Sunday 8th October 2010

  Friendly v Partick Thistle at Holyrood Sports Centre 

3-7 (1-3)

Martin Kelly, Ally McNaught (Robert Shimmons), Calum Colquhoun, Stuart Waugh (Calum MacDonald), Paul Joyce (c), Adam Walker, Andy Dick, Arthur McCue (Fraser Marr), Ally Dick, Paul Stormonth (David Blair) and Sean Connolly

Sunday dawned as another season, our 24th, started at sunny Holyrood against old friends Partick Thistle.

But what had been happening in the sporting world since our last game against the much vaunted England Select ?

It had been a summer of glorious sporting events with the Open golf at St.Andrews producing a wise cracking South African winner.

It was good to see Eldrick Woods back playing again after his horrific car crash. I’m sure his wife and family were glad to see him out and about again.

There were more successful South Africans in the cricket where the touring South African/Ireland squad have entertained us during the traditional breaks for rain.

In tennis Andy Murray didn’t let us down and lost in the semi final at Wimbledon thus keeping up the enviable record of British male players who have failed to dominate the All England Championships.

 But isn’t it good to see a young sportsman obviously enjoy the game he loves playing ? Our Andy knows how to play with a smile on his face.

It was also good to see Her Majesty The Queen at Wimbledon as she is still ranked fourth amongst British ladies (and sixth in Germany, just behind the lovely Bettina Bunge).

But it was football that made the big news with the World Cup in South Africa making all the headlines.

What a feast of football it was with the beautiful melodic sound of the vuzuzela providing a fitting background noise to the whole tournament.

Having watched all the Finals since 2002 I would have to say it was by far and away the best World Cup ever.

The wonderful way that teams tried not to score goals, played four holding midfielders in their sides and fell over at every opportunity whilst waving their hand which was apparently holding an invisible yellow card made it an occasion that befits the beautiful game.

Then there was the way that Holland took us back to the good old days when you were allowed to tackle above the waist and get away with it.

But it wasn’t all good news as poor old North Korea went home early thus depriving us more patronising of that secret, but beautiful, country.

And there was the moment when football was disgraced by a Uruguayan player who became the first player in the history of this wonderful sport to ever handle the ball on the line thus preventing a goal.

This prevented plucky little Ghana, the team we could all describe as “doing it for all of Africa”, from rightfully winning their first ever World Cup.

And there was the awful sight of Alan Shearer having his application for a temporary home in Soweto turned down as he didn’t have enough character.

But more importantly there was England the pre-tournament favourites who would have won the Cup if it hadn’t been for some unfortunate bad luck.

How any team was expected to perform when everything was against them like the heat, altitude, a ball that moved in all directions, the endless droning noise in the background, tiredness after a long photo shoot, an unsighted Robert Kelly, sorry, Green, in goals, the sight of Hollywood’s own Lord Beckham on the bench and an injured Bobby Zamora is beyond me.

No wonder Manager JT “John” Terry couldn’t lead his team to what would have been a second World Cup success (I believe the previous one was in 1962).

As for goal line technology. Well it shows how much FIFA really hate England, the country that invented every single sport in the world, that they couldn’t afford to put a camera on the goal line thus giving Frank “Lamps” Lampard a reason to be in South Africa.

The whole country was gutted by England’s failure particularly amongst one of Scotland’s own managers.

 A poll taken before the tournament started had all the managers picking Spain as winners apart from one who stated quite categorically that, “England WILL win the World Cup”. But, enough about Steven “Elvis” Pressley.

Another great predictor was, of course, Paul the octopus who correctly chose the winner in all of Germany’s games.

Never one to copy anything we see on the telly, our very own Calum “CC” Colquhoun thought it would be a good idea if he brought along his family pet to see if we could have a bit of fortune.

So it was that we stood in the Holyrood dressing room whilst CC unveiled Godfrey the Goldfish who CC claimed could accurately predict who would win our games.

The room was hushed as CC threw a small ball into Godfrey’s bowl and we watched as the People’s Goldfish nosed the ball towards the two goals set up in the spacious bowl.

On goal was marked “Partick” and one “Queen’s” and which ever goal Godfrey put the ball into would be the loser on the day.

Noooooooooooo”, screamed Long Haired Dave as he got his hair caught in the toilet door, and “oh, no”, we all cried as Godfrey delicately lobbed the ball over the ceramic keeper and into the net.

“Oh well, not to worry, what could a goldfish possibly know about anything ?”, said Mister C using all his vast knowledge of freshwater fish.

Would this be an omen, would we really lose to Partick, why couldn’t the ceramic goalie manage to tip the ball over the bar ? All these and more important questions would be answered over the course of ninety minutes.

So, what of the team for our first game ?

