Stuart McKinstry believes Motherwell can spring a League Cup surprise by knocking the holders out when they play Celtic at Fir Park on Wednesday night.
The winger says the last two displays against the Hoops and their city rivals Rangers show they are capable of competing with the big two and are getting closer to a positive result.
The Steelmen lost 2-1 at Celtic Park in the Premiership at the start of this month before being defeated by the same score line at home to Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men on Sunday.
McKinstry, who scored in the defeat to Rangers, believes Motherwell performed strongly enough to take something from both games.
The winger is confident that a repeat performance – with greater focus at both ends of the pitch – could see Stevie Hammell’s team make things difficult for Ange Postecoglou’s champions in this week’s quarter-final at Fir Park.
“We were unfortunate against Rangers but we have a big game to look forward to on Wednesday and we can take confidence into the Celtic game,” he said.
“You never know what can happen. We just need to go out and play our best to show we can compete with them.
“We did that a few weeks ago away from home, where I felt we could have got something from the game.
“This time we’ll have the fans at our backs and they’ll have less numbers in their crowd so we want to go and get something from the game.
“No team is going to go in thinking about just getting through it. We’re not going to do that. We’ll be coming out to win the game, we are capable of winning the game.”
As a childhood Motherwell fan, on-loan Leeds winger McKinstry would love to get to Hampden with the Steelmen.
He recalls being in the crowd when Louis Moult – his current team-mate – scored a double to sink Rangers in a League Cup semi-final five years ago.
“I’ve been to Hampden a few times as a fan,” said McKinstry. “I remember the game against Rangers when Moulty scored the two goals, so I’ve had some good memories there.
“I want to get there as a player so I’m looking forward to Wednesday.”
Motherwell are currently eighth in the Premiership and have lost four of their last five games, but McKinstry insists that is not a reflection of the way they are playing.
“We’ve shown what we can do on the pitch since the manager has come in,” he said.
“The football we play, we should be nowhere near where we are in the table. We just can’t score at the minute and we’re conceding sloppy goals. That will change though – it has to change.”