12 Dec The young ones will get their chance
Mark McGhee insists he will continue giving his Motherwell youngsters a chance – even if it risks costing his side points.
The Fir Park boss admits he could have jeopardised Well’s result on Saturday against Kilmarnock when he threw on 20-year-old defender Dominic Thomas and teenage forward Jake Hastie late on.
His gamble paid off to an extent, however, as the academy recruits helped the Steelmen hang on for a point after a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Lee Clark’s team.
McGhee reckons the young players need to sample the pressures of fighting for results at the top level if they are to develop into first-team players.
He said: “With all the talk about youth development in this country I think it’s important that we keep reinforcing the message that we are putting lads in.
“On Saturday, there we were at 0-0 with 15 minutes to go and we put on two young lads to try and win the game.
“But we also risked losing the game and we are prepared to do that. I think that’s the way we have to approach it.
“We’ve got to give young boys the experience of being in a situation where they could lose you the game. We need to give them that responsibility so that they learn from that.
“If we had lost that one point on Saturday it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Psychologically, to lose so late on and at home would have been disappointing but in terms of the table it wouldn’t have been that critical.
“But we believe in these players. We believe they are good enough and when the two of them went on they almost won us the game, so they proved that. We’re lucky we have them.”
McGhee may think twice, however, about throwing his rookies into action on Tuesday night when his side travel to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen.
Saturday’s opponents Killie were thrashed 5-1 by the Dons last week and while the Well boss knows Derek McInnes’ side are capable of a repeat performance, he’s confident his side will fare better.
“We know we can go up there and lose 5-1 but equally on the right day we can go up there and cause Aberdeen problems,” he said.
“St Johnstone went up there and got a goalless draw at the weekend so we feel that given the right approach we can make life difficult for Aberdeen.”
Ross MacLean and Lionel Ainsworth were guilty of passing up gilt-edged chances against Kilmarnock and their manager expects a better standard of finishing in the granite city.
McGhee – who confirmed midfielder MacLean will be ruled out for around a fortnight after breaking a toe at the weekend – said: “We had half a dozen really good chances and a couple of other half-chances, so we have to do better and at least make the keeper make saves.
“But it’s about the old adage about making chances and as long as we keep doing that, with the players we have – guys like Louis Moult and Scott McDonald – then eventually the goals will come.”