Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell was thrilled his players responded to his half-time criticism after watching them come from behind to beat Livingston.

The visitors trailed at the break to Tete Yengi’s third-minute strike but improved in the second 45 minutes after scoring through Sam Nicholson, Blair Spittal and substitute Jack Vale.

The win moves the Steelmen to within three points of the cinch Premiership top six, while Livingston are now seven points adrift at the bottom.

Kettlewell said: “It showed great character coming here. You can see their team was up after the first goal, which was really poor and I was really annoyed at half-time.

“It wasn’t how we passed the ball, it was the fact we all had eyes for the ball. It was a great reaction, the guys got some stick at half-time and the goals were of sheer quality.

“But once we get that organisation behind the ball it worked for us.”

Asked if his team now had their sights on top six, Kettlewell, whose team face Rangers at the weekend, added: “We have to, we won’t get carried away because it’s one victory, one win but we have to set the bar high.

“Simply from my side it’s about the performance, especially the second half. If we can piece together that first half against Celtic then we can put on a real show.

“It needs to be bigger picture. We’ve had so many strong performances since the turn of the year and games we should have won.

“We’ve conceded cheap and soft goals which happened tonight but play like we did in the second half then I think we can compete with most teams.

“That creative flair we have, the ruthless edge to score.

“We’re maybe third or fourth top scorers in the division and that speaks volumes for replacing someone like Kevin van Veen.

“We’ll need that to continue and that can set the bar for where we want to be and where we want to go.”

Livingston made the perfect start but ended the game looking like a team that were heading for relegation.

Manager Davie Martindale admits his side looked vulnerable after Motherwell equalised in the 49th minute through Nicholson.

He said: “Of course it’s confidence. That group at the start went to Easter Road (against Hibs), good value, shape and discipline.

“Now we look a million miles away from that and it’s down to belief.

“First half we gave up a wee bit of territory but that was part of the game plan.

“It probably gave them a wee bit more than I’d hoped. I thought we looked a threat on the counter.

“Shamal George didn’t have a lot to do then we go out and lose an early goal, a cheap goal.

“The game became very difficult for the players, position, form, eats into that.”

Motherwell came from behind to beat bottom side Livingston 3-1 and enhance their cinch Premiership top six hopes.

Livingston had taken the lead after only three minutes through Tete Yengi but Sam Nicholson levelled minutes into the second half before Blair Spittal notched a sublime goal.

Substitute Jack Vale compounded Livingston’s woes with a third in the 87th minute.

Motherwell climbed to within three points off the top six, while Livingston sit seven points adrift at the foot of the table with only 10 games left.

The home team made a fast start and Yengi gave them the lead following a flowing move.

The Australian was involved at the start with a lay-off to Bruce Anderson and the striker’s reverse pass set Daniel MacKay clear. His shot was blocked by Liam Kelly but the ball broke to Yengi and he swept a shot into the empty net.

It was the just the start Livingston needed after losing to an agonising stoppage-time goal in the weekend’s relegation battle at Ross County.

Motherwell could have levelled five minutes later but Bevis Mugabi headed a Spittal free-kick wide from 10 yards.

The visitors enjoyed plenty of possession but were struggling to create any clear-cut chances in the final third.

Their next opening did not come until the 28th minute when Spittal got on the end of Adam Devine’s pass inside the box but his miscued effort drifted wide.

MacKay had a shot saved by Kelly at the other end before the visitors finished the half strongly.

Spittal was again involved as he got on the end of a Stephen O’Donnell cross and his first-time shot was deflected just over.

From Spittal’s resulting free-kick Livingston goalkeeper Shamal George pushed Mugabi’s header behind.

Motherwell brought on Vale at the break and Stuart Kettlewell’s side drew level just four minutes later.

O’Donnell again delivered a cross from the right and this time Nicholson glanced a header beyond George from close range.

Livingston were dealt another blow after injured goalkeeper George had to be replaced by Michael McGovern in the 57th minute.

Motherwell grew in confidence after fighting back and Kettlewell’s team went ahead in the 71st minute with a sublime effort from Spittal.

Paul McGinn’s cross fell to the playmaker on the edge of the box and he smashed an unstoppable left-footed half-volley into the top corner.

Vale then made sure of the points when he nodded home three minutes from time.

