Motherwell get a first taste of competitive action on Wednesday when they meet Queen's Park at Firhill in the Premier Sports Cup.
Group F opened on Saturday with a win for Queen's Park over Queen of the South while Airdrie earned a bonus point after a draw with Annan Athletic. Annan and Queen of the South play on Tuesday before Graham Alexander sees his side face the League One side.
As yet there is little evidence to indicate how prepared Motherwell will be for this meeting. We know of a couple of closed door warm-up matches but they were riddled with substitutions, trialists and a mix of old and new faces. It is to be hoped that the manager has a seen enough to put a decent starting eleven on the pitch.
League Cup winners 1950-51
Fans watching on Premier Sports may get a look at a new forward trio comprising Kaiyne Woolery, Tony Watt and Kevin Van Veen. Expectations may be muted as Motherwell failed to score in the pre-season matches against Dumbarton and Millwall.
Liam Kelly’s presence in goal will offer a huge boost to the defensive half of the team. His capture on a permanent deal may have made a dent in the player budget but if he continues to show the form that served us so well in the second half of last season there will be no complaints.
Steven O’Donnell’s last serious test came with his three appearances at the Euro 2020 matches. He’ll have to adapt to a different style against the Spiders in Maryhill.
If any of the prospects under the microscope at the weekend are rewarded with contracts early in the week they may be in the squad for Wednesday’s tie.
This encounter still has the feel of preparation for the August start of the Premiership but the need to finish at the top of the group cannot be underestimated. The manager admitted that his squad would not be at top speed for the group games but that he “expected to be able to put teams out in the next few games to be the favourites in games we should win”.
Let’s hope the plan works and we can start the campaign with a 2-0 win.