Motherwell V Inverness CT at Fir Park Stadium : Match Preview

18 March 2014 07:01
Motherwell V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Lasley hails McCall

Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley insists Fir Park boss Stuart McCall deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Derek McInnes when nominations for the managerial prizes are announced.

Aberdeen's McInnes is the odds-on favourite to sweep the board after guiding his side to their first trophy in 19 years with Sunday's League Cup win.

The Dons boss has also watched his team climb to second spot in the Scottish Premiership and face a William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final showdown with St Johnstone next month.

But Lasley insists the job done by McCall is just as impressive.

The former Scotland midfielder was named last year's SPL Manager of the Year after leading Well to the runner's up slot and is on course for a third top-three finish in as many years.

Lasley said: "I think the gaffer deserves to be mentioned among the runners for the managerial awards. I thought the same last year.

"It's all relative. Derek McInnes has done a great job. There have been plenty of managers who have go to Aberdeen in recent years with the same budgets and not succeeded, so he is certainly doing something right.

"They will be favourites to finish second and are still in the Scottish Cup as well, so Derek will be a contender when the awards come round.

"But from my point of view, I know the gaffer here has a tough job in terms of budget constraints and the size of club we are compared to your Aberdeens and Dundee Uniteds.

"So it has to be commended the level of consistency that has been shown here and the gaffer needs to take a big chunk of that credit."

The Steelmen take on Inverness on Wednesday just three days after the Highlanders suffered penalty shout-out agony against the Dons.

But Lasley does not think the pain of losing out on the club's first-ever major trophy will stop Caley Thistle from putting up a fight at Fir Park.

Speaking ahead of the Premiership clash, the 34-year-old said: "Hopefully going to extra-time will have a big effect on the Inverness players but I'm sure they will be up for Wednesday's game.

"There will obviously be a lot of disappointment in the Caley ranks. But it would have been different if Aberdeen had ran over the top of them and won 3-0 or 4-0.

"They were right in the game throughout and it could have gone either way, so they will recover by Wednesday.

"In some ways, John Hughes will be like that fact that his side can get out there again rather than being left to stew on it for a week."

McCall will be without goalkeeper Lee Hollis for the next month with a broken finger and he will be replaced by fit-again Gunnar Nielsen on Wednesday night.

Hollis suffered his break against Hibernian last week but while he drops out, Steven Hammel, Zaine Francis-Angol and Stuart Carswell are all back after recovering from injuries.

Inverness boss John Hughes has given his squad a pick-me up following their League Cup final heartache by tying down midfielder Ross Draper on a new two-year deal.

The 25-year-old former Macclesfield player was part of the Caley Thistle side who lost out to Aberdeen at Celtic Park on Sunday.

But he has put the disappointment of that defeat to one side to pen a new deal until May, 2016.

Hughes said "We have been working with Ross and his agent for a couple of weeks now and we are absolutely delighted he has seen that his future lies with our club.

"He has been an ever present in the squad since first signing in 2012 and we have now secured the majority of this year's squad on long-term deals which augurs well for the future and the stability of the playing staff for next season and beyond."

Draper - who has made 71 appearances for Inverness since moving to the Highlands - added: "I am delighted to put pen to paper, we have been in discussion for a couple of weeks now but we have been busy with games.

"I am really enjoying my time up here I love everything about the club and Inverness so there was no reason not to commit my future to the club."

Meanwhile, Inverness skipper Richie Foran insists the dejected Highlanders will have no trouble bouncing back from Sunday's agony when they take on Motherwell.

Caley Thistle had battled through 120 minutes of action before cruelly losing out to the Dons as Adam Rooney's decisive spot-kick claimed the trophy for McInnes' men.

It was a painful way to miss out on landing the club's first ever major trophy but Foran insists the characters in Hughes' squad are tough enough to shake off their disappointment.

Speaking ahead of their Scottish Premiership clash at Fir Park, he told CaleyJagsTV: "We have got big players, big characters who showed on Sunday how well they can play.

"But that is that game out of the way now. There are worse things in life than losing a final.

"Would I want a family member to be in an accident or get sick? No. This is a cup final, it's football. Get on with it.

"As I said, there are worse things in life and we will look forward to Wednesday."

Hughes will be able to call upon the services of defender Gary Warren. The English centre-half was forced to watch on helplessly on Sunday after he was sent-off against Hearts in the semi-final. Otherwise Hughes has a fully-fit squad.

Source: PA

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