Adam Idah believes the pressure of playing for Celtic is bringing out the best in him after he stepped up to the mark at Motherwell.

Idah came off the bench at Fir Park with the home side deservedly one ahead at half-time and Celtic at major risk of falling further behind Rangers in the cinch Premiership title race.

The on-loan Norwich striker came to Celtic’s rescue with a well-taken double before Luis Palma grabbed another stoppage-time goal to earn a 3-1 win and cut the gap back to two points.

Idah said: “Look, there’s always going to be pressure going into any game. There’s always pressure at Celtic because it’s such a big club and the demands on everyone are huge.

“I think for us players, you need pressure. It can be tough at times but we are all experienced enough to deal with that pressure and keep going.

“I think I thrive off pressure. That’s what excites me. For a lot of players, that’s what you play football for.

“That pressure gives you that bit of motivation. I know for me, that’s when I play my best.”

Just like against Hibernian earlier this month, Idah’s second goal came four minutes into stoppage-time.

“I’m aware of Celtic and late goals,” the 23-year-old said. “We actually watched the clips before the game of Matty O’Riley scoring at Motherwell in the 96th minute.

“But it’s just that attitude of never giving up. I could see it as soon as I came in. Everyone is so hard-working in training, so professional.

“You see it in the games. They never give up, everyone is willing to put in that extra per cent to get results. You saw that on Sunday and it turned out well.”

Idah netted two penalties at Easter Road and he was delighted to double his Celtic tally at Fir Park without the aid of spot-kicks.

“It’s obviously very pleasing,” the Republic of Ireland international said. “The two penalties were great but you do want to score from open play.

“To do that on Sunday and the way it went was unbelievable for me and my confidence as a striker.

“My job is getting goals so I was delighted. That’s what I’ve come here to try to do. I want to score as many goals as I can and help the team.

“The team is helping me by putting balls in the box and making me the reference point. Overall we are working well with each other.”

Motherwell supporters are set to be given some major decisions to make following several proposals to invest in the fan-owned club.

Outgoing chairman Jim McMahon revealed at Motherwell’s annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had received “four or five serious approaches” following a recent announcement that the club were open to investment.

Talks with two of those interested parties – one American and one multi-national – have “progressed rapidly” but both would result in significant dilution of the Well Society’s 71 per cent stake.

With the interested parties keen to push forward, Well Society members are set to be consulted given at least one of the proposals would reduce their shareholding below 50 per cent, while members have been promised the final say on whether to accept a concrete offer.

The Well Society was set up in 2011 and assumed a majority stake five years later. It has close to 4,000 members, who have already invested £1million in the club, mostly in the form of a loan, while about £750,000 is in a reserve fund.

The news came on the backdrop of financial results which showed the club made a £1.6million loss last season.

McMahon claimed the loss was “fully anticipated, managed and primarily the result of various long-term strategic decisions made by the club in recent years”. The club have invested heavily in Fir Park, including a new £1.2million hybrid pitch, new PA and CCTV systems among other projects.

Turnover was £6.4million, an increase of more than £800,000, the majority of which can be attributed to a rise in income from UEFA.

Staff costs last season were £5.1m, down slightly on the previous campaign. The first-team player budget fell by £340,000, mainly because of a reduction in bonuses, while other staff costs increased by £184,000, partly because of compensation costs to departed managers Graham Alexander and Steven Hammell and their assistants.

As a comparison, fan-owned St Mirren spent £4.3million on their staff costs last season after reaching the top six of the cinch Premiership.

Motherwell have spent significantly more on wages than the likes of St Mirren and Kilmarnock since becoming fan owned but McMahon and interim chief executive Derek Weir have both talked about a funding gap in recent months and the challenge of competing with the likes of Hearts and Hibernian, who have benefited from external funds.

The club had £1.75million cash on May 31 last year, down from more than £4million from 12 months earlier. They expect to have at least £500,000 in the bank at the end of the current financial year but say they have had a profitable season this time round.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that manager Stuart Kettlewell has a contract until the end of next season.

It was widely believed that Kettlewell’s contract was due to expire in the summer as Motherwell had declared his deal was “initially to May 2024” when he was appointed exactly 12 months ago. However, a one-year extension was triggered when Motherwell avoided relegation last season.

The club’s recruitment of a new chief executive is ongoing with Weir scheduled to depart in five weeks. McMahon steps down at the end of the season and another director, Andrew Wilson, has now resigned.

