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Motherwell V Aberdeen | Match Preview
The Dons are on the road this Tuesday for the rearranged League match with Motherwell. Aberdeen were excellent in the 4-1 win at the weekend and went level on points with Rangers after they drew 2-2 with The Steelmen. Motherwell are not mathematically out of a top-six place, but know they must win their remaining two games before the split and hope Hearts slip up to claim the final spot.
Stephen Robinson’s men will be disappointed to not have won the match against Rangers on Saturday after surrendering a two-goal lead, but will take confidence knowing they have already beaten Aberdeen twice this season, including the last league meeting at Pittodrie. The Dons won the last encounter at Fir Park thanks to an Andy Considine goal in the second half, three days after the 3-0 drubbing in the League Cup.
It’s an important two weeks for both clubs with Aberdeen on the road until after the split as the season moves into its final few months. The team travel back down to the central belt at the weekend for Hearts and then the again for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final at Hampden against Motherwell.
WHAT TONY SAID
“I think the players deserve massive credit. It could have been one of those games on Saturday and I’ve seen loads of those games where the ball’s up in the air, it’s going back to front, but we had players on the pitch who took real responsibility to make sure it was a football match. We played good football and I think we got our rewards for it. We scored four and could have scored a few more so the players deserve real credit from that.
“Motherwell have got an identity as a team. They’re a very tough opponent as you seen in the last two games against Celtic and Rangers. We know what we’re facing. It’s a really competitive team, they know what they are, and they’ve got the motivation like us. They’ve still got a chance at the top-six, so we know this is going to be a very tough game as it always is against Motherwell.
“Obviously, the result (of the Rangers game) came in before our match on Saturday so at this stage of the season if you get any opportunity you’ve got to grab it. We did on Saturday and we grabbed that opportunity and picked up two points. We now have the opportunity tomorrow night to go three points ahead in second place so as I said at this stage of the season it’s all about taking that opportunity and gathering momentum.”
WHAT JOE SAID
“It was a frustrating time being out injured, but I am delighted to be back. I was eased back in on Saturday. I didn’t have much to do, but it was nice to be back out there.
“When you out you just have to work hard. When I first got injured I knew it was a nasty one and I knew I’d be out for a while. It was very disappointing, but the disappointment makes you hungrier to work even harder in the gym and with the physios.
“We’re confident and that showed on Saturday. Scoring four goals against a team that can be difficult to break down sometimes, so you can see the confidence going forward. We’ve got lots of quality so it’s important for me and the back four that we keep our concentration because we know we’ve always got goals in our team and that bodes well.
“I don’t know if (getting a few goals) there was relief, I don’t think that’s the word. The lads were pleased to have scored the goals and it will give confidence going forward. It’s the right time in the season to be getting into form so hopefully the lads have got that now and we can really kick on for the last eight or nine games.
WHAT GARY SAID
“Of course the win on Saturday was good for the confidence, but I would say the confidence has always been there. When we went through a little dip last month, we were not all sitting in the changing room thinking ‘what has gone wrong?’ When are we going to score?’ We know how much quality we have in the squad and we knew it would click again.
“It is sometimes good to battle out a few 1-0 wins, win a few tight games. There are a lot of big games coming up and everyone is feeling good about themselves.
“We move on to Tuesday now. It will be a very difficult game.
“There is a big final push for the season coming up now and a lot of big games. I knew before I came here that this club in previous seasons had been in cup finals and fighting at the right end of the table. This season is no different. It is very exciting to be part of it. I am loving being here. I can’t wait for these games to come along. The business end to the season is the one we footballers enjoy the most. It is when the honours are handed out and we want to in amongst the thick of it.”
MOTHERWELL V ABERDEEN | FOR THE RECORD
The Dons visit Fir Park tomorrow night with the hosts holding a slightly better record than their opponents. Motherwell have 47 wins in 133 league games at Fir park whereas The Dons have 46, with 40 games ending in a draw. The highest scoring game between the teams at Fir Park unsurprisingly came in the famous 6-5 game in 1999. The Dons went into the match without a win in their opening eleven matches of the campaign before a dramatic 90 minutes ensued. Robbie Winters hit a hatrick as Aberdeen claimed their first win under the Ebbe Skovdahl era.
Aberdeen first faced the Lanarkshire club in 1905/06 with both league matches ending all square, a 3-3 draw in Motherwell followed by a 2-2 result at Pittodrie. Motherwell achieved the first win the following year, 3-2 at home, and once again the two teams battled out a 2-2 draw at Pittodrie. Aberdeen finally gained the upper hand in 1907/08 with a 3-2 win in Motherwell and a 2-1 home win that kept up the high scoring affairs between the clubs.
