The past month or so has been a bittersweet one for Bevis Mugabi.
The Ugandan international has finally cemented a place in Stephen Robinson’s Motherwell side after a stop-start maiden campaign in Lanarkshire.
As part of a back three, he has looked just the player Robinson hoped he would be when he was snapped up from Yeovil Town last term.
However, he acknowledges that while his own outlook has perked up, the current viewpoint for the club looking up from the foot of the Scottish Premiership table is not good on the eye.
It is fair to say the 12th-placed position in the league is not a reflection on Mugabi, who has been one of the best performers in claret and amber during a tumultuous start to the season.
However, the 25-year-old is keen to help put things right.
“It’s nice for a change,” he said. “Last season I was I and out and couldn’t get a run. I feel that I’m performing well enough to stay in the team.
“I’m just going to keep working hard to stay in there. I’m doing extra work to make sure I try and keep my place.
“I don’t mind playing in a back three or a back four. It’s good I can play in both, it’s an extra string to my bow. As long as I’m in the team and doing my best for Motherwell, then that’s all that matters.
“It’s a bit of a sticky situation with us not winning a league game yet. I feel that it’s going to come.
“We’ve been dominating games, we haven’t performed badly, it’s just at the end of the day you need to put the ball in the back of the net.
“With the quality of strikers we have and the amount of chances we create, I know it’s going to click soon.”
Mugabi and pals have already demonstrated that, when that click happens, they can blow teams away.
In the UEFA Europa League qualifier versus Glentoran, a blistering second half annihilated the Northern Irish outfit, who albeit were down to 10 men.
A difficult afternoon at Celtic Park followed, but a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the champions has thankfully not diverted Motherwell from the upward trajectory carved out against the Glens.
“That happened against Glentoran. It gave us a lot of confidence,” said Mugabi, who is relishing the prospect of a second-round date away to Coleraine next week.
“As soon as we got the first goal the game was pretty much done. You could see the score line at the end it was an excellent result, and that gives you confidence. We will be taking that into the next European tie.
“It’s going to be another tough test again. It’ll be quite similar I imagine, we just need to make sure we do the job and make sure we are on that flight to either Israel or Albania.
“I think we can take plenty from the Glentoran game to help us play Coleraine in the next round. Obviously they both play in the same league.
“They are hard working boys, they’ll be fighting for every second ball and they’ll put their bodies on the line.
“We need to be patient, play our game and try to wear them down. It’s all about being patient.
“You can’t score every time, you just need to manage the game and go there with the correct mentality.
“If we do that and stick to our plan, we will be fine.”
It may have taken Mugabi time to feel like home regularly on the pitch, but he admits that, even despite lockdown, Lanarkshire life has suited him.
The man from Harrow spent most of lockdown back home in London with his family, and he is grateful for those precious moments as his focus is now fixed on football once more.
“I’ve enjoyed it here. I’ve not really done much exploring. I thought after lockdown I’d do a bit more, it’s part of my life being in a different country and I want to get out and about.
“But at the same time I know this isn’t a holiday. I’m here to do a job and play football.
“It’s also not the easiest to get out and about at the moment. Hopefully Lanarkshire doesn’t go into lockdown again and we can all stay safe.
“Thankfully I managed to get down to my family before lockdown came in. I’m up here myself but when we knew the Aberdeen game was going to be off in March I went to London straight away. It was two and a half months I was down there.
“It was great to be with the family. It was a bit difficult, but at the same time it was a blessing. As a footballer, you are never ever going to have that one-to-one time with the family. We will never get it again so you had to make the most of it.”
Looking ahead to the match against St Johnstone and the task of Motherwell cleaving out their first league win of the campaign, Mugabi added: “We just want Saturday to be here. We are back refreshed and ready to work. Nobody wants the club to be where it is in the table but we are sure the results will come.
“It will make a huge difference when some fans get back in soon, even if it’s not them all. We are looking forward to it and hopefully we can do them proud.”