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Graham Alexander’s departure from Motherwell was in part aided by the “toxicity” from the fans, according to Liam Kelly.

Growing supporter unrest around Alexander’s tenure boiled over in the wake of the European defeat by Sligo Rovers on Thursday night.

The 300 or so Well fans vented their displeasure after the 2-0 defeat by the Irish club saw the Steelmen exit the Europa Conference League second-qualifying round 3-0 on aggregate.

A club statement on Friday confirmed that Alexander had departed “by mutual consent.”

Ahead of the opening cinch Premiership game of the season against St Mirren in Paisley on Sunday, Kelly, named skipper by Alexander for the two European ties, was asked about handling the level of anger shown towards Alexander.

The 26-year-old goalkeeper said: “The question is also (about) part of the reason why the manager decided to move on.

“He felt that the toxicity levels towards him just weren’t fair on us as players and him and his family.

“It just wasn’t beneficial for anybody. Having spoken to him last night I don’t think he will mind me sharing that.

“The timing of the goals, the performance of the team, it just wasn’t a nice night but we can’t do anything about it now. We have to move forward.

“He is OK. Obviously he is disappointed that he felt the time to move on is now.

“He has so much experience in the game, he played at a level that all of us in the changing room could only dream of playing at.

“The fact that he felt it was right for the group, for himself and his family, we are not going to question that.”

Academy director Steven Hammell will take interim charge ahead of Sunday’s game and will be assisted by former Motherwell team-mate Brian Kerr, who is the club’s under-18s coach.

Kelly said: “I would be lying if I said it was ideal preparation but it is what it is, we are not going to change it.

“This is the reality, there is no point crying about it or dwelling on it, we have to deal with it.

“We wish we had done better for the manager, he deserved better from the players.

“But ultimately the situation is happening in front of our eyes, so no point moaning about it, we have a game to try to win and that is the least the fans deserve after what we gave them on Thursday.”