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Stephen O’Donnell refusing to panic despite two heavy defeats for Motherwell

Celtic v Motherwell – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Jane Barlow)

Stephen O’Donnell insists there is positivity rather than panic at Motherwell despite two heavy home defeats.

The full-back was sent off early in a 4-1 loss to Hamilton and sat out Saturday’s 3-0 reverse against St Johnstone, who had 22 shots at goal compared to the hosts’ one.

Manager Graham Alexander warned they were in a relegation battle after the latest setback but they have a chance to move seven points away from the bottom two against St Mirren in Paisley on Wednesday.

O’Donnell, who is back from suspension, said: “There’s no drama. We are in a position which isn’t where we would like to be but it isn’t a bad position, it’s better than where other boys are.

“We went off track the last couple of games, it doesn’t help when somebody gets sent off after 20 minutes, but the good news is we have another game.

“If you are trying to say ‘two defeats, we are in terrible form, we are going to get relegated’, if you broaden your horizons, we are in one of the better forms out of the bottom four or six.

“A couple of bad results, albeit they are heavier than you would have liked them to be, but two defeats are two defeats. It’s six points we have lost, and I don’t think there is anything to be panicking about.

“We were in great form before that and circumstances change games in minutes. We didn’t start well against Hamilton but when you go 2-0 down with a sending-off it makes it a very difficult task. It’s one game that was difficult with circumstances and one bad performance. I don’t think we need to look into it any more than that.”

Motherwell had previously started well under Alexander and O’Donnell feels the mood instilled by the new boss can help them get back to that form.

“I think just general positivity,” he said when asked what Alexander had brought to the club.

“We are having to analyse our games ourselves, put in clips of what we felt we have done well. He wants everything to be positive because we can’t dwell on it too long.

“He has had a few words, more privately, with players and selected groups to speak about the negatives. But on the whole the full atmosphere is trying to be positive.

“There is not much that can be achieved when negativity is around. It can come into a club and fester and get very difficult to get out of it. It can make it a rut. I certainly don’t feel that’s the case with ourselves.

“And if you want to be negative and say we are looking for lifts, we have four or five players who are very close to coming back. The grass will grow again, so I’m sure getting the ball will be a bit easier. There’s lots of positivity.

“The manager is encouraging it. When I got sent off, I wanted to be in a bad mood. I let the side down, let myself down, let the club down, but you know he wants positivity. We are going to work hard and smile.

“Whenever you are encouraged to do that from the top, it’s very easy to come in, when you maybe see someone who is a bit down, which is going to happen with Covid and other things in the background, you need to pick them up and carry them through. That’s what a team does.”