Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow’

Game Fifty-Two – Pollok vs. Irvine Meadow XI

July 5, 2009

Pollok vs. Irvine Meadow XI

Pollok 0 vs. 1 Irvine Meadow XI

Evening Times Cup Winners Cup Final
Thursday 18th June 2009, Kick-Off 7.30pm
Newlandsfield Park, Shawlands

This is my final game of the season, the final game in the Scottish football season and probably the final game of the 2008/09 season anywhere.

The final of the Evening Times Cup Winners Cup, where cup and divisional winners are pitied against each other in the dying embers of the junior season.

I get the bus out to Pollok’s Newlandsfield Park, the ‘neutral’ venue for tonight’s tie. Meadow are apparently okay with it as their main concern was to play on a decent playing surface.

Baners for the Evening Times are dotted about outside the ground. I notice also that the local Oddbins, in anticipation of a win for Pollok, has Bolinger on at £31.99 a bottle, if you buy six.

I head into the Pollok FC Social Club as I’ve arranged to meet up with Dave from Dave’s Football Travels. This is also Dave’s final match of the season. However, where this is my 52nd game of the season, this will be Dave’s 105th.

When we come out of the club, about five minutes before kick-off, we find that there is quite a big queue (for junior football) waiting to get in. The queues are so big that the kick-off is delayed by ten minutes until 7.40pm.

The game starts off quite well with both teams going at each other. It soon becomes obvious however that Pollok cannot, for the life of them, get a shot on target.

In the 26th minute McGinty cuts a ball back across Pollok’s penalty box, it’s headed on for Chris Robertson to a shot that beats his namesake Kris in the Pollok goal. It’s a shock for Pollok, as they had much of the play up until now.

There’s very little of note to report after that. The rain comes donw heavily at half-time forcing the majority of fans on the opening terracing to join us under the roof.

Andy McLaren, the one-time Scottish international comes on as a sub for Meadow late on. McLaren hasn’t had his troubles to seek throughout his career and his drug abuse problems have been widely documented. So it was no great surprise to hear some Pollok fans loudly suggesting that he snort the white lines on the pitch as he came on.

Pollok’s Derek Wingate has a great chance to level late on, but when he shoots over the bar the fans know that their chance has gone.

There’s a good natured pitch invasion as Irvine Meadow are presented with the impressive trophy. As we make our way outside we notice that through the dressing room window the Meadow players are dousing each other in champagne. A group of Meadow fans are quickly hanging in the window joining in the celebrations.

And with that the 2008/09 season is over. Never mind only three weeks until the new season starts.

You can read other reports of the game at Dave’s Football Travels, The Mighty Meadow blog and Nomadic Fitba.

Irvine Meadow fans

Pollok: K. Robertson, Carruth, Dillon (Halliday 81), Wingate, Walker, McLay, MacKay (Harrison 73), Turnbull, Dingwall, Essler, Cruickshank. Subs not used: Newall, Morgan, MacKillop

Irvine Meadow: Wardrope, Ryan, Swift, McGowan, C. Robertson, Crilly, Strain (Docherty 10 (McLaren 76)), Turner, Barr, McGinty (Hyslop 72), Hamilton. Subs not used: McBride, McLaughlin

Scorer: C. Robertson (26)

Attendance: 1,153

Referee: Des Roache

Game Forty-Six – Rangers U19s vs. Hibernian U19s

May 7, 2009

The two teams line up

Rangers U19s 1 vs. 2 Hibernian U19s (AET 90 mins 1-1)
Youth Cup Final
Wednesday 29th April 2009, Kick-Off 7.30pm
Hampden Park, Glasgow

The Youth Cup final’s been pencilled in my diary for a wee while now. I’m expecting a good match.

Rangers have won the cup for the past two years while Hibs just pipped the Ibrox club to the Youth league, so they’re going for the double.

This is Hibernian’s first Youth Cup final since they defeated Ayr United to win the trophy in 1992.

On the approach to Hampden there are several vendors punting Rangers flags, hats and scarves.

Getting there early I opt to hang around the main entrance for a while. Ibrox mascot Broxi Bear is patrolling the top of the stairs posing for pictures with anyone who asks.

While there I spot Gordon Marshall, Mixu Paatelainen, John Greig and Andy Cameron all making their way inside the stadium.

Whereas yesterday I was in the Celtic end today I opt to sit with the Rangers supporters.

When I get inside the ground I’m handed a free programme, which is a nice touch. In the concourse at Hampden Park there is free face painting for the fans. A lot of them seem to come away with what looks like a French flag painted on their faces.

There’s no John Fleck in the Rangers team, but that’s no surprise as he played a full 90 minutes against Celtic Reserves yesterday.

From early on you can see that the Hampden Park pitch is cutting up quite a bit, as it becomes laden with divots.

