First up - Hibs
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2010
Hibs come to Fir Park on Sunday as the SPL season gets underway. A win on opening day will put a smile on our faces and deliver a great boost ahead of our trip to Odense. Can we do it?
The first game of the season is one of the great days in the football calendar. All possibilities are open and there is a rare equality among the teams as they line up for the kick off at 3pm on a Saturday. But not for us this weekend! The price we pay for the income stream that the broadcasters deliver is that they are able to move our opening day fixture to a ludicrous Sunday lunchtime – 12 noon!
While we are still enjoying the European adventure, our visitors have to recover from a disappointing 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Maribor. Nevertheless, John Hughes declared, “I'm really proud of my boys” – a strange reaction, but he felt that there was an improvement over their pre-season form.
The east stand explodes after the 6-6 game v Hibs in May!
We’ll have to take care of Stokes and Riordan but our defence has looked solid in the four Europa games to date, having conceded only a spot kick. Ian Murray is suspended but keeper Stack and striker Nish will probably be available. The pair have been on the treatment table since the Maribor game but have now resumed training.
We may get a look at our new striker, Esteban Casagolda. He signed up on Thursday and will be in the squad for Sunday’s game. He’ll be familiar with the Fir Park dressing room as he has been on trial for several weeks. He’ll probably start on the bench.
Craigan played in Montenegro on Wednesday evening while Murphy and Saunders took part in the 1-1 draw with Sweden U21s in Paisley. We should be in good heart for the game. Fitness and match sharpness should be good while confidence has to be high.
Motherwell’s record in opening day fixtures is poor, only one win in the last ten attempts (1-0 v St Mirren in 07/08). We can improve on that with a 2-1 victory.
Remember the last time Hibs visited – surely you remember this one?