If Louis Moult ever fancies stepping out of an evening for a pint or two in Motherwell, chances are he needn’t worry about bringing his wallet.

The striker is so universally loved in the Steel town that the very thought of him receiving anything but the unconditional adoration of the Motherwell support seems a strange notion.

And yet, that is what the man himself feared after news emerged that he wouldn’t be putting pen to paper on a contract extension at Fir Park.

An injury kept him out of the club’s pre-season friendlies, meaning a healthy visiting support was in place for Motherwell’s trip to face Queen’s Park at the national stadium in the Betfred Cup.

It was their first competitive fixture of the season and Moult’s first outing since the cat was out of the bag over his decision to knock back that offer.

As he stood in the tunnel, he fretted about the reaction he would receive from the supporters who had enjoyed such a bond with since joining the club two years previously. He needn’t have.

“I was worried what kind of reception was waiting for me at Hampden,” Moult admitted. “But I went to warm up and the Motherwell fans were all singing my name. Then I came on and I scored and they all went mental.

“I was taken aback a little bit actually. It was my first game and it just shows what this football club is about. They have been 100 per cent behind me no matter what and knowing they are behind me makes me run that extra yard for them.

“I like to think that the fans understand my situation. I know the football club understands my situation. But the fans responded to me in a positive manner and it helped me.

“I’m loving life here. The relationship I have with the fans is special, it’s massive for me. They have been unbelievable and they maybe do give me that little edge, that wee bit more confidence.

“I’ll maybe try something I wouldn’t try if I wasn’t liked. I understand I’m liked here and I appreciate it.”

When Moult steps out at Hampden to face Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final, there is no doubting the acclaim he will receive from the 10,000 or so Motherwell fans expected to make the short trip.

And he can think of one very obvious way to repay them for their backing.

“It’s going to be some game,” he said. “Probably the biggest game I’ve played in since I’ve been at this football club.

“But we are not going there for a day out. We are going there to do something and that’s reach the final.

“It’s important we go into that game on a high and that means beating Partick and Hamilton. We believe we can do that and that’s what we are all working towards.”

The first of those challenges awaits today, and Motherwell will be up against a team who are ready to match them all the way for endeavour.

Partick Thistle midfielder Ryan Edwards in fact came in for some scrutiny over his whole-hearted approach to the game during last Friday's clash with Rangers at Firhill after a challenge with Ryan Jack.

The Australian won't be changing his style though, failing to see what all the fuss was about, and he will be putting everything into getting the Jags their first league win of the season today.

“If there is a tackle to be won, no-one in the team will shy away from it,” said Edwards.

“No-one is trying to hurt an opponent, nothing like that, it’s just a matter of the ball’s there to be won and you don’t pull out of it.

“Ryan Jack does that – as do Motherwell players. Every little moment matters in games and it’s about trying to come out best rather than second best.

“I think there was too much made of the challenge on Ryan. I was really surprised by the media coverage.

“I wasn’t actually tackling, I was just trying to put my foot on the ball but the way Ryan Jack came in it looked like it was a 50-50 and I have gone over the ball and clipped him.

“I apologised afterwards but it wasn’t malicious as I would never look to hurt an opponent. We spoke and he appreciated it. He knows the ball is there to be won.

“It was the same with the Jack Hendry incident in the Dundee-Celtic game. There was a lot of media attention on that but I didn’t think anything of it. He was looking at the ball and after the tackle he looked away.

“I think against the bigger teams you want to impose yourself and show your aggression so they know they are in for a game and they won’t have all the possession.

“Maybe these things are blown up because you’re playing one of the Old Firm and it’s on TV.”