Stakes couldn’t be higher for Hammell

Stevie Hammell joins Paul Lawson and Keith Lasley to watch Saturday's match with Partick Thistle
Stevie Hammell joins Paul Lawson and Keith Lasley to watch Saturday's match with Partick Thistle

Stevie Hammell believes the Scottish Premiership play-off has now become the most important fixture on the calendar.

The left-back thinks the stakes of ensuring a place in the top flight for next season are even higher than those of lifting the Scottish Cup.

Motherwell travel to Ibrox tomorrow (Thursday) before welcoming Rangers to Fir Park on Sunday for the second leg and Hammell says the tie has completely overshadowed Inverness Caledonian Thistle meeting Falkirk at Hampden on Saturday.

He said: “I think this is now the biggest game in the Scottish calendar, I don’t think any other game comes close as the stakes couldn’t be any higher.

“No one is talking about the cup final, everyone is talking about this game and with it comes huge pressure, and it isn’t just because it is Motherwell vs Rangers, it would be the same no matter what two sides were involved.”

’Well will come up against former boss Stuart McCall, who is now is charge of the Ibrox side, and Hammell admits he felt it was destined to happen.

He said: “You couldn’t have written this situation, it’s crazy and weird the way things have worked out, but as it looked more and more likely we were going to be in the play-off spot you just knew for some reason it was going to be against them.

“Obviously Stuart knows most of the players inside and out, there have been quite a few new faces who have come in since he left so we are a different team, but he does know a lot of us individually and that may play into his
thinking.

“He will certainly know more than an opposition manager normally would, but that just adds a little bit more to the game and gives it a bit more spice.

“However, it’s a game we want to win no matter who the opposition manager is because as I say the stakes couldn’t be any higher.”

Rangers are the bookies’ favourites to win the tie, but Hammell says ’Well will use that as motivation.

He said: “Some people have us written off already, but we just need to use that to motivate us.

“We don’t feel like the underdogs, but everything you read or see has us down as that, so you just need to use that to your advantage and go into the game with a real passion and determination to do well.

“We’ve watched them quite a lot over the last few weeks and they are a real together unit now, they know their jobs are and have one or two players who can hurt you so we are under no illusion how tough it will be.

“It will be a difficult game against a good team and then you add the crowd on top of it the place will be rocking, so you need to be mentally
ready.

“I’m sure the gaffer will have a game plan in mind and we will be aiming for a positive result at Ibrox to take back to Fir Park.”