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Motherwell 3 St Mirren 0: Loan duo state their interest in extension after handsome return against limited opposition

LIONEL AINSWORTH has become so used to saying his goodbyes that he is now almost fluent.

Henri Anier salutes the Motherwell faithful
Henri Anier salutes the Motherwell faithful

The winger would get further practice when he made his way from Fir Park on Saturday evening, mapping a route out of the ground which allowed him to offer a few handshakes to members of staff as he went. He will hope that it did not serve as a dry run to one final farewell next month, when his loan term at Motherwell expires and he is obliged to return to Rotherham United. That is the only waiving the Englishman intends to do.

It is the quiddity of a loan move to gain more appearances than you would otherwise at your parent club but an outing against such as St Mirren at the weekend has proven to be more than just a game for Ainsworth. His switch to Fir Park is allowing him to experience something which he has known only in passing, given that Motherwell is now the 13th club the winger has played for since making his senior debut for Derby County in February 2006 - and the ninth team that he has joined on loan. A career which has been informed by such a sense of polygamy has now caused Ainsworth to try and settle down.

Motherwell could be the one. Their courtship was troubled initially by injuries, but the winger has been able to win over those at the Lanarkshire club, scoring his second goal against St Mirren with certain ingenuity. A passing move which also comprised Henri Anier and John Sutton was completed by Ainsworth with a simple finish but it is one which has become complicated by the uncertainty of his next step when his loan expires on January 7, with talks of an extension still at a tentative stage.

Ainsworth has already made his mind up about whether to accept any offer to stay, though. "I've done well to be in the game as long as I have," said the winger, who is still aged just 26. "I'd love to have some stability in my career; I've been bought a few times and sometimes if you want to play football you go on loan. I've got a hunger in my belly to keep on playing football and if I can do that with Motherwell I'd be delighted.

"I hope with every part of me that I can stay here. I love the club, the lads are brilliant, the staff are great and the fans and everything, although I've not had any indication [from Rotherham] as to whether or not it is a possibility that I can stay."

Anier is looking to the future with an obstructed view too, since his loan from Viking Stavanger is due to end on January 16 and the Norwegian club have yet to grant an extension. The striker has intimated he would be willing to remain in Scotland and ravished St Mirren of victory at the weekend - a lust which Stuart McCall, the Motherwell manager, would later ascribe to the presence of compatriot Henrik Ojamaa, who was visiting his former club.

Anier would score twice in front of his friend but Viking will not be moved by similar sentiment when considering where to send their player next month; instead that decision will be the result of cold calculation since Motherwell do not pay all of the striker's wages as part of the existing loan agreement. Viking may feel inclined to request a better deal and not least as they will know that the 23-year-old is valued highly at Fir Park, with only Sutton having scored more than three goals for Motherwell this season. "Henri's goal [to make it 3-0] was class . . . we know how good he is," added Ainsworth.

It would be an opinion shared by Danny Lennon, the St Mirren manager, who found Anier to be "unplayable". That tends to be a word which managers give little thought to and the Motherwell forward's ease is perhaps better defined by the limitations of his opposition. The Paisley side are a team which would appear to have been constructed to attack - of their five midfielders on Saturday, only Jim Goodwin was relied upon to defend - although just Sean Kelly would advance beyond that pretence, the left-back charging forward to create his side's two best chances.

St Mirren would be pinned back in eighth place in the SPFL Premiership again and are at risk of a further retreat when they face a relentless Dundee United side on Boxing Day. "It's a big, big reaction we're looking for," said Lennon.

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