Sunday 3rd October Friendly
v Registrars at Torgylen Sports Centre 2-6 (1-3)
Martin Kelly, Robert Shimmons, Calum Colquhoun, Stephen Fox, Stuart Waugh, Ally McNaught, Arthur McCue, Sean Connolly, Paul Joyce (c), Andy McNaught (Andy Dick) and Adam Walker
As the teams assembled at Toryglen there was quiet in the dressing room as The Gaffer announced, “bad news guys, Marzinho isn’t playing today”.
Meanwhile in the home dressing room we could only count eleven hardy souls that had given up an afternoon of sport on the telly to play for the Glorious Hoops (or Irn Bru).
Ally D and Big Cal had stayed away to watch Chelsea v Arsenal, Tall Cal was watching the enthralling opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games and Uncle Crossers was catching up with the Eastenders Omnibus (“Shampain !!!!”).
But, where was Marzinho ?
Well I can exclusively reveal he was in South Wales working as a course steward at the Ryder Cup.
The floppy haired one’s job was to raise a sign saying “Quiet Please” as the charismatic millionaires were about to play a shot. Of course, there was also a guy standing beside Marzinho with the same sign trying desperately to keep our hero quiet as well, a thankless task.
Without our talisman we would just have to do with the eleven that turned up and it was a strong squad on paper (or the sort of team that we would like to play against but never get the chance).
Safehands was in goals; Mad Rab and CC were at full back with Foxy MaRoxy, his 250th appearance, a tremendous achievement, and Stu in central defence; A Mac and Adam were our wide men with Arthur and Sean in the middle; Paul was up front along with Andy Boy who was starting his first game of the season now that LHD had emigrated to the States. Subs, to be announced.
Registrars were up for revenge (like ice cream, apart from baked Alaska, a dish that is best served cold) as we had beaten them last season and controversially drawn with them in Holyroodgate at the John Drennan Cup.
Why the controversy ? Well, Registrars thought they had scored a goal from kick off when the ball bounced over Safehands and seemingly into the net but Uncle Crossers swore on Arthur’s life that the ball went over so that was the end of that.
The Registrars Gaffer was our own Wee Al and he seemed to be taking it seriously as he had a tactics sheet with him.
No such seriousness about our good selves. It was the usual, score some goals, don’t let in too many and cross your fingers if the ball goes high at our goal.
Referee Fitzy was a couple of minutes late in starting which worked in our favour as Andy D turned up and got changed on the sidelines.
This produced a lot of giggling from our cheerleading troop, the Toryglen Tornadoes who had entertained the crowd (Thomas Moon Junior, his nephew Chrisdeburgh and new signing Calshie who declared himself ill) with a fine exhibition of synchronised punching and fighting prior to the start.
We looked to put the memory of our indoor disaster behind us as we kicked off at a sunny Toryglen, just another beautiful day we are having in this barbecue autumn.
Unfortunately the weather was the only thing nice about the start as we struggled to make any impact on the game and were awfy quiet.
Registrars had obviously done their homework, which would explain why they had five schoolboys in their team, and they passed the ball about with confidence.
The midfield duo of Graham and Chris, both of whom had played against us for Partick, were running the midfield with Arthur and Sean struggling to keep up.
To be fair it was Sean’s first start since his double knee transplant and Arthur was just his usual self.
An early goal from the visitors wasn’t a surprise then Andy Boy had to come off as he was knackered with Andy D taking his place and Adam going up front.
Registars were still dominating and it was no surprise when they scored another goal to make it two nil.
Chances were few and far between for us but A Mac managed to pounce on a mistake but shot wide from outside the box.
His reward was to be put to right back as Robert’s knee was sore so Andy Boy got helped back onto the field.
As we had made two changes already Mister C made the dramatic decision to get changed seeing as he used to be a stout kicking right back in the late 80’s.
Another goal followed for the visitors before we grabbed a lifeline just before the break.
Adam played the ball over from the right and found Andy D all on his own in the area and he blasted the ball home.
Half time and no changes as Robert’s knee was still sore and it takes Mr C a wee while to get changed. This meant that Andy Boy had to start the second half but only for “ten minutes”, honest.
Foxy, using all his experience and knowhow, decided to move into midfield and told Arthur to play in central defence.
Our older readers will know that putting Arthur in central defence is akin to asking Josef Fritzel to babysit your kids.
Any previous time Art has played there we have struggled ever so slightly and only space prevents me from listing the many games that we have lost when he has played there.
One particular trick he uses at centre back is the “fresh air swipe” which one time out of a hundred puts an attacker off, the other ninety nine it leads to us conceding a goal.
But, we were two goals down anyway what did it matter.
Funnily enough we played better in the second half and showed a lot more appetite for the game.
Safehands suddenly had to be on his game (see Arthur’s position above) and he made some fantastic saves and, for once, lived up to his nickname.
Basically we gave 100% in the second half but were all over the place positionally. People defended when they had to and went forward when they wanted to, an exciting half of football if nothing else.
Despite Safehands’ efforts he couldn’t prevent a fourth goal but we were creating more chances in attack.
Stu burst forward from the back and gave us a three against two scenario. He passed to Andy Boy who should have played the ball back to Stu but Machine Junior tried his luck from the edge of the box and the ball struck the top of the bar and went over.
Ten minutes had come and gone and Andy Boy was still on the pitch and it was just as well as he got our second with a spectacular goal.
A defender miskicked to Mach and he looked up and saw the Registrars keeper off his line so he calmly lobbed him from at least forty yards. The fact that the Registrars keeper was five foot five Wee Al is neither here nor there.
This was Mach Junior’s first goal of the season and puts him only one behind Marzinho in the Goalden Boot award.
Suddenly we had Registrars on the ropes and we nearly got a third from a corner when, after a stramash, Andy D blasted the ball at goal but Wee Al blocked it then smothered the rebound.
The crowd were on the edge of their seats, well they would have been if there had been any, and another corner saw the ball bobbling about the visitors’ area but again they cleared and broke up the park to score a fifth and put the game safe.
Talking of safe, our keeper was in tremendous form and even held a couple of high shots which drew gasps of amazement from his team mates.
With only a couple of minutes remaining Safehands magnificently turned a close range shot onto the post but the rebound fell to a Registrars guy and he scored to make it six two.
There was still time for A Mac to limp off which gave Mister C a chance to come on for his first appearance of the season (and hopefully his last) and he immediately made an impact when he left the guy he was marking but Safehands made another save to spare the veteran’s blushes.
Another defeat but we competed well considering we were down to eleven fit players and some of them were hobbling by the end.
It was a pity we couldn’t have taken more of our second half chances but thankfully Registrars didn’t take the ones that came their way and we had Safehands to thank for that.
Back in the dressing room we received a call from Marzinho with the great news that Europe had made a recovery in the Ryder Cup and were now ahead.
Our joy was uncontained as we fist pumped the air in the style of our golfing hero Ian “Poults” Poulter who is one of the game’s great characters as he tends to wear funny coloured trousers (a bit like Shep but with a better short game).
What a day it turned into as we all celebrated being European, apart from Calshie who is Brazilian, and there can be no better feeling in the world.
Player of the Day: Safehands Kelly