JACK LEITCH felt the pain of Motherwell’s defeat against Hamilton as both fan and player - but he recognises the need to stay calm in the return Lanarkshire derby.
Both teams had a man sent off before Hamilton knocked Motherwell out of the League Cup on penalties amid an intense off-field atmosphere at New Douglas Park on Wednesday.
Motherwell have a quick chance to regain the local bragging rights in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday but Leitch, who has a number of friends in the Fir Park support, is determined not to get caught up in the atmosphere.
The 19-year-old, who converted in the shoot-out, said: “It was bitterly disappointing to go out against Hamilton and of course on penalties. But we just need to keep our heads and go into the game full of confidence looking for the win.
“Penalties are a lottery. I spoke to a few of my friends and they said we were a bit unlucky, we hit the bar and hit the post, it just wasn’t our night.
“Against Hamilton it’s always going to be that little bit more disappointing but we just need to forget about the game on Wednesday and kick on and start climbing that table.
“It’s not really about revenge. Of course it’s a local derby and the fans want three points like we all do, but we need to keep our temperament. We need to leave Wednesday night behind.”
Leitch has been with Motherwell for 10 years and has followed in his father Scott’s footsteps by playing for his local team.
But now that he has achieved his boyhood dream, the midfielder is looking to push on and help bring success to the club.
“As a Motherwell fan, it’s brilliant to say you have played for the club,” he said. “But that’s gone now. Last year that was what it was all about but now I’m settled, I’m in the first-team dressing room.
“It probably means more to me, I want to do well for the club because they are the team I supported as a boy and watched all these great players and great results that we’ve had in the past few years, and to be part of that team now.
“The end of last season was amazing and I want to continue that this year.”
Scott Leitch, a former captain and assistant manager of Motherwell, returned to the club last season to head the youth academy and his son appreciates his input.
Jack, whose younger brother Robbie is also on Motherwell’s books, said: “You have experienced heads in here telling you what to do, but I’ve got the bonus of going home and seeing it from a different perspective as well.
“He is very positive, very confident and has a lot of information and tips to pass on.”