Carl McHugh: I've given up Motherwell captaincy after my performances dipped

A highlight of Carl McHugh's season as Motherwell captain was celebrating after scoring a stunning winner in a 2-1 Scottish Cup quarter-final success over Hearts last season (pictured)
A highlight of Carl McHugh's season as Motherwell captain was celebrating after scoring a stunning winner in a 2-1 Scottish Cup quarter-final success over Hearts last season (pictured)

Carl McHugh has relinquished the Motherwell captaincy after just one season and has been replaced in the role by centre back Peter Hartley.

Twenty-five-year-old Irish midfielder McHugh led the team to two national cup finals last season but felt the time was right to quit the role.

Peter Hartley will bring a more vociferous style to the Motherwell captaincy

Peter Hartley will bring a more vociferous style to the Motherwell captaincy

“It’s definitely not a decision I’ve taken lightly,” he told the Motherwell FC website. “It’s been a tough decision to come to but I think it’s the right one going forward.

“But I just feel at times I wasn’t happy with the level of consistency I showed over the season.

“The captaincy was affecting me in different ways. But most importantly on the pitch, I felt my level of performance (had dropped).

“I’m quite hard on myself, to be honest, and when I analysed my season after the last few games I felt this was something that could help me moving forward, and help the team.

Stephen Robinson led Motherwell to two national cup finals last season

Stephen Robinson led Motherwell to two national cup finals last season

“I could have just carried on and stayed in the role for another season. That would have been the easy thing to do. But I think the right thing to do is what I am doing now.

“It is the right thing for me personally, which in turn will help the team and the club move forward. I believe this will help me overall, it’ll help my performances and it will help the team.

“We’re a close knit squad and Pete has always been supportive of me as captain and I’ll do the same for him. I know that Pete will go on to be a terrific captain of this football club.”

New incumbent Hartley (30) will take up the captain's role with immediate effect.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said: “Carl and I have spoke at length about it. I spoke to him at the tail end of last season when he came to me about this.

“He’s a very conscientious football player and he wants to do the very best for the football club.

“There was a lot of extra responsibility put on Carl last season, particularly with the cup finals, and he just feels he could give more to the team without the armband.

“For me, it’s a very selfless act and it’s clear he’s thought all of this through. He felt that someone else taking the armband would allow him to concentrate on his game and improve another 5%.

“I have total admiration for him, he’s a great boy and he’ll always give me 110% when he steps out on the pitch.”

Referring to the installation of Hartley as the new Motherwell captain, the gaffer added: “Peter was an obvious choice for me.

“It’s in his character, he’s a natural born leader, he’s loud and has total respect from the boys. Carl had that in a different way as he was quieter in how he conducted himself.

“Peter has that respect and I think he’ll be fantastic for the football club.

“What we’ve got this year though is a group of older boys, if we have older boys, who I can speak to and ask their opinion. I can get a feel of what is needed and what’s not in the dressing room.

“In terms of who will be leading the football club on the pitch, it will be Peter Hartley, backed up by a group of boys, including Carl, who can all step up to be captain.”

McHugh added: “We’re a close knit squad and Pete has always been supportive of me as captain and I’ll do the same for him.

“I know that Pete will go on to be a terrific captain of this football club.”