Mike's Moan: Festive Cheer - Can It Continue?
Updated Tuesday, 9th January 2007
Motherwell had a good Christmas period with two vital wins, a great point against Celtic and an unfortunate defeat to Rangers. Add to this with a win against local rivals Airdrie in the cup and we all have to be fairly happy - even though the team still looks somewhat dodgy at times.
The wins against Killie and Dunfermline were vital to our season and have given us some breathing space from the bottom of the league. I would like to say we should now be looking onwards and upwards, but I think I would still settle for mid-table mediocrity as long as we are not sucked back into the relegation mire.
The two games against the Old Firm were also close and although we looked solid we did not play terribly well in either. I fear it was a case of the Old Firm getting worse rather than us getting better but the good news is we are getting better at the back and conceding far fewer goals. Smith has made a difference in goals and Corrigan at right back gives us much better balance. (even though he did have a stinker against Airdrie)
The biggest problem we currently have is in centre midfield - as we only have one fit central midfield player at the club. Brian Kerr has been playing relatively well lately and has been putting far more into games, but there is no way we can rely on him to run the midfield from now until the end of the season. Fitz tries his best but always looks a little scared and quite often gets rid of the ball too quickly when a little composure is needed. With Lasley and O'Donnell injured we desperately need cover or we will simply be overrun in most games.
The new signings look positive but it is really too early to tell whether they are going to be really good or not. Murphy looks quick and solid and will add bite to the team as he seems to love a tackle. Molloy looks quick again and hopefully with more games will prove a good asset. Keegan is still an unkown quantity but looks like an awkward customer - whether he will be as good as Jim Hamilton is another matter. (great game against the gers)
One of our big problems is up front, as we don't seem able to find a decent partner for Skippy. Clarkson simply has lost whatever he had and looks lost in games. Play breaks down far too often when it goes through him and his shooting is nothing short than woeful. I don't want to have a go at him too much as I think he is trying his best but a loan move would surely do him and the club a lot of good so we can have him back rejuvenated for the start of next season.
We have a chance to pick up points in all our games right up till we face Celtic at Parkhead on April 7th. We should be looking to beat everyone at home and the only really tough away fixture is at Easter Road. You never know, a wee unbeaten run could see us sneak into the top six - then we all would have to get behind Malpas and congratulate him on doing a good job!??
Team for Paisley:
GK G.Smith (Buzz back where he belongs)
RB M.Corrigan (Airdrie game surely just a blip)
LB D.Murphy (will be good when gets match fit)
CB S.Craigan (has been solid lately)
CB M.Reynolds (needs to improve distribution)
LM R.Foran (scoring goals from midfield can't move him)
RM T.Molloy (needs time but looks good)
CM B.Kerr (Playing well lately)
CM J.Paterson (will give us more than the rest in the centre)
ST S.McGarry (been putting lots into games, better finisher than Clarkson)
ST S.McDonald (hopefully transfer talk won't disrupt him)