The big success story of the Scottish Premiership season so far has almost certainly been Motherwell.
Stephen Robinson’s side have been the wrong side of the Premiership ‘split’ in the last two seasons, finishing seventh and ninth, but at the time of writing they sit in third place, behind only the Old Firm sides.
Part of their success have been the performances of Mark Gillespie in goal, and he joined the Totally Scottish Football Show this week to discuss the season so far.
“He’s right up there,” Gillespie said, about Robinson. “He’s the best manager I’ve worked with certainly. The detail he goes into, the intensity of training, the improvement he’s brought in players – everyone’s bought into it. There’s a good mix in the squad, and it’s a really good club to play for, which comes from the top.
“As a whole, the club have got something going and the results are showing that.”
Part of the reason for the admiring comments being cast their way this season is a change in style of play, but Gillespie explained that they weren’t just concentrating on pretty football under Robinson.
“You want to be part of a winning team, and as a goalkeeper you want to be keeping clean sheets. But I think we’ve got the mix about right.
“Roughly around the time I came into the team last season, the likes of David Turnbull were emerging and we did start to play football a little bit more, as opposed to going long, and obviously the manager takes credit for that.
“But I think we mix it up: I don’t think we’re one of those teams that just wants to play football and not get stuck in, which I think is vital in this league. You need to be able to do both. Maybe at the start of the season we got caught up a little bit in how we were on the ball, but recently we’ve got the mix about right.”
So what are their realistic targets this season? Is it just to make that top six, or are they looking even higher than that?
“In the last few seasons we just missed out on the top six, so I think that is our main goal. But I can’t see why we shouldn’t keep pushing on, and aim as high as we can. I think I saw a few weeks ago that we were third in terms of points gained over the calendar year, so it’s a sustained period of form, which is with a change in personnel over the summer.”
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