It’s the opening game of the 2018/19 season on Tuesday, with Edinburgh City the visitors to Fir Park.
The Betfred Cup group stage tie is the first of four fixtures to be played before the league season kicks off, with Motherwell the top seeds in their group.
We’ve been here before
On the road to last season’s Betfred Cup final, Motherwell and Edinburgh City were paired together in the group stage. Stephen Robinson’s side travelled to Ainslie Park on the back of 5-1 and 4-0 wins over Queen’s Park and Morton respectively, but the trip to the capital was a trickier affair.
The visitors had plenty chances which they just couldn’t take, before they were shocked by Edinburgh taking the lead in the 69th minute. But ‘Well rallied, with Chris Cadden and Elliott Frear netting soon after to ensure the win – and qualification for the knockout stage.
Continuity is key
Manager Robinson had assembled an almost entirely-new squad the last time the two sides met, whereas this time they go into the game having made minor adjustments in the transfer window.
Keen to add depth to his squad, rather than overhaul the team, five new players have arrived to bolster the options. The core of the group have all been retained, with recruitment done early and players given time to bed in across pre season.
Suspensions to contend with
Both Cédric Kipré and captain Peter Hartley have to sit out the match through suspension. Kipré is denied his 50th Motherwell appearance because of the red card he picked up in last season’s Betfred Cup final, while Hartley will have to wait to make his first competitive appearance since 30 December last year.
Edinburgh’s season is already up and running
While Motherwell sat out the opening day of the Betfred Cup group stage, Edinburgh City were in action at Clyde. Leading 1-0 thanks to Conrad Balatoni’s strike just before half time, the Citizens were pegged back at the death by their hosts to draw 1-1.
As is the way with the group stage of the competition, the game then went to penalties to determine which side would gain a bonus point. It would be City who would prevail, winning 4-1 on spot kicks.
new slightly modified Fir Park
Visitors to Fir Park on Tuesday night will notice some changes around the place. The main ones are cosmetic. Most noticeably, the wall along the front of the Phil O’Donnell stand has been removed and the track relaid with a synthetic surface.
After years of waiting, the new scoreboard will be in operation for the first time. Situated in the same spot in the south stand, the old bulb based system is now home to a video screen. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the things we can do with it.
If you’ve pre-purchased a ticket for the match, our new access control system is being tested at this game. You may be directed at the turnstiles to one of our friendly team who will scan your ticket, so we can make sure everything is working properly ahead of the league opener on 11 August. Just approach the turnstiles as normal, ticket scanning is being done at random at the gate.