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Motherwell out to extend streak in Israel

Colraine v Motherwell – UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round – Colraine Football Club
(Image credit: Brian Lawless)

Motherwell midfielder Mark O’Hara hopes their feelgood factor can help them to a famous win in Israel.

O’Hara sensed Motherwell were still on a high when they took on Aberdeen on Sunday after their dramatic Europa League win over Coleraine days earlier.

Well had lost a two-goal lead and Bevis Mugabi to a 90th-minute red card in Northern Ireland before triumphing on penalties as goalkeeper Trevor Carson kept a clean sheet in the shoot-out.

O’Hara then netted from the spot inside four minutes at Pittodrie before Christopher Long doubled their lead four minutes later and Mugabi rounded off a comfortable 3-0 victory midway through the first half.

O’Hara, who previously played with Kilmarnock, Dundee and Peterborough, aims to stay on cloud nine when Motherwell take on Hapoel Beer-Sheva for a place in the Europa League play-offs on Thursday.

Colraine v Motherwell – UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round – Colraine Football Club

Motherwell’s Bevis Mugabi is shown a red card after fouling Colraine’s Eoin Bradley (Brian Lawless/PA)

The 24-year-old said: “Last Thursday wasn’t ideal circumstances, we would have been delighted to get a comfortable win.

“But sometimes winning in that manner gives you a lift as well, because we went from such a low to such a high again.

“I think that’s why we started so well on Sunday, everyone was still on such a high. Hopefully the high will continue.”

Stephen Robinson’s side started last weekend on the bottom of the Scottish Premiership but they moved up four places.

“We have had some good performances and a few results but on Sunday it felt like everything was really coming together,” O’Hara said.

“It gives us a lot of confidence. We trusted each other that it would come good and we stuck to our principles. The manager said he never lost faith and that showed on Sunday.

“We knew that was coming and hopefully there will be more of the same come Thursday.”

Colraine v Motherwell – UEFA Europa League – Second Qualifying Round – Colraine Football Club

Motherwell’s Tony Watt (left) and Coleraine’s Stephen O’Donnell in action (Brian Lawless/PA)

After two victories over Northern Irish opposition, Motherwell are unseeded against a team that have reached the group stages in two of the past four seasons.

“It’s obviously a big step up from what we have been playing in the last couple of rounds, no disrespect to the other teams,” O’Hara said.

“It is a big challenge but I think it suits us to go and play in these games where the pressure is on other teams and we can just go and play our own game.”

Not that O’Hara shies away from pressure. The midfielder dispatched Motherwell’s first penalty in Coleraine into the top corner and was equally adept from the spot in Aberdeen.

Speaking about his shoot-out success, he said: “To be honest, I wasn’t nervous. Over the last couple of weeks I have been practising penalties and I enjoy putting myself in these situations.

“Hopefully, if one comes again on Thursday, it will be the same outcome. I won’t be fazed at all.”