Motherwell boss hails players’ courage in winless run adversity as they end streak to boost top six bid

Motherwell boss Graham Alexander joked his side needed umbrellas to shield themselves from all the criticism that’s come their way of late.

But he praised his Steelmen for showing courage in the face of adversity to end their 11-game wait for a win, as it rained goals in a thrilling triumph over St Mirren.

A pulsating Premiership clash at Fir Park delivered six-goals and put Motherwell’s top-six destiny firmly in their own hands, with a win at Livingston in the final pre-split clash next week guaranteeing their spot.

As has often been the case this season, the Fir Park side conceded the first goal when Eamonn Brophy pounced to net an early opener and give ex-Well boss Stephen Robinson a dream start on his Fir Park return.

It would have been easy for heads to go down and fear the winless streak would stretch to 12 games, but instead Alexander’s side responded emphatically with two-goals in a minute from Sean Goss and Connor Shields to turn the game on its head in a breathless first half that served up five goals.

Conor McCarthy pulled the Buddies level before Dean Cornelius put ‘Well back in front on the stroke of half time, while a Richard Tait own goal late on – originally credited to Shields – sealed the win and saw ‘Well climb to fifth in the table with their first victory since Boxing Day.

Asked how he had found the recent criticism, Alexander said: “I’ve had 34 years of it, don’t worry. It’s like living in Scotland, it’s going to rain sometimes.

“It doesn’t make it a rubbish country, you still want to live here and work here.

Connor Shields clips the ball past Dean Lyness

“It’s the same in football. I love it, but sometimes it rains and you have to put your umbrella up and take it sometimes.

“And sometimes you haven’t got an umbrella and you get soaked.

“It’s life, it’s not an issue.

“How can you say some of it isn’t warranted because we haven’t won for 11 games?

“But I knew we were better than what our results had shown.

“Sometimes you have to keep your council, work hard and believe in your players.

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“Even if we hadn’t won today, I love working with them.

“I’m delighted because I thought the players were superb today.

“We went to goal down – just to stick to the script – but the response was fantastic from the players.

“We knew we’d been on a difficult run and we had to show a lot of confidence to come back from a goal down and take the lead.

Motherwell’s Connor Shields celebrates as he makes it 2-1 during a cinch Premiership match between Motherwell and St. Mirren.

“They got an equalizer but we just kept on going, full of belief, confidence and courage so it was brilliant.

“I’m really proud of them because we’ve had to sit there and take the criticism with the results, we couldn’t really fight against it.

“But today we passed the ball brilliantly, worked hard for each other and it was a great performance from start to finish.”

The Steelmen now know they can seal their spot and keep up the chase for a European place with a win at Livingston next week.

But Alexander isn’t getting carried away with just four points separating fourth place from 10th in an incredibly tight table.

He added: “We just look at the league and no-one can call anything.

“We’ve just got to do what we’ve done and focus on a result and not what it means.

“It’s hard because we are going into the last game before the split, but we have to focus on how we play as a team, how we defend, how we attack and let everything else take care of itself.

“I felt that’s what the players did today.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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