STEPHEN ROBINSON is a great believer that adversity reveals character. As he glanced at the matches that awaited his Motherwell side in the first week after the winter break, he knew that by the end of it, the content of the character of those within his dressing room would be clear.

With two out of those three formidable fixtures safely negotiated, he already knows that his Motherwell boys have become men.

His high-flying side followed up their impressive win against Dundee at Dens Park in the Scottish Cup last week with an outstanding win at Pittodrie to stretch their lead over Aberdeen in the Premiership table, with the Steelmen now four points clear in third place.

That has instilled a sense of pride in Robinson, but he is hoping that doesn’t come before a fall against Hibernian at Fir Park this afternoon.

“We weren’t at our best in midweek but it was a steely performance we were organised and disciplined,” Robinson said. “We looked like men on Wednesday night.

“Over the last year we have played a lot of good football, but that was a different side. It showed we can win ugly. It wasn’t an enjoyable game but we won.

“The players deserve the plaudits, but we have won two hard games and then disappointed at home [before], so we have to make sure we kick on against Hibs. They are a good side and I really think they have a lot of attacking options that we have to be wary of.

“They are an exciting side and it is two sides who will want to win the game. When I say it will be an exciting game it usually isn’t, so I hope I am wrong.”

Motherwell had to eek out their win at Pittodrie without in-form striker Chris Long after he limped off during the first half, and they may have to do so once again today. But he has urged others to grasp their opportunity should one come their way.

“Chris is a doubt for the game,” he said. “It is maybe coming too soon for him. He recovers quickly and we will give him to the last minute as he is an important part of what we do.

“The thing is, someone’s misfortune gives someone else an opportunity. We have Ross McIvor, Christy Manzinga and Mikael Ndjoli, so someone will get an opportunity and they have to take it.

“We have a well-oiled system and people just slot into the system. Ross came off the bench against Ross County and was excellent, so I have no hesitation in throwing in young players if I think they are ready.

“With Christy we never know what we are going to get, whether it will be a nine or a two! There is potential there and he has to get that consistency to show me he can take Chris’ place.

“Chris’s isn’t a serious problem, he will hopefully only be out for a few days, Jermaine Hylton is the same and we hope they will be back for the Livingston game.

“We have a squad who can cope with that though.”

Meanwhile, winger Christian Ilic, who came on for Long in midweek and then was later subbed off for Bevis Mugabi as Motherwell tried to see out the game, has thanked his teammates for helping him to settle in Scotland.

The Croatian has been on the periphery of the squad since his summer arrival due to injury, but he feels he is now ready to make an impact on the first-team.

“We are doing well right now and there is competition for places,” Ilic said. “But we are all one team and we are all in it together. That is a good thing, and everyone gives 100 per cent every day in training.

“We celebrate and lose together. I think the togetherness is the key to our success. Other teams have more resources, but we are in it together.

“When you come to a new club you want to show what people what you can do so it was hard to be out injured. It came at a bad time, as I had played a few games and was doing well.

“I am fit and ready to go now though.”