Big Mitch saves the day!

Last updated : 10 May 2012 By Firparkcorner

vandergaagIt is fair to say most people remember the final day of that season.  We simply had to match Hibs' result at (already relegated) Raith Rovers and with our game kicking off slightly late to let the crowd in, we had the advantage.  The game in Kirkcaldy was dire but we let a lead slip and after Coyne's shot was cleared from the line, we fell 2-1 behind.  We needed a hero and with 17 minutes remaining Micky Weir tapped a free kick to Big Mitch who rocketed a simply unstoppable shot beyond Westwater.  After a tense final 15 minutes, the referee signalled full time and a delirious, spontaneous pitch invasion celebrated our survival. Highlights available!

But what is often forgotten is not the work on that last day but the comeback which took us to the position of having survival in our own hands.  On January 4 we were second bottom, two points behind Kilmarnock but having played two games more. At the beginning of April we took a credible draw from Aberdeen but Hibs winning left us five points adrift in the play-off place and Raith Rovers were six behind in the automatic demotion spot - coming to Fir Park next.

That was the game the season turned as not only did we win, effectively to relegate Raith, a five goal thumping ensured our goal difference became slightly better than Hibs. However, with two games remaining they remained three points clear as we both faced the Old Firm.  They duly lost to Celtic but with a trip to champions elect Rangers coming up, our situation looked desperate.  Owen Coyle did the business with a neat finish and penalty and we were suddenly within touching distance of safety.

Of course, there is nothing to say we wouldn't have beaten Airdrie in the relegation play-off but it would have tested the nerve of even the most resolute of our fans. Airdrie lost to Hibs, never recovered and were soon on the path out existence.  Hibs, despite surviving, collapsed to relegation the next year and we only escaped the trial of a play-off that season due to that game being scrapped before the introduction of the SPL.  So we can only speculate how things would have turned out for us had big Mitch not found the net but we can probably be happy we didn't have to find out for sure!

If you're looking for more 'Well memories you need a copy of  Motherwell: On this day