Indeed, such was the high spirits that even a 0-0 draw at Dunfermline, a game which was an embarrassment to football, was greeted as being a valuable away point. We then dispatched the equally dire Dundee United at Fir Park before dropping a stupid two points at Livi. We were 1-0 up, missed enough chance to win two games then lost a late equaliser to a deflection. With the cup final just a week away, Terry Butcher made the decision to rest a few of the older players for this match. Gordon Marshall was obviously given a break and when Terry said he had a mild illness after the game nobody paid much attention.
The build up to the cup final was amazing. 17,000 Motherwell fans were going to Hampden and it seemed that all of them were wearing ‘live the dream’ wristbands that the club were selling. For once the club had spotted a good opportunity and moved decisively to take advantage of it! We were facing Rangers for the first time in a cup final and most people assumed our name was on the cup, conveniently forgetting the fact that Rangers had us in their pockets for months of previous encounters and we were likely to struggle on a big pitch. Still, even if you were being negative, you’d have thought it unlikely we’d lose a goal inside three minute to Maurice Ross! When they made it two shortly afterwards - with Marsh nowhere for both goals – humiliation beckoned. Remarkably though, we steadied the ship somewhat and Partridge pulled one back. Now, had we gone into half time at 2-1 we would still have been in with a chance. Naturally then we lost another preventable goal give minutes before the break. Okay, keep it tight now, try to sneak one and then go for it in the last fifteen of the game. A fine plan but one which was destroyed when Novo scored to make it 4-1 at the start of the second period. The final score was 5-1 and to be honest if they’d needed to score ten they probably could have done. They played well, we just didn’t show up. The big players we needed to be strong all had nightmares. Still, they were our team and they had done tremendously well in getting there. The vast majority of the fans stayed to the end to clap the team who, rather sheepishly, came to acknowledge us afterwards
Rangers took us apart at Fir Park again a fortnight later although we did score a couple of late goals to keep it respectable. The top six place was right up for grabs now with ourselves and Kilmarnock being joined by Inverness who had gone on an astonishing run. Then we produced one of the performances of the season with a 3-1 success at Pittodrie. Both Jim Hamilton and Scott McDonald scored wonderful goals and we were within touching distance.