MOTHERWELL secured a top-six SPL place after drawing with Hearts at Tynecastle allied to Inverness Caley’s draw with Kilmarnock – and it left manager Stuart McCall happy with achieving the first half of a dandy double.
“Mission accomplished in the SPL and now for the Scottish Cup semi-final against St Johnstone next Saturday,” declared the Fir Park boss.
“This was a fantastic point and I’m really proud of the players. This has been an outstanding achievement and I’m really pleased we’re in the top half and that we can now have an influence on the title. But we also want to finish as high up as we can ourselves.”
McCall, though, admitted Motherwell’s current run of form has handed him a Hampden headache.
He left Stevie Hammell, John Sutton, Jamie Murphy and Keith Lasley on the bench at the start of yesterday’s match.
But they will all be available for the semi-final, along with Steve Jennings, who will be back from suspension, and possibly Gavin Gunning, although Steven Saunders tweaked a hamstring at Tynecastle and is his one doubt.
McCall said: “Remember, too, we played 17-year-old Stuart Carswell and he did well on his debut.
“It’s all giving me a selection headache and it will be very difficult to leave players out of the 16 for the semi-final. I’m going to have to be hard on some of the lads who have been doing well. I have a lot of tough decisions to make.
“But for now we’ve done the first part by making the top six and it will help with money for the budget and also we’ll
have a chance to influence other things with games against the Old Firm.”
Hearts have long been guaranteed a top-half finish but still haven’t managed to clinch third spot.
“We could have won this one but we could also have lost it,” admitted boss Jim Jefferies.
“Motherwell came for a point and they got it, although I can imagine big Kevin Kyle wishes he had been fit to get on the end of some of our crosses into the box. It just wouldn’t settle for us in the box, though.”
Midfielder Ian Black added: “We’ve been a bit unfortunate recently and not had the rub of the green but I’m confident we’ll secure third soon.”
Published with thanks to Sunday Express Scotland