Hearts manager Steven Naismith hailed the improvements his players have made to their mentality after watching them beat Motherwell 2-0 to collect an eighth successive win.

Second-half goals from Lawrence Shankland and Kenneth Vargas sent the Gorgie side 14 points clear in third place in the Premiership.

Hearts have won 11 of their last 12 games in a fruitful spell stretching back to December and Naismith insists there have been vast improvement on and off the pitch in that period.

He said: “There has definitely been a mentality shift for sure.

“We go into every game wanting to win. We understand there are times where we need to take risks and there are times like today where we need to be patient.

“You can’t get sucked into a fight or get frustrated. It’s these wee small things that change the mentality and the progression of the team.

“There is definitely a mentality shift in what we expect from each other and also what we expect the outcome to be.

“Yeah there’s going to be bumps in the road and we will get beat and things like that, but I think we will react to those situations better than we would have a year ago.”

After a nondescript first half, Shankland took his goal tally for the season to 25 when he headed in Alan Forrest’s free-kick in the 67th minute.

Vargas wrapped up the points in injury time with a fine finish from close range.

Despite moving to within 10 points of second-place Rangers – who travel to St Johnstone on Sunday – Naismith played down any suggestion of Hearts catching either half of the Old Firm.

He added: “They’re (Celtic and Rangers) still a bit ahead.

“We will get to April/May and if we are fortunate enough to be close then you can dream.

“But for us, we just need to keep winning games and the gap (to fourth place) will be bigger. We know as a squad but it’s week to week.

“The way we managed the game today, our speed of attack, these are the real markers of progression for me which should ultimately lead to success.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell was furious that his players switched off for the opening goal.

He said: “There is real frustration with what feels like our Achilles heel.

“You have the top marksman in the country who is absolutely flying at the moment and we give him the freedom of our box.

“It’s good delivery into our box but, and I said this to the players, you can deal with these moments to 95 per cent of the game at venues like these and you need to be 100 per cent in a game like this.”

Lawrence Shankland scored his 25th goal of the season as in-form Hearts moved 14 points clear in third place with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell.

After a nondescript first half Shankland set the hosts on their way to an eighth successive win with a header in the 67th minute.

Substitute Kenneth Vargas then wrapped up the points with a fine finish in stoppage time.

Motherwell made a promising start with Jake Vale forcing his way into the box but the forward’s shot from a tight angle flew wide.

At the other end, visiting goalkeeper Liam Kelly was forced into making a save to keep out an attempted clearance from team-mate Paul McGinn with the defender under pressure from Alex Cochrane’s menacing free-kick.

Hearts enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled to create any meaningful openings in the final third against a Motherwell team that were looking to hit on the counter.

But Hearts goalkeeper Zander Clark was not completely redundant at the other end, with the Scotland international being forced to push Dan Casey’s ambitious half-volley from 40 yards over his bar.

The visitors broke at speed every time they got the chance of a counter and Lennon Miller passed up a great chance in the 37th minute.

The midfielder ran clear of the Hearts rearguard from a Harry Paton pass but there was no conviction with his effort and his tame right-foot shot bounced harmlessly wide.

Hearts boss Steven Naismith brought on Natty Atkinson and Vargas at the break as the home team looked to become more of an attacking threat.

But it took Hearts time to adjust as they switched to a back four, with Motherwell enjoying a sustained spell of pressure.

Hearts soon regained their composure and Alan Forrest forced a save from Kelly with an effort from the edge of the box.

Shankland then should have done better moments later with a volley that bounced wide after being set upon by Calem Nieuwenhof.

But the Scotland striker hit the target in the 67th minute to give Hearts the lead. Forrest delivered a free-kick and the prolific 28-year-old’s downward header found the corner of the net.

Hearts grew in belief after going in front and were keen to add another, with Vargas seeing a volley glance off the post after connecting with an Atkinson cross before turning provider for Forrest with a lay-off.

The forward did well to create space inside the box but his shot was parried by Kelly.

However, Vargas made sure of the points after sweeping a shot into the net from close range in added time.

Aberdeen substitute Duk hit a double as the Dons came from three goals down to claim a 3-3 draw against Motherwell in Neil Warnock’s first league match at Pittodrie.

