FORMER Celts Mark McGhee and Stephen Pearson hope to team up this afternoon to derail their old club’s charge back to the top of the table.

Ronny Deila’s men can move two points ahead of toiling Aberdeen after their 2-0 defeat against Ross County in Dingwall last night.

But newly-appointed manager McGhee, at the club for a second spell, and midfielder Pearson, who has also returned to Fir Park, want get off to a winning start against the Hoops in the High Noon showdown.

Despite the pair having previous spells with the Well, both periods didn’t overlap and it was only when the two were working in Bristol back in 2012 that they eventually came face to face.

And now that they have reacquainted themselves in Lanarkshire following McGhee’s arrival as Ian Baraclough’s successor, Pearson is keen to make up for lost time under a manager who has always impressed him.

He said: “I met him in Bristol at a coffee shop when he was at Rovers and I was at City. That was about it. It was just a brief chat. I’m looking forward to working with him now.

“We had a meet and greet when he was first announced then a proper team meeting before training yesterday.

“He’s not said there is any magic formula. He’s not going to come in and change things drastically. He’s going to show belief in the players and let us go and express ourselves.

“It’s like anything else, if it’s not going for you then you have to work even harder. In football, that should be the norm anyway. If we all do that on a Saturday then we will pick up points.”

Already there is a feeling in the Motherwell camp that today’s game against the champions will present an opportunity for the home side to start off on a firm footing.

It says a lot about McGhee’s positivity that such a belief can be held ahead of a meeting with Deila’s side that is going for a fifth successive title.

Pearson added: “That’s the sort of character he comes across as and it’s a massive part of the game.

“For footballers it is all about confidence and belief. Hopefully, he can really drive that into the players here because we have guys who are capable of finishing in the top six.

“We just have to have the belief we can do it.

“It could go either way. Playing the champions at home with a new manager in charge, it’s all set up for a good game.

“Anything can happen and, hopefully, we show up on the day and get a result.”

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