'We want to at least match last season' - Motherwell defender Ricki Lamie eyes second straight Euro qualification berth

Motherwell defender Ricki Lamie has revealed that he and his team-mates want to at least match the exploits of last season during the upcoming 2022-23 Scottish Premiership campaign.

Ricki Lamie was a key man for Motherwell last season (Pic by Ian McFadyen)
Ricki Lamie was a key man for Motherwell last season (Pic by Ian McFadyen)

The 29-year-old ex-Livingston defender – who backtracked on a pre-contract deal previously agreed with relegated Dundee to instead stay on at Fir Park – was a key figure late last season as he scored two vital goals which helped ’Well secure a fifth place league finish and European football.

"If you can go and at least try and match what you’ve achieved the season before that would be a good starting block,” said Lamie.

“And if you can better it then, amazing.”

When asked if the camaraderie among the group of players at Motherwell had played a part in his decision to sign a new two-year extension at ’Well, Lamie responded: "Brilliant. That was a big part of the reason, especially the way we ended last season on a reasonable high, securing that top six and then a European spot as well to top it off.

"It’s been great being back in and then obviously a few new faces as well to add to that.”

Lamie was speaking to Sky Sports during Motherwell’s week-long Austrian training camp, which will finish on Sunday.

The squad – managed by Graham Alexander – embarked on gruelling runs in Obertraun from 6.30am with double sessions, before the day ended with a dip in a lake to cool down.

“We are grafting very hard,” the defender added. “It’s the same every year.

"You look forward to getting back into it. You know there is going to be a three or four week period where you’re not going to enjoy every bit of it but it’s all part and parcel of getting back up to speed.”

Boss Alexander told the club website that the camp had been successful, adding: “I’ve been delighted with how the players have actually approached it because we do push them.

"Very early starts which a lot of them might not be used to. And then you train throughout the day, you try to fatigue them and see how they react.

"And I’ve been delighted with their reaction because it’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and moan a lot. I’m sure they have been moaning in spells!

“When we’ve put in the work and expected the performance they’ve done it.

"It’s been great to see to be fair.

"I think some of the boys who haven’t been here before have been quite surprised by how hard we’ve pushed them yet they’ve managed to do it.

"But I think you are taking away from all the distractions of the modern world (at Austrian camp).

"Everything you basically need is here for them, you get fed well, you can sleep in a nice bed and the air’s clean.

"And the rest of it is football and fitness. I could live here because it’s brilliant.

"You get to spend quality time with your team-mates and the people you go to fight with.

"It’s an amazing setting with great facilities and really good people that are so helpful.

"That’s why I’ve tried to keep coming back with my teams because I know how this can be a reference point for several parts of the season when you’re up against it.

"How you have to dig in, how you have to be together, this is where it starts.”

With over a week of pre-season training remaining, Alexander assessed the current state of fitness within his squad.

"I think it’s important that the work on the pitch is really beneficial going forward,” he added.

"You see players who might think about just dropping off or slipping and then players grab them in and keep them going.

"So it’s not just about me barking out orders and pushing players, it’s about their team-mates bringing them through the tough times, it’s about encouragement, it’s about how to overcome obstacles as a team not individually.

"The summer is over very quickly but it’s good to get to know each other again.

"The social aspect of being a team in football is very important.

"I think the better you know people the closer the bond. I think you’re willing to go that extra mile for each other.

"This venue is not cheap. The club have to dig deep to allow us to do this.

"So we have to make sure we get great value from it and from my perspective we have.”