Motherwell hero Colin O’Neill has launched a scathing attack on the current crop for their meek surrender during Sunday’s humiliating 7-1 Scottish Premiership drubbing to Rangers at Ibrox, writes Craig Goldthorp.
The 1991 Scottish Cup winner (55), nicknamed ‘Psycho’ for his combative playing style in midfield for ’Well between 1988 and 1992, was speaking exclusively to the Motherwell Times.
He said: “These players are not interested. They don’t seem to care if they lose. They don’t seem to have any respect.
“Motherwell got to two cup finals last season but there is a big difference this time. They love to fight and get stuck in but they don’t play any football. They just want to kick people all day. It is like a bully boy tactic but it has backfired.
“I kicked people for years but the team I was in could all play.
“I feel sorry for the players. There are a couple of good players but they are not being used to their full potential.
“And I also feel sorry for the fans. They are having to go on the street after their team’s been drubbed 7-1.”
O’Neill insisted that the ‘down tools’ manner of Sunday’s defeat would never have happened in his day under 1991 cup winning manager Tommy McLean and his backroom staff.
“We stood our ground against the best of them,” the former Northern Ireland international added.
“Wee Tommy never stood for any nonsense and it worked.
“We knew we had to please this man.
“I remember him shouting at Fraser Wishart during a game: ‘Five more minutes and you are off’. The game had only been going two minutes!
“But he had a sense of humour as well. One time we went to the Isle of Man for pre-season and I went down before breakfast, found a baby’s high chair and put a ‘Tommy McLean’ name tag on it!
“Next thing he had me out on the beach running! It was banter, which I think is missing in the current team.
“Under McLean we beat Celtic 4-2 in the 1991 Scottish Cup semi-final replay at Hampden (O’Neill scored a 40-yard thunderbolt, pictured above left) and then went on to win the cup final 4-3 over Dundee United.
“That cup final is still the last thing Motherwell have won, which is a brutal statistic.”
It wasn’t just the iron fist and sense of humour of McLean that Psycho respected among the the coaches.
“I knew that big Tam Forsyth (McLean’s assistant) would have cracked me on the back of the head if I didn’t do what I was told!” he added.
“Yet they used to pat Davie Cooper on the head!
“There was another time when I told big Tam that I wasn’t feeling awake before a game.
“Next thing Tam sets a hose on me and it was absolutely freezing!”