STEPHEN ROBINSON has told his players they can go down in folklore by bringing the William Hill Scottish Cup back to Motherwell.
Motherwell are 90 minutes away from a second cup final this season, with Aberdeen standing in the way of a return trip to Hampden Park.
Robinson’s men suffered a controversial defeat to Celtic in the Betfred Cup final in November but the scale of their task is highlighted by the fact the club have only won the Scottish Cup twice.
However, Robinson has previous experience of upsetting the odds after helping Northern Ireland reach Euro 2016 as part of Michael O’Neill’s coaching staff.
And he has urged his players to emulate the Fir Park heroes of 1952 and 1991 ahead of Saturday’s semi-final.
“Northern Ireland hadn’t qualified for any major tournament since 1986 and all everybody spoke about was the previous players and what they had done,” he said. “And rightly so.
“But once we qualified for the Euros, all of a sudden them boys became heroes and will be remembered in folklore.
“The Motherwell boys have got the same opportunity. To get to a Scottish Cup final we have to overcome Aberdeen but that is the huge incentive.
“The boys are honest players. In training I have got to hold them back, the intensity has been incredible this week. They are very driven.
“They are a bunch of players who maybe haven’t quite succeeded at other clubs or young boys coming through the ranks with a real desire who are Motherwell through and through.
“I don’t think they actually need too much motivation to go and prove themselves but that is an added incentive.”
Motherwell showed they could handle the Hampden occasion with a 2-0 semi-final win over Rangers in October before acquitting themselves well in a 2-0 loss to Celtic which featured a disputed penalty and red card for Cedric Kipre.
“The first time we went it was a new experience,” said Robinson, who has injured trio Charles Dunne, Allan Campbell and Nadir Ciftci back in training.
“We have boys who came from non-league football who play in front of 1,500 people for the early stages of their career. All of a sudden they are playing in front of 50,000 at Hampden, the press going crazy and they are reading about themselves in the papers. So that has settled them.
“We have got a very young squad, not a lot of league games between them. That experience of the League Cup run, getting to Hampden and being there in front of big crowds and playing under pressure, they handled it really, really well.
“I think that will stand them in good stead. Aberdeen have been there quite a few times as well so I don’t think it gives us any kind of advantage.
“But it certainly settles our younger players down, and the feeling around here now is we really want to go and enjoy the day.
“They know the feeling of getting a result there and the feeling of not getting a result, and we are determined to make sure we come away on Saturday with a result.”