Hope springs eternal

Last updated : 03 August 2009 By Firparkcorner

As Motherwell fans pick up their Europa League match tickets for the third home tie of the competition they realise that domestic affairs will be the focus for the rest of the season. Nevertheless there is a very slim chance that the away defeat could be overturned so, in anticipation of a miracle in Airdrie , let's look ahead to what would be a fairytale last round before the group stage.

The draw for the play-off round will take place at lunchtime on Friday. The ties are scheduled for August 20 and 27 so there would be a free Thursday next week ahead of the SPL opener in Perth.

The seeded draw will have 76 teams in the pots. The 35 winners from the 3rd qualifying round together with a further 26 (including such names as Everton, Ajax, Aston Villa, Werder Bremen, Benfica, Valencia and Villarreal) will be joined by 15 drop-outs from the Champions League third qualifying round. If we were to reach this stage it would almost certainly provide a glamour tie.

The teams will be split into six groups of ten and two groups of eight (each pot haveing equal numbers of seeded and non-seeded teams). Teams trom the same national association will be kept apart.

Of course we all know that Friday morning will probably see us starting to focus on the first league game and the trip to play St Johnstone but first the fans can continue to hope and the players can have a go at causing an upset.

Come on ye 'Well.