WHAT a difference a week makes. The Motherwell dressing room was not a good place to be a week past Saturday as the Steelmen crashed out of the Scottish Cup to Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy, particularly as the players all knew their poor performances would inevitably cost manager Steven Hammell his job.

The scene was in stark contrast to the jubilation that was sparked around Fir Park on Sunday afternoon as interim manager Stuart Kettlewell dragged a second win in four days out of a group of players who had only won once at home prior to Wednesday’s victory over St Mirren all season.

Dean Cornelius knows which dressing room he preferred being a part of, and while the midfielder says all the players have felt the many lows and the recent highs keenly, he has more reason than most to know exactly what the long-suffering Motherwell fans have been through this term. He is one, after all.

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His joy at the two wins this week then has been heightened further still by the fact he can go home and face his Motherwell-daft dad Darren with his head held high, with his old man dishing out a fair bit of stick to the youngster during his team’s struggles this term.

“It means everything to me and my family,” Cornelius said.

“My Dad has been joking with me around the house, telling me to get the finger out.

“It’s not the position we want to be in but yes it means more to me being a Motherwell fan. But to all the boys, it means everything. Nobody wants to be down there. Nobody like losing.

“We all prefer the feeling we have had in the changing room at the end of the last two games - feeling proud that we’ve come away with the three points and having given the fans a little something, because they’ve been there all season.”

There was a banner displayed in the section of the John Hunter Stand where Cornelius used to sit prior to the win over Hearts urging the players to fight for the pride of the club, something that they have undoubtedly done in the last two matches.

“I was in the zone so I didn’t take it in, but I’ll see the photos,” he said. “My Dad’s probably sent me it already!”

What Cornelius does see though is a renewed resolve around Fir Park to dig themselves out of the mess they created for themselves. The fact they now have a reasonable chance of doing so, he puts down to the influence of Kettlewell, who he admits he would be happy to see take on the manager’s job on a permanent basis.

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“His picture was clear when he came in,” he said.

“He wanted to strip everything down and go back to basics. At times it’s not been pretty, we know that, but it’s a results business and what we’ve done in the last two games is we’ve fought for him and we’ve had that desire.

“Sometimes that’s been lacking this season. We know it’s not been good enough. We’ve taken the foot off the gas at times and it’s poor but if we can get back to doing the basics in every game that’s a good platform to build on.

“I’ve got a good relationship with him. Obviously he’s been around the club because he’s been helping out with the reserves. It’s clear what he wants to do but that decision is up to those higher up in the club. We will see what happens in the next few days.

“He’s been clear, he’s been good with the boys, and we want to give him something back on the pitch. Thankfully we have done that the last two games.”

The only slight disappointment from Sunday’s win for Cornelius was the fact he was denied the opportunity to stick home Motherwell’s second goal, with Hearts defender Stephen Kingsley pulling him down as he was set to tap home. Blair Spittal duly applied the finishing touch, sparing Kingsley a certain red card.

“I was joking about that when we were celebrating,” he said. “I was raging!

“A goal is not going to come any easier than a tap-in but the boy held me back. It’s a bittersweet moment, isn’t it, because thankfully we went 2-0 up when Spitz put the ball in the net.

“It’s a team game so I’m happy at the end of the day, but it would have been nice to get the goal myself.”