I’m sitting a bit away from it this time, but once again the police see fit to chip a few folk out. This appears to be for repeatedly standing up as a patch of the Rangers support can’t resist the urge to bounce up and down in defiance of the stewards.

There’s also a healf-hearted sing-song in the shape of ‘No surrender’ by what appears to be a number of teenage Rangers fans.

The first goal of the game comes from Hibernian. In the 33rd minute David Wotherspoon’s cross is met in the box by Kurtis Byrne who drives the ball home. The thing that’s quite frightening about Byrne for me is not his talent, on show in abundance tonight, but that his dad is younger than me.

Hibs take the lead

There are huge queues at the pie stall at half-time, so I settle for watching a bit of the Man U-Arsenal Champions League semi-final on the TV screens.

Three minutes into the second half Rangers get back into it. Archie Campbell runs at the Hibs defence, weaving his way through the penalty area and slotting a shot past Hibs keeper Thomas Flynn. A really nice goal.

Rangers suffer a blow when their goalkeeper Grant Adam, brother of Charlie, is injured in a collision with Fergus Bell. He has to be replaced by Arturs Vaiculis. The big Latvian does a decent job deputising.

The game goes into extra-time and just when it’s looking like we’re heading for penalty kicks the game gets its last minute decider.

The match is just going into injury time when Byrne breaks into the Rangers penalty area, he appears to have his shirt pulled but he carries on and gets a shot off. His shot is blocked and the rebound played back into the penalty area where Byrne gets his head onto it. Time seems to stand still for a moment as the looping header goes up and drops into the net.

The large Hibs support go mental, as the players race into the crowd to celebrate. There’s no time left for Rangers to get back into the match and the final whistle sounds seconds after the restart.

It was hard lines on a good Rangers team. Both sides served up a very entertaining final.

A surprising number of Rangers fans stick around to see Hibs lift the trophy.

Rangers players

There’s a match report in The Scotsman. Hibs have a write up of the game on their site. The report on Rangers site is here. I have more photographs here.

Rangers: Adam (Vaiculis 72), Cole, Perry, Wilson, Wylde, Hutton, Stirling, Ness, Naismith (Bagci 85), Campbell, Hemmings (Dick 65). Subs not used: McGeough, Durie.

Scorer: Campbell (48)

Hibernian: Flynn, Park, Moyes (Welch 111), Smith, Booth; Russell, Wotherspoon, Currie, Bell (Kelly 88), Byrne, Deane (Taggart 82). Subs not used: Graham, Murray.

Scorer: Byrne (33, 120)

Attendance: 4200

Referee: Euan Norris

Assistants: Alan Hogg and Rodney Marshall

Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy

Game Forty-One – Pollok vs. Clydebank

April 21, 2009

Pollok vs. Clydebank

Pollok 2 vs. 3 Clydebank

Citylink Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final First Leg
Saturday 18th April 2009, Kick-Off 2.30pm
Newlandsfield Park, Glasgow

One of the best games of the season for my money. A gorgeous day, a healthy crowd and a match played in proper cup-tie spirit.

On the approach to the ground after I leave Pollokshaws East train station there’s a vendor selling Pollok and Clydebank scarves and flags. There’s one at the corner of the ground too. I say ‘Pollok and Clydebank’ really they’re just black and white, and red and white flags and scarves. Talk about opportunism.

The prices are jacked up today also. It’s seven quid admission. Still, it’s decent compared to some of the mad prices in the SFL.

There’s a definite sense of occasion in the ground. It really does feel like it’s a big game.

The SJFA have made a change to the format for this year’s semi-finals. This is the first time they have opted for a two legged tie. The thinking behind this is to boost crowds and therefore takings. Traditionally the semis were played in a senior ground on a Friday night. This obviously allowed the games to avoid clashing with senior matches, the thinking being that it would boost attendances. The police have vocally opposed Friday night games, although the crowds haven’t been great in recent years in any case.

There are no away goals and if the tie is drawn it goes straight to penalty kicks.

I’ve been to Newlandsfield Park once already this season, to see Pollok take on Auchinleck Talbot, who are playing Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the other semi.

On that occasion I’m pretty sure that the match announcer played ‘Jocelyn Square’ by Love and Money, which he also does today. If James Grant is wondering where those steady PRS cheques for 12p are coming from then look no further.

I notice that the referee (or if this were the Daily Record, ‘Whistler’), Des Roache, I’ve seen in action already this week. He took charge of the Rangers-Aberdeen Reserve game on Tuesday.

There is a really good crowd in today. It’s not a sell out, but everywhere on the terraces seems quite full. The Clydebank fans are in good voice and start the singing from before the kick-off. They regularly taunt the home support to sing and every so often they stop singing with a ‘Ssshhhh’ to give Pollok’s fans a turn. There’s certainly enough of the home support to make a roar for a couple of penalty claims, but there’s not a song all day.

The game opens at a quick pace, with Pollok having most of the early attacks. Clydebank defend well. In particular Mark Hailstones who twice clears from on the goal line.

