The collapse seemed so innocuous. We were well on the way to grinding out a 1-0 away win against Inverness (in Aberdeen) when they get a wrongly given corner in the last minute. We don’t clear the danger and they level. Oops. Never mind, one silly result is acceptable. Next up is a Rangers side at Fir Park and they were really struggling. McLeish was only a couple of games from the sack but we couldn’t perform when it mattered and an early Prso goal killed the match. The late curse struck again at Pittodrie when we blew a half time lead to lose and when Kilmarnock stole the points at Fir Park in a mid-week game, the wheels were off the wagon.
Very cheerfully, the next match was Celtic at Fir Park. But even though we were on a bad run we had made a satisfactory start to the season and we were comfortably mid-table. Celtic were 2-0 up – although we had a goal wrongly disallowed at 0-0, Clarkson’s season continuing to stutter – when Martyn Corrigan slammed one in. Clarkson was hauled down for a penalty, Richie Foran did the business and it was game on. Sadly we contrived to lose and the winless streak continued. An utterly dismal October finished when we lost at Easter Road. This was another game we could – and probably should – have won but Hibs found the net whilst we didn’t. Kilmarnock were pulling clear in sixth place and things looked bleak.
Quinn had a solid season
As often happens with Motherwell, the best moments emerge as a total shock. The Livingston quarter final was up next and both teams were struggling. Naturally, Livi completely underestimated the large travelling support we would take and many were still queuing outside when an own goal gave us the lead. Thankfully that was not the only goal of the night as we romped to a sensational 5-0 win. We did get all the breaks going that night to be fair but it was a great performance and an astute decision by Butcher to change to a 4-5-1 with two attacking wide men.
Typically we then got another break in the next game. Dundee had slightly the better of a scrappy first half at Fir Park but Clarkson nodded in from close range on the stroke of half time. Stepover then got a goal which probably didn’t cross the line before he added the final third. Home and dry with our good friends Hearts welcoming John Robertson back to Tynecastle as manager in our next game...could we spoil the party?
Richie did the business
Of course we could! Hearts were poor and offered little up front. Neither did we, but another Richie Foran penalty in the first half meant that wasn’t of much concern to us. Oh what a sweet, sweet win, made all the better by some hysterical excuse making by the defeated Robertson. A routine 2-1 win over ten men Dunfermline in the next game meant we were well and truly on a roll and we were back in the top six with some room to spare. At least the season wasn’t following a pattern!