The threadbare nature of the squad gave the new management team little room for manoeuvre although some expressed surprise that neither Fitzpatrick nor Darren Smith made an appearance. What did promote comment was the chosen formation. There is no easy way to introduce positional change and a game against the Welsh part-timers must have seemed as good as any. In any event, as the eleven starters had never played together in any previous game there was always going to be a degree of unfamiliarity between players.
Despite the understandable difficulties, the performance was well below that which the fans were entitled to expect. From all accounts the game had more of an air of a pre-season friendly rather than a competitive game in Europe. While it may be in the best long term interest of the club to prepare for the start of the SPL season it can hardly do anything for our reputation to lose to Llanelli at 'home'.
Gannon's post-match comments in praise of the youngsters must ring warning bells for the likes of Sutton, Lasley, Hammell and Craigan. These senior players should have been setting an example to those with less experience and the fact that they failed to impress might have serious implications for their places in the new manager's plans. Still, another week of training might shake them from their close season lethargy.
The outcome of next week's second leg is by no means settled and a win for Motherwell might cause Thursday's result to be classed as a blip. But the pressure will be on those who wear the claret and amber. Failure to progress will rightly be regarded as one of the worst episodes in our recent history and dampen the bright enthusiasm which arrived with the capture of the new management team.