Steven Lawless started his career at Motherwell, so it’s odd for him to be back where it all started when he was 10, 19 years later.
The winger has signed an 18-month deal at Fir Park off the back of a brief stint at Burton Albion. He signed for the League One club last summer after a good season with Livingston but returns home for family reasons.
Now in a side that includes plenty of old teammates, most notably from Livingston, Lawless has opened up on his return: “It is strange. This is the first team I have walked into where I know as many players.
“There is obviously a lot of boys from Livingston but two from my Thistle days as well, with Stephen O’Donnell and Scott Fox. It’s a good changing room. I have kept contact with all the boys to be honest, so I have some good friends in the team and I know the ability they have got.
“I know where they should be in the league and that will be the aim, and I am sure they feel the same. It is it good to be back, I spent so many years here as a youth and hopefully we can push up the table.
“There’s been contact with the club for a few months, even last season there was a bit of interest. But it has happened quite quick over the last 10 days. I have no regrets about giving Burton Albion a bash, sometimes a club doesn’t fit so I am glad to be back up the road.
“It was in the manager’s hands. I knew there was interest from people at the club but the manager did his research. We had a long chat on the phone and he made his feelings known that he wanted me here. I wouldn’t have come if he didn’t want me. It was a big thing to know I’m not here to make up numbers.”
The Well academy product says it was bizarre to walk around the building much of his development in football happened: “It was a strange feeling coming through some of the corridors. Obviously I have been here with other teams but you just go through the main entrance.
“I was here from 10 until I was 21/22, so I have a lot of affection and connection with the club, so it is a good move for me and I am looking forward to it. There’s a lot of good people here.”
A task against Rangers awaits Lawless in what could potentially be his debut and while there may have been easier starting points, he knows his side will make life difficult for the runaway leaders.
He said: “It’s a good one to warm-up with! I couldn’t have picked a harder game but this place has always been hard for the Old Firm. It is different without fans but we still need to make this a difficult place for them. They are a good team, they are doing very well this season but we need to focus on ourselves.”
Manager Graham Alexander is delighted to have Lawless in the door: “Hopefully he will add goals, assists and creativity. I think he can certainly help us at the top end and be that link between the defensive side of the game and the forwards.
“He’s got good guile, experience of playing up here and was here as a young boy. When I spoke to him his want to be here was a big pull for me. We want players who want to be here and that’s important. He’s shown that aspiration.”
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.