Stephen Pearson: Motherwell should aim to catch Partick Thistle

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland
Motherwell's Stephen Pearson
Stephen Pearson signed a two-year contract extension on Friday

Stephen Pearson believes Motherwell should target a ninth-place Premiership finish rather than simply seek to avoid relegation.

The Fir Park side are seven points ahead of Tuesday's opponents St Mirren, who are bottom with seven games left.

"It's a nice cushion to have, but our eyes are only above us," Pearson told BBC Scotland.

"We think we've got the quality to stay in the league. Our aim is to get to Ross County and Partick Thistle."

Ross County are 10th on 31 points, three above Motherwell's 28, while Partick Thistle's current tally is 35.

The Steelmen registered a crucial win on Saturday against Kilmarnock and next welcome Gary Teale's Buddies to North Lanarkshire.

Pearson scored the first Motherwell goal in that 2-1 victory at Rugby Park - his first since returning to the club for a second spell.

Also on the scoresheet in East Ayrshire was Lee Erwin, 'Well's 21-year-old striker who netted his first goal since the opening day of the season.

"Personally, I think he's got a massive future," said Pearson, who was playing in India with Kerala Blasters before his return to Scotland.

"He's got all the attributes to play at the very top level, he really does. He was superb [against Kilmarnock] and deserved his goal.

"He's worked ever so hard every game that I've been here. Hopefully he can keep that going between now and the end of the season."

Lee Erwin and Scott McDonald
Lee Erwin (left) is congratulated by Scott McDonald after his winner against Kilmarnock

Pearson has 24 English Premier League appearances to his name after his vital goal for Derby County in the 2007 Championship play-off final put the Rams in the top flight.

The Lanark-born midfielder also lists Celtic as a former club, where he played between 2004 and 2007 - winning 10 Scotland caps along the way.

Now 32, and having just signed a two-year contract extension at the club where he began his career, Pearson is eager to keep contributing.

"I'm just concentrating on playing at the minute," he added. "But you've got to plan for the future and coaching is something I want to get into.

"At the moment I'm enjoying my football and that's the most important thing. I still feel relatively fit and hopefully I can play for a few more years yet.