Stuart McCall ‘had no answers’ to Motherwell slide
Stuart McCall admits that he was so alarmed by his failure to halt Motherwell’s dramatic decline that it kept him awake at night.
But he quit his post on Sunday night as Motherwell’s miserable start to the campaign finally became too much to bear.
The Fir Park side have won just two league games this season and crashed out of the League Cup after a penalty shoot-out defeat to local rivals Hamilton.
In a statement posted on the Motherwell website thanking supporters, McCall admitted he could not shake the negativity following the club’s worst start to a campaign since 1988.
He said: “This season has been a huge disappointment. After the win at Ross County and the performance at Celtic Park, there was a real belief that we could get our confidence back and kick on, but the defeat at Hamilton really knocked the stuffing out of us.
“I struggled to sleep after Friday’s game with St Johnstone then woke up again during the night Saturday into Sunday, thinking about the Dundee United game and I just couldn’t come up with any answers. I felt that with the international break coming up, now would be a good time to step aside.
“I have a hope that with a fresh voice and maybe some new ideas, it will give the players that little boost they need. I felt that if I didn’t have the same hunger or desire, then the players would sense that and that’s not what they need at this point.
“I remember saying at Bradford prior to leaving that I take defeats really badly and carry it with me for a long time. This season has been difficult and when you become apprehensive about the next game, that’s your body’s way of telling you that maybe things have come to an end.
“Both as a player and manager, you should work all week and really look forward to matches, but if you have that negativity in your head, it’s difficult and I don’t want that to make our situation any worse. I care too much about the place and the people who work here.”
However, the Motherwell board were reluctant to let the former Bradford, Everton and Rangers midfielder depart – and with good cause.
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He guided ‘Well to the Champions League qualifiers in 2012 before backing that up with successive second-place finishes – the most recent of which came after an incredible final-day win over Aberdeen last season.
Hamstrung by annual budget cuts, McCall preferred to look back on the highlights of his time as manager before signing off. His statement added: “It’s fair to say that the last 24 hours or so have been incredibly difficult and emotional for me personally. However, it has also given me time to reflect on what has been a wonderful four years.
“I’ve enjoyed terrific highs throughout – my first season we beat Celtic, and turned in excellent Scottish Cup quarter and semi final performances before getting to Hampden. Seeing what getting to a national final meant to the fans, but also the town itself is something that will live with me forever.
“I think back to the night we beat Hearts to qualify for the Champions League, then the atmosphere at Fir Park for that game against Panathinaikos. For a lot of our players, that was the highlight of their career.”
He added: “We’ve managed to beat Celtic three times at Fir Park, including back-to-back wins. No one will ever forget that game at Pittodrie in the last game of the campaign. That will go down as one of the best days I’ve ever had in football.
“Managers always hold on to defeats longer than victories and I acknowledge there have been some hugely disappointing lows. I wish I had enjoyed the victories more, but I was always too focused on the next game.
“I just hope the amount of highs cancel out some of the disappointments when people look back at what we’ve achieved here.”
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