Motherwell boss Ian Baraclough has play-off final belief

Motherwell striker John Sutton in action against Partick Thistle
Motherwell ended a disappointing league campaign with a 0-0 at home to Partick Thistle

Manager Ian Baraclough says Motherwell will be "organised and difficult to break down" in Thursday's first leg of the play-off final with Rangers.

The Steelmen are fighting to preserve their top -light status.

"It's a cup tie," Baraclough told BBC Scotland after ending a disappointing league campaign with a 0-0 draw at home to Partick Thistle.

"We'll go there with a belief that we can come away with something to go for in the second leg."

Rangers, who finished third in the Championship, have come through play-offs with Queen of the South and Hibernian to reach this stage.

"There will be a fantastic atmosphere at Ibrox and I want that to bring the best out of our players," added Baraclough.

"Rangers are a big club but we want to give them a problem.

"The players need to come away from both games knowing they could not have given any more.

"It's 11 v 11. You need to be mentally strong to make sure your direct opponent doesn't get the better of you. If more of your team does that, more often that not you come out on the winning side."

Having been consigned to an 11th-placed finish last weekend, Motherwell rested key players for a drab encounter with the Jags.

Ian Baraclough looks on with rested striker Scott McDonald
Striker Scott McDonald (right) was rested for the 0-0 draw against Partick Thistle

Captain Keith Lasley was sent to Easter Road to watch Rangers lose out 1-0 for a 2-1 aggregate victory.

"Rangers were not at their best but they did what they had to do to get through," he told BBC Scotland.

Motherwell, who have been in the top flight since 1987, have not beaten Rangers since Boxing Day 2002.

And Lasley reckons his side will be underdogs when they take on former manager Stuart McCall.

"I think most people will see Rangers have momentum and look at the record (head-to-heads), then make them favourites," said the midfielder. "But we'll be ready and we're determined to stay in this division.

"In terms of importance, these games are probably at the top for me.

"I've been at the club for a long time and been through a lot of highs and lows. I know what it means. When you add up all the ingredients, it's a massive occasion.

"In saying that, it's not something to fear, it's a challenge

"These are the kind of atmospheres you want to be involved in. To walk out at Ibrox in front of 50,000, where else would you want to play?

"Nerves are good, that's the way it should be. It's up to us to deliver under pressure."

Experienced striker Scott McDonald was also given a weekend break, watching the Thistle game from the dugout.

"It's the one I wanted," said the former Celtic player. "I'm thoroughly looking forward to it.

"I've not played in anything as big as this for a long time and I relish the challenge."

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