McCALL PUNISHED ENOUGH - HAMMELL
Stevie Hammell insists Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has been punished enough after being sent to the stand at half-time during his side's defeat to Aberdeen in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The Well boss was dismissed by referee Craig Thomson after being angered by a decision which led to the Dons' opener and subsequently rejected the offer of a one-match touchline ban from the Scottish Football Association.
McCall's case will be heard by the SFA's Disciplinary Tribunal at a principal hearing on April 5 but Hammell feels a ban is unnecessary.
He said: "Stuart McCall was sent to the stand at half-time so that's half a game he has already missed. I personally think that's enough.
"He has missed half a game and it's half a game where he can't do his job properly from the stand.
"Okay, if he had gone over the top, it changes. But the gaffer is not like that at all. If he has told you what he said, then that's what he said.
"Missing half a game is more than enough punishment. It must be frustrating for him because the gaffer loves being on the touchline and getting involved with the players."
Motherwell are aiming to end a 10 year wait for victory over Rangers on Saturday, which would put them level on points with Ally McCoist's men in second spot.
But despite their record against the Scottish champions, Hammell says there is no mental barrier preventing them from delivering the right result.
The defender said: "I think the belief in the squad is there, we believe we are good enough.
"I don't think we have taken anything off either side of the Old Firm this season and the record against Rangers in the last 10 years I'm told is really poor.
"But if we want to be considered one of the best teams in the league, it's about time that we changed it.
"It's a test of character for the boys. We find ourselves in a position that we're not used to in terms of league position and challenging a team for second.
"So I think the character in the dressing room is there.
"It's up to us to show other people what we know and believe in the dressing room - that we can beat Rangers.
"It's going to be difficult and we know they are getting stronger but the belief is definitely there."
With Rangers' financial troubles meaning they are unlikely to satisfy requirements for a UEFA licence by the March 31 deadline, the third placed team will replace them in the Champions League.
And Hammell - out of contract in the summer - admits there is no bigger incentive to agreeing a new deal.
He said: "There have been talks between the club and my agents, just in the early stages just now. A few of the boys are in the same position.
"If we can keep most of the squad together, I think we can have another strong season next year.
"I would be keen to stay anyway but what an incentive [Champions League football] would be to come back next year.
"To be honest, we haven't really spoken about it as a goal - but it is there for everybody to see.
"I don't know if it's cut and dried with Rangers yet if they're going to be in Europe.
"But, if third place gets you into the Champions League, it's a great incentive.
"You're not going to get any better than that.
"Ever since I've been playing, it's not a position we have been in so we need to strive to get over the line and make sure we finish at least third," added Hammell who spoke as he promoted ESPN's coverage of Saturday's game.
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