LOUIS Moult’s lineage is being probed to the extent that the Motherwell striker might wonder if he is being lined up as a guest on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ Native Scottish football stars are in such short supply these days that the 25-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent, who was yesterday celebrating being named the Ladbrokes Premiership player of the year for September, is getting used to being quizzed as to whether he has a Scottish Granny up his sleeve. He was prepared at least to play ball about the prospect of an unlikely Scotland call-up when he met the media at Fir Park yesterday.
“I have had random people Tweeting me asking to adopt me and it’s a massive compliment,” said Moult. “That’s unbelievable. It’s funny, my dad was up a few weeks ago and he does seem to think there’s a bit of Scottish in the family. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know.”
All good knockabout stuff but there is something in the clean, crisp Caledonian air which seems to suit Moult. After an early grounding in the youth ranks at Stoke City, his was a career which was hardly pulling up trees at the likes of Mansfield, Alfreton Town, Northampton Town, Nuneaton Town and Wrexham, until it arrived in Lanarkshire.
Yet here he is, the recipient of his first-ever individual award outside Motherwell’s own internal club affairs. This is a striker on everybody’s lips, not least those of the followers of Aberdeen and Rangers, who suspect he would be a tidy pick-up for their club when the transfer window opens.
Who knows how much longer he will be playing his football at Fir Park but Stephen Robinson’s side have already benefited to the tune of nine goals this season, and seem determined to enjoy him for as long as they have got him.
“It was a gamble for me when I came up to Scottish football,” admitted Moult. “Motherwell took a gamble on me as well. I’d bounced around a few places, done it at some clubs, not at others. I had been quite consistent for four or five years but if you’d said to me then I’d have the profile I have now, I’d have laughed at you.
“But I’ve worked hard for it and will continue to work hard,” he added. “I am ambitious for me and my family. It’s been unbelievable for me. My profile has been bigger up here than down south, that’s for sure. We’ll see what happens in the future.”
This, of course, is no ordinary week – for Moult or for Scottish football. The reason for all those inquiries about the player’s parentage is because the national team’s exile from major finals has stretched beyond two decades. Perhaps the reason, this player is ripping up the Scottish game on the back of his low-key career in the English game is because the standard of league play is lower north of the border.
“It’s hard for me to judge, because I’ve not played in the Championship for instance,” said Moult. “I played mainly in League Two and the Conference and for me the Premiership is much better, without a shadow of a doubt.
“People get surprised by the standard of this league,” he added. “I know I was. I was taken aback by the tempo when I first arrived and it took me a bit of time to adjust. I think the standard is brilliant, as is the league. I enjoy myself and it shows on the pitch.
“There are good players here, especially with the likes of Rangers and Hibs back in the league. This is the strongest I’ve witnessed in my time up here. Every game is tough and it’s a good standard.”
The other reason why this is no ordinary week is because Motherwell’s Lanarkshire rivals Hamilton await on Saturday – ahead of their Bet Fred Cup semi-final showdown against Rangers the following Sunday. Like any self-respecting, club idol, has a habit of scoring against his side’s closest rivals – registering all six of Motherwell’s goals against Hamilton last season, including four in one match. In the old days, winning that last four tie against Rangers might make a player more likely to see out the season but these days of course the entire competition is completed by the end of November.
“It’s potentially the biggest week of my time here,” said Moult. “And the semi-final will be the biggest game I’ve been involved in at this club. It’s massive to have Hamilton the week before. We had some crunch games against them last season, like the last game here where we managed to win. So it’s a massive few weeks for the club.”
Moult trained alongside the likes of Peter Crouch as an aspiring young player at Stoke, although he doesn’t hang out regularly in such celebrity circles. “I’m not massively in touch with them these days,” he says. “I was a quiet skinny lad when I was there, a bit timid!” Adopted Scottish international or not, Moult may not have seen the back of the big time.