Declan Gallagher will be the first to say that it will be a disservice to interpret the last few months as a true reflection of his entire career when the dust settles and it is time to write down the Stephen Robinson period in the annals of Fir Park.
Instead, the captain of Motherwell claims the players are to blame for the decline of the Northern Irishman, who for so long had the ‘Wells’ dream.
Last week, Robinson’s near four-year stay in North Lanarkshire came to an abrupt end when, after a winter of frustration and a string of nine winless games, he resigned with a vague recollection of the cup final and European qualification days.
But though the manager has become a scapegoat, Gallagher maintains that much of the blame must be shouldered by him and his teammates. In the first game of the post-Robinson period, Saturday’s 3-0 derby loss to Hamilton Accies does nothing to indicate better times are ahead.
“We’ve lost a coach that everyone respected and to lose the kind of person he was at the club is tough,” said Gallagher of Scotland International. A lot of the boys felt that he was always the guy to get us out of the situation in which we are.
“A lot of the guys were upset because he took everyone along. As a boss, everybody loved him and I believe the success out there shows that it wasn’t his fault.
The term of Stephen Robinson ended last week.
“It’s down to the players. Attitudes have to change at this club and they have to change quickly.”
In spite of some tougher online critics, when he offered his resignation on Hogmanay, no one could begrudge Robinson the heart he put into the club right to the end.
“Towards the end, to be honest, he was a beaten man, which was heartbreaking to see,”Towards the end, to be honest, he was a beaten man, which was heartbreaking to see. I don’t think the reason he left can be disapproved of by anybody. It was for his own mental health at the end of the day.
“For three weeks, I don’t think he was asleep dreaming about anything. “The guys sent him a private message. I thank him for everything he’s done for me and the platform he’s given me, because obviously it’s helped my career massively.”
“You can see it wasn’t the manager’s fault. The manager left and someone else stepped in and we’re still getting the same benefits, the same heart and the same desire that isn’t.”
Gallagher is under no illusions that the team will have to find its form quickly to avoid opening the trapdoor to the Premier League. Whoever steps into Robinson’s shoes – and despite the embarrassment at Hamilton, Keith Lasley still harbors hopes of a transfer –
“We’re in an uphill battle now,” Gallagher said. “The boys need to realize that sooner rather than later before it’s too late.”
Disappointment for one implies joy for another, as is the essence of soccer. As goals from Lee Hodson, Ross Callachan and Callum Smith gave them their highest Lanarkshire derby victory in five years, Hamilton were packed with the latter on Saturday night.
A delighted Jamie Hamilton said, “I thought we deserved to get all three points,” A 3-0 victory was not an unjust reflection. While they had their chances, as a group, I thought we defended very well.
We won that success and that result, I guess. All the guys worked hard, practiced hard and we decided to do this all season long.
Jamie Hamilton claims that his team has shown that it can not only fight but also play good soccer.
This outcome gives us confidence. We want to go out and put in this performance every week now.
“We’ve proven that we can also play good soccer. These boys have it in them. Trust is vital, we have faith now, and we’re going to be fine.
“We can play like that. Hamilton is known for bullying teams and going after people. But very few people know that we can actually play soccer.”