RICHARD Tait has seen his one-time Tamworth team-mate Callum Wilson become a £50 million transfer target for Chelsea and believes Motherwell’s new kids on the block are every bit as good.

The bustling Bournemouth striker was said to be Stamford Bridge boss Maurizio Sarri’s Plan B if he had been unable to secure the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus, but the Motherwell full-back feels that great things could also await the Fir Park side’s talented trio of David Turnbull, Allan Campbell and Jake Hastie.

There has been something similar to the emergence of James McFadden and Stephen Pearson during the early noughties about the way these products of the club's academy have energised Stephen Robinson’s side and they will get another chance to showcase those talents against Hearts today.

“I’ve played with a few who’ve gone on to play in the Premier League, Callum Wilson at Tamworth for example,” said Tait. “He was on loan from Coventry at the time and he was no different to the lads we’ve got here. No better, no worse. And now look at him. Chelsea were going to buy him for £50m-odd at one point.

“The young lads here are in a fantastic position to play football at the highest level in this country, and then progress to the next level. It’s a great stage for them to play on and they're lucky they’re at a club like Motherwell.”

A fractured foot after just three starts was enough to send the teenage Wilson back to his parent club Coventry, and things haven’t always been easy since, the player twice succumbing to cruciate ligament injuries on the south coast. But Tait reckons it provides the perfect example for Motherwell’s young players to follow, with the likes of Hastie already having proved his mettle on a loan spell at Alloa Athletic.

“I’ve always taken an interest in how he [Wilson] has done,” said Tait. “He was a really good lad and it's great to see guys like that get to the top level and score some good goals. Going on loan was really good for him. It was conference football, going to some pretty horrible places, and not the nicest football in the world either.

“But Hastie has gone out on loan himself this season too and that’s the big thing for young lads like him. They go out there and they grow up a bit. He has come back and you can see he’s matured a little bit, just by talking to him, and he's obviously kicked on as a player because he’s maybe seen where he could be if he doesn't put the hard work in.

“Part-time is only one division away in this country, and he’s seen it, come back in, taken his wake-up call and he's been fantastic. I’m sure he’ll continue it. I saw guys with more talent than Wilson, great players, but their attitude wasn't there to match their ability.”

If things are also looking up for Craig Levein’s side as their treatment room gets less busy, Motherwell have won their last four in a row and went into the weekend just four points out of the top six place that many would have assumed was within their grasp at the start of the season. With Hastie having scored four in five games since returning from his loan spell, Turnbull on six for the season, and the tigerish Campbell grabbing a winner against St Mirren last time out, the young players have played no small part in that.

“The young lads being freshness, they’ve been massive for us,” said Tait. “Hastie, Al and Turnbull, they have been fantastic since they came in. Hastie has shown what he’s about. He gives us a different dimension in terms of carrying the ball up the pitch. And beating a couple of men and his strike against St Mirren shows you what he’s got. They come in full of enthusiasm and as an older player in the team it’s good to see and it’s one of them where you have to try to keep their feet on the ground a little bit. I think as a young lad when you’re playing you play with no fear. You are happy to be there, happy to be playing and I think it shows the way they’re playing at the minute.”

The catalyst for all this might just have been the 2-1 defeat to Ross County in the Scottish Cup.

“I think coming back and losing to Ross County gave us a jolt and a kick up the backside we might have needed,” he said.

While Scotland are blessed with world beaters at left-back, Tait, a defendable, adaptable 29-year-old, is one of the more solid options available to Alex McLeish on the other side. Stephen O’Donnell of Kilmarnock has shown up well for Scotland since being promoted on that side, but Tait admits it can be frustrated to be constantly overlooked.

“I’d never ever tell the manager or suggest how to do his job,” he said. “But you do get a little bit frustrated. It would be an absolute honour to get picked for Scotland. But I think when you’ve players in there who are at similar clubs to Motherwell it’s nice to see. Big Stephen has done fantastic. He’s gone in there and taken his chance. But I think him doing that shows the door is open.

“Given that opportunity, I definitely believe if I was to be picked I would do a similar job. I’d take the chance with both hands. Possibly, the team doing well helps. It’s easier for managers to pick players in teams who are higher up the league and he’s probably benefited from that. So if we can keep winning and jump a few places then you never know.”