If you were to pick the best Scottish manager over the last 5 years, Stuart McCall would surely be near the top of your shortlist. In his three full seasons as manager, Motherwell have finished third, second and second. Those numbers are impressive enough, but they were achieved the only way most clubs of their size can remain sustainable - through high squad turnover.
As much as we’d like to see it, teams like Motherwell can’t really hold onto top players like, for example, Nicky Law, build a settled team round him with two or three other players of his quality and a solid squad, and make three or four additions each season to keep things fresh. Their future depends on finding good young players, improving them, and selling them on for a healthy profit to fund the club for another season or two in which time they hope to develop the next big thing.
This is obvious, but worth pointing out because it make it almost impossible to achieve consistency, and any manager that is able to do so deserves all the praise he can get.
Motherwell have been pretty hopeless for the most part this season, but I hope it doesn’t result in too much pressure on McCall. A bad start to the season should be viewed more as a regression to the mean than anything else.
It is worrying how short of confidence the players look though, and a game against Dundee (on a bit of a slump after a promising start to the season) would have been seen an opportunity to kick start the season, but they looked defeated as soon as they went one down. How McCall could have done with having David Clarkson back in the strip he graced for so many years, rather than scoring goals for the opposition.
I’ll always back a team with a good manager over a season though, and if it’s a straight fight between McCall, Tommy Craig and Jim McIntyre, I know who my money would be on. IM