Against the run of play Clydebank take the lead. A Hailstones corner from the left comes into the box. Kris Robertson in the Pollok goal goes for it but misses. John Jack leaps and heads the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

There’s not the same sense of excitement that there was when Clydebank shocked Petershill to go a goal up in the Quarter-Final. This obviously stems from the fact that in this two-legged tie there’s a long way to go and little chance that this 1-0 lead will be intact at the end of 180 minutes.

In fact it lasts only 2 minutes as a diving header from Stevie Miller levels the score.

With twenty-five minutes gone Mr. Roache awards Bankies a penalty kick. I don’t have the best of views but there’s a strong shout from the Clydebank fans. Gary Lynn sticks the ball down Robertson’s left hand side and the underdogs are back in the lead.

There’s a let off for the vistors on 37 minutes when ‘keeper Stefan Gonet goes up for a high ball around about the penalty spot. He misses it completely. A Pollok forward heads it onto the crossbar from where it bounces back into Gonet’s arms.

A few moments later Clydebank have a chance to increase their lead as Hailstones takes a quick throw-in that sends Charlie Hobbs off down the left wing. He cuts inside and cracks a shot that flashes past the left hand post.

The Pollok players run onto the pitch for the second half shouting and encouraging each other. This seems to have done the job as they start with all guns blazing and get the equaliser within the first minute. Gonet spills a shot straight into the path of top scorer Bryan Dingwall who slots it into the net.

Hobbs goes off

It’s a fine spring day and some of the fans in attendance have taken the opportunity to have a cargo in the sun. There are groups of lads with cases of beer, bottles of Buckfast and MD 20/20. There are also several children running around chasing each other.

In 69 minutes there’s a scramble in the Pollok box. Clydebank have a shot blocked. Then as Ryan Scobie hits a shot with Robertson in goal nowhere Derek Wingate appears to stop the shot with his hand. I’m not as vocal a Clydebank fan as I used to be several years ago, but even I, stood behind the goal, shout “Penalty!” The referee has no hesitation in awarding it and follows that up by showing Wingate a straight red.

Lynn steps up to take it again. This time he changes sides and skelps it high to Robertson’s right hand. The 6-1 outsiders are back in the lead again at 3-2.

Eight minutes later there’s an incident just outside the Clydebank penalty area. From where I am I don’t get a good look at it, but a guy behind me claims that Turnbull has put a knee into a Clydebank player’s face. Sure enough the ref whips out the red card again and Pollok are down to nine men. He follows that up very quickly with a red for Bankies’ subsitute Steven Blair. It’s now 9 men versus 10 men.

Pollok have a couple of chances to get the equaliser, but with a further 90 minutes coming up next week, there’s no need for them to commit too many men forward.

Bankies’ Mark Maxwell appears to take a heavy knock, but plays on as there are no more substitutes left. Apparently he incurred a broken collar bone.

Clydebank hang on to take a shock lead to Millburn Park for the second leg. They also maintain their record of never having lost an away Scottish Cup tie since their return to the Juniors.

The main aim for Bankies today was to keep the tie alive for the second leg and they’ve certainly done that. It should be an interesting match down in Alexandria next Saturday.

Pollok manager and ex-Clydebank (when they were a senior team) striker Jimmy Sinnet said afterwards to the Daily Record, “At the end of the game they were acting as if they’d won it already but the tie isn’t over yet.”

There’s a preview of the game from the Evening Times here, with an interview with Bankies’ Charlie Hobbs, as well as a good discussion about the tie in the comments section.

A selection of photographs from the Pollok website are here.
I have more photographs here.

Pollok vs. Clydebank

There are about 18 minutes of highlights from YouTube below. First half then second half.

Pollok: Robertson, Carruth, Cruickshank, Aitchison, Wingate, Miller, Hardie, McGeown, Dingwall (Downs 81), Turnbull, Essler (MacKay 81)

Scorers: Miller (16), Dingwall (46)

Sent Off: Wingate (68), Turnbull (76)

Clydebank: Gonet, Lynn, McInnes, Rushford (Blair 52), Soutar, Anderson, J. Jack, Smith (Maxwell 71), Hobbs (Scobie 63), Mackie, Hailstones

Scorers: J. Jack (14), Lynn (25 pen, 69 pen)

Sent Off: Blair (76)

Attendance: 1480

Referee: Des Roache

Assistants: Andy Tait, Euan Anderson

Fourth Official: Neil McLennan

Game Thirty-Five – JML Accies vs. Rutherglen Vultures

April 3, 2009

JML Accies vs. Rutherglen Vultures

JML Accies 2 vs. 4 Rutherglen Vultures

Consolation Scoreboard Sports Trophy Semi-Final
Friday 3rd April 2009, Kick-Off 7pm
Petershill Park, Springburn

Another trip to Springburn and Petershill Park for this cup tie. The ground hosts several amateur matches throughout April, so no doubt I’ll be back again soon.