The visitors looked set to bounce back from their cup defeat by Morton as Theo Bair’s double and Adam Devine’s strike put them in a commanding position inside 26 minutes.

But Duk soon netted 30 seconds after coming on as part of a double substitution and the attacker levelled five minutes after the break after Stefan Gartenmann had pulled another goal back.

Both sides went on to have goals disallowed and both will no doubt be disappointed with a point, which leaves each of them three points outside the cinch Premiership top six.

With Pascal Jensen dropping out through illness, Warnock started with three defenders – Gartenmann, Nicky Devlin and Jack MacKenzie.

His side looked vulnerable at the back and Motherwell were ahead inside five minutes after Shayden Morris clumsily brought down Georgie Gent inside the box. Bair hit the penalty into the roof of the net.

Aberdeen had their moments in the opening half hour. Bojan Miovski got in behind and forced a save from Liam Kelly, while Connor Barron and Morris threatened from outside the box.

But Motherwell came closer when Kelle Roos tipped Jack Vale’s volley on to a post and stopped Bair’s follow-up.

The visitors doubled their lead in the 22nd minute when Bair tapped home Gent’s cross from five yards for his eighth goal in his last six league games.

They were three up and apparently cruising four minutes later when Devine marked his first start for the club by steering home Blair Spittal’s blocked shot after some direct running from Harry Paton had left Aberdeen’s back three exposed.

Boos rang round Pittodrie and Warnock started plotting changes which came on the half-hour mark as attacker Duk and centre-back Angus MacDonald came on for midfielders Dante Polvara and Morris.

Duk instantly made his mark, turning home after Motherwell had lost possession from their own throw-in deep in their half.

The deficit was further reduced in the 37th minute following Barron’s inswinging corner. Devlin was allowed a free header and Gartenmann converted the rebound following Kelly’s save.

The Dons continued to exploit Motherwell’s vulnerability from set-pieces. Leighton Clarkson, twice, and MacDonald threatened before the equaliser came following a throw-in. Graeme Shinnie was allowed space to cross and Duk outmuscled Devine to head into the far corner.

Aberdeen thought they had completed the turnaround midway through the second half when Miovski bundled the ball home from close range. The striker was flagged offside and a lengthy VAR check confirmed the decision, although he looked level to the naked eye.

Warnock’s side kept knocking on the door and Gartenmann headed against the crossbar from another Barron inswinger.

Motherwell were struggling to retain possession long enough to relieve the pressure, but they were celebrating in the 80th minute after Paton turned the ball home after a corner led to a goalmouth scramble.

The home side claimed for at least one foul and referee Kevin Clancy disallowed the goal after seeing Calum Butcher push Jamie McGrath with two hands on his VAR monitor.

Both managers felt Motherwell could have scored more in their 5-0 victory over Ross County.

Blair Spittal hit two brilliantly-taken goals and both Andy Halliday and Jack Vale netted their first goals for the club, while Theo Bair converted a penalty to make it six goals in five cinch Premiership games.

But Bair also had three one-one-ones, being denied twice by George Wickens and chipping just wide, and County’s two centre-backs were consistently exposed.

After his side moved a point off the top six after just a second win in 20 league games, Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell said: “It’s a top-drawer performance. To beat any team in this league 5-0, you’re playing well.

“I felt you saw what was an accumulation of what I feel has been some good performances. Sometimes you feel as if you’re patronising supporters and people in the media but I genuinely do believe we were working towards a win.

“We have been functioning well as a team, six unbeaten now, and that puts a nice finish to it with the five goals. But probably the ruthless side of me says that it could and should have been several more. We had some wonderful opportunities.

“The ruthless side of me says that we still want to work towards a better conversion rate but I have just reminded everyone it’s one game of football.”

Ross County have now collected only two points from eight games since beating Motherwell two months ago and fell six points behind their opponents.

Manager Derek Adams said: “Motherwell were the better side, obviously, scored goals and could have scored a lot more.”

Adams blamed “decision-making on and off the ball” for the heavy scoreline.

“We didn’t deal well enough with the runners,” he added. “It’s the basics of defending, isn’t it? Seeing your man in front of you. As soon as your man is in front of you then you’ve got a problem.

“The Motherwell attacker was on our shoulder a number of times and was able to get in behind. They had some good runs in behind and I thought they were excellent. They picked us off and scored five.

