Keith Lasley says Motherwell deserve flak

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MOTHERWELL captain Keith Lasley has urged the club’s supporters to give their team the benefit of the doubt during their current troubles near the foot of the Scottish Premiership.

The Fir Park side have won just two matches in all competitions so far this season, with Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Partick Thistle dropping them into the relegation play-off spot.

Keith Lasley believes Motherwell will soon climb the table. Picture: SNS

Keith Lasley believes Motherwell will soon climb the table. Picture: SNS

It has prompted some rumblings of discontent among the Motherwell fans who have seen Stuart McCall lead them to a third place finish in 2012 and then consecutive runners-up spots in the past two years. Lasley hopes those achievements will buy them some credit as they try to revive their fortunes.

“Hopefully we’ve earned a bit of leeway after what we’ve achieved over the last couple of years,” said veteran midfielder Lasley. “But we know in football it doesn’t matter too much what you’ve achieved in the past. It’s all about the here and now.

“That’s how we’re dealing with it – we know we’ve achieved some good things in recent years and taken the plaudits, so now we have to take the criticism on the chin. We are big enough and old enough to do that and just get on with it. There’s no point in feeling sorry ourselves and we feel more than confident we can turn it around.

“If we go out and get a result in our next couple of games things can suddenly start to change but until we do that there will be some pressure on us that we must accept.

“There’s no getting away from it, it’s been a poor run of results and the performances haven’t been good enough. Simple as that. It’s up to us to change that.

“The last couple of weeks have been disappointing, especially coming off a good result up at Ross County and a good performance at Celtic where we were maybe unlucky not to get more than a point. To then go back to a couple of poor league performances against Hamilton and Partick is really disappointing.

“Football is an industry where there’s not much patience shown at any time but there’s a confidence among us. It’s a similar group of players who went to Pittodrie and secured second place in the last game of last season so that gives us confidence that we are more than capable of climbing out of the area we’re in at the moment – but it’s up to us to do it. This has been the toughest situation we’ve had in the last couple of years but that’s probably testament to how consistent we have been, that it has taken for now for this to happen.

“The manager is experienced enough and the players we’ve got in that dressing are certainly well equipped to turn things round.

“I remember even last season we had some tough moments, like getting knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Albion Rovers and getting heavily beaten by Celtic at home – but the key thing was that we had the ability to bounce back with a good run.

“We went five or six wins on the bounce around Christmas time last year which really propelled us up the league. This league is so competitive, with most teams capable of beating each other, so if you can be that team that puts three or four results together, it can shoot you right up the table.

“But for us it’s about putting that one result on the board, never mind three or four, and building on it from there.”

Motherwell’s problems have been placed in sharper perspective by the current success being enjoyed by their Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton Accies who defeated them 4-0 recently and are now top of the Premiership table.

Hamilton also knocked Motherwell out of the League Cup but Lasley insists the progress of the New Douglas Park club is not an issue for his team.

“Not at all,” said the 35-year-old. “Hamilton deserve to be where they are because they’ve done well but that’s not something we take much notice of.

“Credit to Alex Neil, he’s doing a great job with a group of enthusiastic young players but we just look after what we’re doing at Motherwell and hopefully in the coming weeks we can get back to winning ways.”

l Keith Lasley was speaking at the launch of the 2014-15 SPFL Topps Match Attax Collection, which features all Scottish Premiership and Scottish Championship clubs. It is on sale now from all good retail outlets.