When I arrive there is an Under 15 training session taking place on one half of the pitch, while what appears to be an Over 50s 11-a-side match is under way on the other.

By the time the old guys clear the pitch the match kicks off 6 minutes late.

JML Accies are based in the Cardonald area of Glasgow and were founded just over a year ago.

There is a crowd of only about 20, despite it being quite a pleasant evening.

I can’t help but notice that one of the Accies fans is quite well inebriated. He spends much of the first half shouting and playing with several children in the crowd. Mainly spinning them round and dropping them into some of the large bins in the ground. Soundtracking this with “I’m sick of you ya wee cunt, you’re going in the bin.” To be fair the kids seemed to be quite enjoying it.

Rutherglen take the lead after 8 minutes. Eleven minutes later they are awarded a mysterious penalty kick. I’m not sure exactly what the award was for and few people on the pitch do either. Accies number 4 picks up a booking for shouting at the linesman.

Our inebriated fan stops throwing the kids around in order to shout at the linesman too. “You’re on DLA ya cunt. Ye cannae run properly.”

The penalty is saved by the Accies keeper, but the rebound is knocked in for 2-0.

Rutherglen make it 2-0

Accies heads noticably go down and Rutherglen clearly look the better side, holding their shape well and seeming a far better organised outfit.

On the half hour mark what looks like a poor ball is launched high from the right wing into the Accies penalty area. It drops onto the head of Rutherglen’s number 14 who heads it over the goalkeeper and into the net. It’s 3-0 and there doesn’t look much way back into the tie for JML.

Our drunken fan has now gone round to the opposite side of the pitch and seems to be berating the linesman over at that end.

At half-time I discover that inebriated fan is actually one of the JML players. He’s out of the side this evening as he had downed a bottle of Buckfast earlier on. To be fair he probably wasn’t in contention for a place anyway.

The game threatens to turn a bit nasty in the 52nd minute when Rutherglen’s number 10 picks up a booking for a late challenge. Accies number 6, who wasn’t involved in the original tackle, can’t let it lie and needles the Vultures man repeatedly before play can restart. Several other players get involved and there’s a little bit of a pushing match. It comes to not very much however.

Accies are looking a bit better organised in this half, but it’s Rutherglen who grab another goal as their number 14 rushes through on goal in 66 minutes, slotting the ball past the keeper.

JML Accies vs. Rutherglen Vultures

Accies get back into the game when a long ball is played through for Accies number 9 to clip the ball into the goal from the edge of the box.

The Southside team go close a few moments later with a shot that whizzes over the crossbar.

They’ve started to play some football now late in the game.

In the 87th minute a nice run into the box is halted by a Rutherglen boot and the ref awards the second penalty of the night.

Accies big number 11 thumps it home. However, there’s not enough time for Accies to get the two goals needed to take the match into extra time and Rutherglen make it into the final.

A pretty entertaining Friday evening with 6 goals and a hotly contested cup-tie.

Game Twenty-Six – Glasgow City vs. Celtic Ladies

March 4, 2009

Glasgow City attack

Glasgow City 4 vs. 3 Celtic Ladies (AET)

Unite Scottish Cup Third Round
Sunday 22nd February 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
Petershill Park, Springburn

A Scottish Cup tie between probably the two best teams in the Scottish ladies game. This is my fourth ladies football match this season and the third at Petershill Park.

With the two Cup favourites going head to head there is a decent sized crowd of around 70 or so.

Before the game kicks off the loudspeaker is playing earbleed dance music. For some reason when people try to marry football and music thumping dance is what they plump for. On behalf of football fans almost everywhere – Naw.

Of the four ladies football matches I’ve been to this season today is the first time we’ve had a female referee. She is joined by two assistants, also a rarity, although this is a cup-tie.

The game kicks off with a strong wind blowing.

The standard of the play on offer here today is far higher than most ladies matches and indeed in entertainment value as good as you’ll see anywhere. Both teams are open and attacking, with Glasgow City starting that little bit brighter.

It may be of some interest to know that the girls shout “Man on!” whenever an opposition player is near a team-mate with the ball. “Lady on!” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

The first real chance of the match presents itself in the 14th minute when confusion in the Celtic defence allows the ball to be knocked past their grounded keeper and hit the post. City’s Jane Ross is in swiftly to latch on to the loose ball. Faced with an empty goal and the ball a couple of yards out she manages to knock it into the side netting.

City get themselves in front in the 20th minute when Sue Lappin leaps to head a crossed free kick from Leanne Ross past Claire Johnston in the Celtic goal. The first of several cracking goals this afternoon.

Fifteen minutes later Celtic are on level terms. They win a free kick out on the right hand side of the penalty box and Pauline Hammill fires a shot through the City defence and into the net.

It stays that way at half-time.

The teams go into the changing rooms at the break. Mostly teams at this level have their team-talks on the pitch, but big cup tie this.

