Juhani Ojala says Motherwell’s clash against Ross County this evening is a ‘six-pointer’ if the club wants to achieve its goals of reaching the Premiership top six after the split.
Graham Alexander’s side go toe-to-toe with the in-form Highlanders at Fir Park, still looking for their first league win of 2022.
Motherwell received a major boost when goals from Jordan Roberts and Kaiyne Woolery saw them fight back from 2-0 down against Rangers to draw 2-2 on Sunday, following a 1-1 draw in the league against Aberdeen and a 2-1 Scottish Cup fifth round triumph over the Dons the previous weekend.
But Finnish defender Ojala says it’s important to start getting three points on the board.
He said: “I think it’s a really important game, now. We need to go for three points. If we want to go for top six we have to win these kinds of games.
“This is almost like a six-pointer, so the only thing is the win. If you want to go top six you have to win these games.”
The 32-year-old admits frustration after a knee injury kept him out for over a month in November-December. He returned in the 2-1 Boxing Day win over Livingston – the last time Motherwell took three points – and has been in and out of the team since.
However, he climbed off the bench in the closing stages of the 2-2 draw at Ibrox, and hopes to play his part in the league run-in.
He said: “I’m back in action and it’s good. I’ve played a couple of games now and I feel good in the body and everything.
“I didn’t enjoy the situation before, it took me out for some weeks – quite a long time actually – so it feels good to be back.
“It’s an important time to be back and there is a lot to play for. There are some really important games coming now, so it’s really important we start winning, also.
“We want to get a league win under our belts [this year], we need some three points. We won the cup game, which is good, but the league is the most important thing and to get into the top six, so we need to start winning.
“I think it [the draw at Ibrox] was a really positive thing for the team and for everything, that we fought back from 2-0 down. It was a good result for us and a good point. It’s not easy to get points from Ibrox.
“We just need to start the games better than we have recently. I think we have conceded the first goal, but then we fought back in the last game, and it’s good character that we showed.
“We need to be a little bit more focused at the beginning of the games.
“Everybody here knows we have to be a little bit more focused and concentrated in the beginning of the game, and try not to concede.
“That’s recently important, because we have conceded many goals like this. We just need to try to keep the zero and go from there.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.