"A big loss"; Motherwell boss reveals injury blow as he assesses Celtic threat

By Lewis Laird

November 9, 2022

Motherwell boss Steven Hammell has confirmed his side will be without experienced defender Paul McGinn for this evening’s clash against Celtic.

The Bhoys travel to North Lanarkshire for the second time within a matter of weeks, as this time, they take on the Steelmen in Scottish Premiership action.

Both sides will be looking to finish the first half of the season off strongly, with tonight’s game being the penultimate fixture before the winter World Cup.

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Ange Postecoglou’s side will come into this one full of confidence after continuing their strong start to the campaign with a dramatic late victory over Dundee United last weekend.

On the other hand, for Motherwell, it has been a difficult few weeks, having picked up just one victory in their last six games, including an emphatic 4-0 loss to the Hoops in October.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s game, Well boss Steven Hammell assessed the opposition his side will come up against and praised Ange Postecoglou, and his squad, who he insists are filled with quality.

He said [Motherwell FC]: It’s clear they’ve got a lot of players that can hurt you. Their style is good, they are obviously a well-coached and well-drilled team with a lot of quality and options; they can make six or seven changes comfortably and still be equally as strong.

“So it’s something they’ve got at their disposal that helps. The level of player that they have is high. But, again, I don’t really want to be overly emphasising on them.

“Yes, of course, we need to be aware of their threats, which they have a lot of. But, like every week, just emphasised a little more, we’ve not had the week’s prep to focus fully on it, with the game at the weekend.

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“But we’re fully aware, and like you have said, we’ve played them twice this season. We are aware of what they have got, but again that’s no different from any other week.”

The new Motherwell manager also provided an injury update ahead of his side difficult test this evening, after suffering from several injury blows in recent weeks.

And it doesn’t get any better for Hammell, who confirmed that former Hibernian full-back and Scotland international Paul McGinn would be missing for tonight’s match.

Hammell continued: “It will be pretty similar. But unfortunately, Paul McGinn has got a bad one as well, which is going to be a big loss for us because he’s been excellent for us this season.

“He got a scan yesterday, and we’ll probably find out exactly where he’s at just this morning with that. Unfortunately, that’s another one that’s been disappointing and will make us a little bit weaker as well.”

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Celtic’s left hand side could be crucial in determining who brings home the points at Fir Park.

So far this season, McGinn has featured in all 18 of Motherwell’s matches, including both defeats to the hands of Celtic. So there is no doubting that this latest injury news will come as a blow for Steven Hammell and his coaching staff.

The blow might be slightly softened by the recent return from injury for another Scotland international, Stephen O’Donnell, who played 70 minutes in the defeat to Hearts at the weekend.

However, I am sure the Motherwell boss will be desperately hoping that his returning full-back is up to full fitness with the attacking threat Celtic have at their disposal.

Ange Postecoglou has an incredible array of options, including the on-form Jota and Sead Haksabanovic, who will be hoping for the opportunity to impress once again tonight.

It is bound to be an important match-up for both teams down that left-hand side, and it could prove crucial in determining who takes home the points.

In other news, Fir Park clash offers Celtic boss chance to restore solid defensive pairing.