Two minutes into the second half and Glasgow City had made it 2-1. Jill Paterson smacked a clearance back at the Celtic goal from around 35 yards. Her shot cracked the crossbar but fell to Rachel Corsie who chested it down and prodded it home.

The Celtic keeper makes a couple of terrific saves to keep her side in it, including pushing out a goal-bound corner kick.

Celtic get their second equaliser in 58 minutes with almost an action replay of their first. They get a free-kick some way out on City’s left-hand side and the ball is rocketed into the goal by Christie Murray.

Glasgow City vs. Celtic

I get talking to the gentleman standing next to me who turns out to be City forward Jane Ross’s dad.

Good work by both goalkeepers adds to what is by now a very entertaining match.

Celtic are reduced to ten ladies in the 69th minute when Christie Murray picks up a second booking.

Glasgow City take the lead again when a free-kick is sent into the penalty box and Corsie leaps to head it into the Celtic net.

Three minutes later a Celtic long ball is picked up by Jo Love who prods the ball home. It’s 3-3.

I’ve already asked Mr. Ross if he knows what happens if the game finishes a draw and he tells me it’s extra-time.

Two minutes into the extra period Jane Ross found space down the right and sent a low ball across goal for Katharina Lindner to bag the winner.

A seven goal thriller and two well matched teams. The standard of football on display here is much better than some of the men’s matches I’ve been to this season. You could spend worse Sunday afternoons than coming along to a Ladies match.

Reports of the match are on both the Glasgow City and Celtic websites. I have more photographs here.

Glasgow City attack

Glasgow City: Williamson, Montgomery; Lappin, Lindner, Paterson, Sneddon, J. Ross, Littlejohn, Corsie, Gemmell (Fearnon 72), L. Ross Subs not used: Livingstone, McNicol, Campbell, Lappin, Stewart, Brown

Scorers: Lappin (20), Corsie (47, 73), Lindner (107)

Celtic: Johnstone, Ferguson, Robertson, Beattie, Penglase, Love, Crichton, MacMillan (Scott 55), Stokes, Murray, Hamill Subs not used: Cook, McInally, Malone

Scorers: Hamill (35), Murray (58), Love (77)

Sent Off:
Murray (69)

Attendance: A headcount would suggest around about 70.

Game Twenty Four – St Anthony’s vs. Yoker Athletic

February 22, 2009

St Anthony's vs. Yoker Athletic

St Anthony’s 0 vs. 0 Yoker Athletic

Central District First Division
Saturday 14th February 2009, Kick-Off 2pm
McKenna Park, Cardonald

This is the second time this season I’ve seen Yoker play, having gone along to their derby with Clydebank back in August.

St Anthony’s McKenna Park ground is only about five minutes walk away from Cardonald train station, which is in turn less than ten minutes away from Glasgow Central.

When I arrive at the the ground I’m one of the first there. There’s little to the ground itself. No real terracing to explore, but the pitch looks in good condition.

There is a nice little virtual tour of the pitch and the changing areas at this link.

This Wikipedia article suggests that Celtic actually began playing in green and white hoops after being inspired to do so by St Anthony’s in 1903.

I queue up at the pie stall just before kick-off. I’m quickly joined by three of the St Ant’s subs. To be fair to them they forgo the pies and only buy soup.

McKenna Park is parallel to the M8 motorway. The match is soundtracked by the constant ‘woosh’ of traffic flying past. The building where the Daily Record and Sunday Mail are printed also overlooks the pitch.

St Anthony's vs. Yoker Athletic

The first action of the match comes in fifteen minutes when Yoker look to have scored. A low shot from John-Paul Grant beats the keeper, hits the inside of the post and looks to (although I didn’t have the best angle) have crossed the line. The referee waves play on. The Yoker players go nuts, while the home side keep quiet.

“It’s over by a yard!” one of the Yoker players shouts.

“A fucking mile ref,” another exaggerates.

The ref is not having it. It’s no goal.

“Not one of them [St Ant’s players] said ‘Good decision’,” another Yoker man points out.

Yoker’s local paper, The Clydebank Post, later has the headline ‘Ref’s blunder costs Yoker’. Their article goes on to say “…with photos later proving the ball had crossed the line.” The photograph that accompanies that article is not of the ball crossing the line, but one of Grant, which wasn’t even taken at this match. So we’re no clearer.

Yoker go close another couple of times before the interval, but the first half finishes without any further incident.

In the juniors it doesn’t seem to be uncommon for some of the guys standing in the crowd to be among the backroom staff, or at least such regular supporters that the players and management don’t mind them hanging about with them. This seems to be the case with the Yoker fan next to me who returns from the clubhouse after the interval to comment to his pal, “The ref asked, ‘Was the ball over the line?’ He didnae see it!”

