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Motherwell boss Graham Alexander says he has sympathy for officials

Motherwell v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Fir Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Graham Alexander insists he does not blame Scottish officials for the mistakes which have cost him his first win as Motherwell boss.

The former Scotland defender has had to choose his words carefully after seeing Well robbed of victories in his opening two games in charge against St Mirren and Rangers.

Alexander insisted the Steelmen had been “harshly dealt with” after Saints claimed a 1-1 draw thanks to a controversial penalty award given by Bobby Madden following a Bevis Mugabi challenge on Lee Erwin.

And the former Fleetwood boss opted only to say he was “frustrated” again after seeing Cedric Itten rescue a point for Steven Gerrard’s Premiership leaders with an offside equaliser during last Sunday’s stalemate with Rangers.

He may well have every right to feel aggrieved but Alexander instead says he has sympathy for the job the referees have to do.

“I haven’t had a go at any officials, I’ve just given my opinion on certain instances,” he said.

“I wasn’t putting blame on anyone at all. It’s such a hard job for anyone involved in football whether that be coaching, playing or officiating – it’s all difficult.

“You want things to go for you but I don’t think there’s any agenda there so I’m quite relaxed about it.

“All we want to do is focus on what we can control and that’s the team’s performance and to try to impact on the opposition.”

And Alexander hopes his side recreate their first-half display against Gers when they travel to Aberdeen this weekend.

The Steelmen found themselves penned in after the break but Alexander said: “I’d say that first-half performance is the template for everything we want to be going forward, regardless of the opposition.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a team at the top of the league, middle or bottom, that’s how we want to play.

“It’s important that we give our players the confidence that we won’t change too much for whoever we play.

“I told them on my first day that 80 per cent of our game won’t change but you do have to tweak things but that first-half performance against Rangers was absolutely first class.

“We won’t always reach those heights but we’ll always strive for that.”

Northampton forward Harry Smith became Alexander’s second signing since taking over when he arrived on loan this week and he could make his debut at Pittodrie.

“Harry was part of a promotion-winning team last season but he’s found himself just out of the picture down there,” said the Fir Park boss.

“So we feel we’re bringing in a player with a point to prove and I always feel that adds a motivation to a player – and we want motivated players.

“He hasn’t been starting games but he’s been involved in the squad a lot so he’s been training and is ready to go.”

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