Can Motherwell maintain good form during tricky five-week run?
Home fans at Fir Park have had plenty to cheer of late. Motherwell took maximum points from their run of three successive home games in the Ladbrokes Premiership, seeing off Kilmarnock in a 2-0 win last time out.
That’s seen Stephen Robinson’s men rise to fifth place, ahead of the likes of Hibernian and Heart of Midlothian.
However, the Steelmen now face a tricky run in league and cup. Their next six matches include two meetings with Aberdeen, a visit to Easter Road, and the visit of Celtic to ML1.
So, can they maintain their good form against the big guns? Or will the Well wobble in the coming weeks?
Motherwell’s recent good form hasn’t come out of nowhere. The side have gradually improved since Robinson’s arrival in February. Having won just five of 25 league games under predecessor Mark McGhee, the Lanarkshire club took maximum points in four of 13 under his successor.
Having led the Well to eight wins from ten games in all competitions this term – three in the Premiership, five in the League Cup – there looks to be more chance of a Hampden outing than another relegation play-off.
Especially so with Louis Moult in their ranks. The 25-year-old has remained a reliable goalscorer even during tough times for the club. He chalked up 18 goals in each of his first two seasons north of the border, and already has five to his name this term.
History also suggests that if anyone can beat Celtic this term, it’s Motherwell.
The Steelmen came closer than anyone to defeating the Hoops in a domestic game last term, leading 2-0 and 3-2 at Fir Park before a late Celtic double secured a last-gasp victory.
They were also the last Scottish visitors to win at Parkhead, with a 2-1 victory in December 2015. The man who bagged both goals that day? A certain Louis Moult.
That all sounds rosy, but there are still a few worries for the Well.
The club’s record against Aberdeen is notoriously poor. The Dons have won all of the previous four meetings, racking up 15 goals in the process. Admittedly, Robinson has brought in some good defensive recruits from down south during the summer, but the gulf in class between these sides in recent meetings has been very sizeable.
On top of that, the Steelmen have come up short in their toughest two tests of this campaign to date. Those were a 2-1 home defeat to Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers, and a 4-1 rout by St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.
Despite good results at home in recent weeks, it’s taken until well into the second-half of games for Robinson’s charges to break down sides like Ross County and Kilmarnock. That doesn’t bode too well ahead of facing the much stronger defences of Aberdeen, Celtic and even Hibernian.
The first test of this tricky period comes away to Hibs in Saturday’s Premiership clash.
A positive result at Easter Road could be the crucial springboard to taking something against the likes of Aberdeen and Celtic in the coming weeks.
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