The first excitement of the second period is when Yoker’s keeper Kenny Meechan is caught on the knee by a St Ant’s forward as he goes up to catch the ball. “Whit did you dae that fur?” he shouts as he falls to the ground. “Naewhere near it ya cunt.”

Neither side makes many chances in the second half as the match becomes rather turgid.

A Yoker fan frequently berates the ref for giving free-kicks and throw-ins to St Ant’s. “Ho ref!” he shouts, “Which side are you on?”

“Green and white,” St Ant’s number 2 quips as he runs past.

With an hour gone the home side hit the crossbar, but it’s looking very much like a no score draw. Fifteen minutes remaining and Yoker get a free-kick just outside the box. O’Hara lines it up and curls it nicely into the keeper’s top right hand corner. It’s disallowed as the referee indicates that he hadn’t blown his whistle for the kick to be taken.

St Ant’s have a little bit of pressure in the last few minutes, but there’s no way through to goal and the match finishes a nil-nil draw.

Yoker attack

Yoker: Meechan, Dempsey, Bissland (Vickers), Cameron (O’Hara), Schoneville, Jordan, Carson, Grant, Gallagher, Marshall, Malone (Williams) Subs not used: Quigley, Lalli

After a rough headcount about 60.

Game Nineteen – Rangers vs. Hamilton Academical

December 8, 2008

Broxi the Bear

Rangers 7 vs. 1 Hamilton Academical

Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League
Saturday 6th December 2008, Kick-Off 3pm
Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow

With us now well into winter, heading out for a football match in Scotland is a precarious occupation. I had thought I could get along to the Edinburgh City-Brechin City cup-tie that was postponed from last week. However by midweek I concluded that if last week’s weather saw the game being called off, then this week’s even worst frost should see it off again. (The match failed an early morning pitch inspection.) So my decision was made to go along to Cambuslang Rangers’ Junior Cup third round clash with Irvine Meadow. Just as I was about to head off for my train I checked the Football Central website and saw that the Cambuslang game along with nearly every other junior match has been postponed.

So I’m looking to the seniors and their more reliable and expensive pitches and undersoil heating. Except two games in the SPL are off, prompting an “urgent and serious inquiry”. While a further three games in the Scottish League fall victim to the weather, as well as Forfar’s Scottish Cup tie. So I plump for a game I know will be on and head for Ibrox where Rangers entertain Hamilton Academical.

You can’t get much further away from the juniors than Rangers at Ibrox. As soon as you get off the underground the streets are buzzing. People are hoisting their spare tickets in the air and stallholders punt their scarves, flags and badges. On a bright and sunny (but cold) day like this Ibrox is good for a wee walk round the perimiter to take in the atmosphere and the sense of occasion. There is a good programme stall which has on sale many programmes and books from the club’s illustrious past.

If you really want to you can also find a stall where you can buy a William of Orange flag.

Rangers are currently seven points behind Celtic in the race for the league title. The rules in the Scottish press are whomever is currently in the lead is a shoe-in for the title. Press rules apparently dictate that Rangers and Celtic are both guaranteed maximum points in games that aren’t against one another, so whichever one of them does the impossible and drops points, that’s the team who is finishing runner-up.

Of course we could just enjoy watching the league season play out instead of eagerly predicting a new title winner every week or two.

Rangers players are in the press alternatively acknowledging that one more slip up could hand the title to Celtic and confidently assuring the fans that they can still win the league.

Andy Cameron is in the match programme telling the players to ‘Keep the heids up’.

A defeat today would be certainly be a big setback.

Hamilton Accies lie second from bottom in the league table and they know full well that despite a good start to the season, 2008/09 is all about survival.

The Rangers fans are in decent voice before the game. Lex MacLean‘s famous ‘Every Other Saturday’ is now belted out as standard again, just as it was in the 1960s.

When the game kicks off it’s Hamilton who go on the attack first. They seem to be playing the ball around nicely. A long ball gets hoisted into the Rangers penalty box and Alan McGregor makes a hash of it. James McArthur lobs the ball over him and into the net for 1-0 Hamilton after just two minutes. There is a stunned silence for a moment, until the Hamilton fans, who are at the opposite end, realise they’ve scored and go mental. As did the players.

The Rangers fans round about me take it well and continue to get behind their team. The last time I was at Ibrox the guy behind me kicked the back of my seat when Partick Thistle scored first.

Although now a shock looks possible, it’s far too early in the game to realistically expect Hamilton to hold out. Kenny Miller, who received a good reception from the fans, smacks in a nice shot from just inside the penalty box to level the scores on eleven minutes. From this point on there only looked to be one winner.

Kris Boyd puts Rangers ahead on 28 minutes with a lovely turn and finish. I’ve always liked Boyd as a striker and can’t understand why he gets a lot of stick from supporters. No one is on his back today however.

The referee is another matter. He gets pelters from the Rangers fans. By my reckoning he had a decent game. The home support though weren’t keen on his tendency to give Hamilton free-kicks while allowing Rangers to play the advantage.

