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Robinson set to rotate ahead of festive schedule

By December 18, 2018No Comments

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson insists he has to make changes against Celtic to avoid a repeat of the injury problems that hit them last December.

Robinson will take the festive schedule into account for Wednesday’s trip to Parkhead after suffering injuries to Louis Moult, Peter Hartley and Chris Cadden in a 5-1 defeat there 12 months ago.

It was the third game against Celtic in six days and Motherwell went on to take only one point from seven games as the injuries bit.

“We have to rotate the squad,” said Robinson, who expects to be without Hartley through injury on Wednesday. “I have done that when we have had three games in a week before. Last year I learned my lesson when I didn’t change the team around.

“If I remember rightly it was Louis Moult and Chris Cadden who picked up hamstring injuries. It was boys that we didn’t feel probably could go three times in a week with the energy levels they put into it, but we really felt we had a chance. It proved wrong so we have learned from that.”

Motherwell arguably have more important games ahead with St Mirren and Kilmarnock visiting Fir Park before a derby against Hamilton rounds off their year, but Robinson insists they will not write off their trip to Celtic Park.

“We are not good enough or have strong enough a squad to make seven or eight changes, as some teams are capable of doing,” he said. “There will be two or three changes to freshen things up but once you take your eye off the immediate goal, then you can get burnt in football.

“So first and foremost we have to put all our concentration into Wednesday night and take care of that game, and then worry about what happens after that.

“It’s not a game where we think it’s a bonus to get anything and then we’ll look at the next three games. You have to concentrate on what’s in front of you.”

Motherwell last won at Celtic Park exactly three years ago and the only current player to feature in that game, Liam Grimshaw, is optimistic about a repeat.

“I don’t think Celtic were doing as well as they are now or have done in the last couple of years but we were something like 10th in the league and it was a great day,” said Grimshaw, who was on loan from Manchester United at the time.

“Our form picked up after that. We ended up finishing a lot higher up in the table that season. Getting good results against teams like Celtic, it can definitely give you a confidence boost.”

Grimshaw added: “I don’t think we have anything to majorly fear. I think if we go there and do what we can it gives us half a chance.

“Everyone has got to have a really good game against Celtic, everyone has to be seven or eight out of 10 across the pitch to give yourself a chance of getting something.

“Hibs are not that much further above us in the league and they got a great result against them at the weekend. It does show they are beatable.”