Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes believes Graham Alexander has made an immediate impact at Motherwell.
The new Motherwell manager makes his first visit to Pittodrie today as he takes charge of the Steelmen for the third time and, while McInnes’ former Scotland international team-mate is still searching for his first win, the Dons boss can see Alexander’s imprint on the visitors.
He said: “When you take over a team towards the bottom of the table, the first job is to make them hard to beat.
“That’s been the case in the first two games. They’ve had a good shape about them against Rangers.
“They lost a really soft penalty at St Mirren – and we know how that feels – which was disappointing for them.
“But there’s been two really good performances since he came in the door, with a consistency of selection and shape.
“It’s been a step forward for them.”
Alexander and McInnes are no strangers and the Aberdeen manager is pleased to see Alexander back in Scotland for his first managerial role since leaving Salford.
He said: “I’ve known Graham a long while, I’ve come up against him and been in Scotland squads with him.
“He got on the pitch a lot more than me, mind you. It’s good to see him in Scottish football.
“There are a lot of good players at Motherwell and Graham’s acknowledged that and I’m sure he’ll do well there.”
While Motherwell are searching for their first victory under their new manager, the Dons are equally determined to get back to winning ways following league defeats to Rangers and Ross County.
The 4-1 loss in Dingwall in particular was a sore one for the Dons with the team punished for a poor defensive display and not taking their chances in front of goal.
McInnes believes the game does not reflect on his side’s performances this season.
He said: “Defensively, even after selling Scott McKenna for a club record fee this season, our record has been really good and we’ve been really strong. On Saturday, we weren’t. We never defended well enough and ultimately it put more focus on our attacking play.
“In terms of arriving in and around their box, it was excellent and I thought we got into good areas time and time again, but the end product wasn’t good enough.
“Sometimes that has been the case this season, but, because defensively we’ve been sound, we’ve managed to win games. We have to work with what we’ve got at the minute, but the squad has my full support as we work together to try to improve things.
Ross McCrorie and Jonny Hayes miss out after suffering injuries in Dingwall a week ago but Greg Leigh is set to return, while Connor McLennan could also feature despite a niggling foot injury.
McInnes said: “(With)Connor McLennan, we’re trying to delay any work he’s got to get done and manage his training through the week so he can be available and see if we can settle his issue down.”