Cerny saves

Sat behind me throughout the match is a young couple and their two kids. One of the kids sits at peace. The younger one, a toddler, spends practically the entire 90 minutes kicking the back of my seat.

In the second half the roof falls in for Accies. Seven minutes into the half and a clumsy challenge from Martin Canning brings about both a penalty and a red card. The sending off was possibly a little bit harsh, but Boyd makes no mistake with the penalty and Rangers, with the extra man advantage set out to make it count.

Boyd’s hat-trick is a simple tap in after a good long ball from Ferguson and a pinpoint cross from Steven Davis. Substitute Kyle Lafferty knocks in the fifth as Rangers start to score the kind of goals I bang in when I’ve got Pro Evo on the amateur setting.

Nineteen-year-old Aarón Niguez comes on a substitute to make his debut with eleven minutes to go. He wears simply ‘Aarón’ on his jersey. Eager to get hold of the ball he looked pretty imprressive in the short time he was out there. He sets up Rangers’ sixth for his fellow sub Nacho Novo.

On his return to the team Steven Davis knocks in the seventh right at the end.

The referee blew for full-time on exactly 90 minutes. This caused one Bear behind me to rant how disgraceful it was that he would do such a thing.

According to their official statistics Rangers have 14 shots on target and 13 off target during the match. Hamilton have 4 shots off target and that goal is their only shot on target all day.

Highlights of the game are available on the BBC website.

Rangers defend a corner

This is the report from the Rangers website. The report from Accies’ website can be found here.

Rangers: McGregor, Whittaker, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Mendes, Ferguson, Beasley (Aaron 79), Boyd (Lafferty 76), Miller (Novo 67). Subs Not Used: Alexander, Edu, Broadfoot, Little.

Scorers: Miller (11), Boyd (28, 52 pen, 62), Lafferty (80), Novo (88), Davis (90).

Hamilton: Cerny, Canning, Swailes, McLaughlin, Easton, McClenahan (Graham 71), McCarthy (Gibson 71), Neil, McArthur, Mensing, Thomas (Lyle 71). Subs Not Used: Murdoch, Elebert, Akins, Ettien.

Sent Off: Canning (51).

Scorers: McArthur (2).

Attendance: 48,282

Referee: Calum Murray

Game Seven – Maryhill vs. Cambuslang Rangers

August 29, 2008

Maryhill vs. Cambuslang Rangers

Maryhill 3 vs. 2 Cambuslang Rangers

Stagecoach Central Dist League – Division 1
Saturday 23rd August 2008, Kick-Off 2pm
Lochburn Park, Maryhill

Maryhill’s ground Lochburn Park is hidden away up a short hill just off Maryhill Road. It’s easily accessed from the city centre by the number 40 bus and indeed any of the buses that go along Maryhill Road.

Some things you see at junior grounds that you won’t see at a league game.
1.) Terracing. At junior games you get to stand on terracing. Most time dilapidated terracing that is probably a risk to your health.
2.) Picnic tables and chairs. Now I don’t suppose every junior ground has these but Maryhill’s does. Big wooden chairs and benches like you would see in a country park.
3.) Substitutes climbing up onto the roof of the ground to retrieve the match ball.
4.) A linesman in a suit and anorak. At games of this nature it’s normal that the referee is taking charge on his own. Usually a representative of each team will take a flag and patrol each line. Their role is simply just to flag when the ball goes out of play. Judging by today’s game they don’t bother keeping up with the play and simply pick a spot and stay there.

This game took a wee while to warm up but once it got there it was a cracker. Maryhill got in front when a header from Willie Sawyers clipped the post and trickled over the goal line.

Cambuslang got back into it when a great through ball resulted in a perfectly measured lob from the edge of the box by Chris Quinn. Just before half-time Cambuslang took the lead when Quinn scored direct from a corner. I can’t remember the last time I saw that. Although it wouldn’t be long until I saw it again.

In the second half Maryhill fought hard to get an equaliser, going close on a few occasions. They appeared to chuck the fightback away however when centre forward Charlie Hobbs stupidly got himself sent off for a tame headbutt. What followed was another classic junior match moment as Hobbs had to be escorted from the field by his team mates as he attempted to square up to several opposition players. He was waved from the field by Cambuslang’s goalkeeper who was shooed back into his goal by one of his defenders. Once off the pitch Hobbs made to throw a water bottle into the crowd as his manager restrained him. This type of behaviour is pretty typical of the junior game, where players really go for it when they lose their temper. Of course such bammery is not exclusive to the junior ranks, but I find that they do it best.

The Sending Off

The ten men got themselves back into the match when a goalmouth scramble resulted in a Cambuslang defender booting the ball off the line and straight off the backside of Sawyers.

