Drawing the old firm on the first day is always a mixed blessing. It is never good to start with a defeat and we have to face the possibility that a loss – and possibly a Motherwell horsing – will be the order of the day. But on the other hand a loss is always possible against Rangers or Celtic – what doesn't exist for other teams is a chance to rattle them early on before they have settled in together and get our season off to an absolute flier.
The last meeting at Fir Park
Motherwell proved last season that it can be done. We even gifted Celtic a two goal start this time last year just to give them a chance of keeping it competitive. And if we can hold them to a result there is no reason we can't do the same to Paul Le Guen's assorted bunch of new signings.
It is quite disappointing that it seems as though we will only have one new signing in place. This means that we will almost certainly start with Jim Paterson at left back and the midfield pair of Kerr and O'Donnell. That couple will have to play well if we are to keep ourselves in the match – it seems unlikely that Malpas would drop either even if it would open a space for the extra dig of Sean Fagan.
Our attacking options are currently huge although one doubt exists in the shape of Scott McDonald. Not only has his performances been shaky of late but he has picked up a knock which may help make Maurice's decision for him.
Who plays may well depend on what strategy we employ to try and pressurise the Rangers back line. All strikers who have featured in pre-season will believe they have a chance of featuring although young Adam Coakley must know his chances are slim.
We are missing only Corrigan and Kinniburgh for definite but we are boosted by the Rangers team news. Kris Boyd is suspended – a blessing given his record against us – while Barry Ferguson and Chris Burke are out with injury.
As nice as it would be to start with a memorable win we would be delighted with a draw. In the end we won't even get that – 0-2.
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