“Our goalkeeper, George Wickens, was very good and kept us in the game.”

Adams admitted getting out of the bottom two would be an uphill task.

“It’s very difficult because we’re five points adrift now,” he said.

“Well, we’re in the same position as we were when I came into the football club 11 games ago.

“Motherwell have had two wins in 20 games, we have had two wins in 11 games. That tells its own story. The problems are continuing.”

Theo Bair scored for a fifth consecutive cinch Premiership game as Motherwell thrashed Ross County 5-0 at Fir Park.

The former St Johnstone forward put Motherwell three up with a 38th-minute penalty to make it six goals during his run and eight for the season.

Blair Spittal struck two brilliantly-taken goals and both Andy Halliday and Jack Vale hit their first Motherwell goals as the Steelmen recorded their biggest victory since beating the same opponents by the same scoreline under Steven Hammell in October 2022.

Despite claiming only a second win in 20 league games, Stuart Kettlewell’s side moved one point off the top six and opened up a six-point lead over second-bottom County.

Derek Adams’ side have not won since beating Motherwell two months ago and have only collected two points in that period.

Bair could easily have had a hat-trick as Motherwell took advantage of an open County structure which left their two centre-backs exposed.

Motherwell were ahead in the eighth minute when Spittal fed Bair to square for Halliday to sweep home from 12 yards.

The home side doubled their lead in the 21st minute when Spittal latched on to Halliday’s pass and curled a powerful shot in off the far post from the left corner of the box.

It initially looked like being a frustrating night for Bair, who was twice set up for one-on-ones by Spittal but was foiled by George Wickens each time.

The striker could not quite reach Spittal’s low cross and was then waiting for a tap-in when Harry Paton picked the wrong option.

Bair came closer when he chested down Stephen O’Donnell’s diagonal ball and volleyed into the top corner from 18 yards, only to be denied by the offside flag.

But the Canada international got his goal after Paton was tripped by Will Nightingale, assuming penalty duties from Spittal, who missed his last effort against Alloa. Bair shrugged off a needlessly-lengthy VAR delay to send Wickens the wrong way.

County had plenty of possession in the first half but Motherwell generally blocked their way to goal with some compact defending and effective pressing. Liam Kelly comfortably saved from Simon Murray in the visitors’ only effort on target before the break.

Motherwell looked comfortable after the restart without seriously threatening and Murray missed a glorious chance to give the visitors a lifeline midway through the second half when he sent a free header wide from six yards out.

The hosts otherwise looked the far more dangerous side. Bair was again played through by Spittal and appeared to have done everything right when he dinked the ball over Wickens but his effort drifted just wide.

Wickens saved well from Georgie Gent after slack play from James Brown but the goalkeeper was well beaten in the 87th minute when Spittal curled a majestic strike into the top corner from 25 yards.

The midfielder then played a perfect pass in between the County central defence for on-loan Blackburn forward Vale to run on to and slot home in stoppage-time.

Stuart Kettlewell stressed there is plenty of room for improvement despite Motherwell overcoming a spirited display from Alloa to reach the last-16 of the Scottish Cup.

The Steelmen made the perfect start when Blair Spittal fired them ahead inside the opening minute, though Conor Sammon would stun the home crowd by levelling just before the half-hour mark.

There was a nervousness around Fir Park, though Georgie Gent’s slammed home on the hour-mark before Spittal added his second with a sublime free-kick in the closing minutes to secure victory.

“The most important thing is that we are into the hat for the next round,” Kettlewell said.

“What we often do is look at results around the country and we can see how difficult this round of the cup can be.

“A lot of people want to create an upset and the biggest thing for us was that it wasn’t here.

“I wasn’t happy with a lot of aspects of the game if I’m being honest, I think we have to sharpen a lot of our senses in how we play both in possession and out of possession.”

The Well boss was delighted at the impact of Spittal, who played an integral part in hauling his threadbare team into the next round.

Motherwell named seven academy graduates on their substitutes bench – a consequence of losing a number of key players during the winter break.

“The three goals we score are of real quality, it possibly could have been a hat-trick for Blair Spittal,” he added.

“He’ll be disappointed its not three, it’s a good save from the goalkeeper but Blair shows quality in the first minute and then shows it again towards the end.

“He’s probably the guy in my opinion that flies under the radar because he’s so consistent and so versatile.

