Next up - Panathinaikos
Updated Sunday, 29th July 2012
After a summer of waiting, our first ever Champions League campaign will start on Tuesday when Panathinaikos visit Fir Park. This without doubt one of the biggest games in our history.
The financial issues engulfing Scottish football means cash from any source is crucial. We are in the hugely fortunate position of having European football as a potential source of revenue but to really open the money tap, we must win a tie. It is obvious we are second favourites in this clash with Panathinaikos but we are not without hope.
The Wishaw dossers in Nancy
The economic situation of the Greek side is similar to ours, if on a different scale. They have been forced to cut back and will be relying more on youth while their recent European record is hardly terrifying with losses to both Odense and Maccabi Tel Aviv. Nonetheless, even without star striker Leto who is injured, they will have several internationals in their ranks.
But ultimately there is little to suggest they are currently significantly stronger than the Old Firm and while wins against them are rare, we know that is not impossible. Stuart McCall faces an intriguing dilemma with his first leg tactics. His first instinct is to keep the tie alive although he has admitted going out to win on the night represents our best chance of progression.
With Saunders and Page injured it would seem likely Ramsden will join Hutchinson in the centre of the defence. Ramsden could also be on the right if Hateley pushes into midfield while Hammell is a certainty on the left. Lasley, Law and Higdon will also start while the Murphy, Humphrey and Ojamaa will be the other attacking options. Humphrey's form and pace suggests he will play but if we elect to bolster the midfield with a 4-3-3/4-5-1 system, Ojamaa may miss out despite being a exciting threat.
This is going to be a wonderful occasion for everyone connected with Motherwell and we can only hope we do ourselves justice. A tight pitch and hopefully torrential rain could help us to a famous night and a dramatic 2-1 victory.
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