Motherwell look well after League Cup progress ahead of top-flight kick-off

Motherwell midfielder Liam Donnelly (left) has scored four goals in three League Cup matches
Motherwell midfielder Liam Donnelly (left) has scored four goals in three League Cup matches

Football fans have a habit of getting carried away.

A couple of victories and their team are world beaters, led by a tactical mastermind clearly destined to guide their side to Champions League glory.

Defeat the following week on a cold Tuesday night and there's a campaign to have him sacked immediately.

However, Motherwell supporters may have cause for excitement. Ten new signings and a triumphant run in the Scottish League Cup group stage has the Fir Park faithful eagerly awaiting the start of a new Premiership campaign.

Sportsound pundits Willie Miller, Billy Dodds and Allan Preston have all tipped the Steelmen for a top-six finish, while Chick Young reckons they could be in the mix for third place behind Celtic and Rangers.

Following the weekend win over Annan Athletic, manager Stephen Robinson insisted: "There's still big improvements to come for a lot of the players.

"Overall, it's been pleasing, but there's a step up now, going to Livingston and then Celtic, so we have to temper expectations slightly."

BBC Scotland takes a look at the reasons to be cheerful for Well fans...

Goals, goals and more goals

Last season, Motherwell had the Premiership's sixth highest goal tally with 46 - only 15 more than relegated Dundee and a long way behind top scorers Rangers on 82. In the League Cup, they had the fourth-highest group goal tally at 11.

This season, Stephen Robinson's men have scored 13 goals in their four games, a figure bizarrely only topped by Group E runners-up Greenock Morton by a single strike.

Keeping the back door shut

While Motherwell have been scoring for fun, their defence has been watertight.

Throughout the entire League Cup group stage, the Fir Park side did not ship a single goal in 360 minutes of football.

Declan Gallagher has slotted in perfectly at the back, captain Peter Hartley has enjoyed a goalscoring return to action, while Jake Carroll has impressed at left-back after his arrival from Cambridge United.

Declan Gallagher is one of 10 summer recruits at Fir Park
Former Livingston defender Declan Gallagher is one of 10 summer recruits at Fir Park

No David Turnbull hangover

Motherwell fans were right to be crying into their Steelman cushions at the news David Turnbull was first leaving then staying but out injured for the foreseeable future. The 20-year-old midfielder was the talismanic heartbeat of Well's season revival last term, scoring 15 goals in the process.

Yet those in the middle of the park have more than stepped up.

Northern Irishman Liam Donnelly, who managed just six league starts last season, has been moved into a holding midfield role and has already notched four goals in three games.

Just in front, former Inverness Caledonian Thistle man Liam Polworth has also settled in, opening his account against Annan.

Real test to come

The caveat to all this is that Motherwell have yet to face Premiership opposition and League Cup form, when squads are in transition and managers experimenting, is not always a good guide to what is to come in the league.

However, given the failure of St Johnstone and St Mirren to qualify, and the travails of Hearts and Hamilton Academical before doing so, the Steelmen can look forward to this weekend's top-flight kick-off with more confidence than many of their rivals.

Motherwell's first six matches of the league campaign
Motherwell's first six matches of the league campaign

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