Legendary Tottenham star Danny Blanchflower once said the game was about glory. While his opinion may have been different had he earned tens of thousands of pounds a week, his point remains true.
For Manchester United and Barcelona playing in Rome on Wednesday night the Champions League was, finally, about glory and not their massive salaries and bonuses. For a player in the Joe Bloggs league winning the Dog and Duck Cup may constitute glory, for Stenhousemuir it was winning the Challenge Cup and for Motherwell, and clubs our size, it is being in Europe.
The march in Nancy
Other clubs such as the Old Firm, and even Hearts or Aberdeen, may mock our relatively modest goals but we should not let that concern us. If we have a decent campaign next term we may finish anywhere from fifth to tenth. Would a slightly lower league placing be a sacrifice worth making for a run in Europe? Definitely. The fans have already had their fill of trips to Dunfermline and Dundee. That is why 3000 went to France when scarcely 300 go to Falkirk.
The Europa League is a fresh tournament and while it is unlikely we will make the truly glamorous group stages, we at least have the chance. And even if we get put out in the third qualifier, by a former European king such as HSV or Benfica, will the fans not relish the run to the point where we can mix with the elite?
It could be said that a solid and consistent league campaign reflects better on the club than a lucky run to a cup final. Football experts may believe that but ask any fan what they prefer and there will be one answer. If Falkirk win the cup on Saturday, will their support later say this was a terrible season because they only just avoided relegation? Of course not.
Even in today's modern game, the old words of Danny Blanchflower are correct. We have another shot at glory through our backdoor entry to the Europa League - let's hope we take it.