Motherwell manager Stuart McCall happy with progress

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall
McCall hopes to get through January with his squad intact

Manager Stuart McCall admits Motherwell have exceeded his expectations during his first year in charge.

McCall took over at Fir Park last December, with the team sixth in the Scottish Premier League.

He led them to the Scottish Cup final, where they were beaten by Celtic, and this season they sit third, five points clear of St Johnstone.

"At the beginning of the season, we'd have been happy with fifth, sixth or seventh," McCall told BBC Scotland.

"But to have amassed as many points as we have - and deservedly so - is full credit, and solely down to the players.

"Whether we can match that in the second half of the season is a big ask, but we've set our standards and we aim to do that. We've just got to keep that consistency into the new year and beyond."

Inevitably, any side performing above expectation levels in the SPL attract attention elsewhere, with both players and managers becoming sought after, as was the case when Bristol City moved to take Derek McInnes to the English Championship.

But McCall says he is not distracted by such thoughts or ambitions.

"I can hand on my heart say not one per cent of me has thought about a job elsewhere or going higher or moving up. It's just not in my make up," he added.

"I try to give everything I've got for the club I'm working for. I'm totally focused on doing well here, and that's what I intend to do."

And he is equally adamant that clubs looking to take his players away will be given short shrift, unless it makes financial sense for Motherwell.

"I'm wary, but not worried about (the transfer window)," he said.

"If we lose a player, it'll be no more than one player. The club has got ambition and I'd love to keep the squad together, but we know if we get an offer that we believe is good and it's beneficial to the club, we'd take it.

"We'll probably have another look at (Estonian striker) Henrik Ojamaa again. He gives us another option up top, but other than that, I'm really happy with the squad and I wouldn't be looking to bring anyone else in, unless we lost anybody."