Motherwell goal hero Chris Long has played at a good level in England but he reckons the current Fir Park squad could be the very best he’s been involved in.
Striker Long (24) scored a fine clinching goal as the Steelmen saw off St Mirren 2-0 at Fir Park on Saturday to go four points clear in third place in the Scottish Premiership.
“I think criticism of the Scottish league is unfair,” ex-Everton youth forward Long told the Times and Speaker.
“I think our team is very good at the moment.
“It’s one of the best teams I’ve been involved in with some very good players, young players so obviously it’s going good.
“It has surprised me how good the squad actually is.
“But obviously the gaffer and the person who is getting the signings in has got good knowledge.
“The manager has brought me in after having a difficult season last year.
“He’s played me and I’ve got back scoring so I’m delighted for him.”
Long certainly showed his quality on Saturday against Saints after coming on as a 68th minute substitute for Sherwin Seedorf.
As usual, the Huyton-born ace put himself about well and scored a fine clinching goal when he pounced on a misplaced Saints pass near the right flank, sprinted away and cut inside before blasting the ball past keeper Vaclav Hladky after 86 minutes.
Long said: “Their player kicked the ball, I gambled and got in behind the centre half and finished it off nicely.
“I haven’t played since Hibs so it was nice to come on and score.
“I would like to obviously start the game and score but it is what it is.
“You never know if we can push for a European spot now.
“Hopefully we can also get a good run in a cup.
“If we keep getting the wins you never know what will happen.”
Long’s nomadic career saw him start off at Everton, where he was a youth player between 2000 and 2013 before moving up to the seniors from 2013 to 2015.
But he never made a first team appearance for his boyhood heroes, with the Toffees loaning him out to MK Dons and Brentford before he joined Burnley.
Long played only 10 times for the Turf Moor outfit who loaned him out to Fleetwood Town, Bolton Wanderers and Northampton Town.
And it was a Scotsman who was Long’s footballing hero at Everton growing up.
He added: “I looked up to Duncan Ferguson as he’s a legend.
“He’s aggressive and loves the club.
“I remember him scoring a famous winner against Manchester United and ripping his shirt off to celebrate.
“But I don’t model my game on Duncan.
“I like Luis Suarez at the moment and when I was growing up I loved Michael Owen.
“Those type of players excite me, I like watching them.”
Long and his Motherwell mates don’t have a competitive game until taking on Aberdeen at home on Saturday, October 19.
Then it’s a trip to face leaders Rangers at Ibrox on Sunday, October 27.
“It’s frustrating that we don’t have another game this Saturday,” Long said.
“But obviously it’s an international break so hopefully I’ll get back to Liverpool.
“I came up here to play football and start scoring goals, not specifically for facing Celtic and Rangers.
“Every time I’ve been in the team we’ve won bar Celtic.
“Two of my friends play for Rangers. It would be nice to beat them.”