The Steelmen travel to Parkhead on Saturday to face table-topping Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
And after suffering a 3-1 home defeat against Hearts two weeks ago, the Fir Parkers will be keen to returning to winning ways.
But it will be a tough fixture, with Saturday’s opponents in fine form and four points clear at the summit of the Premiership with a game in hand.
Brendan Rodgers has earned his fair share of plaudits for the job he’s done since arriving at Celtic, qualifying for the Champions League group stages and following that up with an impressive and exciting 3-3 draw with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
But the Fir Parkers know fine well that results can go either way at Parkhead, after registering both a 2-1 victory and a 7-0 defeat against the Scottish Champions on their patch last season.
McGhee will be without Carl McHugh, who is still returning to fitness after suffering from a concussion, and Joe Chalmers, who could face up to six weeks out with a groin injury.
But the manager will be boosted by the return of Jacob Blyth and Kieran Kennedy, who have both got game time under their belts recently for the U20s, giving the manager some extra options for the bench. There is also the added bonus of the form of Stephen Craigan’s U20s, with youngsters like Ross MacLean, Dylan Mackin and Jake Hastie all staking a claim for a call-up to the first team.
The two sides have already met at Parkhead this season, when Celtic won 5-0 in the Betfred League Cup, and manager Mark McGhee believes that his side have to become harder to break down, starting on Saturday.
He said: “We’ve got to go there and we’ve got to find a way of making ourselves more difficult to beat, so if we do lose then it has to be better than in the two previous games.
“We can also have a little bit in mind that we went there and won last season too, so who knows, but we do understand the difficulty of the task.”
He added: “Celtic have a bench now where recently Leigh Griffiths hasn’t been getting game time and any team in the league would jump at the chance of having him.
“I said to Leigh the other night when he went on for Scotland to go and get us a couple of goals but then tweak a wee hamstring, but then he said ‘you don’t need to worry about me you need to handle Moussa’.
“I have no idea what their budget is but I’d say it’s at least ten times what ours is, so they have a better opportunity to be better than us. But that was the same case last season too and we went there and won, so we have to cling to that.”
Ex-Celtic captain Stephen McManus returns to face his former side on Saturday and admits that the obvious difference about the Hoops under Brendan Rodgers is their intensity.
But the 34-year-old believes the Fir Parkers have had a good break in terms of preparation ahead of Saturday’s league match.
And while the defender admits the trip to Parkhead is a difficult one, he also believes that Motherwell can get something from the game.
McManus said: “We had a good week, obviously the manager was away but Faddy took training which was good.
“We had a tough, high intensity week which was just to get our head right for the big game on Saturday – a hard game against Celtic – so everything was getting geared up for that really.”
He added: “It’s been a good break for us and Saturday is going to be a difficult one for us, but at the same time we have nothing to lose.
“You kind of base it on the last two games that you play against teams and those are the last game of last season and the cup match this season.”
But despite suffering two heavy defeats on these occasions, the 34-year-old felt there was a different atmosphere and feel between the two matches.
He said: “The one on the last game of the season for our players it was the last game but for Celtic they were in a party mood.
“For us not a lot was riding on the match and that gave Celtic the ability to play on the front foot and for us it was a case of once the game’s done, the season is done and it’s been a long hard season, so I don’t think we were properly at it that day.”
[pullquote]We have nothing to lose. We can go there and play with freedom, be relaxed and of course you need to be very well organised, which hopefully we will be on Saturday.[/pullquote]
Under Brendan Rodgers, McManus admits Celtic are hitting a higher level.
He said: “We then played against them in the cup and our boys were at it 100% but we couldn’t get near Celtic that night.
“They were moving the ball at a tempo, they were passing it to hurt you, they were looking to penetrate and they were keeping possession to score goals. I think there’s a big, big difference this season and it’s clear for everyone to see.”
But that doesn’t change anything for Mark McGhee’s side, and the experienced ex-Celtic defender knows that on the day, anything can happen.
He said: “We have nothing to lose. We can go there and play with freedom, be relaxed and of course you need to be very well organised, which hopefully we will be on Saturday.
“We’ll give it our best shot and on the day anything can happen. We know how difficult it’s going to be but we certainly believe we can get something out of the game.”
Celtic come in to Saturday’s match undefeated in the league and in the middle of a five game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Scoring freely under new manager Brendan Rodgers, the Parkhead outfit look every bit like the league favourites they are tipped to be, registering some impressive victories including a 6-1 victory over Kilmarnock as well as 5-1 and 4-1 victories over Rangers and Aberdeen respectively.
Summer signing Moussa Dembele has slotted in to Rodgers team with ease so far this season and is the Northern Irishman’s main source of goals.
The French forward has bagged 12 in 17 appearances this season, including a hat-trick in the Old Firm victory and a brace against Manchester City.
One of the threats Celtic possess is their strength in depth, with last seasons top scorer Leigh Griffiths limited to 246 minutes of action in the league so far, compared to Dembele’s 492 minutes.
Then there are players like Patrick Roberts, Stuart Armstrong, Gary Mackay-Steven and Kris Commons who have all seen their game time limited due to the form of James Forrest, Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic.
But Saturday’s opponents will come in to the match knowing that the last time they lost a home league game at Parkhead was against the Steelmen last season, when a Louis Moult brace brought the Fir Parkers from behind to beat Ronny Deila’s Celtic 2-1 on their own patch.
A narrow 1-0 victory over Dundee two weeks ago and a 2-2 draw with Inverness suggest Rodgers Celtic side have struggled to hit the same free scoring form they have found at home this term.
And of all the teams to have faced them at Parkhead, Alloa Athletic have boasted the best scoreline, a 2-0 defeat which took late strikes from James Forrest and Moussa Dembele to progress in the League Cup.
Saturday’s opposition could be without right-back Mikael Lustig, who picked up a knock on international duty which saw him miss Sweden’s clash with Bulgaria.
But other than that, manager Brendan Rodgers will have a full strength side to pick from.
It makes for an interesting encounter this weekend, and one that Motherwell fans will be hoping will be a different scoreline from the last two visits to Glasgow.