It was all Maryhill from then on and they got their winner with the game’s second goal direct from a corner. God knows how Jon Connolly, Cambuslang’s keeper, managed not to see the ball until it was a yard over the line but that’s when it caught his eye. It was from the same side as the first goal direct from a corner and I did look along the line to see if there was some discrepancy such as a wonky goal-line, but it all seemed to be fine.

Connolly then managed to get himself booked by pointlessly protesting to the referee about the goal. He had narrowly avoided a booking minutes earlier when the ref thought his mouthing off was the product of his left back who had been told to ‘shut your mouth’ seconds earlier.

Maryhill had a couple of good chances to kill the game off but they both resulted in weak finishes. However they hung on for the win in this five-goal thriller.

It's 3-2

A match report from the Maryhill website is here.

More of my photographs are here.

Maryhill: Quinn, Wilson, Robertson (McManus 66), Trialist, Trialist, Smith, Sideserf, Currie (Trialist 66), Hobbs, Stanley, Sawyers. Subs not used: Barr, S.O’Neil, Montgomery

Scorers: Sawyers (19, 68), McManus (84)

Sent Off: Hobbs (59)

Cambuslang: Connolly, Doak, Lynch, Irvine, Bishop (Gray 87), Kenna, Ferguson, Hughes, Ogilvie, Miller (Boyce 72), Queen (Sweeney 76) Subs not used: Marshall, Steele.

Scorers: Queen (38, 42)

Attendance: I did a head count and got 87.

Referee: Alistair Ross

Game Six – Scotland vs. Northern Ireland

August 27, 2008

Scotland vs. Northern Ireland

Scotland 0 vs. 0 Northern Ireland

International Friendly
Wednesday 20th August 2008, Kick-Off 8pm
Hampden Park, Glasgow

I wondered how long I could go without attending a nil-nil draw. I got my answer tonight. Trust Scotland.

The 7,000 Irish fans who attended helped to provide a bit of atmosphere for this friendly. I say ‘helped’ but really they provided it on their own. They sang, chanted and waved their flags constantly throughout the night, from before kick-off until the final whistle. A chunk of the Scottish support predictably booed ‘God Save the Queen’ as it played its role as Northern Ireland’s national anthem. Only The Sun attempted to make much of a big deal about that in the next day’s papers, claiming that ‘The Tartan Army would be reported to UEFA’. A guy in front of me stoically gave the Irish fans the finger for the duration of the anthem.

Tonight was the debut of Scotland’s new home strip. A kit that has apparently been modelled on the 1978 kit, thanks to its faux collar, which in actual fact looks nothing like the 1978 shirt. It’s my favourite Scotland strip for a while though. Mainly because they’ve made it much simpler, as well as having got the colour back to a more traditional dark blue shirt with white shorts and red socks.

This wasn’t much of a match. The two sides were well matched and there was very little to report on the first half.

The second half sparked the game into life, with Scotland initially looking like they might be able to break the deadlock. Darren Barr had a good header on target, but he couldn’t mark his debut with a goal.

Scott Brown, it’s safe to say, looked uncomfortable in his position out wide on the right, but that may also have been down to the treatment he was receiving from Northern Ireland’s left back McGivern. But after one reckless challenge too many in the 57th minute that was put to an end when he got his second yellow card and was sent off.

Red Card

At that point it looked like Scotland might make the breakthrough, but it was more likely to be the visitors a few minutes later when substitute keeper Alan McGregor gave away a penalty. However he made amends by making a great save from David Healy’s well-struck spot-kick.

The latest Englishman to become a Scot made his appearance in the 62nd minute when Derby County’s Kriss Commons came on. From my days playing Championship Manager I remember that Commons was always a decent buy. A lot of people have doubts about us blooding English born players but the manager has to pick the best players available to him, so I don’t knock it. If it’s in the rules I don’t see why we shouldn’t go for it. He did little in his short time on the pitch, but by all accounts he’s a player who gives his all, so I’ll look forward to seeing more of him in the dark blue.

A flash shot from James McFadden well held by his Birmingham City club mate Maik Taylor was about the closest Scotland came to getting a goal.

The Irish fans remained in good voice throughout the match, despite the lacklustre encounter. Here they are, mocking us, the Scottish support for only turning up 21,000 strong.

Scotland: Gordon (McGregor 46), Alexander, McManus (Barr 46), Weir (Berra 72), Naysmith, Brown, Thomson (Robson 46), Darren Fletcher (Stewart 69), Morrison (Commons 62), Miller, McFadden. Subs Not Used: Marshall, Whittaker, Boyd, Steven Fletcher, Clarkson.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley (Duff 76), Evans, Craigan, McGivern, Baird, Clingan (O’Connor 58), Davis, Brunt (Feeney 55), Healy, Paterson (Shiels 46). Subs Not Used: Mannus.

Sent Off: McGivern (57).

Attendance: 28,072

Referee: Nicolai Vollquartz (Denmark).

There are some photographs on my Flickr page here.

A report of the game is on the BBC website here.