FORWARD Scott McDonald is the most high-profile of 16 Motherwell players who have left Fir Park.
The Lanarkshire club confirmed their Scottish Premiership status at home on Sunday with a 6-1 aggregate win over Rangers in the play-off final. However, manager Ian Baraclough now has a rebuilding job on his hands after a huge part of his squad departed.
Winger Lionel Ainsworth and strikers John Sutton and Lee Erwin have been offered extended contracts
However, Stuart Carswell, Simon Ramsden, Paul Lawson, Adam Cummins, Iain Vigurs, Bob McHugh, Zaine Francis-Angol, Fraser Kerr and Ross Stewart have all been allowed to leave following the expiry of their contracts.
Short-term contracts and loan deals for George Long, Mark O’Brien, Anthony Straker, Louis Laing, Nathan Thomas, Conor Grant and former Celtic and Middlesbrough striker McDonald have also run out. The Australian international, who scored five times in 13 games after rejoining Motherwell in February, has been linked with a move to Wigan Athletic.
In a statement on the Motherwell website, Baraclough said: “I would first and foremost like to take the time to sincerely thank each and every player who is leaving the club for all their hard work and endeavour.
“Guys such as Bob McHugh, Stuart Carswell and Ross Stewart have been Motherwell players for a significant amount of time and deserve particular recognition for their length of service.
“Simon Ramsden, Fraser Kerr and Zaine Francis-Angol have been at the football club during an almost unprecedented period of success and played their parts, as did Paul Lawson and Iain Vigurs.
“We wish each and every single player leaving the club all the very best with their future careers.
“However, I feel we need a freshness in the squad and that’s my role over the summer.
“Some of the lads who arrived during January and February certainly impressed and aided in our league survival, and we would be keen to keep them on.
“However, we still need to have a conversation with either the individuals or their parent clubs to see what is possible.
“We have or will also offer extensions to Lionel Ainsworth, John Sutton and Lee Erwin for next season.
“That process has begun and we hope they will stay, but face competition for all three.
“We will offer them the very best we can though and hope they see themselves fitting into the way we want to play in 2015-16 and beyond.”