over Clyde on Tuesday.

    In the Lowland League, Sam Muir made his bow for Gretna on Saturday as they lost 2-1 at home to Spartans, before also featuring in the 6-1 loss at East Kilbride on Tuesday.