Asked to express a view on the strength of the team Celtic fielded at St Johnstone in midweek Mark McGhee engaged in a series of finger gestures.

Nothing crude mind, he was merely pointing to the microphone and suggesting, light-heartedly that a question he had no intention of responding perhaps answered itself.

The Perth side’s win ended any chance Motherwell had of finishing the season in fourth place, the secondary target McGhee had set his players after the first one of getting into the top six had been achieved, however he is not one for looking at things that were outwith his own side’s control.

“We’d love to have been in for fourth place and we felt that if we could have won at Ross County we’d maybe have a chance,” he pointed out.

“Normal practise would be Celtic would go and beat St Johnstone. They didn’t so it doesn’t leave us with any opportunity to get fourth, but we still want to go there and put on a good show.”

As a former Celtic player who also has more experience than most of spoiling parties for Glasgow’s giants, having been a member of Alex Ferguson’s Aberdeen side that picked up so much of the domestic silverware in the first half of the eighties, he has successfully persuaded the Motherwell players that they can win at Celtic Park once this season.

“We played well that day,” he recalled.

“I think what was pleasing was that we talked about the way we were going to play in the dressing room the game before. I remember saying we had to win that day to think we had any chance of going to Celtic and winning.

“I felt that for me to give them a story after the game on Monday that we can go to Celtic and win we had to win that game because otherwise it would have been fanciful. So we won that game (3-1 v Dundee) which gave us a great starting point and right away after the game we were talking about going there and winning. We built our strategy all week in terms of wanting to be stepping on to them and being aggressive and the lads delivered and thoroughly deserved to win the game. It was a proper performance.”

He notes that it is extremely rare for any away team to win two league matches at Celtic Park in the same season but reckons, only half-jokingly, that his men can make an unusual day on which the hosts are celebrating a title win while saying farewell to their management team, even stranger.

“It’ll get weird when we score first,” he said with a grin.

“Otherwise they’re there for a party. I’ve been there on those occasions, I know what it’s like and the pressures off so it can be a good day as well.”

As to whether the hoopla that surrounds this season’s finale might help his team finish their campaign on a high McGhee, who was ultimately unable to resist a tiny dig at Celtic’s midweek team choice, is once again counting on nothing in terms of help from Celtic.

“We’re not going there expecting them to be distracted,” he said.

“Personally on a day like that what’s going on around me at Celtic would inspire me, the atmosphere, the celebrations would only inspire me, so I can’t think it can be a bad thing for them, I really don’t.

“Maybe they’ll be distracted, but I don’t really think so. You’ve got to expect them to be at their best. The interesting thing for me about that will be what team they play on Sunday. If they play the same team that they played at St Johnstone then there’s nothing to be said.”