STUART McCALL today hailed testimonial star Stevie Hammell – then urged him to get Motherwell's rocky pre-season back on track.
The 30-year-old has been the Fir Park club's Mr Consistency since making his debut in 1999
And, after chalking up 415 games for the Steelmen, he is being rewarded with a testimonial against Everton on Saturday.
First, though, gaffer McCall wants Hammell to drag his team up by their boot laces starting with tonight's friendly against Raith Rovers.
The Steelmen will look to put the disappointment of a disastrous 4-0 defeat at Ayr on Saturday behind them when they head to Starks Park and McCall has no doubt that Hammell's experience will be vital in steadying a ropey start to the build-up campaign.
The Well boss said: "Stevie is the SPL's record performer and that tells you a story of his consistency over the years.
"Obviously the result at Ayr was not a good one but we can rectify that tonight at Raith and then we have Stevie's on Saturday with Everton and then a trip to Hamilton next Tuesday.
"So we have three games to get things right and I will be looking to my experienced players like Stevie to help us achieve that.
It is a massive week for Stevie with his testimonial and he richly deserves that.
"Stevie has been Mr Consistent for us since I have been here and it is great that all his years of service are being recognised. Along with the likes of Keith Lasley, they are boys who have big roles to play for us in the forthcoming season."
Turning his attention to tonight's run out at Raith McCall admitted his side must do better if they are to start to build some momentum during their preparation programme.
The Fir Park gaffer said: "Raith will be another good test for us and with them being that bit further ahead of us in terms of preparation, it is vital we take on board the lessons learned from the defeat at Ayr.
"The unfortunate thing for us is that after losing the Bucuresti game last week due to the weather, we've had a little pressure put on us in terms of making sure we get our starting side enough game time.
"While Ayr was more about making a start to all of that and shedding some ring rust we will have to do an awful lot better tonight. There is a lot to improve upon and I am sure we will do that."
Looking back at the Ayr raid setback, McCall admitted his side had been undone by a comedy of errors. He groaned: "I can't remember so many individual mistakes in a game.
"Everything that could go wrong did. We just didn't look comfortable at all. Every one of the goals was poor.
"That said I thought we started brightly and on another day Jamie Murphy could have had a couple of goals.
"But I am sure that the more game time the boys get under their belt the sharper they will get. That is the name of the game in pre-season."
"We have plenty to improve upon at Raith tonight."