There is no doubt that our record in this competition against Celtic and Dunfermline makes pretty depressing reading. Our record against Livingston and their previous incarnation, Meadowbank, is much more pleasing to the eye. The only time the clubs have met was in the quarter final last season – no one will need reminded of the details in that 5-0 win!
Dunfermline presents a different story though. True the teams have rarely encountered each other but the Pars have the much better record. They have won four games out of eight with two draws leaving a mere two wins for us.
Dunfermline won the last contest (a 3rd round tie in 2000) 2-0 and they also won before that – 2-1 in 1988. We last defeated them in the group stages of the 1970 tournament. Our other victory was also in a league section – so, remarkable as it seems, we have never knocked our friends from Fife out of the League Cup. Time to change that if the draw is kind…
The remaining ball in the bag with which we can be matched is the number belonging to Celtic. Motherwell and the green half of Glasgow have shared a rich cup history although most of that is in the Scottish competition. Naturally enough they have the better record although we did manage a couple of memorable successes in the 1990s.
In the League Cup, Celtic won the last encounter 1-0 in the 1997 quarter final before going on to lift the trophy. Many Motherwell fans will still remember (with horror) the 1986 semi final. The game was too close to be decided in normal or extra time so it went down to kicks from the penalty mark. John Philliben was the only player who missed and we were denied a final in the cruellest fashion possible. Our overall record against Celtic is three wins from fifteen but we did knock them out over two legs in 1950 – and we went on to win the cup that year.
So, that’s who we’re up against. A win over Dunfermline would be long over due, a win over Livi would keep our nice record alive and win over Celtic would be…special. Which do you fancy most!?