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O’Donnell targeting top-six tilt after signing new deal

The Motherwell defender is delighted with the security of a new two-year deal.

O’Donnell targeting top-six tilt after signing new deal SNS Group

Stephen O’Donnell jumped at the chance to get the security that will allow him to focus on football after signing a two-year contract with Motherwell.

The Scotland right-back was already in his second short-term deal at Fir Park since joining in August after months of uncertainty at the height of the pandemic followed his decision to leave Kilmarnock.

The 28-year-old is set to showcase his talents at the European Championship finals this summer but was keen to commit himself to his local club and provide some clarity to himself and his family.

“It was always the intention to extend it after conversations at Christmas time,” O’Donnell said ahead of Friday’s Scottish Cup clash with Morton.

“These things never seem to be as simple as you like to think they will be. But it’s great to get it sorted and I’m looking forward to just focusing on the next month and trying to bring more consistency to the team. If we can start that with a good win against Morton, that would be great.

“Sometimes in football you don’t really know where you are going to be or you are not guaranteed where you are going to be. Fortunately I have a bit of security close to home, you don’t often get that.

“With football, every single decision you face is balancing up the practical side of life, having family and friends close by, but also trying to get that progression in your career. It’s trying to get that balance and I certainly feel, speaking to the manager, that we can strike that balance.

“I signed here in the summer hoping to be in the top six at least. That hasn’t happened and that will again be the aim next season. Maybe some injuries have hampered us this season but hopefully we can get organised for next season and go again.”

O’Donnell contrasted the security with the situation he was in last summer.

“I was sitting on my backside in my house panicking, thinking, ‘when should I sign, should I sign here, should I not sign here?’. Motherwell offered a short-term contract and it gave security short term and the chance to stay at home and play in Europe again.

“It’s just getting the balance. Look, I would always have loved to try to to play in the (English) Championship if I got an opportunity. That didn’t arise at the time and I had a decision to make, do I sign for Motherwell and be happy or do I risk not having anything? I made the decision and it’s one I have not regretted one bit.

“Even though we have not been as successful as I would have liked, I have loved every minute, it’s probably the most comfortable I have been in a dressing room.

“It’s a bit disappointing we have not managed to perform as we would like to, and certainly personally as well, but that will hopefully come best season and hopefully the last month of this season.”

When asked if any English clubs had been in for him ahead of next season, O’Donnell said: “I didn’t even look into it. There’s more important things hopefully, if I stay fit, in the summer and then maybe see what happens after that. But I am happy at Motherwell so there’s no issues.”