The new season optimism that grew with the successful group stage ended abruptly when Hearts dumped Motherwell out of the Betfred Cup.
It was more the poor performance of Stephen Robinson’s newly constructed team rather than the result that sent the Fir Park faithful into a gloomy foreboding about the campaign to come.
Had we played with flair and confidence the cup exit may have been forgiven but the verbal knives were soon unveiled. The manager’s post-match comments only added fuel to the fire.
His declaration that “we don’t have enough real men” must have a stinging effect in the dressing room. Seven of the starting eleven were already under his command before the summer signing spree. His reference to his new players, “from under 23 football that haven’t played for months” and the need for them to grow both mentally and physically will either crush or inspire. Let’s hope for the latter.
Yet the optimists in the support will point to the first half hour in last week’s game aganst Celtic. Did we show enough promise to suggest that there is enough potential in the squad to deliver a mid-table season?
Attention now turns to the game in Hamilton on Saturday. With a solitary point to our name and fresh from a cup exit a result at New Douglas Park would bring some relief to both a frustrated manager and a worried fan base.