McDon­ald out to for­get his shell-shock

Striker keen to start re­build af­ter re­turn­ing to club at ‘panic sta­tions’ last sea­son

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL - LIND­SAY HER­RON

SCOTT McDON­ALD has re­vealed that the Mother­well he re­turned to in Fe­bru­ary was a shell of the club, rav­aged by panic and un­cer­tainty as rel­e­ga­tion from the Scot­tish Premier­ship loomed large.

McDon­ald was more fa­mil­iar with a team that chal­lenged at the top given two run­ners-up spots and a third place in the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons.

How­ever, in the space of a few months he helped play his part in their sur­vival, thanks to a com­fort­able play­off fi­nal win over Rangers, and has now signed a new one-year con­tract be­liev­ing the Steel­men can tar­get the top six rather than a rel­e­ga­tion bat­tle.

“I was ab­so­lutely shocked when I first came back,” McDon­ald said. “I think there were panic sta­tions and the boys were wor­ried about what the fu­ture held.

“It was hard work to achieve what they achieved but they’ve al­ways been look­ing down on ev­ery­one else and not look­ing up.

“If I’m be­ing hon­est I don’t think if the club had gone down I would have been back, it’s as sim­ple as that.

“You want to play at the best level you pos­si­bly can for as long as you can. But thank­fully ev­ery­thing went well at the end of last sea­son. It was a stress­ful time, I didn’t think it was go­ing to be that stress­ful but Ross County just kept win­ning and fair play to them.

“We proved in the play-offs against Rangers that we can do it on the big oc­ca­sion but it’s im­por­tant that we do that week-in and week-out.

“It’s al­right do­ing it on a one-off ba­sis but we’ve got to be more con­sis­tent. If you look at the form guides at the back end of last sea­son we were well and truly in the top half of the ta­ble, so were Ross County, I think they were equal with Celtic.

“That showed you how hard it was to try and get out of the sit­u­a­tion we were in.

“So it was a shock to the sys­tem but a re­al­ity check as well. Ev­ery­one wants to avoid that again.

“But we took a lot of con­fi­dence from that and the type of play­ers we have here, we’ve got some ex­cit­ing young play­ers and a lot of pace in the team so we’ll look to build on that.

“Two new strik­ers have come in and I’ll try to help them as much as pos­si­ble so we all will be suc­cess­ful.”

McDon­ald, whose first spell for Mother­well be­tween 2004-2007, pro­duced a goal ev­ery two games, had other more fi­nan­cially re­ward­ing of­fers to con­tinue his ca­reer.

How­ever, hav­ing made a good liv­ing from his time with Celtic, Mid­dles­brough and Mill­wall, he was more than happy to re-sign for a club, which he holds dear.

He said: “I looked at all my op­tions over the sum­mer be­fore mak­ing my de­ci­sion. It came down to what this club means to me and also what it brings to me.

“There’s the warmth that I feel when I step through the door and how I’m treated here was a big fac­tor. I have a lot of spe­cial mem­o­ries at Fir Park and I still have my house here, so mov­ing back was an easy op­tion. We have another baby on the way and that was a mas­sive fac­tor as well.

“There were more lu­cra­tive of­fers on the ta­ble but I’ve been lucky enough to have had a de­cent ca­reer and done okay out of the game so this was more about me be­ing happy again.

“It’s been a tough road in the last few years in terms of find­ing hap­pi­ness within my football but I was re­ally en­joy­ing it again last sea­son. Be­ing one of the se­nior play­ers and be­ing asked to take on ex­tra re­spon­si­bil­ity was re­ally nice and it was great to see young play­ers do­ing well and Lee Er­win mov­ing on.

“Hope­fully my­self, the coach­ing staff and the other older guys can help our young­sters push on.”

This sea­son is the 25th an­niver­sary of Mother­well’s fa­mous Scot­tish Cup tri­umph in 1990/91, and McDon­ald hopes it is an omen while recog­nis­ing that sta­bil­ity in the Premier­ship is the main aim.

He added: “It’s been a long time since Mother­well last won any­thing – it’ll be 25 years next sea­son since they won the Scot­tish Cup – so we’re due a cup run.

“Ob­vi­ously, it would be nice to mark that an­niver­sary with another tro­phy but, as al­ways, the Scot­tish league will be the pri­or­ity.”

Pic­ture: SNS.

OUT OF SORTS: Scott McDon­ald ad­mits to be­ing shocked when he re­turned to Fir Park with the club strug­gling to stay up last sea­son.

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