Youth, width & a settled XI - the changes that have revived Motherwell

Jake Hastie celebrates scoring
Jake Hastie, 19, has scored five goals in his last six Motherwell appearances

Six Scottish Premiership games. Six wins. Eleven goals scored and three conceded.

Motherwell have been in incredible form since beating Hamilton Academical on 29 December, transforming from relegation-threatened strugglers to one of the country's most in-form teams.

They were nine points above the drop zone at the end of the winter break. Now, Stephen Robinson's side are just 11 behind third-placed Aberdeen, having doubled their points tally in the past six games.

What has propelled them? A change in formation and three outstanding young players in 20-year-old Allan Campbell and 19-year-old pair Jake Hastie and David Turnbull.

Finding a winning formula

Motherwell managed a solitary win in their opening nine fixtures and only six in 21 before the winter shut-down.

They were known for a direct style of play built on a powerful defence with the likes of Curtis Main, Danny Johnson and Conor Sammon leading the line.

In January, they changed their approach. Robinson signed Gboly Ariyibi on loan from Nottingham Forest and brought Hastie back from his stint at Alloa Athletic, deploying them either side of a front three.

The results have been spectacular, with the change allowing the likes of Campbell and Turnbull to shine. The former snaps and snarls and wins possession in midfield. The latter, slick and calm on the ball, dictates the tempo, and Ariyibi and Hastie make hay from wide.

Hastie, uncommonly robust for a man so young and with a siege-gun left boot, has scored five goals in six games and created another. Turnbull has seven goals in 21 outings, and Campbell netted the winner against St Mirren earlier this month.

In fact, the trio have either scored or assisted Motherwell's last 10 goals. Little wonder, then, that Robinson has named the same starting XI for the past five games.

Motherwell XI
Motherwell have fielded the same starting XI for five consecutive matches

'The young players need to keep grounded' - what they said

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson

The young players are all doing okay, they just need to keep grounded. There's a big career in front of all of them but they need to keep working their socks off, which is the culture we've got at the club.

Motherwell midfielder David Turnbull

We're getting the ball down a bit more, trying to pass and play attacking, expansive football. I think it's working.

Just now, I just want to focus on playing for Motherwell and getting as many games under my belt as I can. Hopefully after this season, then maybe another season under my belt, we'll see where it takes us.

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Motherwell young guns must 'stay grounded'

'Motherwell have rich history of rearing players'

Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows says the club has a "rich history" of developing young players, citing Scotland internationals James McFadden, Stephen Pearson, David Clarkson and Steven Hammell.

"We're the only fully fan-owned club in the top flight," Burrows told BBC Radio Scotland. "Other clubs are spending loads of money while we're asking Stephen Robinson to sell players and blood youngsters.

"We're never going to bowl anybody over with our facilities or money, but we can show a progressive pathway from our youth system into our first-team.

"That's the message the guys running the academy are giving to parents. Come and play for Motherwell, earn your stripes, get into the first-team and then you'll get your big move and your money."

Motherwell reap rewards of 'brave' approach - analysis

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Jake Hastie scores incredble long-range shot against St Mirren

Former Dundee manager Neil McCann

It's testament to the board's support to Stevie Robinson that, when it wasn't going well, they had the bravery to stick with him. He's allowed to then say, 'right, I'm putting in Hastie, I'm putting in Turnbull'.

Turnbull was getting hounded at the start of this winning run by fans because he was putting his foot on the ball and it was a bit different. But Stevie was brave enough to let him do it.

It's really important that the manager has the backing to put a kid in, it's not just about results because we see the work being done elsewhere, and its absolutely reaping the rewards now.

Former Motherwell striker Scott McDonald

All these boys have played together all the way through. They're just loving and enjoying life and being with their pals. That's a real advantage to Motherwell - they want to play together and want to re-sign.

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