Graham Alexander will be cursing his luck. In the aftermath of his first game in charge of Motherwell, a 1-1 draw was deemed respectable and yet unlucky, with Bobby Madden’s soft penalty decision resulting in two points being dropped. It was, nevertheless, a positive start.
The Steelmen looked to have plenty to build on, and new squad additions (including the re-signing of former youth product Steven Lawless) will help massively. That hasn’t changed. However, dropping to the foot of the SPFL Premiership table is never good for morale, especially ahead of a tie with high-flying Rangers – even if they do have three games in hand on certain sides.
Motherwell have failed to beat the league leaders since James McFadden prodded home a winner back in 2002, so if recent history is anything to go by then tomorrow’s result will be a formality. Unless Alexander can find a way to buck the trend, his side will finish the weekend bottom of the league.
That’s no thanks to a day of results that went extraordinarily against the Lanarkshire side. A St Johnstone home win against St Mirren was perhaps the least hurtful, with Christopher Kane notching the winner. ‘Least hurtful’ shouldn’t imply a lack of any negativity, however; the Perth side started the day two points clear of Motherwell, but moved five ahead after their victory. They have, albeit, played three extra matches with Motherwell’s games in hand to come, but five points are no stroll in the park.
Hamilton Accies earning a goalless draw against Dundee United didn’t help, either. It may only be a point, but it was enough to propel Accies above their arch-rivals in the table. They too have played two games extra, but they’ll have bragging rights for at least the next week – unless Motherwell take something against Rangers tomorrow.
The real kick in the teeth, however, came from Dingwall. You’ll be hard-pushed to find anyone who predicted that outcome, making Ross County’s 4-1 win over Aberdeen all the more shocking. Things were made all the more frustrating by the fact that Jermaine Hylton, who only left Fir Park during the summer transfer window, rounded off the scoring.
John Hughes’ side proceeded to jump from bottom to tenth in the table, leapfrogging both Accies and Motherwell in the process. Motherwell now languish in twelfth place ahead of playing a side they struggle against more than any other in Scotland.
Alexander will still have plenty of hope. He certainly hasn’t done anything wrong since being appointed. Motherwell have two and three games in hand respectively against the sides occupying the three league positions above them. Whether they acquire enough points to make them count is another story.
The big worry for Motherwell is the possibility of the season being suspended. We all know how badly that can go (just think back to Hearts last season) and the players need to string some results together as soon as possible if they are to maintain their record of having never been relegated from the Scottish Premiership. The aftershocks proceeding that could be disastrous.
With the SFA’s regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic as up in the air as ever, Motherwell have absolutely no time to relax. They need to get themselves as far away from the relegation places as possible, but today’s results have certainly put a dent in those ambitions.
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