Even Rangers’ supporters left Hampden believing Motherwell should have progressed into this year’s Scottish Cup Final. Only bad luck and an extremely weak refereeing performance from Mike McCurry, currently one of the poorest officials on the Scottish refereeing circuit, prevented this from happening.
So where now for the team with more scouts in regular attendance than anyone else? For a youthful team of such talent and exuberance, we continue to flatter to deceive – something our current position in the Scottish Premier League most strongly reflects. It is difficult to be overly critical of the players after having witnessed their weekend performance first hand, but do it I feel I must or I wouldn’t be living up to my reputation.
Having seen the engine of Stephen Pearson as he moved threateningly from box to box, the ingenious skills of James McFadden and the speedily-developing talent of David Clarkson, I still believe there is one thing missing from this Motherwell team – motivation.
It is now, and has been all season, very obvious that these youngsters are having problems raising their game for the week in week out bread and butter games against the Dundee Uniteds of this world. Even having seen the superb display at Hampden as they set about overwhelming the Rangers defence – giving them what I believe to have been their most uncomfortable shift all season, Butcher & co. must remain very nervous about the position in which they find themselves. Terry Butcher, Chris McCart and Maurice Malpas are now going to have to pool all of their experience and motivate their charges for the next six games to keep the team in the Scottish Premier League. It is in these games to come we will see what this young Motherwell team is made of – not a one-off cup game against Rangers!
The moment of reckoning has now arrived for Motherwell FC – it is time for us to step forward and prove we deserve to play with the big boys in the Scottish Premier League next season. I believe we will do this as we are yet again fighting for our very survival, as we did at the same time last season. I also hope we can do this as I believe we would be a bigger loss to top-flight football than certain other teams in the bottom six dogfight, and despite the impressive performance of Falkirk – we cannot make rules and then change them every season to suit certain politicians in the game.
I am sure the run-in this season will be one of the most exciting since the
Scottish Premier League came into existence – so let the battle begin!