IT may not be a title that is widely coveted, but Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson says that he is proud to have turned his side into the Millwall of the Scottish game, because nobody likes to play against them.

Robinson takes his Fir Park battlers to Hampden on Saturday for their second semi-final of the season, and he will be looking to replicate the outcome of the last one when the Steelmen shocked Rangers in the Betfred Cup.

Now Robinson will be asking his men to outrun, outfight and outplay Aberdeen this lunchtime in the Scottish Cup to reach their second final of the campaign, and he reckons that Derek McInnes’s side won’t be looking forward to the battle.

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“When I was a player I’d used the phrase ‘They’re a horrible team to play against’ about certain teams you just hated facing,” said Robinson.

“You’d go to Millwall away and the whole environment was horrible. Their fans made it a tough afternoon and the players replicated that attitude. That’s what we’ve tried to recreate here.

“We’ve put a lot of pace into the team as well as young players with passion, who will make mistakes and take the wrong option at times but they’re honest mistakes; there’s a real drive and determination here.

“For anyone watching us, that makes for quite an exciting game because we don’t sit back – we go head-to-head with opponents and try to outrun them, outfight them and then outplay them. In that order.”

For all of Motherwell’s battling qualities though, what is sometimes lost is that they can also actually play football.

Robinson said: “Do the boys get enough credit? No, we don’t, but we’re not too bothered about that. We’ve created a reputation for ourselves. We’re physical and we play with a high tempo and lots of energy, but we do it well within the rules.

“However, if people are thinking that way about us then they’re not overly comfortable about coming up against us, which means that once we’ve won that battle we can concentrate on playing football.

“We’ve done that on many occasions but I’m not the type of manager who’s going to bleat about how we want to be recognised for our ability – we’ve created an identity for ourselves.

“I’m aware that it needs to be refined and we’ll need to add to that if we’re to keep progressing, but we also have to be careful we don’t change what’s made us relatively successful.”

While memories of their last semi-final at Hampden are a fillip for Motherwell, Robinson believes that memories of the devastation they felt after losing to Celtic in the final can be just as valuable a source of inspiration this time around.

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“There was a nervousness about us in the League Cup Final against Celtic and you just hope they have learned from that experience,” he said.

“You have the high of beating Rangers in the semi and then the low of losing to Celtic in the final. I know what feeling I want to go away with. We have to make sure we have that feeling this weekend and it’s something I have been reminding the players about.

“They know what they have to do to win the football match. We’ve had four close games against Aberdeen and we have pointed out the key areas where we feel we lost the two games.

“We aim to put that right at the weekend. If we do the simple things well then we will have the opportunity of having the same feeling we did against Rangers.”

The recovery from the Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic, and the two subsequent matches that week against the champions, was far from instant. Motherwell embarked on a horrendous run of form, and Robinson admits he feared the wheels were coming off their season at one stage, in a similar fashion to the Dundee United side who were relegated in season 2015/16 after reaching the League Cup final earlier in the campaign.

“Craig Hinchcliffe, who’s on our staff, was at United and he made us well aware of what happened there – and it could happen to anyone,” he said.

“We had a run of disappointing results and injuries on top of that after we lost to Celtic, but the injuries were always the biggest factor for us, although we didn’t make a big thing about it.

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“Our results after that final, coupled with the injuries we had, brought about that lull. It’s hard psychologically to get the boys going again because they have given everything to get to a final.

“The season could have unravelled. We were determined to ensure, however, that it didn’t. The character of the boys is such that even when they are losing games they won’t lie down. The determination and drive from these boys is incredible at times.

“Our motivation after the loss in the final was to go again and try and reach another one. The lads got a lot of publicity the last time. It raised their profiles and the profile of the football club.

“It’s credit to everyone here that we’ve been galvanised again. Our ambition this season was always to remain in this division – people find that hard to believe but that’s the priority for everyone outside the top four.

“However, I also believe we have a group of players who – on their day – are more than capable of beating anyone in the league and they’ve proved that.

“We have to aim high and we won’t be happy with just staying up every year. We’ll try and win things.”