Stuart McCall lead Motherwell to heady heights as Fir Park manager, but he believes the club deserve credit for ‘punching above their weight’ in recent times.
Motherwell were in dreamland under McCall, who managed to steer the club to consecutive second place finishes and European adventures, even getting the Well into the Champions League.
The Steelmen haven’t reached such heights since his departure, although Stephen Robinson’s men are flying at the moment. Following a 2-0 win over St Mirren, they occupy third spot in the Premiership.
McCall is pleased that his former side are having great success at the moment and thinks the recruitment of youngsters has been a real positive at Fir Park.
He told NTOF: “They’re flying aren’t they? They’ve picked up some fantastic results and they are right up there on merit. With what they’ve done over the past few years, hats off to them.
“They’ve had a real good nucleus of players that they have brought through. First of all it’s identifying them at a young age, coaching them well in the academy.
“They’ve had some really good coaches like Stevie Hammell and Stephen Craigan, Keith Lasley and Stephen McManus. They’ve had some good role models there.
“It then comes to the manager to put them in. I think over the last few years the development of the youngsters has been absolutely outstanding.”
There’s a youthful spirit about this Well side. Throughout the squad you have academy graduates in Allan Campbell, David Turnbull, James Scott, Barry Maguire and Jamie Semple.
Even outwith that you have the likes of Sherwin Seedorf, Liam Donnelly and Christian Ilic, who are all 23 and under.
Motherwell haven’t finished in the top six since the 2015/16 season under Mark McGhee and haven’t qualified for Europe since McCall left, but there’s a growing feeling that this could be the year for that to change.
In any case, McCall believes his former side deserve credit for even competing with the likes of Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs.
He said: “It’s not always about budgets but it’s about getting the best out of what you have and obviously Stephen is doing that very well.
“The likes of Hibs, Hearts, Aberdeen, you want to battle against these sides. You shouldn’t be able to and we were never in a position to keep a hold of our best players.
“Motherwell are probably in the same situation now. I’m sure if a Hibs, Hearts or Aberdeen came along, they’d be able to offer people who Motherwell were looking at far greater incentives.
“But you do the best with what you’ve got and they are probably in a similar situation now as they were when I was at Motherwell. They’re punching above their weight and doing really well.”