James Scott has been faced with numerous challenges since swapping Motherwell for Hull City – but the Scotland youth international heads into the 2020/21 campaign more determined than ever.

Back in January, Scott made a seven-figure switch to the Tigers on deadline day, a transfer fee which did wonders for the Steelmen. It helped Motherwell clear all their external debt, pocketing a seven-figure deal prior to the football shutdown also very handy in hindsight.

James Scott netted Motherwell a handy fee. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Scott is one of numerous academy success stories in recent years, with the likes of David Turnbull, Jake Hastie, Stuart McKinstry and Reece McAlear all securing big moves after time in the claret and amber youth system.

At Hull though things haven’t been easy. Less than a minute into his first training session, he suffered ankle damage that looked to rule him out for the rest of the season. But football’s shutdown meant he could return in June, and whilst he scored his first Tigers goal, the former Premier League side were relegated to League One. Personally he’s feeling good, but he knows Hull must strive for promotion this term.

“It’s been good, I thought it would be quite hard coming back from injury but my fitness levels have been better than before,” Scott told NTOF. “I went over my ankle on the grass, 51 seconds into my first training session. You couldn’t write it could you? I trained the full session which made it worse but it wasn’t the best start. My head was all over the place.

Birmingham City v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship
Got amongst the goals. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“I’ve got here in the end, and of course it didn’t work out for us, but we pick ourselves up and try to get promoted. It’s not been great, it’s not where you want to be. I didn’t really have the best of luck in the end so hopefully we can get promoted this year. My intention was coming here and playing in the Championship so I’m hoping to add a lot more goals than what I have.

“League One is probably harder than the Championship for fitness levels. You’ve got to work really hard for things so it’ll be a challenge for me personally and the rest of the boys. They are all athletes down here, all just runners. It’s non-stop running, you can tell there’s a difference between English football and Scottish football.

“Promotion is key for us, we want to get back in the Championship as quick as we can. For me personally I want to start scoring more goals and helping the team out. Hopefully I will play a few more games with Scotland (U21s). It was good to be called up again. Even a few goals would be good on top of playing.

“It’s a different standard here, everyone is technically gifted. It’s no disrespect to some of the (Scottish) clubs, they just aren’t at the level. You don’t want to go to McDiarmid Park when you can be going to West Brom or something. It’s a whole different level, even without fans it’s massive. Don’t get me started on Dalziel Park, it’s unbelievable here! But you’ve got to start somewhere.”

It’s not what you’ve got, it’s how you use it

It has been a whirlwind year for Scott. In the midst of everything going on outside of football, he’s went from Motherwell academy product looking for a chance to a seven-figure forward south of the border. His time in the Well youth system is credited for that rise.

Whilst not having the facilities he has become accustomed to at Hull City, learning off the park from club legends like Steven Hammell and on the pitch from modern Well hero Louis Moult was all he needed. Above all, Scott believes it’s one of his former teammates who embodies what the youth pathway at Fir Park is all about.

Motherwell v Glentoran - UEFA Europa League: First Qualifying Round
The manager loves him too. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

“I think I signed around 15 and I wasn’t allowed to go out on loan,” explained Scott. “So I was just learning off guys like Louis Moult in training. He was incredible, scoring left, right and centre. They weren’t easy goals either, the League Cup semi-final, he was chipping the ball from 30 yards out against Rangers!

“You’re looking at that thinking ‘what chance have I got here,’ but the gaffer had trust in me. I was playing as a number nine at Motherwell but I didn’t score as many goals. He then moved me out to the left and right, that’s where I started scoring and that’s how I got my move. Sometimes you need to change to get better.

“The facilities are not great, you train on astro at Braidhurst which is a high school or Dalziel Park. But then you’ve had the likes of Steven Hammell and Stephen McManus there. Sometimes James McFadden would go down when we were there. You are learning from the best, to learn from them is more than having all the facilities.

Rangers v Motherwell - Betfred League Cup Semi Final
This was good. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

“There are probably more players who will get bigger moves. You look at Allan Campbell, he can go to the highest level. He just loves Motherwell, he is flying, never has a bad game. It just shows hard work pays off.

“It’s incredible the work he puts into what he eats and in the gym. It’s quite boring but that’s the best way, look at the way he performs. He’s not the average boy who kicks about in ML1, he loves football and pulling on the Motherwell shirt, you can’t ask for anything more.”

Here’s to you, Mr. Robinson

Whilst he’s 253 miles away from Motherwell now, Scott still has plenty of gratitude for what the club had did for his career, particularly manager Stephen Robinson. The Northern Irishman has been instrumental in bringing through a crop of young talent into the first-team and making the club millions as a result.

Celtic v Motherwell - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership
Robinson has did great things for Motherwell. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scott is one of the best examples of that and he thanks Robinson for the chance. It was only last July he pondered the option of going out on loan, but his form and work eventually saw him through under Robinson’s guidance. It has managed to get him a dream move.

“Motherwell is a great club, it’s a selling club,” said Scott. “For a lot of young players they will get their chance and the likes of me and David (Turnbull) did. I was actually thinking of leaving on loan last July because I wasn’t playing. I was playing with the reserves and scoring a hat-trick every game but you take your chance. I took mine for five or six weeks, got about six or seven goals. You have to take it to try and get a move.

“The gaffer put me in and I scored two (against Morton) and from there I just started scoring. I scored the week after and then the league started. It was a good start for Motherwell and for me personally. We finished third for a reason, it wasn’t through individual performances, it was through everyone. But I thought my time there from July onwards was the best football I’ve played and look where it’s got me, a massive club.

Birmingham City v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship
Thankful for Robinson (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“Stephen Robinson loves playing young players because every player wants to play for him. Even at Motherwell, you want to play under him because he’s a great coach. You can’t fault him because he loves winning, which is a great mentality. Last season proved that.

“He’s definitely fell in love with the club. He’s had many chances to go to the Northern Ireland job or a few clubs in England. But now Motherwell are in Europe and some of it is down to him.”

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