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Graham Alexander: Motherwell should relish challenge of spoiling Rangers’ party

Graham Alexander File Photo
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Motherwell manager Graham Alexander expects his players to relish the challenge at an Ibrox full of celebrating Rangers fans.

Covid restrictions mean Motherwell fans will be absent on Sunday as close to 50,000 home supporters watch their side hoist the cinch Premiership title flag in a traditional ceremony delayed from the opening day of the season, when crowds were even more limited.

The atmosphere could add to the challenge facing Well as Rangers look to make it 22 consecutive home league wins.

Alexander, who will have Scotland international Stephen O’Donnell back in his squad, said: “This is part of the game, if you don’t want to be in these games, you are in the wrong sport.

“We want to be at the highest level we can be to experience and compete and win in these games.

“So you’ve got to relish it rather than be concerned about it. And, to be fair, knowing my players, I think they will relish the challenge.

“We have not bowed in any challenge so far since we came in. We know how tough it will be but we haven’t had an easy game yet and we don’t expect one, certainly not on Sunday.

“But we are used to making it difficult for ourselves in training. The way we train with each other makes it difficult in preparation for the game.

“The atmosphere will be intense and it has to be handled by everybody on the day, but we have to focus on what we do with and without the ball, and if we do that right then we give ourselves the best chance of winning.”

Skipper O’Donnell has missed the past four matches through illness and then a hip strain sustained during his comeback for Scotland in the away win against Austria.

“Stephen has trained this week,” Alexander said. “He trained last Friday before the game but I just felt it was too much to ask.

“He had been ill a couple of times and came off during the Scotland game so I felt it was better for him to miss out last week.

“But he has trained fully for us this week and is raring to go, so that’s great for us that we have got another good player available for selection.

“Apart from that everyone is relatively fit. I am leaving good players off the bench, which augurs well for the future of the club.”