AS a boy going to my first cup final in the Nineties, a cautious voice warned me not to get carried away by it all.

“It won’t always be as good as this, just enjoy it” warned my dear mum as we ascended the concrete steps as the team in claret and amber took to the field, my heart beating that bit faster. I got so excited I nearly dropped my Dib Dab.

It may have only been the Lanarkshire Cup final, but like most things to do with her, God rest her, she wasn’t half wrong. A Motherwell team led by player/manager Alex McLeish, who not long before had gone toe-to-toe with Borussia Dortmund, were pushed all the way that night at Fir Park in front of a partisan crowd of 26 by the wildlings of Airdrieonians, who managed to hoodwink a penalty shoot-out victory away from a brave young Dosser side. Who’d have known being scalded to within an inch of my life through my woolly mittens by a chicken soup would prove to be the highlight of the night?

While a fair chunk of the 13,000 Motherwell fans at Hampden tomorrow will be able to reminisce about 1991, for me such tales of heroism and legend are reduced to messageboard fairytales, newspaper clippings and a dusty VHS tape so worn out it would fail an MOT. Super sub Stevie Kirk was a name mentioned with the same gravitas in my house as Jesus in the Vatican, while epic cup runs were sold to me as common place down the Fir Park Road.

Here’s the thing, though. It was all nonsense.

The eight-year-old me, double the age I was back in ’91, felt like putting a letter in citing the Trade Descriptions Act when my second cup game after that Lanarkshire final consisted of watching Alloa beat Motherwell on penalties. I also forgot the Dib Dab. A brief meeting with Dougie Arnott the following night in Carluke Main Street soon settled my nerves, and plans for a more positive past time like pavement crack counting were put on hold for another round.

As I grew older things improved, if only slightly. That mythical place called Hampden was eventually visited in 2003 in a semi-final, before in 2005 I got a first glimpse of my team in a final when Motherwell and Rangers both contested what was to be known as the Davie Cooper Cup final. The fact we were 2-0 down before I’d even got into my seat wasn’t ideal.

Since then the mighty Well have averaged a cup final every six years – so err, another one then… - with all the success of an Eskimo beach volleyball team. A 5-1 hiding was dished out 12 years ago, while the 3-0 win for Celtic in the Scottish Cup final in 2011 was only mildly better.

It's therefore inexplicable given the track record of this side that Motherwell supporters could arrive at the national stadium again tomorrow with any sort of optimism, but they will. Thousands will descend on Mount Florida in hope and expectation. A hope of what could just be, and an expectation that unlike those other two finals, their team will do themselves justice in a national final. No matter what the result.

On those grounds their attitude is, pardon the pun, Well founded. There is a togetherness about this group of players, perhaps some of them not even household names in their own house, who have come together to create something special. With Louis Moult in attack and Stephen Robinson as their manager, Motherwell are a formidable force who can win football matches.

Leaving all the physical nonsense to the side, they have shown repeatedly this season – 14 wins in 20 matches – that they know the route to goal and can play football. The blew away Aberdeen 3-0 in the quarter-final with at times some stunning football, while Moult’s second against Rangers in the semi was a finish fit for any stage. Accusations they bullied their way by a hapless Rangers team are as insulting as they are incorrect.

This is a club which has suffered sorrow and heartache like no other. In 1991 the closure of the Ravenscraig steelworks threatened the existence of the town and the livelihoods of the people within it. Since then, administration for its football club and sporadic threats of relegations have followed. The crippling grief of losing their beloved captain Phil O’Donnell, who will rightly be honoured tomorrow, providing the most harrowing time for everyone who has worn a claret and amber crest over their breast.

Tomorrow, Motherwell’s players will walk out at Hampden behind Phil’s son Luc, aiming to achieve much more than adding another trophy to a bulging cabinet or continuing a domestic run. They are going out in the knowledge no matter what unfolds across the 90 minutes or more, they represent a beacon of hope and prosperity for a proud club owned by proud supporters.

That final six years ago would be the last my dear mum would see. However, her, and that life lesson handed out on that night over 20 years ago, will be with me tomorrow.