A huge reason for optimism is that while the Old Firm may still prove to be better than everyone else over the season, on the one-off basis they are more beatable than ever. Sure, we would no doubt love to have McDonald, Samaras or Robson in our team but they hardly compare favourably with Hartson, Larsson and Sutton.
We also can take heart from recent good results against Celtic including a draw at Parkhead this season. It has been some time since we defeated them at home (Skippy Sunday) but Lappin's goal secured a 1-0 victory in Glasgow in 2008.
Jim Gannon continued his one man war with the media last week and regardless of whether he is right in his thinking, the press would surely love to see us taking a humping here. Will that bring extra pressure to the players? Possibly, but creating a Motherwell versus the world attitude has rarely harmed us in the past.
Sutton could well find himself dropped if we elect to play an extra man in midfield although Murphy seems to be more potent in a central role supporting Jutkiewicz than out wide. A 4-4-1-1 with Murphy playing in front of a midfield containing Forbes, Hately, O'Brien and Coke wouldn't raise many eyebrows.
We will still be without Hutchison, Humphrey and maybe Slane, along with a few others, so options are slightly more limited than we would like. The last month or so has been frustrating but while we would love things to change now, we might need to wait a little longer thanks to a 0-2 defeat.