Motherwell right-back Stephen O’Donnell says players at the Fir Park club must get motivated for every game after a 2-0 defeat to cinch League One side Airdrie.

Rhys McCabe and Scott McGill goals sealed a shock Premier Sports Cup defeat for the Premiership outfit in their first meeting with Lanarkshire rivals Airdrie since 2007. Motherwell must beat Annan Athletic on Saturday and hope Airdrie falter against Queen of the South to top Group F, nine points likely enough to make the last 16.

O’Donnell says the players are hurt, but lessons must be learned: “I know it’s an extra sore one for the fans and we feel that too. It’s three points we have missed out on but we need to be ready to go again against Annan. I understand the frustration of the fans. I can stand here and say it’s early doors, we have a few new faces.

“But it’s still not good enough and there’s no point in trying to butter it up. I know it means more with it being Airdrie. Thankfully we have the players and the characters in that dressing room who can come back. There is no question it will be a big question for us on Saturday.

 

“We came to Airdrie and knew a win would allow us to top the group. They caused us problems and we need to look at it and defend better. We have been beaten 2-0 by a team two divisions below us – there’s not much else you can say. If we don’t motivate ourselves for every game, we are going to be in trouble this season.”

Celtic v Motherwell - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership

Knows what it means. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Scotland international says the gap in quality isn’t huge: “Sometimes players think, naively, that coming up against a team from League One that you should be head and shoulders above them. The gap isn’t as big as people think and you need to be able to do the basics. We didn’t do that.”

Meanwhile, Airdrie’s Matthew McDonald was in dreamland against Motherwell. The teenager left the Fir Park club at the end of last season and impressed for Ian Murray’s side against former teammates.

He said: “To give the Airdrie fans this result is amazing. It is a weird feeling playing against your former team. I still speak to a few of the boys. I’m happy with the result and I am happy with my performance. We always have that spirit of being able to beat anyone. If you go into a game thinking you’re going to lose, you’ll never win.

“The attitude in this squad is great. I would say we are one of the fittest teams in League One. We don’t fear anyone in any league. We just play our game and we showed our quality. We scored two fantastic goals.”

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