Motherwell captain Stephen O’Donnell admits he has been trying to keep some of their new players grounded after a flying start to the season.
But he hopes they can continue to build their confidence and help boost Scottish football by sustaining their push in the upper reaches of the cinch Premiership.
The winners of Motherwell’s Tynecastle clash with Hearts will top the table on Saturday night, before Rangers and Hibernian get the chance to go into the international break on the summit when they meet at Ibrox on Sunday.
Motherwell are unbeaten in six league games with a draw at Ibrox coming in the midst of four victories, form which earned manager Graham Alexander the Glen’s manager of the month award for September and lifted confidence.
But O’Donnell said: “It’s trying to keep a hold of that confidence. Sometimes when players haven’t played in Scotland they might get a bit carried away with a quick few results, especially early on in the season.
“It’s maybe not always as plain sailing as it has been in the past few weeks and you remind them of that.
“But we have to make sure we use this and build on the good results and try and keep the winning habit going.
“There’s not much between a lot of the teams and if the big two have a slower start it allows an opportunity to try and push, and hopefully we can push that as long as possible, and if not us, Hibs or Hearts, because it is what the criticism of Scottish football is a lot of the time, and the longer we can push the better.”
O’Donnell was part of a Kilmarnock team that pushed into the second half of the season three years ago, sitting a point behind leaders Celtic after beating Rangers on January 24, 2019.
“I think we were top at Christmas, or just before Christmas, and then went to Celtic, and had quite a tough day,” the Scotland international said.
“It’s good if we can maintain it for as long as possible because it gives an added interest for Scottish football, and if it’s us I’d be delighted because it’s great to be part of that.
“When we were at Kilmarnock, the buzz it gave around the place, the crowds got bigger, and that does nothing but benefit the club. Clubs the size of Motherwell, Kilmarnock, we need this and we need cup runs.
“Hopefully we can keep that going for as long as possible. It is difficult. You need to keep players fit and performing and you need to have a squad capable of filling in when people aren’t.
“I think we have the potential for that but it’s very early to get too carried away.
“I would like to focus on getting the points that keep us safe, like we did at Kilmarnock, then when we get there we can start talking about top six, and maybe push on from there.
“So hopefully if that’s done by Christmas we can get really excited about how the season is going to pan out.”
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