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Robinson wants Motherwell to be a force in the final third

Motherwell boss Stephen Robinson wants his side to be “ruthless” in the final third as he faces up to the challenge of overcoming Tommy Wright’s St Johnstone.

The pair are among the favourites to succeed Michael O’Neill as Northern Ireland manager next year and have been neck and neck in the Ladbrokes Premiership over the past two seasons, sharing seventh and eighth spot between them.

Saints arrive at Fir Park bottom of the league but level on points with three other teams after taking seven points from four matches and Robinson knows his side will need to be clinical if they are to bounce back from defeats at Celtic and Hibernian to consolidate their place in the top four.

On facing Wright, Robinson said: “It’s always difficult. Tommy’s record speaks for itself over the years, what he has done with St Johnstone. He has massively over-achieved.

“I think he has signed some very good players, I think they have a good squad on paper and he will be looking to turn that into results, but hopefully that won’t start on Saturday.

“Tommy always has them well organised. I don’t think their league position suggests how they have played at times.

“It is so tight down there, there is very little difference between bottom and sixth.

“I think it will be a hard game and they will sit in at times, so again we are going to have to break teams down. But our boys have to take that as a compliment. People didn’t used to come to Motherwell and sit in. They do now, they try and hit us on the counter-attack.

“That’s something we have to be aware of because St Johnstone have pace up top with their front three and they are dangerous.”

Robinson, whose side have won 13 games at Fir Park in 2019, added: “We are a team that has to be patient, we don’t have a massive target man that we can launch balls up to.

“It’s not what we want to do, we want to be patient and break teams down. It’s that quality in the final third and getting that consistency from our front players and helping them with their decision-making.

“That’s the key to it, the decisions in the final third. If you watched Celtic and Rangers this week, both terrific results. It doesn’t matter how much possession you have, their forward players are the key to them winning football matches.

“That’s what we have to bring, more ruthlessness and decision-making in the final third.”