Craig Brown is looking forward to a great encounter with in-form Hearts on Sunday afternoon, although he is under no illusions about how tough it will be.
The Tynecastle men come into this clash on the back of four consecutive wins, and haven’t conceded a single goal in that period which has included matches against arch-rivals Hibs and against Neil Lennon’s Celtic.
But Motherwell can take heart from a win in Edinburgh earlier this campaign and by the fact Craig Brown’s Motherwell have won all three clashes against the side from Gorgie since Brown’s arrival in January.
“Hearts have four wins in a row and I have great respect for big Jim (Jefferies) and his staff and we are really looking forward to it,” he enthused.
“We won at Tynecastle earlier in the season, and, in fact, we have had very good performances against Hearts since I’ve come to the club. We have won the last three – although that doesn’t mean we’ll win the fourth. There’s a good respect between the clubs and that should make for an excellent game.
“We’ve had a couple of away games recently, and I think we were very unfortunate not to get something in the Hibs game, and we managed a draw with St Mirren.
“We now have two home games coming up, and they are very important games for us as we try to maintain a good threat in the SPL. Therefore Hearts and Motherwell should be a very good fixture.”
This preparation for this fixture has been marred by the strike of Scotland’s top referees, and we will have the bizarre sight of a referee from abroad officiating an SPL match at Fir Park this weekend.
The Motherwell boss was open enough to admit that he has reservations about the impact a foreign referee could have on what is sure to be a passionate clash between two sides battling for third spot.
As a former Scotland boss, Brown has plenty of experience with foreign officials but he would still rather have one of our own.
“I don’t mind who we get to officiate our games, as long as they are qualified. After all, for 16 years I was dealing with foreign referees,” he started.
“But I’m quite sure the referees won’t be any better than what we have in Scotland. All we can hope is that they are fair and that they do the best they can. I don’t think they will know the Scottish culture or the Scottish psyche so they won’t have the same feel for the game that our officials do.
“During my time as a manager I have found that Scottish referees were as good as referees anywhere in the world, even down in England where they are full time.”
Despite a very unfamiliar figure with the whistle, the ‘Well gaffer can potentially look forward to the return of a very familiar face in Keith Lasley for the visit of the Gorgie men, as he presides over a fully fit squad.
“Every player is fit and available for us at the moment,” Brown confirmed. “So we have no complaints on that count and we are all ready for the match.”