Friday, July 23, 2010

SPL In Europe: Celebrate

Alright, so Breidablik of Iceland are hardly the world's most fearsome football team. But credit to Motherwell.

First hurdle cleared, potential banana skin avoided, job done and various other congratulatory cliches are winging their way from Scottish Football Blog HQ to Craig Brown.

And a bouquet of flowers to Jamie Murphy:

ICE-COOL hitman Jamie Murphy fired Motherwell closer to Europa League qualification and made history in the process.

The Scotland Under-21 star boosted his Euro uro goal haul to five, equalling the club record held by Steve Kirk since 1994.

Murphy netted a European hat-trick last season in the same competition against Flamurtari and bagged a goal in the 3-0 win over Llanelli in Wales.

Motherwell's reward is a trip to Norway. And what a trip:

Motherwell are hopeful of arranging a charter flight to avoid a marathon trip to face Norwegian side Aalesunds in the third Europa League qualifying round.

Craig Brown, whose side defeated Breidablik in Iceland on Thursday, had feared they would face a two-day trek for next week's first leg.

He thought they might have to leave on Monday to ensure they had Wednesday to prepare for Thursday's match.

But a 60-seat charter flight leaving Glasgow on Wednesday is being explored.

The manager had made initial inquiries about how to reach the island sea port city of Alesund, 147 miles north east of Bergen.

It doesn't really sound the like kind of European adventure that will attract a lot of Motherwell fans.

Aalesunds qualified for Europe by winning the Norwegian cup for the first time in their history in 2009 and are currently fifth in the league.

I'm sure chickens will not be getting counted but this is another draw that could have been worse for Motherwell.

Let's hope so.

* Hibs will not be playing a rematch against Videoton after the Hungarians lost to Maribor 2-0 last night. That the gave the Slovenians a 3-1 win on aggregate. Hibs play the first leg away from home next Thursday evening.

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