WHEN the dust settles and the time comes to commit the Stephen Robinson era to the Fir Park annals, Declan Gallagher will be the first to tell you it would be a disservice to consider the final months a true reflection of his entire tenure. 

If anything, the Motherwell captain believes it’s the players to blame for the demise of the Northern Irishman, who for so long had given the ‘Well cause to dream again. 

Robinson’s near four-year stay in North Lanarkshire came to a shuddering end last week as he stepped down following a winter of discontent and a nine-game winless run, the halcyon days of cup finals and European qualification an increasingly distant memory. 

However, while the manager became the fall guy, Gallagher insists he and his team-mates have to bear much of the burden, a 3-0 derby defeat on Saturday to Hamilton Accies in the first game of the post-Robinson era doing little to suggest better times are ahead. 

“We lost a manager who everyone respected and losing the kind of person he was at the club [has been hard],” Scotland international Gallagher said. “A lot of the boys believed that he was still the man who was going to get us out of the situation we are in. 

“A lot of boys were disappointed because he brought everybody in. Everyone loved him as a manager and I think [Saturday’s] performance out there proves that it wasn’t his fault. 

Glasgow Times: Stephen Robinson's tenure came to an end last week Stephen Robinson's tenure came to an end last week

“It’s the players. The attitude needs to change at this club and it needs to change quickly.”

Despite some of the harsher online critics, no one could begrudge the heart Robinson poured into the club right up until the final moments when he offered his resignation on Hogmanay. 

"Towards the end, I think he was a beaten man, to be honest with you, which was heartbreaking to see," Gallagher continued. "I don’t think anyone can grudge the reason he left. At the end of the day, it was for his own mental health

"I don’t think he slept for about three weeks trying to figure things out. "The boys messaged him privately. I thank him for everything he did for me and the platform he game me as obviously it’s helped my career massively." 

Gallagher added: "You can see that it wasn’t the manager’s fault. The manager has gone and someone else has stepped in and we’re still getting there same performances, the same heart and desire which is none." 

Whoever steps into Robinson shoes on a permanent basis – and, despite the Hamilton humbling, Keith Lasley still harbours hopes of making the move – Gallagher is under no illusions the team will need to find their form quickly or else find themselves fighting to avoid the Premiership trapdoor. 

"We’re in a dog fight now," Gallagher added. "The boys need to realise that sooner rather than later before it’s too late."

As is the nature of football, disappointment for one means joy for another. It was Hamilton who spent Saturday night full of the latter, goals from Lee Hodson, Ross Callachan, and Callum Smith giving them their biggest Lanarkshire Derby win for five years. 

"I thought we deservedly got all three points," said a delighted Jamie Hamilton. "A 3-0 win wasn’t an unfair reflection. Although they had their chances, I felt we defended really well as a group.

"I think that performance and result has been coming. All the boys have been working hard, training hard and that’s what we’ve been wanting to do all season.

Glasgow Times: Jamie Hamilton believes his team showed they can play good football as well as fight Jamie Hamilton believes his team showed they can play good football as well as fight

"This result give us confidence. Now we want to go out and produce that performance every week.

"We’ve shown we can play good football too. The boys have got it in them. Confidence is key to that, we’ve got confidence now and we will be fine.

"We can play like that. Hamilton have been known for bullying teams, getting after people. But little do people know we can actually play football."