‘Well boss Mark McGhee has been heartened by the progress his side has made in recent weeks.
Despite twice taking the lead, the Steelmen were held to a 2-2 draw by high-flying Hearts before following it with an impressive 3-1 win over Dundee at Fir Park.
And now, McGhee leads his side to Celtic Park to face league-leaders Celtic, the team who first-footed his second reign as ‘Well gaffer.
That day, Ronnie Delia’s men won 0-1 that afternoon and although it will an even bigger test this time around, McGhee feels better prepared.
“I think there has been some improvement,” McGhee told the Broadcast Press at the Steelmen’s pre-match news conference.
“Not only has it improved, but I have a far greater understanding of them, their strengths and how to deploy them therefore, hopefully I can help them as much as they’re helping themselves.
“I suppose a marker of our progress is when I first came in, and faced Celtic two days later, I thought I had about eight players, and the rest I had to throw in and see how they would do.
“Now, I have maybe fourteen or fifteen who I believe all deserve to play and am forced to leave our lads who may feel they’ve done enough to earn a place in the starting eleven. That’s a positive position for the club.”
[pullquote]“Not only has it improved, but I have a far greater understanding of them, their strengths and how to deploy them therefore, hopefully I can help them as much as they’re helping themselves.”[/pullquote]
McGhee has also vowed to keep faith in young defender Ben Hall, who made his senior debut against Dundee last weekend.
The 18-year old turned in an excellent display and the Motherwell boss says he has earned the right to keep his place and has no qualms about putting the Northern Irishman into the big stage at Parkhead so early in his career.
McGhee said: “There’s no secrets about that – he will play. He came in last week because I wanted to see how he could do and he did well enough to stay in the team.
“He might play the next 500 games! If he plays the way he did on Saturday, the likelihood is he will if he doesn’t get injured. As far as I’m concerned, he is here to stay.
“It’s not so much learning from the game because there will be things in the game that happen every week.
“What he’ll learn is about himself. He will learn, ‘Can I cope with this? Am I good enough? Where am I in the scheme of things?’
“It will give him a measure of what he’s got to do. So it’s a fantastic exercise for Ben.”
McGhee has also given game time to Hall’s fellow Elite Academy players Dylan Mackin, Dom Thomas, Chris Cadden, and believes there is real potential in the club’s youth ranks.
“I’m very keen that these boys develop and the only way they will develop is if they play,” McGhee said.
“He (Hall) may make mistakes – it may be Saturday. He may make a mistake that will be judged to have cost us the game. I doubt it, but it won’t matter because in 18 months’ time we will have a right good centre-half.
“Whereas if I wait until the summer and see how he is in pre-season then you are then talking about two years. I don’t want to wait two years.
“I want these boys coming through the ranks in my team as soon as possible and I want them developed as soon as possible.”