Motherwell striker Louis Moult won’t have had to dip in his pocket for a drink all through this festive period after his doubled earned the Steelmen a famous victory at Celtic.
I know that footballers are a different breed nowadays from the old school centre-forwards that would enjoy pie and chips drowned in salt and vinegar on the way home after ten pints of bitter on a Friday night. Nights under bad glitter balls in seedy nightclubs tapping girls called Sharon and Debbie with heavily hair-sprayed fringes are just a distant bad memory for managers in this day and age. But maybe a bit of the fun has gone from the game. You wouldn’t see a player pretending to take a swig from a can thrown on the pitch now; they’d fall over it and pretend they were injured.
But what Motherwell find themselves drawn into will be an old style 1980s type up-and-at ‘em relegation battle at Dundee United. This is what Boxing Day fixtures are all about – the stands smelling of new aftershave and leather gloves, the relief of getting out of the house away from relatives after an afternoon stuck in the house on Christmas Day forcing down turkey and watching bad movies.
Forget the win at Celtic, for all the confidence boosting that a result like that brings Motherwell can’t now rest on their laurels and it’s getting a result at Tannadice that will determine the fire that the ‘Well have in their bellies.
United fought their way to a 2-2 draw at Inverness Caley Thistle last weekend and they’ll be looking to take Motherwell’s scalp to give their long-suffering fans something to cheer about. A belated Christmas present, if you will, for the fellas in the seats farting, full of lager bubbles and Brussels sprouts.
They’ve only won twice all season but United boss Mixu Paatelainen will be buoyed by the fact that it took a last-gasp leveller from Caley Thistle to prevent them taking three points last Saturday after goals from John Rankin and Billy McKay looked to have given him a long-awaited success.
He was far from impressed by the way they conceded so late on and it’ll be thoughts of this game, not Santa Claus coming down the chimney, that will be keeping him up at night. Maybe he should take the lads out on a Christmas jolly to an Eighties themed club, let them grow mullets and dodgy ‘tashes and drive to the ground in Cortinas to evoke some of the spirit of Christmas Past when they won the League and the League Cup, reached three Scottish Cup finals, the European Cup semi-finals and UEFA Cup Final.
Get some Wham! blasting out of the PA speakers before kick-off and put everyone in dodgy knit jumpers, stay press slacks and white shoes. Ah, those were the days. If you told him it would work and earn his side the three points, I’m sure the big Finn would take it.
Dundee United Stats W2 D4 L13
Recent Form LLLDLD
Motherwell Stats W6 D3 L9
Recent Form WLLDWW
08/08/2015 Motherwell 0 Dundee United 2
24/01/2015 Dundee United 3 Motherwell 1
07/11/2014 Motherwell 1 Dundee United 0
13/08/2014 Dundee United 1 Motherwell 0
26/04/2014 Dundee United 5 Motherwell 1
Dundee United (3-4-1-2) – Szromnik, Durnan, Morris, Gunning, McGowan, Demel, Rankin, Dixon, Fraser, McKay, Erskine.
Motherwell (4-4-2) – Ripley, Law, Hall, McManus, Hammell, Ainsworth, Lasley, Pearson, Johnson, McDonald, Moult.
Dundee United: Paton (inj), Dow (inj), Pongolle (inj).