Former Hearts & Celtic star Tony Watt can rediscover Scotland potential at Motherwell, insists assistant boss


KEITH LASLEY insists Tony Watt can fire himself back into Scotland contention after penning a new contract with Motherwell.

Watt, 26, joined the North Lanarkshire outfit on a short-term deal in February and was beginning to illustrate his undoubted potential when the SPFL was curtailed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Nevertheless, the former Celtic and Standard Liege hitman did enough in his six outings to earn an extension until the summer of 2021.

Scotland: Watt won his sole cap four years ago

And Lasley reckons there is no reason Watt cannot add to his solitary international cap – attained against the Czech Republic in March 2016 – now that he is, by his own admission, settled, content and ready to make a home for himself at Fir Park.

The Motherwell assistant boss said: “He’s proved that he can get that [Scotland] recognition so that should be a motivation and tell him the potential is in there.

“The quality is in there, the talent is there.

“We believe there is still time for Tony to really flourish in this league and so much more to come.

“There have been some ups and downs along the way – Tony would be the first to accept that – but it is up to him, and the Motherwell staff, to work together and make sure he shows that ability on a consistent basis.”

Watt, who wrote his name into Celtic folklore in 2012 by scoring the winning goal in a 2-1 Champions League triumph over Barcelona, has gone on to represent 12 clubs including Charlton, Cardiff, Hearts and St Johnstone.

His circuitous career path prompted some onlookers to question his attitude and work ethic, albeit Watt has come across as an eloquent, determined character during a series of podcast and print interviews during the Scottish football shut-down.

Attitude: Lasley insists the former Celtic man has been a joy to work with

And Lasley is adamant he has been a joy to work with at Motherwell – and cannot wait to see how he performs with the benefit of a full pre-season under his belt.

He lauded: “You can only take people as you find them. We only care about the Tony Watt we have seen at Motherwell and we have found a player with brilliant attitude, who wants to help others around him. He’s ticked a lot of boxes for us.

“He has shown an appetite to work hard in abundance, which we wanted to see from him, and I can’t wait to get him back on the training pitch and get a full pre-season with him. It could be a really exciting signing for us.”

Meanwhile, Lasley has revealed that Motherwell hope to resume phased training on June 15, with talks well under way with boss Stephen Robinson and head of sports science Andy Boles regarding what shape the sessions will take amid coronavirus restrictions.