At the beginning of this season, most Motherwell fans would have settled for any available spots in the top six. We’re in November now though and the Motherwell momentum train doesn’t seem to be slowing down.
A 2-1 win over Livingston secured third place for another week following a brilliant start to the campaign. It’s left fans dreaming of a potential return to the European stage, somewhere they haven’t been for five years now.
Based on the evidence Robinson has produced this year, there’s no reason to suggest why Motherwell can’t mount a third place charge.
Strength in depth
In September time it was ok to slam the brakes on talk of potential European excursions, but not now. Fans should be allowed to dream of Europa League adventures.
They’ve only been beaten nine times this year in the league, with four of those games coming against Celtic and Rangers. They also have the most points of anyone outside Celtic and Rangers in this calendar year.
The quality of Motherwell’s starting XI has been well documented, with summer signings like Declan Gallagher and Liam Polworth really shining. What hasn’t been as well documented is the club’s strength in depth.
With clubs like Motherwell, whenever you’re going into the transfer market, it is a complete lottery at the best of times. The signings are either brilliant or they slowly fall by the wayside.
Just look at the 2015 winter transfer window. That winter highlighted this perfectly, with Motherwell pulling Marvin Johnson from the depths of English football whilst also signing flops like Anthony Straker and Nathan Thomas.
This season though Robinson has had more hits than misses. The likes of Casper Sloth and Christy Manzinga are yet to feature but Bevis Mugabi, Sherwin Seedorf, Jermain Hylton, Jake Carroll, Devante Cole, Polworth, Chris Long and Gallagher have all proven to be shrewd acquisitions so far.
It helps that Motherwell were able to add this quality whilst retaining many key players. Mark Gillespie, Liam Grimshaw and Allan Campbell are all still at the club, whilst David Turnbull is building his fitness ahead of a return to action.
Robinson has the right tools to work with at Motherwell
At this stage last season Motherwell had 11 points, whereas this term, they have 22 before the November internationals. It wasn’t until January 23 did Motherwell hit that mark last season.
It’s their highest scoring start to a season since the 2005/06 campaign and so far this term they’ve had 11 different goalscorers from all areas of the pitch. Last term they had 17 over the course of the whole season.
Going into this period last term there were a growing number of Motherwell fans who wanted to see Robinson gone. The style of football was tough to watch and the club were clearly struggling with the loss of Louis Moult after almost ten months without him.
A physical style was ditched for the most part in favour of a 4-3-3 built on pace and counter-attacking. In glimpses last season it was clear how effective it could be, but the Northern Irishman didn’t have the players to pull it off completely.
Now he has the tools and Motherwell are flying. Over the course of the season so far they’ve been the most exciting to watch outside of the Old Firm. The results are backing that up too.
Will Motherwell be going on a European Tour? The signs indicate it’s a very real possibility and supporters within Fir Park are beginning to realise that too, even if it is with a bit of hesitation.