Fir Park

Ground No. 83
Visited - Sunday 15th January 2006
Result - Motherwell 0-1 Rangers
Competition - Scottish Premier League
Attendance - 10,689

With Wolves’ game against Luton having been moved to a Friday night, it gave me the opportunity to visit another ground, so after much deliberation I eventually decided to make a weekend of it in Scotland, getting two grounds done over two days. The first trip had been to Celtic Park on the Saturday, before going to Fir Park on Sunday. It was somewhat fortunate that Motherwell had been scheduled to play, as other than perhaps one of the Edinburgh clubs, it was just about the only ground in all of Scotland that I could visit and still catch the train back home on the same day, with the last one stopping in Motherwell itself before going on down to England.

I’d stayed in Glasgow overnight, so it wasn’t a long journey down to Motherwell, only about 20 minutes by train, although I got off at Airbles, which was closest to the ground, going down there to take some pictures before the turnstiles opened.

From the outside, it is a fairly impressive looking ground, probably seeming larger than it is due to the rather intimate setting of the tight streets and buildings around it. Both the Davie Cooper and South Stand are modern and look to have been built to a high standard, without a breeze block in sight! The Main Stand is somewhat older, although still reasonably impressive, built in a similar style to the two ends (or more accurately, the two ends are built in a similar style to it), with the exterior being predominantly made of bricks, in an appealing style. The only side that lets the ground down really is the East Stand, which is quite bland and even smaller than it looks from the inside!

Once inside, the ground really does come alive, and although not the biggest or most modern, it does have character everywhere you look. Dominating the ground is the South Stand, which is easily the tallest structure there. At one end of the ground, it is two tiered with a large roof and sides that really box it in, especially with two floodlight pylons attached to the side of it. At the opposite end is the Davie Cooper Stand, which is about half the size of the South Stand, being single tiered with another big roof with advertisements running across the top. Next to it, the East Stand is the smallest part of the ground, running the length of the pitch, and again has a low, but big roof being dominated by the advertisements, but it doesn’t look too bad with the seat colours/patterns being quite unique and attractive. Completing the Fir Park picture is the Main Stand, which is probably the most interesting feature at the ground. Running for only two-thirds of the length of the pitch, its supporting steelwork actually comes out of one side of the roof, and runs the full length of the pitch, where there’s a large gap which couldn’t be built on. Despite this, the stand is fairly big, going back a long way, with the front rows raised from pitch level.

After getting enough pictures, I headed off back in the direction of town, spending about an hour there before coming back to the ground and going in after a quick stop off in the club shop. I had bought tickets in the Davie Cooper Stand, and was situated right on the back row, which with the overhang of the roof, although offering a decent view of the pitch, it did unfortunately cut off some of the ground.

When the game got started, the ground was mostly full, and with the noise from the Motherwell fans in the Cooper Stand, it seemed to inspire the home team on, and from the off they really took the game to Rangers. In just the second minute, the home fans were nearly celebrating, when after a couple of saved shots, the ball fell to Brian Kerr, who from the edge of the area smashed the ball against the woodwork, before it went out for a goal-kick. Rangers did have their chances, and it looked like they might take the lead halfway through the first half, when a deflected shot troubled the home keeper, and there was relief all round when a Bob Malcolm header went just over the bar, falling onto the roof of the net, but despite this Motherwell were still dominating, and in the 35th minute nearly went ahead after a header from a corner was cleared off the line, but despite all the pressure, the referee blew his whistle at half-time with the score still at 0-0.

In the second half, whatever Alex McLeish said to his team at half-time, it must have worked, because after a close miss from Buffel, Rangers took the lead on 55 minutes when Peter Lovenkrands smashed the ball in from close range after a pull back from Marvin Andrews. Despite this setback, the hosts didn’t lie down, and still tried to find an equaliser, going close on two occasions, only to be denied by the impressive Waterreus in the Rangers goal. Sadly, all their effort eventually came to nothing, and with stoppage time having been played, the game eventually finished 1-0 to the visitors.

Throughout the game, helped by the acoustics in the Davie Cooper Stand, the home fans really got behind their team, although not just from there, there was noise coming from the East Stand as well, although despite this, other than for a brief time in the second half, the Rangers fans never really got going. There was no sign of trouble inside or out, and so the day passed off well.

Once the game was finished, it was a brisk walk back to the station, getting there just in time to get on the train home, which was a fairly long journey, especially with a detour between Carlisle and Preston, but it was worth it, having seen two good games, and two fantastic grounds over the weekend.

Overall I was quite impressed with Fir Park, the home fans really helped add to it, and although the distance will probably restrict any future visits, I’d be quite happy to go back and see another game there.

Welcome to Fir Park

Rear of the East Stand

Rear of the South Stand

Rear of the Main Stand

Rear of the Davie Cooper Stand

Rear of the Davie Cooper Stand

The Club Shop

The Players Tunnel

The South Stand

The East Stand

The Davie Cooper Stand

The Main Stand

The Main Stand

The South Stand

The East Stand

Fir Park Panoramic 1

Fir Park Panoramic 2

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