Into the valleys of Rugby, ride Motherwell

Last updated : 07 July 2009 By Firparkcorner

If we are to move forward, we will have to make history. No Scottish side has ever progressed in European football having lost the first leg at home but we do have some experience in attempting such a feat. MyPa 47 cuffed us 3-1 at Fir Park but a much improved performance in Finland produced a 2-0 win and only the width of the post prevented a glorious success. On the bright side, it is impossible for us to go out on away goals and we have the added bonus of knowing conceding ourselves is far from a disaster. At 0-0 we need to score twice to progress, going 1-0 down doesn't change that at all.

If we are to change the performance from the first leg, at least one of two things must happen. The players must simply play better and show more urgency along with a sharpness which suggests they have some level of basic technique when it comes to playing the game. Secondly, the formation will either have to be changed, or at least tweaked. The merits of John Sutton can be argued for a long time but it is clear he is not, and never will be, a lone striker. If he leads the line he needs real support, not just theoretical help from advanced midfielders.

Llanelli set out their stall to defend in their away leg and it is hard to see them making huge changes now. They will rely on us not being able to break them down and if they do manage to hold out for a half then our desperation will become ever greater. That said, we do need to be careful not to concede needless set pieces and throw-ins as they have already shown they can pose a threat and our defence is, as ever, far from stable.

The first qualifying round of the Europa League may not be the biggest stage but no professional will want to be embarrassed by losing to part-timers. We need a reaction and by getting it we can make a little bit of history - 2-1 Motherwell.