Returning Motherwell manager Mark McGhee has given a tongue in cheek description of his first time back in the Fir Park dugout as ’Well boss since 2009.
McGhee (58) presided over the 1-0 home loss to Celtic in last Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off Scottish Premiership clash, a game which saw Motherwell supporters massively outnumbered by their Celtic counterparts in the 8888 crowd.
“It felt like I’d never been away,” McGhee said.
“We got booed off at half-time and got booed for the substitutions so it felt like home!
“I can only incremently do what I’m doing. I’ll work with the team on the back of today and hopefully improvement will come in the coming weeks.
“If it comes hopefully we’ll bring a few fans back.
“We’ve got work to do and if we do it right they will come back.”
Despite the fact that the weak fifth minute shot by ’Well striker Wes Fletcher was the hosts’ only effort on target during the entire 90 minutes, McGhee insisted it had been a creditable showing by his troops.
“Given that we lost a goal early doors it was not a bad effort because they’re a decent team,” he said.
“Not only that, but we punched back at times with a couple of opportunities ourselves and we might have nicked one.
“One nil was probably about right. I don’t think two or three nil would have been fair.
“I think we put enough effort into the game to deserve some credit, albeit probably Celtic deserved the three points.”
McGhee said that he’d initially set up his team to play a 4-3-3 formation.
“We intended and hoped that the three strikers would play as three strikers,” he said.
“As it was, particularly the first half – when young Louis Laing took it upon himself to be a spare player – it gave us a few problems in front of that.
“It really meant in defence we were a man down. That made it difficult to get going with the system we were trying to work in the first half.
“Second half, we sorted that out and that’s really down to the instructions I gave him at training and before the game.
“Maybe I didn’t quite make it clear enough what exactly we needed from him. But in the second half I thought it was much, much better once we got the shape right; once Louis stepped on.”
McGhee said he hoped that ’Well’s improved second half display showed why he played Laing in midfield.
He added: “He is a big lad but he can head it, he can pass it, he can run; he has all the makings of a decent midfield player for me.”
Another former club awaits McGhee this Saturday when he takes his 10th placed team north for a league game at Aberdeen.