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Stephen O'Donnell joins Motherwell years after "strawberry tarts" signing pitch

Stephen O'Donnell joins Motherwell years after
© Reuters
Defender has signed until January.

Motherwell once failed to tempt a schoolboy Stephen O'Donnell with a signing pitch that included strawberry tarts, but the Scotland international has now rejected several clubs in England to finally join his local team.

The full-back, who hails from neighbouring Wishaw, has signed until January after Stephen Robinson suffered several injury blows.

The 28-year-old former Luton player had declared unfinished business in England when he rejected a new Kilmarnock contract but he has ended up far closer to home.

O'Donnell said: "I have not played for five months so I was starting to itch to get back in.

"The club is on my doorstep, I know a lot of people involved, added into the mix you are playing in Europe, they finished third last season and they play a good, attractive brand of football, on a grass pitch, which will be a nice change.

"I always said I had an interest in going back down south, if it was right for myself and my family. I had a couple of offers and they weren't right. Whether it was financially, or the club, all round, it didn't matter, it needed to be right for my family first and foremost.

"I don't think it could be more right than two minutes down the road. I will certainly get plenty of time to spend with my wee man.

"I have waited enough. I was fed up in the house. Albeit I was training with Accies, which was brilliant, I wanted to get back playing.

"I was thinking worst case I would maybe have to sign League One and maybe stay away from my family for a year, and I really didn't want to do that. I was delighted when Motherwell came in and showed a real intent to get me."

O'Donnell held conversations with Motherwell chief executive Alan Burrows before joining Killie and the club had previously tried to sign him.

"When I was down at Luton I had a couple of conversations with Mr Burrows," he said. "I maybe just didn't feel it was right at the time.

"When I was younger, my best friend's dad was the coach of the under-14s, Tom McCafferty. Him and Chris McCart entertained me at a Celtic game here. And I remember the strawberry tarts were incredible.

"I was at Aberdeen at the time and I loved playing my football for Aberdeen and it was never really a goer.

"It was very tempting because it's so close to home and I know so many fans. I have had a lot of texts from people who have Motherwell at their heart and I'm delighted to be here now."

Well boss Robinson was looking for cover after Nathan McGinley joined fellow left-sided defenders Charles Dunne and Jake Carroll on the injury list before the versatile Liam Donnelly was ruled out for about two months.

O'Donnell has predominately played right-back but the former Partick Thistle player is happy to fit in wherever required and will go into the squad for Saturday's trip to face Hiberian.

"I made my debut at centre-half at Thistle, I have played in the right of a three for Kilmarnock and Scotland, I have played left-back for Thistle, so I am relatively flexible," he said.


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Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson pictured in April 2018
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