Preview: St Mirren (h) Cup R5

Last updated : 05 February 2009 By Firparkcorner

Inverurie programme
Another for the collection
While the cliché suggests we should be happy simply to have a home draw, we could definitely have faced better opposition than St Mirren. For whatever reason the Paisley Buddies have proved a tough nut to crack since they returned to the SPL with nine matches producing just two wins for us. We can at least be optimistic this time due to our one win at Fir Park earlier this season but they will have fond memories of the last time they met Motherwell in the cup when they hounded us 3-0 at Love Street in 2006.

The last cup game at Fir Park came all the way back in 1977 when Willie McLean's team of silky soccer geniuses successfully avoided attempts by Alex Ferguson's bunch of hatchet men to kick them off the park as we won 2-1. No, wait, it wasn't quite like that...

That game is still fondly remembered by everyone who was there, especially the St Mirren fans ironically enough. They seem to wallow in victimisation and as tales of the match are repeated the number of Buddies attending has retrospectively increased to something like 25,000! While we will not come close to matching that crowd, it would be good to get a healthy 8,000 through the doors to create a lively atmosphere.

On the squad front we will be without McLean once more while it will be hoped Hughes can shake off the knock which kept him out on Monday to replace Lasley in the midfield. Despite both Sheridan and Aydilek being eligible it would be a surprise if they played. Clarkson has scored in the last four games and simply won't be dropped while Sutton has taken his chance with two goals against Inverurie. Aydilek will surely do well even to make the bench given McGhee hasn't seen him play yet.

St Mirren are without Haining who is injured but Potter and Cuthbert have been solid in the centre of defence and arguably it was their partnership which sparked the march up the table in the last months. Things have slowed since then with a loss at Tannadice and a home draw with Killie slowing their momentum but they will still be confident of securing at least a draw. One major bonus for us could be their left side as with Miranda reportedly injured it could be winger Steven Robb who plays full back and faces up against Jim O'Brien - without wanting to put too much pressure on our player, he has been in form and this is a battle we would expect him to win.

Motherwell's recent history is filled with disappointing cup ties at home in games we would expect to win. Ayr United, St Johnstone (twice), Hamilton, Dundee, and probably others wiped from the mind, have humbled us and there really is little worse than the disappointment of going out of the cup at home against beatable opposition. It will be tense but in a 50-50 game home advantage might tip us to a 2-1 victory.

Remember the last time St Mirren were at Fir Park?