Motherwell manager Steven Hammell hopes a fan-made banner calling for passion from his players can help them rediscover their form.
A sign asking players to “show some passion for the badge on your shirt” was pinned to a wall outside the main stand at Fir Park last weekend after a 3-1 defeat by Aberdeen left Motherwell without a league win since October 29 and level on points with Dundee United at the foot of the cinch Premiership.
“I have no problem with it at all,” said Hammell ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup fifth-round tie against Raith Rovers in Fife.
“We are taking a large following to the game on Saturday again. The travelling support this season has been excellent and we are very grateful for it. Their support means everything to us and it helps us massively.
“There is nothing wrong with the fans wanting a bit of passion and fight from their team.
“I think it was probably on the back of the St Johnstone home game, which was miles and miles short of anything we want to be known as or a team we want to be representing this club. There was a lot of circumstances behind that, with new signings and the amount of injuries we have picked up, but, in terms of the sign itself, absolutely no problem.
“It’s something we highlighted to the players earlier in the week. It’s a fantastic club to play for, it really is. It’s a passionate community club, well supported, the fans are passionate and they want to see that on the pitch.
“It was highlighted to the players and we used it as a positive. The fans do and want to get behind us but we also need to give them something to get behind.”
Winger Stuart McKinstry admitted the banner had an impact on the squad.
“It hit home a bit,” the 20-year-old said. “We know as players that we haven’t been good enough in a way but we are still very certain that we will be able to turn it around. We will keep saying that until we do it because I know we will do it.
“It was an important message that we definitely took on board but it’s now just about winning games.
“It’s easy for the fans to turn because it’s not been good enough and they have every right to be annoyed with us. If they can back us hopefully we can repay them on the pitch.”
McKinstry is a Motherwell fan himself so there has been little escape from the team’s current plight, with family, friends and neighbours keen to know what is going on behind the scenes.
“I feel like everywhere I go there’s always someone that’s going to ask me a question about it, but that’s life and I’m not going to shy away from that and make people feel uncomfortable and not want to talk,” he said. “It’s obviously not easy to talk about it when it’s not going well but that’s life.”
Motherwell continue to be hampered by injuries especially in central defence, where Ricki Lamie joined Bevis Mugabi and Shane Blaney on the sidelines when he limped off with a calf injury at Pittodrie.
“The actual numbers we have got and the personnel we have got is good, but the amount of injuries we have got in certain positions is something I have never seen before,” Hammel said. “Even from the weekend there, there is still another couple that could potentially be missing out.
“We are asking players to play out of position or players that aren’t quite ready to play through that for us.”
New signing Dan Casey’s last game for Sacramento was in late October but he could make his debut in Kirkcaldy along with former Dundee United midfielder Calum Butcher.
On the Irish defender, Hammell said: “He has been training with us this week. He will be a good player for us and he is good for the group also. He is the type of character, similar to Calum, that we need.
“They will be in that bracket of player we are pushing as much as we can, probably doing a lot more than we would have been doing with them because of the circumstances we face right now.”