This piece is an extract from yesterday's Claret and Amber Alert newsletter, which is emailed out at 6pm every Thursday. To receive our full, free Motherwell newsletter from Graeme McGarry straight to your email inbox, click here.

It isn’t often that fans of a club that are on a three-match losing streak can retain optimism over their team, but that is very much the case for Motherwell supporters this week.

The narrow defeats to the current Premiership top three – St Mirren, Rangers and Celtic – were all frustrating in their own way, and there remains a nagging feeling that points should have been garnered from all of them.

You don’t have to look too far for the positives from the performances, though. Stuart Kettlewell’s men should retain confidence from their previously impressive run of results given how well they have been playing, even in defeat.

All that being said, there is no doubt that the manner of the weekend loss to Celtic at Fir Park was an almighty punch in the gut after the team deservedly clawed their way level in the 95th minute due to Blair Spittal’s brilliantly taken goal.

The one big concern that Motherwell fans have at present though is that his strike was the only goal their side managed to score in any of those last three matches, despite creating numerous opportunities in them all.

It is nigh on impossible to replace someone like Kevin van Veen with a like-for-like signing, but the worry is that Motherwell might continue not to get the rewards their overall play deserves if they have no one at the sharp end capable of sticking the ball in the net on a consistent basis.

Theo Bair has his own qualities, and he has been a useful out ball. But his goal on the Premiership’s opening day against Dundee remains the only one he has bagged in his eight appearances to date.

Conor Wilkinson - who has had an injury issue, in fairness - still has only two in nine games, with one of those coming against East Fife in League Cup group stage.

Oli Shaw has yet to score in his four sub appearances since arriving on loan from Barnsley, and blew massive opportunities in the matches against St Mirren and Rangers, while Jon Obika is still sidelined, and has never been a prolific goalscorer in any case.

It leaves an awful lot riding on the return to fitness of Mika Biereth, who excited supporters with a blistering cameo in grabbing a goal and an assist in the win over Hibs, before former Fir Parker Charles Dunne clattered into him at the SMiSA.

Fans will hope that Biereth picks up where he left off when he returns to the side, while those of a certain vintage will be praying the club doesn’t have another David Ferrere on its hands. The difference between challenging for a European spot, or setting sights just a little lower, may depend on it.

Kettlewell has earmarked the visit to St Johnstone after the international break as a potential target for both Biereth and Obika to make their returns to action, but before then, the Steelmen head to Livingston on league duty on Saturday.

It was refreshing to hear Kettlewell dismiss concerns about the plastic pitch, as much as it remains an abomination that such surfaces are allowed in our top-flight.

I covered Celtic’s recent win there, and while we are not strictly comparing apples with apples here, the football they were able to play gave me hope that Motherwell can also impose their own game at the Tony Macaroni.

Livi were most un-Livi like. They got a little bit of joy from going long to Joel Nouble, and Motherwell will have to be wary of the runs of Mo Sangare in behind him to latch onto his flicks, but they gave Celtic’s midfield room to play and that should play into ‘Well’s hands.

The midfield has been the strongest area of the team this season, with the exciting mix of Lennon Miller, Harry Paton, Blair Spittal and Callum Slattery not only providing real problems for any opposition, but playing football that is really easy on the eye to boot.

Sometimes in the past, it felt as though Motherwell managers or players emphasised the conditions and how difficult Livingston normally make it for opposition teams a little too much, and the excuses they had readied made some defeats almost feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Kettlewell, by contrast, has downplayed those factors in his preparation this week, and he will expect his men to go to West Lothian to play their own game.

Perform as they have done for the majority of the season, and three points should hopefully follow. Get dragged into worrying about the pitch or Livi, and it could be a long international break.

The Herald: