Motherwell have made a slow and uncertain start to the new season as has become the custom in recent years.
Let’s dismiss the group stage of the League Cup competition, under whatever sponsorship banner, and look at the opening league matches in the last few seasons.
In 20/21 we had to endure the first six games without a league win (Ross County L, Dundee United L, Livingston D, Hibs D, Hamilton L, Celtic L) in the season without fans. The manager left his post midway through the campaign.
In 19/20 Motherwell got off the mark relatively quickly (Livingston D, Celtic L) before a winning trip to New Douglas Park.
In 18/19 the first league win came at Dens Park in the fourth round of fixtures (Hibs L, Hamilton L, Rangers D).
Captain Kelly to the rescue
Those poor beginnings do nothing to excuse the current squad for the under par servings they have delivered to date. A loss to Hibs, a draw to St Johnstone and a Premier Sports Cup exit at the hands of Dundee only serve to heighten the growing fear that this season will be a struggle.
In common with other clubs the squad is undergoing a rebuild with the manager banking on several imports to form the basis for the road ahead. Ten players have contracts that are planned to run to summer 2023 or beyond and the transfer window remains open for another fortnight.
The early signs of improvement disappeared on Saturday in a team without Kevin Van Veen and Stephen O’Donnell. We were on the back foot for most of the game and when the home side’s pressure was rewarded with twelve minutes remaining the game was lost. An indication of the flow of the contest is clear; Dundee had a remarkable seventeen corners compared to Motherwell’s seven.
The winless run will end sometime but the bookies don’t expect an away win at Livingston next weekend, a Motherwell victory can be backed at 13/5 while a home win is closes to evens.