Everyone of a claret and amber persuasion recognises that the international calendar provided timely relief. Motherwell had lost three from the last four outings and our small squad was severely depleted by injuries and suspension. Several players took to the field when rest would have been the preferred option. We needed a free fortnight.
As Stuart McCall returned to the club following his involvement with the Scotland squad he will be pleased to discover the injury list much reduced. In addition Hutchinson is now free of suspension. On this occasion we should see a return to a recognisable back four.
The manager is also likely to have a choice of goalkeepers. Hollis has had several weeks to recover from his ankle knock but Neilsen will feel his recent match action (including a midweek appearance for the Faroe Islands against Malta) should keep him in contention. At the other end of the team Anier played against Azerbaijan then Liechtenstein (scoring twice) and it may be that his contribution on Saturday is limited.
Kilmarnock have dropped to 11th place in the table following two away losses but they will be looking for a third consecutive home win this weekend. We should not allow the difference in league positions to suggest that we are favourites – regardless of the bookies’ opinions. The gloom and doom that now seems to cover events both on and off the park was brightened when Boyd was called up to Strachan's squad. He had already scored six SPFL goals this season and we can be grateful that Hutchinson and McManus will be on duty to restrict his chances. To add to Killie’s woes, Barr and Irvine were awarded red cards in Perth and they’ll be suspended for the game.
It may well be that the international break favoured Motherwell more than Kilmarnock. We recovered valuable players while they lost a couple and face mounting fan disaffection. If we play anywhere near our best we’ll win; 2-0 will do nicely.
Remember our last trip to Kilmarnock?