Liam Kelly insists there is still plenty of reason for optimism at Motherwell despite a disappointing draw with depleted Dundee.
The Fir Park goalkeeper saw his side make it 10 games without a Premiership win on Saturday after a 1-1 draw against Mark McGhee’s side, who were without six players due to Covid.
Stephen O’Donnell’s error gifted Paul McMullan the opener for Dundee after six minutes, but Joe Efford’s first goal for Motherwell 12 minutes later salvaged a point in what goes down as a huge opportunity missed by the Steelmen to bolster their top six hopes.
They slipped to eighth after the result and remain just a point off fourth place Hibs, with Livingston, Ross County, Dundee United, St Mirren and Aberdeen also vying for a top-half finish and that final European place.
While it may be a painful result right now, Kelly believes it could be a big point in the grand scheme of their season and insists his side will stay positive.
The ‘Well No.1 said: The league is so tight. It’s so close. Hibs drew with St Johnstone and we drew with Dundee. There’s not much between the teams – that’s why it’s so close.
“You never know, we might look back and think this point was important.
“When we got to 1-1 it might have been easy for us to get stung again on the counter. But we never gave many opportunities away.
“It was a mistake for the goal which can happen. I have made mistakes, we have all made plenty of mistakes.
“We are trying to be positive and look forward to the games coming up. There’s no point moaning about what’s happened, we can’t do anything about it now, we just need to get on with it and try and finish fourth.
“We have not been doing enough to win games. We have been giving away soft goals and giving teams something to hang onto.
“We are among the pack fighting for the fourth spot. It’s realistic target for everyone from fourth down to 10th.
“Aberdeen could easily still finish fourth. It’s very close, exciting, and there’s plenty of reason still to be optimistic.
“But we know we need to be a lot better.”
League business is on the back-burner for now, however, as attention now turns to Scottish Cup quarter-final action for the Steelmen.
On Sunday they welcome Hibs, aiming to avenge last season’s penalty shootout heartbreak at Easter Road when the sides drew 2-2 after extra-time at the same stage of the competition.
And Kelly knows booking a Hampden semi-final date would be a huge boost for the club.
He added: “Hibs beat us on penalties at this stage last season. I think us and Hibs are maybe on a similar run.
“We both had good results against the Old Firm then both drew at home in games that a lot of people would have expected us to win.
“We will be right up for that game. It’s an opportunity to get to Hampden and our fans have been brilliant with us even through this sticky patch so it would be nice to repay them by getting 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.