“I think everyone can see by the nature of the squad I have at this minute that I rely on his versatility but also rely along with everyone else on the quality he showed again today.”

Alloa boss Andy Graham believes his team can hold their heads up high after competing with the Premiership opponents for long spells.

The League One side would run out of steam as the second half progressed, though caused some nervy moments for the hosts.

“The first half was really pleasing. To lose a goal against a Premiership team so early, the response to that was brilliant,” he said.

“We really grew into the game after that and deserved to be level.

“We believed we could win the game but fair play to Motherwell, their quality showed in the end.”

Motherwell chairman Jim McMahon denied their fundraising video was akin to “begging for money” as he stressed the club was not in financial difficulty.

A video that appealed directly to Hollywood celebrities and finished with a young fan saying “Taylor Swift, gie’s some dosh” has been viewed more than two million times on social media and already led to enquires about investing.

However, it sparked embarrassment among many fans and led to concerns about the finances of a club which lost £1million in the 2021-22 campaign and was expected to announce similar financial figures for last season.

McMahon stressed the fan-owned club had cumulatively broken even since the Well Society assumed majority ownership in 2016 and explained they were looking for either more members, sponsorship or new investment to “de-risk the business”.

The 74-year-old was unaware of any criticism of the advertising agency-produced video and said: “We are not desperate for money. We are financially stable and we have enough money to see us through this season, next and maybe a bit of the next.

“So I don’t see it as begging for money and I am not embarrassed by it.

“I don’t think it’s a desperate cry for money because it isn’t. If it comes across that way, I can only say to fans, ‘that’s not what it was meant to be’.

“It was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek take on some of the trends that are happening in football just now and an attempt to encourage folk into the shop.

“We had more Well Society members sign up in the first couple of hours of the video than the last two or three months. And we have already had about 10 declarations of interest – can we find out more about the ability to invest?

“It’s part of our strategy to use our other contacts, mainly into the (United) States and other parts of the world, to say: ‘Here’s what we are. Here’s what defines what we are as a club, are you interested?'”

Many fans will wonder why the club needs to seek investment after receiving a record £3.25million fee for David Turnbull in 2020 and taking up an interest-free £3m Covid-19 recovery loan from the Scottish Government.

The club’s wage costs increased by 60 per cent in five years up until the summer of 2022 and Motherwell outspent the likes of St Mirren, Kilmarnock and Ross County by £1-2million on wages during that latter season.

The Well Society has already committed more than £1m into the club, mostly through a loan that is unlikely to be repaid, and fans continue to contribute to a reserve fund.

McMahon, who plans to step down at the end of the season, admitted there was a “reasonably big gap” between costs and income if they do not perform well through player sales, cup runs or league position.

“Five, six years ago we didn’t have big injections of money from Americans or other people,” said McMahon as he denied the fan-ownership model was failing.

“James Anderson at Hearts is putting £5million a year in. You have Dave Cormack at Aberdeen. You have the Hibs money.

“There’s money coming in that is making it more difficult for us to compete on the pitch with these clubs. I think we react to it by trying to see if we can accrue money from other sources.

“We are not in financial difficulty, we are not trying to sell the club, we are trying to give it the best chance for the future. We should be examining the model continually to see if it’s still fit for purpose.

“I would tick the box of working jointly with someone whose values align with the Well Society. I guess the board would go out to the members with the proposition.”

Motherwell have launched a campaign to attract new investment from “anyone who wants to support a proper community club” – including Hollywood celebrities.

Chairman Jim McMahon recently announced plans for a fundraising initiative as he signalled his intent to step down from his Fir Park role by the end of the season “once a successor has been appointed and certain live projects have been completed”.

The cinch Premiership club – owned by the Well Society fan group – has stepped up its bid to attract new investment by releasing a light-hearted 90-second video in which players and staff members attempt to outline the appeal of the club to potential investors.

The film begins with defender Stephen O’Donnell musing: “Are you the next Hollywood celebrity looking to get involved in football? Well we’ve got a club that offers real bang for your buck.”

“We’re proudly a fan-owned club but we are always looking for ways to do more and achieve bigger things,” said McMahon.

“This is a slightly out-of-the-box approach, but with it, we hope we can increase Well Society memberships or find businesses or individuals whose values align with ours.

