McCall acknowledges Rangers boost

PA Sport
Stuart McCall
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Stuart McCall

Motherwell manager Stuart McCall will be cheering on his former team Rangers later after his side moved within touching distance of Champions League football next term.

Defeat for Dundee United at Ibrox will secure third place in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League for Motherwell, who won 1-0 at Hearts on Tuesday night, and a place in the qualifying round of Europe's elite competition.

McCall knows the Steelmen are set to be major beneficiaries of Rangers' plight, with last season's champions second but ineligible for Europe due to their financial predicament. "If it is the Champions League and I keep saying 'if' because we've got to get there, it will be by default, because of the nightmare that Rangers have gone through," he said.

"But for us to finish third will be an outstanding achievement. To get Europe alone has been terrific, but hopefully if we can clinch that place and it does end up being Champions League, then it would be beyond any wildest dreams."

Michael Higdon's 16th goal of the season after 29 minutes secured a ninth away win of the season as Well moved eight points clear of United.

To deny Well third, United must win their three remaining games - at Rangers, against champions Celtic on Sunday and at Fir Park on the final day of the season.

The goals of Higdon, who signed from St Mirren last summer, have been a major factor in Motherwell's results this term.

Tuesday night's strike owed a little to good fortune after Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald parried Jamie Murphy's shot into Higdon's path, but the finish was composed and clinical.

While praising the striker, McCall was reluctant to single out individuals. He said: "He was probably one player at the end of games when managers come in for a cup of tea afterwards and they say: 'He was a handful today'.

"He's been outstanding, but most of them have. I would struggle to pick a player of the season this year, because we've had so many good performances. It's been a team effort."

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