Motherwell ace Liam Grimshaw has highlighted the brave mid season formational change by gaffer Stephen Robinson as a major factor in the Steelmen’s improvement in the second half of the season, writes Craig Goldthorp.
Right back Grimmy (24) and his mates rounded off the campaign with a thrilling 3-2 home win over Livingston on Saturday, one of nine wins in Motherwell’s final 18 league fixtures playing 4-3-3 after they ditched a turgid 3-5-2 line-up which had yielded just five wins out of the first 20 Premiership games.
Grimshaw said: “We had a bit of a shaky start and up to Christmas we weren’t great.
“We changed the style of play a bit, a few fresh faces coming in, young lads and a couple of wide players.
“And I think we ended up really strongly.
“If you look at our back end form, it probably would be enough to be in the top six.
“So if we come back and take that into next season then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be aiming for the top six.”
The latest exciting game involving Motherwell came on Saturday, when the Steelmen raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to goals by Liam Donnelly and David Turnbull (2, 1 penalty) before hanging on to win 3-2 after a late Livi fightback.
The game also saw Motherwell keeper Mark Gillespie save Ryan Hardie’s first half penalty before Turnbull had a spot kick saved by Livi custodian Ross Stewart at the other end a minute later.
“It was a crazy game,” Grimshaw said.
“Even in the first half Livingston had chances. Obviously we were 3-0 up and then both sides missed penalties. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in something like that before.
“I was quite surprised David didn’t score but anyone can miss. I think Mark’s probably saved three or four for us this year.
“I don’t think we’ve missed many either. Everyone misses at some point. And then in the second half those late goals for them made it a bit uncertain.
“But it’s sometimes like that at the end of the season, especially when you bring fresh players on.”
Despite Saturday’s game being ’Well’s final competitive fixture of the season, both teams were still going at it hammer and tongs.
Grimshaw said: “As a club it’s important that we play at 100 per cent because if not we’re not going to be good enough.
“That’s not because we’re not good players but with the style of football we play we need to be right at it.
“The same for Livingston. They came out and gave it a good go and it made it a decent game for the people watching.”
Turnbull’s latest two-goal display took his season’s goal tally to 15 as the Steelmen finished eighth.
Grimmy hopes Turnbull stays beyond this summer – he’s been linked with a big money move away – and reinforcements arrive to replace several other players who are out of contract.
“At a club like Motherwell there’s always a lot of transition,” Grimshaw said.
“But there’s always new people come in who fill people’s places. It’s not a one person club. We’re a team and I’m sure whoever the manager brings in will be good enough to kick us on again.”