Lasley salutes ‘bubbly’ McCall for providing most enjoyable year of his career

Motherwell midfielder Keith Lasley enjoyed the best year of his career in 2011 and he is aiming to make the coming 12 months even better.

Stuart McCall began his reign as Motherwell manager with a New Year’s Day draw against Hamilton and went on to enjoy one of the best years in the club’s recent history.

Motherwell secured a top-six place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and reached the Scottish Cup final, and they start 2012 occupying third place in the SPL table as they look to continue their impressive away record against Rangers today. Lasley has been one of the team’s most consistent and influential performers. He has struck four goals this season and he credited McCall with creating the ideal environment to play in.

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“I think he’s done a great job,” Lasley said of his manager. “Craig Brown and Archie [Knox] left and he came in at a time when they had done a good job. He has taken us forward another step.

“We had a good finish to last season and got to the Scottish Cup final and we have kicked on again in the league. His record speaks for itself and he has made a couple of shrewd acquisitions in the summer. He creates a good platform to play your football and a good environment to train. He is a bubbly character, but he certainly lets you know when things haven’t gone as well as they should have.

“We are just looking to keep going the way we have been going. The calendar year has been a great year in the league and the two cups. If we can emulate that, that’s the aim. We finished sixth last year so we want to do better than that and get another good cup run.

“From a personal point of view, it has been the most enjoyable year I have had. Hopefully this year coming is even better.”

Motherwell had won five consecutive away games before their 2-0 defeat by Hearts in Edinburgh on Christmas Eve and Lasley is determined to put on a better display when they travel to face Rangers. “It was a poor performance all round at Tynecastle,” the 32-year-old said. “We certainly didn’t perform as we had been doing, especially away from home. We have probably played most of our best football away from home.

“The big disappointment was not really losing the game. It was the manner we lost it. The performance was pretty poor.

“It was disappointing not having a game on Wednesday to get it out of the system, but we’re looking forward to Rangers. It’s a great stage to play your football.

“Hopefully we can show people how we can play. We’re just looking at getting back to the way we have been playing.”

Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings serves the second game of a two-match ban following his clash with St Mirren midfielder Jim Goodwin.