Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SPL Tonight: Motherwell v Hearts

I am not really privy to such information but I believe that Queen's Don't Stop Me Now was a bit of a favourite with Hearts fans as they celebrated winning the Scottish Cup in 2006.

They must be feeling something similar now with Jim Jefferies' side on a five match winning streak. That includes a derby win and a win over Celtic. It also includes five clean sheets. Impressive stuff.

Impressive enough to spark a bit of debate on Twitter last night about the lesser spotted Old Firm splitting SPL side.

Not that a man with Jefferies' countenance is given to getting carried away. He'll also be looking at a busy few weeks of football that begins at Fir Park tonight, continues against away specialists Inverness at Tynecastle on Saturday and runs right through to an Old Firm double header towards the end of January.

Credential testing fixtures.

And SPL arithmetic shows us that as much as Hearts have a chance to narrow the gap on Celtic in second place they could also find themselves in a three way tie in third place and nine points off the pace by the end of the weekend.

This is not the time to take the foot off the pedal.

How will Motherwell be affected by Craig Brown's dithering and eventual departure last week? It's bound to have some impact and, unfortunately, I can't help feeling that a managerless Motherwell takes a bit of the shine off a game that I had been looking forward to.

Of course we can point to examples of a manager leaving and the caretaker delivering some excellent results. Equally there are examples of an abrupt departure leading to a loss of form. There's no science to it.

It will be the reaction of the Motherwell players, as much as the input of Motherwell temp Gordon Young, that dictates how quickly the pain of the loss of Brown is soothed at Fir Park.

Tough ask tonight though. David Templeton and Rudi Skacel continue to excite for Hearts and those five clean sheets suggest that there is a solid foundation for this current run of form.

Even with Brown at the helm Motherwell have displayed a certain inconsistency even as they've made an impressive enough start to the season.

Can they spring an ambush on Hearts tonight. Tempted to back a draw. But, no. Hearts are the league's form side. Away win.

> History repeating? Motherwell youth supremo took charge of one game when Jim Gannon left Fir Park. The result? A 1-0 defeat to Hearts. An omen?

> Motherwell are refusing to rush into a permanent appointment. No doubt I'll return to the subject later. But names that will definitely be mentioned: Gus McPherson and John Hughes. Yawn.

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