Scottish Premiership: Stuart McCall remains optimistic at Motherwell
Last Updated: 08/08/14 4:45pm
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall is targeting more highs this season and is brushing aside predictions that the Fir Park bubble will burst.
McCall has led the Steelmen to a Scottish Cup final and three top-three finishes in his three-and-a-half years in charge but finds his team written off most summers.
That was the case last year after McCall lost most of his first team but they set a new post-war points record in securing a second consecutive runners-up spot with a last-gasp win at Aberdeen.
This summer McCall lost three more players in James McFadden, Henri Anier and Shaun Hutchinson, and more prophets of doom emerged after their Europa League defeat by Icelandic side Stjarnan, who subsequently set up a play-off against Inter Milan thanks to a 1-0 aggregate win over Lech Poznan.
Motherwell go into their Scottish Premiership opener against St Mirren with the prospect of having their entire back four out injured, but McCall is ignoring the predictions and only looking to continue the enjoyment that has kept him at Fir Park despite offers from elsewhere.
McCall said: "People always say 'what can you do next? You have been there a long while'. You only have to look back at the last minute of last season. That's what I'm in football for.
"All right, we didn't win a trophy or do anything outstandingly spectacular, but the enjoyment for the group of players that had produced what they had to get to 70 points and finish second, that's why we're in the game.
"There will be challenges, there will be ups and downs. There's no doubt, just like we did last year, we'll have some massive blips and bad results and fans will say they're not going back again.
"If we can maintain the consistency and keep bouncing back, then that's what we'll try to do."
The former Scotland international added: "I don't listen to websites or forums or phone-ins, so whoever is writing us off, that's fine. We are two games into our season.
"We were written off last season. Even a minority of our own fans wrote us off when we got knocked out the cup by Albion Rovers and got beat 5-0 at home by Celtic. And rightly so.
"We are just happy going along doing the best we can. I know all the players, and the coaching staff, and everyone who works for the club, are totally committed to doing the best we can.
"If it's good enough at times, that's great, if it isn't, that's part and parcel of football. Everyone can't be winners.
"We are just looking at short-term goals. I think the minute supporters, us as a football club, take the top six for granted, then that's when we are in trouble.
"First and foremost you want to aim for top six. Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Ross County, Dundee are all talking about aiming for the top six and why shouldn't they?
"Naturally we always say we want to do better in the cup but it's about going out and doing it.
"Our aims are to win football games and try to do it in the most expansive way possible - score goals, produce good football, but the bottom line is to send people home happy with wins."