“Most football clubs operate at a loss and are only viable through significant annual subsidies from their owners.

“There’s a lot of talk of famous investors from the US right now so we thought it’d be fun to put our own spin on the theme, to show what we’re all about at Motherwell Football Club.

“Hopefully you can see that we’re a club that goes beyond just the 90 minutes. With things like walking football and mental health support, we’ve always helped the local community to make sure the positive effects of football can be felt off the pitch too.

“We welcome anyone who wants to support a proper community club. Whether that be new additions to the Well Society or new sponsors. And if anyone from Hollywood wants to get involved then we’re all ears.”

David Martindale told his Livingston players to take responsibility for their predicament as he labelled their first-half defending “shambolic” following a 3-1 defeat by Motherwell.

Theo Bair scored twice and set up another for Blair Spittal inside 35 minutes, with Scott Pittman pulling one back midway through the half.

Livi pushed for a lifeline after the break but never really troubled their former goalkeeper Liam Kelly as they slipped further adrift at the foot of the cinch Premiership.

Their visit to Fir Park provided a chance to cut the gap at the bottom to one point but they are now six behind Ross County, who have two games in hand.

“The first-half performance, I never saw it coming,” Martindale said. “It was well below the standard expected of Livingston players.

“They should probably have been three up before they scored. Our defending was shocking. It was shambolic. And it comes from the individuals on the park.

“I spoke to the players, we can talk about game plans, tactics, formations, it’s all bulls*** if you don’t do your one-v-one jobs properly.

“As a defensive unit, the individual errors we made in the first half were terrible.

“We get ourselves back in the game, and we shouldn’t have been anywhere the game, and we shoot ourselves in the foot again with a mistake. It gives us a mountain to climb.”

Motherwell had not won in 15 games but started brightly to leave Livi with two points from 12 matches since beating the Steelmen in West Lothian.

Martindale added: “I have sat in numerous press conferences and tried to take the pressure off the players and be positive. I don’t feel that after today’s game.

“Players need to start taking a bit more responsibility. It’s too easy in modern-day football – sack the manager, sack the manager.

“What about the players? They now need to start taking responsibility.

“I tried to take the pressure off them but we are in a relegation battle now and that first-half performance was diabolical. Second half was a bit better but not much.”

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell praised his players for their approach after they doubled their tally of first-half league goals for the season.

“Everyone has spoken about the poor run we have been on and you need to show massive character to get yourself out of that,” said Kettlewell, whose side moved up to eighth.

“I thought the first half, especially the start to the game, was indicative of where we were and what the players were pouring into the game.

“Everyone with that one cause, to break the cycle and give ourselves a chance to move up the table

“The only way we could do that was defend better, switch on better, and then from my side of things it was very purposeful in going with three strikers, and going with mobility at the top end of the pitch where we felt we could try and expose Livingston. We got joy from it.

“Second half wasn’t pretty but you know Livingston are going to fight for their cause and you know they are going to go straight up to the striker.

“So what you have to do is defend against that and the three points were always going to be the most important thing.”

Rangers beat Motherwell 2-0 at a wet and wild Fir Park and return to chasing the heels of cinch Premiership leaders Celtic.

Kieran Dowell started and finished the move for the opening goal in the fourth minute before fellow midfielder Todd Cantwell fired in a second after 16 minutes of a first half which should have brought more goals, but in a wind-affected encounter the early brace proved enough.

The Light Blues moved back to being two points behind their Old Firm rivals with a game in hand and now turn their focus to Ross County on Wednesday night, with the crucial encounter at Celtic Park on December 30 now looming large.

Philippe Clement has gone 16 games unbeaten since taking over from Michael Beale in October but, by contrast, the Steelmen have gone 15 games without a win and they remain five points ahead of second bottom Livingston.

Boss Stuart Kettlewell must wonder how and when they are going to turn it around as he prepares for the trip to Aberdeen in midweek.

An increasing injury list amid a hectic fixture schedule saw Clement make four changes, with Leon Balogun, Cantwell, Dujon Sterling and Cyriel Dessers returning with the home side unchanged.

It was a nightmare start for Kettlewell’s side who soon found themselves a goal down.

Dowell robbed Harry Paton at the edge of the Motherwell penalty area and played a one-two with Dessers before blasting the ball high past Well keeper Liam Kelly for his second goal for the Light Blues since signing in the summer from Norwich.

