Fir-nomenal: How slick and steely Motherwell are making top-six tilt

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Six weeks is a long time in football. Wind the clock back to Boxing Day 2018, and Motherwell looked like possible relegation contenders – fresh off the back of a third straight loss without scoring.

But the winter break seemed to do the Steelmen a whole world of good. Last night’s 2-1 win in Paisley secured a fifth straight Ladbrokes Premiership victory for Stephen Robinson’s men. That leaves them just four points outside the top six.

After 18 points from 20 games, they’ve now racked up another 15 in just five. So, why’s it all going to plan in Lanarkshire?

The backline is clicking

The likes of Celtic and Rangers would be mighty proud of a run of 426 minutes without conceding a goal. But having managed just three clean sheets before the start of 2019, Motherwell fans have surely been pinching themselves!

Paul McGinn’s goal for St Mirren last night ended a streak of three successive shutouts – including a first clean sheet against Hibernian since 2013.

Of late, it’s been a pacy back three of Charles Dunne, Tom Aldred and former Manchester United youngster Liam Grimshaw.

Well-drilled, mobile and never scared of a tough tackle, they’ve proved a remarkably impressive unit. So much so that Dundee managed just one shot on target during Motherwell’s 1-0 win at Dens Park a fortnight ago.

Ross returns…but young guns are scoring

Fir Park has welcomed back a familiar face in the form of Ross McCormack. The 32-year-old played 57 times for the Well from 2006-08, and he’s finally back at the club where his career took off.

While he’s been a bit-part player under Robinson so far, the former Leeds United star gives the Steelmen another option up top – and comes with a wealth of experience.

But right now, it’s the young guns stealing the show on the goalscoring front.

Winger Jake Hastie has really improved thanks to his recent loan stint at Alloa Athletic, and has hit the ground running back at Fir Park. He’s scored three times in the last two games, including a stunner to break the deadlock against St Mirren.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old David Turnbull has been marauding forward to great effect. He’s chalked up five goals and four assists in the league since late October, and has been a huge part of the club’s resurgence.

The Well have a break this weekend, with the Scottish Cup taking centre-stage. Next up is a home clash with Heart of Midlothian, on Sunday 17th February.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.