New Motherwell captain Declan Gallagher believes the Steel Men have the best manager in the country in Stephen Robinson who can guide the club to the Europa League group stages if he sticks around.

Robinson handed Gallagher the armband earlier this week in what the defender describes as a 'proud honour'. Just a day or two later, the manager was interviewed for the vacant Northern Ireland job by the FAI.

Gallagher, 29, believes his boss deserves the recognition he has received over the past few seasons for the incredible job he's done at Fir Park, guiding his side to two cup finals and a third-place finish in the Premiership. But despite understanding the potential pull of his own country coming calling, Scotland cap Gallagher is desperate for Robinson to remain in the Motherwell job to see out the job he started.

"It’s a proud honour for me to be the captain of Motherwell this season. I was delighted when the gaffer gave me the nod," Gallagher said. I spoke to the gaffer at the start and last year I played the joker of the team card. They had a captain and vice captain and my role was banter in the changing room. 

"This year the gaffer wants to see me setting standards and a little bit less joking. But he doesn't want to see me changing as a person. He just wants me to take some more responsibility and having people look up to me and keeping the group together.

"We definitely [hope Robinson stays]. He was in training today and everything is as normal. He’s been great for Motherwell and we want him to continue to be our manager and lead us into the group stages of the Europa League and progress even more in the league.

"I believe he is the best manager in Scotland and I think he should have got manager of the year. It’s definitely good recognition that he’s up for an international job but at the end of the day we want him to stay at Motherwell. There is a wee bit of selfishness from me probably, because he’s one of the main reasons I’ve done so well. I know how good a manager he is, but I also know how good a coach he is. It’s a massive advantage to us. He never stops working hard.

"I believe firmly, that with him as our manager, we will do something that not many Scottish clubs have done, outwith Celtic and Rangers, and we will qualify for the group stages of Europe if he stays.

“The way the manager coaches, I believe that he will set us up in a way that we’ll be able to play against these teams. Most people come to Scotland, and they see Rangers and Celtic and they think they’re the best footballing sides. But I think last season we showed that we played some of the most attractive football there was in the league. I believe if we take that into Europe as well, then we’ve got a really good chance."

Captaining 'Well in domestic football is one thing for Gallagher, but to do so in European competition would be another milestone for the player following his international recognition. Another milestone the centre-half credits Robinson with helping him achieve. Another milestone he's proud of. "It would be absolutely massive [to captain the club in Europe], the highlight of my career. 

"I've never ever been part of any European football at club level so it's going to be massive for me. It's also massive for my family who are overjoyed for me, so hopefully they'll be there to see it. It means the world to me and I'm just thankful I got the opportunity."

Confidence to make the Europa League group stages is high with the Motherwell players, clearly. But it is not misplaced. With UEFA confirming qualifiers will be played over just one leg this season, Gallagher is certain his side can do the business. It's just four standalone games, after all. "Basically it will be like four cup finals and we just have to take each game as it comes," he said.

"I think what will be in our advantage is that our season will be well underway then. Normally for Scottish clubs in European qualifiers it is the other teams who are halfway through their season. We will have a few more games under our belt and that will work to our advantage."