Homecoming Scottish Cup, Third Round
Saturday 29th November 2008, Kick-Off 3pm
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
“We’re Blue! We’re White!
We’re Highland Dynamite!
Cove Rangers! Cove Rangers!”
With today being the Scottish Cup Third Round I had already made my mind up in midweek on which tie I was going to go to. Checking the fixtures I had plumped for Edinburgh City vs. Brechin City at Meadowbank Stadium. However when I woke on Saturday morning and checked the teams’ websites I was met with a message telling me that the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
The best alternative seems to be the Airdrie United – Cove Rangers game. As a Clydebank supporter, Airdrie United are far fom my favourite team. This is because the team only came into existence through buying up Clydebank and changing the name, strip and location of the then Second Divsion side. So nothing would give me greater pleasure today than to see them dumped out of the Cup by Highland League opposition.
Cove Rangers are based in Cove Bay, a suburb of Aberdeen. Winners of the Highland League last season, they currently sit in third place in the table.
This is a five minute film on Cove produced to support their bid for entry to the Scottish Football League at the start of this season. Cove made it into the third round by defeating Whitehill Welfare 1-0 in October.
I make the journey to Airdrie by train, alighting at Drumgelloch and walking the 15 minutes from there to the ground. Entry for today’s game is set at £10. Reasonable by current standards.
When inside I attempt to buy a programme from the shop. The lad in charge of selling the programmes is using them as a pillow as he tries to get a good bit of shut-eye in before the kick-off. He momentarily comes to and meets my request with “Two poun’.” I hand over a ten pound note. He looks at me like I’m crazy. “I’ve not got change for that!” So you can buy my football team, but not scare up a float for the programme seller? Underwhelmed by this I take my money back, let the young man get back to his rest and promise to return later. I don’t bother.
The pie stall, on the other hand, can handle my action. The Airdrie scotch pie is one of the best I’ve tasted so far this season. As I eat it two old boys next to me bicker over their sausage rolls and playfight with each other like they were schoolkids.
Generally when I’ve set out for a game this season I’ve intended to sit with the home support. However, practical, football or, on this occasion, personal reasons dictate I should give the away team my backing. So I head for the away end of the ground today. The steward who stops me to ask what end I’m looking for seems a bit surprised when I tell him “The away end.” I’m in the right place and as the Cove hardcore file in I go to join them.
Quite rightly these boys are out for a good time today, with little chance of achieving a shock result they’re enjoying the day out. The singing is in full swing from well before kick-off.
When the match begins Cove show Airdrie that the First Division side might not have it all their own way today. In 8 minutes full-back Neil Cruickshank forces a good save from Stephen Robertson in the Airdrie goal.
Barrie Stephen, who put in a great shift up front, was clean through a moment later, but sent his shot wide of the post.
Airdrie always looked likely to break down the Cove defence eventually and so it was on 20 minutes when Joe Cardle took the time to find space for himself at the edge of the penalty area and fire a low shot into the net.
It didn’t shut the Cove fans up though as they continued to sing and dance all day long.
Robertson was forced into another great save a few minutes later as Cove tried to force their way back into it. It never really looked like being the Highlanders’ day and two goals from former Celtic striker Simon Lynch put an end to Cove’s hopes of a shock. The first a nice shuffle round the keeper and the second a well placed header.
Did that shut up the Cove support? No it did not. So now let’s have a run down of their greatest hits.
7. “What a shitey home support!” A classic and in this instance accurate as this was Airdrie’s lowest crowd of the season.
6. “Are you Clydebank in disguise?” Perhaps the Cove fans have a point here.
5. “We’re gonnie win 4-3!” Just after Airdrie went 3-0 up.
4. “Come on fog! Come on fog!” As the weather gave the merest suggestion that an abandonment was possible.
3. “We’ll have chips at Auchterarder!” This brought back memories for me of similar stop offs on the way back from places like Forfar and Brechin.
2. “Have you sung a song all day?” The Airdrie fans’ best efforts at a sing-song was the gathering of pre-teenage girls down the front who provided their best high-pitched “Come on Airdrie”.
1. “We’re blue! We’re white! We’re Highland dynamite! Cove Rangers! Cove Rangers!”
So no shock and in the second half not even much of an entertaining game, but the first 45 was a good contest and sitting with the Cove fans was fun.
There is a report of the game at the Herald’s website.
Airdrie United: Robertson, McKenna, Hazley, McDonald (Brown 60), Bobby Donnelly (Watt 78), Smyth, McDougall, McLaughlin, Di Giacomo (Noble 60), Lynch, Cardle. Subs Not Used: McGuire, Hollis.
Scorers: Cardle 20, Lynch 38, 41.
Cove Rangers: Stuart McKenzie, Cruickshank, Lawrie, McCulloch (Smith 80), Eric Watson, Tindal, Stephen, Bain (Henderson 66), Watt, Johnston, Livingstone (McKibben 78). Subs Not Used: O’Driscoll, Windrum.
Referee: G Salmond