Europa League joy for Motherwell

Last updated : 26 May 2009 By Firparkcorner
Mark McGhee made it perfectly clear recently that he would be delighted to get into Europe by any means possible. While the Fair Play league is a definite back door, we have this chance so rarely it is not to be sniffed at.

The rebranded UEFA Cup
Fortunately, we managed to hold off the challenge of St Mirren and come second in the SFA's Fair Play table. Celtic who topped it are in the Champions League so we benefit as runners-up. The players being on their best behaviour recently and only picking up a couple of bookings in the final matches was definitely a big help. However, we always knew there were other factors involved so other club officials, and the Motherwell fans, also deserve credit.

The downside is we now start back incredibly early with a competitive game on July 2. The close season is almost over before it has begun for the players and it will take a big effort from them to be prepared in time.

Another question exists over where we will play the home leg.  Fir Park is undergoing work on the pitch so won't be suitable meaning a trip to Airdrie could be on the cards - who said Europe at this level wasn't glamorous!?

Scottish FA Chief Executive Gordon Smith said: "My congratulations go to Motherwell and I wish them all the best for their European adventure next season.

"Getting into Europe shows what can be achieved when the game is played in the right manner. It is a lesson to everyone who plays the game and the whole country can be proud of this achievement.

"It is now down to all six of our teams who play in Europe next season to do well and to keep on pushing our co-efficient in the right direction. We can all look forward to the year ahead with a real sense of excitement."

A list of our potential opponents can be found here. We will discover our fate in the first qualifying round when the draw is made on June 22 - there are some interesting places we could go!