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Page last updated at 15:36 GMT, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:36 UK

Motherwell team guide

BBC Sport's guide to Motherwell.

How did Well finish last season? The Steelmen edged out Dundee United and Hibs for third spot and the prize of a Uefa Cup spot.

Motherwell FC

Manager: 'Well gaffer Mark McGhee performed miracles in his first term at Fir Park, turning a bunch of lacklustre underachievers - who finished 10th the previous season - into a side who emerged as the best of the rest behind the Old Firm.

The former Aberdeen and Celtic striker has a mixed record with previous clubs Brighton, Millwall, Wolves, Leicester and Reading.

Captain: Paul Quinn took over the leadership duties following the tragic death of Phil O'Donnell, until a fracas outside a nightclub in April saw McGhee strip him of the captaincy. The defender was sidelined for the rest of the season with a broken jaw and Stephen Craigan took over the armband.

The Northern Ireland defender is favourite to retain the honour.

Scottish top-flight highlights: Last season's emotional campaign will live long in the collective memory of fans. The Steelmen enjoyed a third-place finish in 1994 and went one better the following year. Motherwell have been Scottish champions once - way back in 1932.

Motherwell legend: How many legends have to wait 10 years after they've left a club to get a testimonial match? Dougie Arnott's official legendary status has been on hold for over a decade after making more than 200 appearances for the Steelmen in the 1980s and 90s.

The diminutive striker was a constant pest for more imposing defenders during one of the most fruitful periods in Motherwell's history. And the so-called 'Hammer of the Old Firm' will finally be rewarded for his efforts with a match in his honour in September against a... wait for it... Old Firm select.

Motherwell forward David Clarkson

Star man: Chris Porter topped Motherwell's goalscoring charts, but it was David Clarkson who was the fans' favourite. Clarkson's season reached its lowest ebb when his uncle, O'Donnell, collapsed and died of heart failure during a match against Dundee United on 29 December.

But the young striker soldiered on heroically to bag 12 league goals, which aided Well's progress into Europe, and even scored a Marco-van-Basten-esque goal on his Scotland debut against Czech Republic in May.

Strengths: McGhee has instilled a team spirit into the club that has been hitherto AWOL since the days of Terry Butcher. There is a togetherness about Motherwell, partly brought about by a turbulent season on and off the pitch.

McGhee's team consistently punched above their weight but ultimately deserved their European place.

Weaknesses: McGhee has pinpointed defensive deficiencies, especially from high balls and set-pieces, as the fatal flaw of his nascent side. And he's dead right.

Silly mistakes, loss of concentration and defenders posted missing in action cost Well dearly on several occasions last season. If they are to make any impression in the Uefa Cup and repeat their lofty third position in the SPL then McGhee will have to shore up his back four. The Well boss was understandably frustrated after missing out on snaring Celtic's John Kennedy on loan.


Our verdict: It will be interesting to see how Motherwell and McGhee deal with the 'second season syndrome'. Having set high standards, it may be tough to repeat last term's success but Fir Park will always be a tough place to go and a top-six finish should be no trouble.

see also
Aberdeen team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Aberdeen
Celtic team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Celtic
Dundee United team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Dundee Utd
Falkirk team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Falkirk
Hamilton Academical team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hamilton
Hearts team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hearts
Hibernian team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Hibernian
Inverness CT team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Inverness CT
Kilmarnock team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Kilmarnock
Rangers team guide
05 Aug 08 |  Rangers
St Mirren team guide
05 Aug 08 |  St Mirren

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