Motherwell have made a wonderful start to the league campaign; a hat tip to manager and staff.
Stuart Kettlewell has maintained the momentum that dragged Motherwell from the pit of the table to a creditable seventh place last season. There was a general belief that the departure of Kevin van Veen would leave the squad with an unfillable gap that would hamper progress as the new season arrived but the manager has fostered a team spirit capable of overcoming the loss of the top goal scorer.
The summer window ended with nineteen departures and nine arrivals. Three of the newcomers were late loans as the club was hit with an early series of injuries.
After a week in Holland the new team found its rhythm in the four league cup group matches. The is a strong argument that this route provides a better route to the rigours of the league campaign than the July start that comes with the early stages of European competition.
The blossoming of Lennon Miller and the powerful pairing of Callum Slattery and Blair Spittal ahead of a fairly stable defensive line has been the key to the successful start. After an opening draw in Dundee, wins over Hibs, Kilmarnock and Hearts has claret and amber sharing top spot in the table.
After the international break, back to back meeting with the Glasgow pair will offer a tough test after the visit of St Mirren but the collective spirit shown so far will have the players crossing the line with confidence.
A number of the squad will be involved with their national squads but the majority will enjoy some well deserved down time.
Summer activity at Fir Park
IN: Theo Bair (St. Johnstone), Jon Obika (Morecambe, loan made permanent), Pape Souare (Morecambe), Conor Wilkinson (Walsall), Davor Zdravkovski (AEL Limassol), Mika Biereth (Arsenal, loan), Georgie Gent (Blackburn Rovers, loan), Oli Shaw (Barnsley, loan), Brodie Spencer (Huddersfield Town, loan)
OUT: Kevin Van Veen (Groningen, £500k), Max Johnston (Sturm Graz, £300k), Jack Aitchison (Exeter City), Dean Cornelius (Harrogate Town), Riku Danzaki (Western United), David Devine (Alloa Athletic, loan made permanent), Mikael Mandron (St. Mirren), Connor Shields (Chennaiyin), Ricki Lamie (Dundee, loan), Barry Maguire (Kidderminster Harriers, loan), Robbie Mahon (Edinburgh City, loan), Ross Tierney (Walsall, loan), Ollie Crankshaw (Stockport County, end of loan), James Furlong (Brighton & Hove Albion, end of loan), Stuart McKinstry (Leeds United, end of loan), Jake Carroll, Sean Goss, Josh Morris, Kian Spiers
Data collated by Narey’s toepoker