Heads up - we're doing Well
Updated Tuesday, 17th April 2012
One of the characteristics of football fans is that appreciation of their team is dominated by the most recent results. No doubt they see the first swallow as a certainty that spring is on the way!
Motherwell fans and players had their feet up last weekend but most would have had an eye on the cup semi finals. It is safe to say that Craig Brown losing out may have raised a smirk but that match highlights how the perception of a season can completely change in 90 minutes. Hibs have been terrible for months but are doing just enough to survive in the SPL and they are now just one match, against their city rivals, from realising their wildest dreams by winning the Scottish Cup.
Aberdeen, and poor Craigie B, on the other hand are now staring at five weeks of nothing. They have been miserable all year and many of their fans are calling for another change of manager - but had they edged that dire game on Saturday the Red Army would have been mobilising in a much more positive fashion.
And as for Motherwell? We've taken just one point from the last nine and fans are getting nervous. Suddenly the 54 we collected from the previous 30 games seems a long way away!
Yet our league position is ahead the expectation that we held at the start of the season. The vast majority of ‘Well fans would have accepted a guarantee of a sixth place finish had it been on offer when we faced Inverness on that sunny day back in July. A place in the Europa League would have been taken as a bonus.
Now we enter the post-split fixtures with a five point cushion and in third place. The potential prize, thanks to the Ibrox implosion, is something that even the most optimistic claret and amber fanatic (and there are a few!) would not have considered.
Regardless of the results in the final five games the team has delivered a wonderful season and given us a chance of some more European travel. Those who can look back a few years will remember the pressure that comes in the relegation battle – compared to that the fight to retain third place is a pleasure.