Ian Baraclough believes mental strength is key to Motherwell avoiding the drop from the Scottish Premiership. The club are in the relegation play-off spot, 12 points behind seventh-placed Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton whom they visit tonight in the first of five post-split games.
The 44-year-old has been at times embroiled in battles at the wrong end of the table during his career – he was a player at QPR when they went down to the old Second Division in 2001 – but is confident that his squad have what it takes to survive this season.
The former Grimsby, Mansfield and Notts County defender said: “I’ve experienced life at the bottom as a player and as a coach and I know what it is like as a player. You need to be strong mentally, very positive in what you do and believe in your own abilities and your team-mates.
“We’ve got that strength in character, a real good work ethic as a group of players and there’s been no signs of any stress whatsoever for me.
“There have been successes there but I was relegated as a player and it was a horrible feeling and one that makes sure that you don’t want to taste it again. It’s new to this club. They haven’t been in this position for a while and we’ve got to make sure that we come out of it the right way.
“I’ve never given anything up when there’s a chance and points to play for and a sense that you can pull others around you down – there’s no defeatist attitude.”
They’ll be going in there to put us down.Scott McDonald
Motherwell beat Accies 4-0 at Fir Park on 20 March and Baraclough is hoping the ’Well supporters can shout them on to another win at New Douglas Park.
He said: “It’s a local derby and I understand there could be a good travelling support and it would be superb to hear our fans outshouting and singing theirs.
“They’ve been brilliant since I’ve been here and we’ve started to give them the performances that their backing deserves.”
Accies’ player/manager Martin Canning has not won in 13 attempts since taking over from Alex Neil in January and a 1-0 defeat at Dundee United in their last outing meant they missed out on a top-six spot. However, Motherwell striker Scott McDonald is not complacent despite Hamilton’s dismal form.
He said: “It doesn’t count for anything. The players don’t really look at that. That has to end sooner or later and from their point of view there’s no better time do that than in a derby.
“They’ll be going in there to put us down. You always want to get one over in derbies and this will be no different.”