Blogs & Opinion


Stuart McCall has impressed with Motherwell re-building job, says Andy Walker

Andy Walker - Andy Walker Posted 16th April 2014 view comments

Motherwell go into their home match with Scottish champions Celtic on Saturday with high hopes of finishing runners-up in the Scottish Premiership, a match you can see live on Sky.

Given the amount of experienced players who left Fir Park before a ball was kicked this season, manager Stuart McCall has done another remarkable job in steering his new-look side into the top half of the table.

McCall: Will test his impressive side against Celtic on Saturday

McCall: Will test his impressive side against Celtic on Saturday

In all honesty, if you had told Motherwell fans at the start of the season that they would be fighting for a top six spot, I think many of them would have been happy at that.

In comparison to everyone else in the top half, Motherwell's resources and playing budget would suggest they would be competing in the lower half of the table.

The fact Motherwell are fighting for a runners-up slot is testimony to the excellent job both the players and manager have done.

Andy Walker
Quotes of the week

The fact that they are still fighting with Aberdeen for a runners-up slot is testimony to the excellent job that both the players and manager have done.

When you consider that regular first eleven players Nicky Law, Chris Humphrey, Michael Higdon, Henrik Ojamma, Tom Hateley and goalkeeper Darren Randolph left in the summer, it has been yet another impressive and successful rebuilding job by McCall and his coaching staff.

Who knows, had things been different it might have been Stuart McCall leading Sheffield Utd out in next month's FA Cup Final?

McCall was approached to take over at Bramall Lane but refused the opportunity to return to management in England in favour of a commitment to Motherwell and it's a decision that has worked out well for both parties.

Platform

Having started my own career at Motherwell before earning a move to Celtic, I know from first hand experience that Fir Park provides an excellent platform for many to learn and develop into better players.

The biggest quality Stuart McCall seems to have is his success in building one good team after another. On an annual basis, players leave Motherwell for better contracts or bigger clubs and yet McCall consistently refreshes his team to make them good enough to challenge for second and third place and European football.

That's not easy on a fraction of the budget available in comparison to Aberdeen, Dundee Utd, Hibs or Hearts.

Like most clubs of their size, everything revolves around the playing budget at Motherwell and the lure of finishing second to Celtic is the added revenue that will bring.

The SPFL pay £1.68million to the team finishing behind the champions and £1.44million is on offer for third place, a big difference to a club of that stature, who then compete in the qualifying rounds for Europe.

Another aspect of finishing second as opposed to third, which will be of more interest to the players, is an extra two weeks' rest in the summer. The qualifying ties for the Europa League can be early or mid July, depending on where you finish.

Hard

With five games to go against everyone else in the top half, it doesn't come much harder than a game against the champions.

Celtic have been relentless in their pursuit of the title and the biggest compliment to manager Neil Lennon is the consistency he has managed to get out of his players.

With just one solitary league defeat to their name, Celtic's players will be keen to ensure a record points total for the season.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Graeme Souness

Souness: Stevie still a star

Graeme Souness says Steven Gerrard would still get into the starting XI of any Premier League team....

Guillem Balague

Balague: Contenders not ready

Athletic, Sevilla and Valencia haven't yet got what it takes to crack the top three, says Guillem Balague....

Gary Neville

Neville blames Toon signings

Gary Neville says Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is suffering for failing to sign enough experience....

Latest News RSS feeds

Pardew job safe for now

Sky sources understand that Alan Pardew’s job as manager of Newcastle United remains safe for the time being.

Sporting v Chelsea preview

Sporting Lisbon host Chelsea at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in the Champions League with both chasing a first Group G win.

Manchester City v Roma preview

Premier League champions Manchester City welcome Roma to the Etihad Stadium for their Champions League Group E clash.

United hit by Herrera injury

Manchester United have confirmed that Ander Herrera suffered a fractured rib against West Ham on Saturday.

Rodgers: No Liverpool unrest

Brendan Rodgers denies there is unrest within the Liverpool camp in Basel after a stuttering start to the season.

Features

Champions League ones to watch

Champions League ones to watch

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN V BARCELONA

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

Champions League: Andre Villas Boas has made a strong start to his time in charge of Zenit St Petersburg

“If we win all nine matches, Zenit will be champions.” The words of Andre Villas Boas upon being named Zenit St Petersburg manager in March seemed wildly optimistic given the circumstances.

Champions League: Francesco Totti hoping to star for AS Roma against Manchester City at the age of 38 years old

Champions League: Francesco Totti hoping to star for AS Roma against Manchester City at the age of 38 years old

If the country’s island mentality dictates that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had to score four goals in an international friendly for Sweden before having his genius recognised in England, then Francesco Totti really is in trouble. The Roma icon’s record on English soil is bewilderingly bad.