Well wobbled further when asked to defend.

Balogun headed a Ross McCausland cross over the bar from close range before Kelly made a save from a Connor Goldson header.

However, the second goal was on its way, arriving when left-back Ridvan Yilmaz’s cross into the box was controlled by Abdallah Sima with Cantwell running in to sweep the ball low past the diving Kelly.

A speculative drive from Callum Slattery which skipped past the Rangers goal was their only real response.

Dessers and Goldson both failed to finish from just yards out and Kelly saved a low drive from Dessers as Rangers sporadically threatened.

In the 35th minute, with the rain still cascading amid swirling wind, Dessers swung and missed the ball after Kelly had parried an angled-shot from McCausland.

Motherwell stuck to their considerable task but they could not get through to Gers keeper Jack Butland and it was Kelly who was called into action again just before the break, tipping a Cantwell drive over the bar, but the home side eventually emerged unscathed.

Motherwell, with Paul McGinn on for centre-back Bevis Mugabi, caused some problems for the Govan side at the start of the second half and Brodie Spencer headed wide from a Mika Biereth cross when he ought to have hit the target.

There was a Motherwell penalty shout in the 75th minute when Yilmaz bumped Spencer to the ground inside the Gers box but referee David Dickinson was unmoved and the Rangers escaped a melee in their penalty area moments later.

The home side’s fightback fizzled out.

Dessers had the ball in the Well net in the 82nd minute and again in stoppage time but was twice ruled offside, and there was also a VAR check for a possible penalty for handball in the Rangers box that came to nothing.

Motherwell manager Stuart Kettlewell has stressed the club’s search for investment is part of a natural drive to improve.

Chairman Jim McMahon this week announced he would step down by the end of the season and claimed the club needed “significant investment” to retain a “competitive player budget”.

Interim chief executive Derek Weir is also aiming to make way for a permanent successor by the end of March.

The board will soon unveil plans for a fund-raising initiative which they have been working on for at least two years, but the fan-owned club had never previously publicly announced their intentions.

“I think we can dramatise things,” said Kettlewell, whose team host Rangers on Christmas Eve as they search for a first win in 15 matches.

“The clearest way I can put it is this isn’t a knee-jerk reaction. I can stress from my point of view, this is only being done to see if we can move forward.

“All the add-ons about significant investment, I have read one or two stories this week about other clubs, we are all trying to improve, we are all looking for that bit more money to strive forward. It’s no different at Motherwell Football Club. That will have been a mindset for several years at this club.”

McMahon’s comments will have come as a shock to many, especially as the club received what they described as a “transformational” £3.25million fee from Celtic for David Turnbull in 2020 along with other sizeable transfer income and a £3m Covid recovery loan from the Scottish Government.

Motherwell have spent significantly more on staff costs than comparable cinch Premiership clubs – about £6m more than Kilmarnock for example during the first six seasons under fan ownership. In the 2021-22 season, their staff costs were £5.2m compared to Killie’s £3.4m and the club made a loss of about £1m.

Kettlewell and Weir worked on reducing the player budget over the summer.

“We have been really prudent, we have tried to get things to what we feel is a manageable situation,” Kettlewell said.

“Within that there’s been a dramatic reduction in numbers of players. When you have 18 or whatever senior players and you have three, four, five injuries, it brings its challenges.

“But the most important part is – and I do go hard on this – that we have to move forward now. We can’t stumble across what’s next and guess what comes next. We need to be proactive as a football club.

“Quite clearly we see there has to be a slight change of direction, a slight change of thought process.

“Times change, the cost of living changes, so to be sitting with the same or a less budget as things stand can be a challenge, because football players cost more now, the running of the stadium, the pitch, the training facilities, the academy, all these things cost lots of money.

“We have to make sure we can run all these things but also that we can try and invest and get the best playing squad possible to us.

“So that proactive thinking sometimes has to be that you think outside your box and look for slightly different alternatives, whether there can be some sort of external investment that can nudge things along the way, whether there’s other people that want to help and be involved in the football club that can make us a better version.”

Kettlewell still has a “little bit of scope” in the January transfer window.

“That can alter, I can’t tell you exactly how many that’s going to be,” he added. “What it looks like we might be able to do is bring in one or potentially two. I am not in a position where we want to be losing players.”

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