The Dons’ biggest win came in 1979 when Motherwell suffered an 8-0 thrashing in a Premier League match at Pittodrie. Both Steve Archibald and Joe Harper helped themselves to a brace that day and further goals from McMaster, Strachan, Sullivan and Davidson helped create a new Premier League scoring record that evening. Motherwell’s biggest win was achieved in 1931 with a 5-0 victory at Fir Park. There have been goals aplenty in this tie (850 and counting) including a 5-5 Pittodrie Scottish Cup tie in 1953.
The Dons top goalscorer against Motherwell is Joe Harper with 14, all of them in league matches. Harry Yorston is only one behind, with Norman Davidson on 11. Billy Little and Eoin Jess complete the top five with 10 apiece. Adam Rooney and Niall McGinn are the Dons’ top scorer at Fir Park in the current team with four goals each. Adam scored on his Dons debut in a 2-2 draw in January 2014 and Niall’s came in the first game of the season between the sides back in August of that campaign.
The Dons have a very good recent record winning four out of the last five league games against The Steelmen in Lanarkshire. The last fixture between the sides at Fir Park came in September when Considine fired home to keep The Dons unbeaten start to the league going, but Louis Moult’s double at Pittodrie settled the game in poor afternoon for The Dons. The games are coming thick and fast for all clubs now and Saturday started a busy period for The Dons. After Motherwell, Derek McInnes takes his team to Edinburgh to face Hearts before the Scottish Cup Semi-Final. Although the post-split fixtures won’t be announced until after the Hearts game, it will be an exciting run of games to finish the season off.
Please leave in plenty of time to take account of changing circumstances on the roads. The Garrion Bridge may still be closed which will increase the likelihood of congestion in Motherwell. Supporters are encouraged to check with Traffic Scotland and local radio on the day of the game for updates. Buses travelling to the game can park directly at the stadium (South Stand Car Park). Additional car parking is available at the Civic Centre on Windmillhill Street on a first come, first served basis.
Aberdeen supporters will be accommodated in the McEwan Fraser Legal (South) Stand. Pre-purchased tickets are for allocated seating.
A reminder that tickets purchased for the original fixture are still valid with turnstiles opening at 6.30pm. There are also cash gates at Fir Park on the night.
Please refer to the Motherwell FC Web Site which highlights their Supporter’s Code of Conduct Policy and their stance on unacceptable behaviour. Posters are displayed around the stadium highlighting the ground regulations and acceptable behaviour regulations. These mirror the policies of Aberdeen Football Club. With pyrotechnics and alcohol in mind, robust searching will be carried out on approach to the stadium. Please comply with any requests from stewards. This is necessary to detect and deter prohibited items being brought into the stadium. Searches are carried out to deter anybody thinking of bringing in prohibited items.
Aberdeen supporters may smoke outside the South Stand under the back of the stand. Vaping is only allowed in the concourse and not in the seated areas.
Flags will be assessed by the stewards and any final decision will be made by the Event Safety Team. Strictly no surfing flags. Stewards will give guidance on where flags can be displayed.
If you can’t make the game we will have live audio commentary from 7.30pm on REDTV. Post match we will have reaction, highlights and a full-match replay.
Enjoy the game and Stand Free!
Match Page - Formation
Match Page - Text Commentary
Quick fire double sends Dons up to second
Derek McInnes made one change to the side that defeated St Johnstone 4-1 the previous weekend with Kari Arnason replacing Gary Mackay-Steven in the starting XI.
The Dons lined up in a 4-5-1 formation with Lewis in goal; Logan, Arnason, McKenna and Considine at the back; a midfield of O’Connor, McLean and Shinnie with Stewart and Christie supporting Stevie May up front.
In horrible conditions following over 24 hours worth of torrential rain and sleet, The Dons got the game underway. Despite the adverse weather the surface was looking very good.
There were no clear cut chances in the opening five minutes and the play was fairly even.
On six minutes, Stevie May did well to collect the ball and sent in a cross towards Kenny McLean but his ball over had a touch too much on it and Carson gathered at the back post.
The visitors began to produce some nice free flowing football and on nine minutes, May found McLean and after a neat exchange Kenny tried a shot but it went wide of the target and didn’t trouble Carson. Four minutes later, Christie tried to thread the ball through to Shinnie who had made a good run through the ‘Well defence but Aldred did well to cut it out.
After 15 minutes a swift move up field allowed Shinnie to try a shot but the captain’s right footed effort flew over the bar. A short time later, The Dons won a free kick- it was played quickly to Greg Stewart who did superbly well to race in off the right hand side, beating Hendrie then Aldred but unfortunately he lifted his effort just over the bar.
