Levein wary of Motherwell threat

27 November 2009 02:10
The Tangerines beat Celtic last weekend and in the process shook off a 10-year hoodoo against Tony Mowbray's side.

That has encouraged talk of them mounting a SPL title challenge but Levein knows that rapidly-improving Motherwell will stringently test his team's credentials.

With the game lacking the glamour of last weekend's encounter and the fact it is away from home, Levein expects it to be an altogether different challenge to the so-called 'big' games.

He said: "In some regards this game is more difficult than facing Celtic.

"I don't think Motherwell will mind me saying that the Old Firm have better players than they do, but for me this game is just as hard.

"That is for a variety of reasons. First of all it's away from home and we don't have the advantage of playing in front of our own fans.

"And secondly I always feel these live television games have a bit of added edge to them.

"Players know it's being beamed across the country, they want to prove something and it feels like a real occasion.

"The test now is to continue in that vein of form when that's taken away.

"What has encouraged me this season is our results away from home.

"This has been the best we've been away from home for a while.

"We've been a bit more open on the road this season.

"We look more like scoring goals in away games these days, although that puts an onus on (goalkeeper) Nicky Weaver and the likes of Darren Dods and Webby (Andy Webster) to keep their level of performance high."

United have been boosted by Mihael Kovacevic's return from a calf injury, although Garry Kenneth will not be risked.

Meanwhile, United have loaned out striker Kevin Smith to Raith Rovers.

The former Sunderland, Hearts and Dundee youngster spent last season at Starks Park and scored the goals to win them promotion to Division One.

The 22-year-old broke his ankle towards the end of last term and has been recuperating since.

Levein is keen for him to get first-team football so has sanctioned an agreement until January 2.

He said: "With us not having any bounce games organised for the next few weeks it's important that Kevin gets football.

"He's at the stage where he needs to play so going to Raith will be good for him.

"I'm in talks with East Fife about taking Keith Watson, who is in a similar situation, so hopefully we'll get him away to play as well next week."

Source: Team_Talk