Tom Hateley reckons Motherwell have a great chance of taking a positive result from Saturday’s daunting trip to Ibrox.
Walter Smith’s men are unbeaten in all competitions this season and will be looking to make it eight SPL wins on the trot against Craig Brown’s troops this weekend.
“Since Archie and the gaffer have come in they’ve drummed into us that we are all very good footballers and we can go anywhere and get a result. We have a great group of lads and there is a lot of belief; we know Rangers will be favourites but we think we have a chance,” the former Reading man said confidently.
“Of course Rangers and Celtic are tough places to go, but if you go there expecting to get beat then that is the kind of defeatist attitude then you’ve lost the match already.”
Motherwell’s 09/10 Young Player of the Year seemed visibly refreshed after the short international break, and he admits everyone at the club was buoyed by going into the short hiatus sitting in third spot in the SPL.
“I’m feeling really good after the break, we had an early start to the season with the European games so it was nice to get a little break – and the boys have come back in firing this week,” he praised.
“It’s especially good when you’re sitting in third. It’s a great feeling to look at the table and see yourself in that position and know you don’t have a game for a couple of weeks and that won’t change for a while.
It is clear third spot is something everyone at Motherwell is keen to retain, with Hateley confidently proclaiming: “I don’t see why we can’t finish third. Of course there are clubs around us who are perhaps considered bigger clubs, but we feel more than capable of winning every match we go out and play.
“We have Dundee United coming up later in the month and have a massive League Cup tie coming up too, so there are big tests to come and we are ready – but we won’t get ahead of ourselves.”
Another reason to be cheerful for ‘Well is the clubs extraordinary away form of the club this season. The Steelmen head to Govan defending a 100% record on the road, and the player admits that breeds confidence – even though Ibrox is a different proposition from Perth, Kilmarnock or Edinburgh.
Tom recalled: “We’ve got a good away record, and that’s down to the gaffer.”
“That’s not something we think about. We get told to do a job and we’ll go out and do what we’re told and exact the tactics which we are given.
“We’ve got some massive games coming up in the next few weeks that can make a massive difference to our season, and we go into the games with our heads screwed on and looking to do whatever we need to do in order to get the result.
Hateley admits that there is a special feeling to returning to his father’s old stomping ground, and the stadium where he grew up watching his football – but that won’t cause him to lose his focus.
The versatile midfielder insisted: “You shouldn’t be a football player if you’re not excited about going somewhere like Glasgow. It’s somewhere I went to regularly growing up and for me to go there and play is very special.
“It’s a massive football club but I’m not going there to enjoy the memories; I’m going there as a Motherwell player to get three points.
Tom has set about writing his own history regarding Rangers, starting with a stunning 30-yard free-kick to give ‘Well the lead against the Ibrox club back in February. It was Hateley’s first strike for The Steelmen, and the 21-year old fancies another on Saturday.
“If I score another free-kick like that I will be delighted; it was my first goal for Motherwell and it wasn’t a bad one!” Monte Carlo-born Hateley laughed.
“Sometimes you feel like you are just striking the ball well, and I feel like that this week, so if we get another free-kick tomorrow I’ll feel confident of doing the same thing again.”