David Alaba’s top, a baby girl and Scottish Cup progression – now a new Motherwell deal is coming the way of Stephen O’Donnell.
The Scotland international has been linked with the likes of English Championship Stoke City but he is set to sign a new contract with Motherwell. O’Donnell has been an ever-present since arriving at Fir Park in the summer, making 34 appearances for Graham Alexander’s team, captaining the club during Declan Gallagher’s injury spell.
He thought it would be signed before last month’s World Cup qualifiers but O’Donnell says it could be sorted this week: “We are very close to a new deal. I thought it might have been done before the last trip but there’s never been a rush at my end or at Motherwell’s. They are honest with me and I am honest with them.
“There’s no issues, the only issue last time with my contract (at Kilmarnock) was that Covid hit, which I don’t think will happen again! We seem to be getting over that and I am enjoying my football and the manager. I think it could be done this week but I’m not stressed, I need to go home and change some nappies!
“I am happy, I am enjoying myself and I think my Scotland form showed that as I was better this trip. It’s exciting times, I think the deal is for a couple of years. But I am getting older in my career so hopefully I can stay in what I think is good condition.”
During Scotland’s latest round of fixtures in World Cup qualifying, Steve Clarke’s side took five points from nine, sitting second in the group after draws with Austria and Israel plus victory over Faroe Islands last week. O’Donnell was impressive against Austria’s Bayern Munich star Alaba and took his top home.
But overall, O’Donnell believes it was a strong week: “That was nice to hear but I was just trying to do a job for the team. I got his top because it’s not often you come up against a world-class full-back. But I am fortunate that with Scotland I train against two! So I’ve had practice. It was a tough task but one I thoroughly enjoyed.
“The fans, media, maybe wanted more but every game at international level is tough. To be sitting second in the group after three games shows we are still in it and people in the past have believed we’ve been out by the first three games. So we are by no means out.”
O’Donnell was back in Motherwell colours on Saturday as the Steelmen beat Formartine United 5-0, the right-back notching an assist. He was late to the team after the birth of his baby girl, Olivia on Thursday. Scottish Cup progression was the best way to cap off a draining but brilliant week.
The 28-year-old said: “It’s a side you need to respect, similar to the Faroe Islands, and if you don’t respect them they will punish you. But after we scored we controlled the game and deserved the win. It was comfortable in the end.
“I’m maybe a wee bit tired, it’s been a long couple of days for me, and it was nice to come off the international break and get a win. The birth of my wee girl was brilliant on Thursday. Family is very important and I got to the squad for the Formartine United game a wee bit late.
“Winning, playing, family, they are the most important things in my life and I am glad to have it all. I’ve got two kids now, one at 18 months and the other just born. It’s a busy house, I’ll need to get that deal signed before my form drops!”
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