Well, we only had fifteen players available as Short Haired Dave, Danny, Jaaack, Foxy, Craig, Crossers (ret) and Wee Al were all missing for one reason or another.

Andy Boy was at Holyrood but unfortunately his pre season hadn’t gone as well as hoped and he declared himself injured with an ailment so mysterious that even he didn’t know what it was.

With Big Calum running late as his team alarm clock had strangely not gone off and LHD still untangling his split ends, we had only thirteen to pick from at kick off time.

After much deliberation Mister C came up with an entertaining 4-4-2 line up with no holding midfielders.

Safehands took his customary place between the sticks; in front of him we had a young defence with Ally Mac and CC as full backs, and the dynamic duo of Stuart and Paul; in the midfield we had Adam and Sean down the flanks and Andy D and Arthur in the middle; leading the line were Ally D and All Time Top Scorer Jazza.

This left Robert and Fraser on the bench, to be joined by LHD and Calum Mac sooner or later.

Now the name of our game is goals, goals, goals because what do goals get you ? Yes, Fantasy points in our new Fantasy Football Competition which the whole nation is talking about.

Andy Boy came in useful when he was appointed “assist man” with the job of deciding who set up the many goals we are bound to score this season. A bit like the Dubious Goal Panel but more dubious.

On a more sombre note there was a moving moment before the game started as both teams observed a minutes silence to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of Arthur's barber.

It was almost impeccably observed apart from some high pitched shouting in the distance. Whatever did happen to Shep ?

Anyway, the referee tooted his whistle and we were off on another adventure.

Thistle, minus the injured Gary Anderson, had a look of a team that were going to be hard to beat but we were confident despite the omens.

After a fairly even start the first goal of the season duly arrived and it went Thistle’s way when a cross came over and somebody scored, probably Wayne who looked particularly butch up front in the white vests which most of the Partick team chose to wear

Back we came with a breathtaking move as a corner got cleared to Jazza who held the ball and passed to Ally D. Ally’s first time thirty yard pass sent Sean away down the wing and he hammered a shot off the bar from just outside the box. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I’d have never believed it.

It was our one wee ray of sunshine in the opening stages as Thistle scored another two goals, probably from Wayne, and probably well taken although one might have been over the keeper’s head but unlikely, that was so last season.

Three down, Godfrey’s predication coming true and there was no way it could get worse. But it did, Big Cal arrived on the sidelines.

A goal back before the interval would be nice and that’s what we got with the first goal of the season courtesy of the Dick brothers.

Well, obviously they both didn’t score as we don’t know how many Fantasy points that would be.

What actually happened was that Andy D found space in the area and hit a shot which the keeper parried straight to Ally who made no mistake.

Andy Boy declared that Andy D would get the assist although the keeper clearly played the ball to Ally. I can see this is going to cause problems this season.

Anyway, we should have made it two before the break but Sean, with the goal gaping, decided that Partick should have a throw in so sliced his shot miles wide.

Time for changes at the break and Jazza, Ally Mac, Stuart and Arthur made way for the Fantastic Four, as Partick rather cheekily called them, LHD, Big Cal, Roberto and Fraser.

The chances immediately made a difference as Partick made it four then possibly five (who can remember everything that happens in a game ?) before we scored the goal of the game.

Sean (3pts) passed the ball into the middle of the park to Andy D and he sidestepped an opponent before unleashing a superb shot into the top corner from at least thirty yards (5pts).

Andy’s reward was to be subbed along with Paul, Ally D and Adam as the four that came off went back on again.

One of the four that came back on was Jazza and he found himself on his own from a Ally Mac corner and headed the ball into the roof of the net for his 153rd All Time goal which now includes ten headed goals.

Incidentally, can I clear something up once and for all. Jazza does not, I repeat, does not look like Shrek the Scottish film star. Please stop the innuendo now and you won’t see me make any reference to it again.

Shrek                                                  Jazza 

Our All Time Top Scorer nearly turned provider when he headed on a punt up the park for LHD to run on with only the keeper to beat but he missed the target by quite a wee it. Jazza’s face turned green with fury at this miss.

Partick notched another couple of goals to put a seal on their widely predicted win but at least we had kept going in the game and looked dangerous in attack.

Not a bad performance although the defence was obviously missing a few regulars who hopefully will be back soon.

Back in the dressing room there were scenes of emotion as CC discovered that Godfrey was missing and it was left to Mister C to quietly tell CC that Godfrey had gone to the big goldfish bowl in the sky.

 Well, when I say quietly he had to say it loud enough to be heard above the sound of the toilet flushing in the background. At least he got the bowl back.

So played one, lost one and Robert is the Fantasy Football King after the first round.

It’s a funny old game…………….

Player of the Day: Sean Connolly (5pts)







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