“It’s magic, you know, Hastie, Turnbull and Campbell”. A song to the tune of Magic by Pilot rings out from the far corner of the East Stand at Fir Park on a regular basis, praising three of Motherwell’s brightest youngsters.
Jake Hastie, David Turnbull and Allan Campbell have inherited the tune once sung for goal hero Michael Higdon due to their emphatic performances in recent weeks. All three of them are products of the Well academy and play vital roles in Stephen Robinson’s reinvigorated Well side.
Campbell is the steel in midfield, Turnbull is the classy player on the ball and Hastie is just pure physical power. The trio have been instrumental in the run which has seen Motherwell pick up six wins from their previous eight and turn them into top six contenders.
What isn’t as well documented is how they got to this position. They make it look easy now, but football hasn’t always been so simple for the Well academy graduates.
Biding their time
Starting with Hastie, who has perhaps had the longest road to the first team. Signing on at Motherwell from the age of nine, the same age as Turnbull did, the wide man developed himself in the Fir Park academy. He would make his first team debut against Celtic in October 2016 before being handed a new deal the following January.
From there the youngster would spend 18 months out on loan, joining Airdrieonians for the 2017/18 season and Alloa Athletic for the first part of this season. These spells bulked the youngster up and developed his footballing ability at a decent level. It’s perhaps the reason he has been able to start so quickly for Robinson’s side.
Turnbull joined the Steelmen in 2009, the same year as Hastie. He has never went out on loan, but he did have to wait until February 2018 for his debut, a substitute appearance in a Scottish Cup clash with Dundee. Since then the midfielder has slowly but surely ingrained himself in the squad, becoming a regular starter this season.
Despite his age, Campbell is already an experienced Motherwell player. Joining the club in 2008, the midfielder has made 62 appearances for the Well. He has been the natural heir to Keith Lasley in the middle of the park and shares similarities with the Well assistant. A hard tackler who wears his heart on his sleeve, willing to do anything for a Motherwell victory.
A golden generation?
The trio have been through the academy together, each playing starring roles in the 2016 Youth Cup victory that seen the Steelmen lift the trophy. They would have to wait until January of this year to start a senior game together though, with that coming against Hibs in a 1-0 win.
The three of them have went from strength to strength since then. They have scored 10 goals and provided four assists between them since the Hibs fixture. They are on top of their game right now and fans will hope they can stay at Fir Park for the long haul.
They’ve shown what eager youths can bring to a team. All three of them and another Motherwell academy star Barry Maguire have been called up to the Scotland U21 side. It’s a testament to the academy so many youngsters are coming through at Fir Park right now.
With the like of James Scott and Stuart McKinstry in line for a run of games too, there’s a good conveyor belt of local talent in North Lanarkshire just now.
Motherwell really could have a golden generation on their hands. Hastie, Campbell and Turnbull will be the ones spearheading that group of players.