Interim boss Steven Hammell set for Motherwell talks after cutting short holiday
Steven Hammell will have talks with Motherwell directors next week after cutting short his summer holidays to mastermind victory over St Mirren.
The club’s academy director was installed as interim manager on Friday after Graham Alexander departed in the wake of the European exit at the hands of Sligo Rovers.
A difficult week ended in celebration for the Motherwell fans after Kevin van Veen’s 42nd-minute penalty earned a 1-0 opening cinch Premiership win over St Mirren.
Hammell was meant to on the island of Arran rather than Paisley.
“I got the first couple of days off in about four years and then I got the phone call,” the club’s post-war record appearance holder said.
“I had to book a boat back. My car and my family are still over there so I am leaving here to go back and get them and then come back in on Monday morning. So it’s been a lively couple of days.
“The chairman (Jim McMahon) spoke to me after the game and we are going to have a little chat in the next couple of days, along with myself and (chief executive) Alan Burrows, and see what the best thing to do is.
“With the fans and the relationship I have got with them, whatever they deem is the best thing for the football club, we will get after that.
“The last couple of days, I have not thought about it. We wanted to win and we will chat in the next few days. I would imagine there’s a lot of people interested in it as well, and hopefully we will have a better answer next week.”
The 40-year-old harbours ambitions to be a manager.
“I am on the pitch every day,” he said. “It’s not something I have not been doing for the last four or five years. I have about 50 staff, 150 players that work under me, so it’s not a responsibility that is foreign to me.”
St Mirren missed a series of chances, partly due to the brilliance of Liam Kelly, who produced outstanding stops from Jonah Ayunga and Curtis Main, and helped Motherwell see out the win after Ricki Lamie’s 82nd-minute red card.
“It was a huge win,” Hammell said. “It was needed. At times we had to defend, especially with 10 men, but we came here to win and we did.
“We have tried to cram in as much as we could in such a short space of time but also give the players an element of freedom to go and express themselves and bring their identity on to the pitch. I think in spells in the first half we saw that.
“Obviously, you come here, you know you are going to defend long balls and set-pieces, corners, throw-ins, everything is going into your box, and the character the boys showed to stand up to that was brilliant.
“And it helps when you have got a top-class keeper behind them. The one in the first half he claws out and the one in the second half were world-class saves. You don’t get any better than that.”
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson dismissed a pre-match report that claimed he was Motherwell’s first-choice replacement for Alexander, who succeeded him at Fir Park.
“It’s not true in any shape or form and I find it incredible in modern society that people can put that in writing and have it believed without repercussions,” he said. “That unsettles everybody at St Mirren but I’m totally committed to the job here.”
Robinson, who admitted referee John Beaton was correct to give the penalty for Scott Tanser’s handball, added: “I think anyone can see that this was a game we shouldn’t have lost. We’ve created so many chances but met a goalkeeper in inspired form. It’s a long time since I’ve seen a performance of that calibre.
“We had opportunities where we didn’t test Liam but, with the form he was in, I’m not sure we would have scored anyway.”
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