Stuart McCall 'realistic' about Motherwell's prospects

By Liam McLeodBBC Scotland
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall
McCall believes Motherwell should be confident against any side at Fir Park

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has played down suggestions his team will finish above Celtic this season.

But the former Rangers player has warned the Parkhead side Motherwell will be a match for them this weekend.

The Steelmen head into this weekend's crucial clash three points ahead of Celtic in second place, sandwiched between the Old Firm.

McCall said: "Long-term, can we split the Old Firm? Realistically, no. Can we win on Sunday? Yeah."

Thirteen games into the season and Motherwell find themselves in a stronger position than when they last finished as high as the second position they currently occupy.

They are two points better off than they were in 1994-95 when both they and Hibernian finished above Celtic and behind a domineering Rangers.

This is something that has the Motherwell faithful dreaming that a similar success can be achieved.

"I would say you have enough hard times in football and that goes for players, managers and fans, so there's nothing wrong with enjoying the good times," said October's Clydesdale Bank manager of the month.

"If fans want to get carried away then I'm not going to pour water over that."

Despite the confident nature with which Motherwell have strode into second spot, their recent record in fixtures against Celtic reads at just three wins in 33 league matches.

However, the most recent of those came early in McCall's tenure in February when John Sutton's brace sealed a 2-0 home win.

"It's a home game, regardless of who we are playing," said McCall.

"Obviously it's Celtic, they're third in the league, we're second and that's how it's being billed.

"But, we've got to believe that we can beat anyone at Fir Park and I think we take the confidence from last season's game.

"We had all the ingredients that day, we scored first, we were at the top of our game, Celtic weren't at their best and we had a little bit of luck.

"So, everything you need to beat either of the Old Firm, we got that day and will be looking to get again."

Despite admitting things need to click, McCall is determined to maintain Motherwell's philosophy and tactics which has seen them proudly sitting where they are.

Michael Higdon has been playing through the middle with Jamie Murphy and Chris Humphrey either side of him.

has been complimented well in the engine room by summer signing Nicky Law and Steve Jennings.

And McCall is ready to continue in that vein when Celtic come calling.

"I don't think we'll be cautious given we're at home," he added.

"But, if you're a bit gung-ho you can get picked off, which has happened to us in the past.

"Rangers have come to Fir Park a few times and done just that, but I think to win the game we need to get the first goal.

"All the pressure, naturally, is on Celtic. They need to win, whereas we'd love to win but a point won't be a disaster for us.

"We want to be positive."

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