The first ten minutes were quite even but the next ten minute period saw Aberdeen start to take control of proceedings.
The Dons won the first corner of the match on the 22nd minute as they began to dominate the match. A poor clearance from Hendrie bounced off McLean but his shot was deflected behind. Then a few minutes later, Stewart lifted a neat ball to the back post but McLean’s header was well blocked by Kipre for a second corner.
On the 29th minute the home side won a dubious looking free kick about 30 yards from goal- Arnason adjudged to be the offender. Campbell took the free-kick but a Motherwell head knocked the ball harmlessly behind for a goal kick.
A nice exchange down the left between May and Considine sent The Dons full back away down the left, he got the better of Kipre and delivered a low cross but Frear managed to clear. Another fine move from the Dons.
When in possession they were passing the ball about well and without the ball their pressing was knocking Motherwell off their stride. The blue jerseys were hunting in packs and snapping into tackles.
The 38th minute saw Aberdeen win another corner, more good attacking play eventually saw the ball fall for Ryan Christie but his deflected effort went wide and out for a corner which was taken by McLean but held comfortably by Carson.
Despite having little to do for most of the half Joe Lewis was called into action on 39 minutes when Motherwell arguably had the best chance so far. Tait dinked a ball into the back-post area where Frear headed the ball back across goal but Lewis got a strong arm on it and The Dons defence cleared.
With five minutes remaining of the half, McLean tried another effort which was again held comfortably by Carson. A couple of minutes later, the Dons won a free kick when Kipre barged into the back of Shinnie. Stevie May took the set piece but it was straight at Carson again as the first half ended goalless.
Aberdeen had plenty of good possession but they could not get the break of the ball inside the area.
HT Motherwell 0-0 Aberdeen
There was a substitution at half time with Campbell being replaced by Bigirimana.
A short time into the second half Motherwell won their first corner of the evening. Cadden curled in the set piece, Aldred got his head on it and the ball just went wide of the post. Had the effort been on target Aberdeen had enough players on the line, one of them would surely have cleared.
The home side though had started the second period well and then Curtis Main tried a driven effort after an Arnason slip – Lewis held at the second attempt on increasingly greasy surface.
Motherwell were certainly offering more now and had the better of the opening 15 minutes of the second period. Main was causing problems but Arnason and McKenna were standing up well to the physical battle.
After 57 minutes, the home side broke upfield with purpose and Frear won a corner. A couple of minutes later, a long ball out of the defence looked to be under the control of Kipre but May did well to put him off and won the ball off him inside the box but a deflection took it into the path of Carson – possibly via the aid of a hand.
On the hour mark the home side won a free kick in a dangerous area, only 25 yards from goal. Main’s effort canned off the wall and went behind for a corner. Aberdeen cleared but a short time after ‘Well won another corner. Some sustained pressure and this was by far Motherwell’s best spell.
On 63 minutes a second Motherwell change, MacLean came on for Frear.
A minute later, after more good link play from Greg Stewart, McLean whipped in a great ball which Aldred did really well to head behind as there were a lot of blue shirts bursting into the area.
The ball was swung in by McLean from the corner and headed powerfully into the back of the net by Kari Arnason! The Dons had the all-important first goal. A really strong header from Kari.
As the Aberdeen fans celebrated, they did not have long to wait for the second.
Two minutes later a Logan throw in at the corner flag saw more intricate play from Greg Stewart and Kenny McLean on the right. Shay found McLean who produced a smart reverse pass for Stewart. Greg played the ball back into the path of Kenny who drove into the box and unleashed a fine low effort which beat Carson and landed in the far corner of the net. A quality finish from the midfielder.
McLean and Stewart had linked up really well all evening.
The quick fire two goals had stunned the home side.
The visitors continued to press the home side intensively. Christie won a throw in off Tait on the far side, he took it quickly to Shinnie who drove forward and found May but his effort went over the bar. Stevie again put in a power of work during the 90 minutes and unsettled the Motherwell back three.
The Dons then won a free kick wide on the left as Tait picked up a yellow card for hauling back McLean. A few minutes later, some neat skill from McKenna down by the corner flag drew some loud applause from the 962 members of the Red Army in the stand behind the goal!
Aberdeen were by now in complete control and were picking up all the second balls.
With five minutes remaining, Kari Arnason and Shinnie appeared to run into one another and the Icelander came off worse and had to be replaced By Dominic Ball. In the closing stages Greg Stewart, who had an outstanding game, was replaced by Rooney and Christie came off for Wright.
The game was over as a contest as it petered out and Aberdeen were able to see out the four minutes of injury time comfortably. A very good win against an inform Motherwell side. Also a really encouraging performance.
FT Motherwell 0-2 Aberdeen