The season started at Parkhead.A tricky game to begin with!We were further hampered by the loss of Brian Kerr to a serious knee injury suffered in pre-season and the lack of a right winger seemed like a clear problem.However, we turned in a respectable showing and despite losing 2-0 there was no real reason for panic.When we lost 2-1 the next week to Hibs though, concerns began to form.We have played well – better than the visitors – and created more chances yet we couldn’t put the game away.We then lost a late goal on the break and after two games we were sitting bottom of the SPL.The one bright spot was that we had seen some exciting play from Kevin McBride who made his debut as a substitute in that game.
Thankfully the first points came soon enough.We dominated the game at Dens Park and won 2-1, even allowing the luxury of a missed penalty.David Clarkson, the villain from the spot, had looked anxious in the opening games and this did nothing to calm his nerves.It is probably unfair to say that this was the moment his season collapsed but it was certainly an early indicator of how things would go.The League Cup, that pointless tournament we never do well in, was started with a win at Cappielow although the game was a bit closer than the 3-0 final score suggested.The game brought Jim Paterson his first ever goal for Motherwell but it also gave him a nasty injury after he was thumped by two bad tackles.He was missing for weeks and despite showing some occasional talent, Stepover doesn’t seem to have recovered.Whether he has not been fully fit due to a leg problem or just that he can’t keep the weight off is unclear.He is not the most popular player amongst ‘Well fans but even in a relatively poor personal season he has still contributed.He definitely deserves a run after a pre-season before he is condemned. August was finished with the first of many wins over Hearts.It also gave us the first contender for ‘Well goal of the season, with Phil O’Donnell hammering a sensational volley into the top corner to secure the victory.
We took a point from the plastic at East End Park before beating Dundee United 4-2 in one of the games of the season.The first half was an abysmal affair but a tremendous display of fast attacking football destroyed United in the second half.We travelled north to face Inverness in the League Cup and again we played poorly in the opening forty five minutes.Thankfully we improved after the break and Richie Foran’s first ‘Well goal put us on the road to victory.We won another thriller at Almondvale in the next game and all of a sudden we were very high up the table.To make things even better, the draw for the quarter final of the League Cup gave us another trip back to Livingston whilst pairing the Old Firm together.
September ended with a 1-1 draw at Pittodrie – but against Inverness.This was a poor game but one which we should have won.Their late equaliser was undeserved but as disappointing as it was to drip points, we had been on a great run.We finished the month comfortably in the top half of the league and with a winnable cup quarter final to come.It was definitely a case of so far so good!
All the results, match reports and historical league tables are availablehere.
Review of 2003/4
Review of 2002/3
Review of 2001/2