THE CALEDONIAN SPRING CUP
It had been three weeks since our black and white hooped heroes had been in action and there was a good reason for that.
We had been in hiding as once again the gutter press had played a part in trying to bring down the Club with this time rumours of match fixing.
The influencial Stornoway Gazette, motto ~ "If Its A Slow News Day Then Make Something Up" ~ had been secretly duping one of our players to take bribes and influence match results, with a few own goals being worth a big bonus.
Their paper had splashed a four page story, along with photos taken from a secret camera, over pages 17,18,19 & 20 of their weekly edition and the Wee Free Community, as well as the rest of the normal world, were up in arms.
The one saving grace was that the player had only been named as "Big Calum X" so at least his identity had been kept safe.
Most of the money which changed hands had occurred after our 8-0 defeat to Appin at North Connel where, unbeknown to us, one of our players had allegedly thrown the game.
With the rumour mill running faster than Andy Boy and LHD when they see a burger van, our President Lord Drennan held a hastily arranged press conference in Leyton where he was "holidaying" with Chief Scout Raph The Taff.
Lord Drennan quickly dispelled all the rumours with a swift comment of, "well............eh............I don't know anything about this".
For a man who has "CG Machine loves The Taff" tattooed on his arm. Sorry, wrong arm.
For a man who has "QPSFC (I've Done My Bit Let's Hold Onto It This Time)" tattooed on his arm this is a bitter blow and could be the catalyst that will see him stand down as President. That would certainly be a sad day for the Club although we have already had fifteen people nominated to take over and there will be a vote next month.
So, it was under a huge cloud that we trooped onto the minibus at Battlefield to head to Perth for the Caledonian Spring Cup.
We were late in leaving though as we had to wait for Big Cal as he had to take his brand new Rolls Royce to the car wash.
There was good news though as two Legends were with us for the trip in the shape of Jazza "Paul" Stormonth and Thomas "Moony" Moon jnr who had heard all about the after match buffet which Ormonds in Perth HIgh Street put on.
This was the second Spring Cup and followed roughly the same format as the previous year with four teams taking part with Ormond Saints, Appin and PSJ being the other three.
The only difference in format was that the games were to last forty minutes, twenty each way, with only a minutes turn around which meant two hours of football for our silky South Side soccer stars.
After a quick change in the luxurious South Inch dressing rooms it was out to the furthest pitch for our first game against PSJ.
Game 651 15/05/10 Caledonian Spring Cup
v PSJ at South Inch 0-9 (0-6)
Martin Kelly, Arthur McCue (Calum MacDonald), Calum Colquhoun, Tam Moon (David Blair), John Crosbie, Ally McNaught (Fraser Marr), Andty Dick, Craig McKenna, Paul Joyce (c), Stuart Waugh and Sean Connolly
We hadn't played PSJ (St.Johnstone's IFA team) for a number of years and it was clear why as they easily defeated us in a game of few chances, for us.
We started in an ambitious 4-3-3 formation but that never got a chance to work as we lost goals at will and luckily it was only forty minutes we had to play.
PSJ were kind enough to use a ball rotation system which saw a second ball come onto the pitch just as Safehands went to get it behind the goal on the odd occasion shots went wide. Always good to keep the game moving when you're six ahead.
To his consternation Jazza was left on the bench but, as ever, there were good reasons for this.
Our All Time Top Scorer arrived in Perth on 299 appearances and one more game would trigger off an appearance shield and they cost more money than we can afford. Paul The Treasure(r) was adam ant that we couldn't play Jazz and Mister C was particularly upset as he had to put up with the EK Bald Eagle on the sidelines.
One game down and next up Appin, holders of the Spring Cup, One For The Road League, Appin and District Keepie Up Shield etc etc, so another easy game.
Game 652 15/05/10 Caledonian Spring Cup
v Appin at South Inch 0-5 (0-4)
Martin Kelly, Stuart Waugh (Arthur McCue), Calum Colquhoun, John Crosbie, Calum MacDonald, Ally McNaught, Paul Joyce (c), Craig McKenna, David Blair (Tam Moon), Andy Dick (Fraser Marr) and Sean Connolly
We stuck with the 4-3-3 line up with LHD leading the line and Paul in midfield.
The game went the same way as the previous one as we started off badly and faded away in the first half.
Crossers took over in goals in the second half, whilst Safehands ran to the shops for some painkillers, and his first job was to pick the ball out of the net as he and Arthur got into the sort of mix up that has basically been the hallmark of their "careers".
No more goals in the second half though as Appin took pitty on us and Crossers even held a shot over his head with ease. Safehands tried to put his head in his hands when he saw that but........he missed.
Game 653 15/05/10 Caledonian Spring Cup
v Ormond Saints at South Inch 2-5 (1-2)
Martin Kelly, Arthur McCue, Calum Colquhoun, John Crosbie (Stuart Waugh), Tam Moon, Ally McNaught (Fraser Marr), Andy Dick (David Blair), Craig McKenna, Paul Stormonth (c), Paul Joyce (Calum MacDonald) and Sean Connolly
Scorers: Stormonth, Dick
Our third and final game was against the hosts and there was a boost for Queen's as Jazza was released to play.
Big Cal showed his generous side by giving Paul £50 in used notes which he found down his sock and so we will be able to buy Jazza a momento for his 300th game.
And a big congratulations to Jazza on becoming only the second player to reach the magical milestone of 300 games and, who knows, maybe there is still time left in his career to beat Sir Stephen McGilp's record of 329 games. But then again.......
Also reaching a landmark was our loveable skipper Paul who made his 150th appearance which is a great record considering he's only ever missed two games, both through injury. Mind you he has missed meeting at the correct time on 137 occasions.
This game was a completely different affair than the previous ones, we only lost two early goals.
But, just when we were thinking that we would only remember the day for going to the pub, we got a goal back. And, would you Adam and Eve it, Jazza got our first goal of the day.
Craig headed a corner goalwards, the ball was cleared off the line and Jazza followed up to notch his 152nd goal for the team (there was another story about how it might have been an own goal and that Jazza didn't really score but that's the sort of gossip that is best left in the pub).
This was one of three chances that our All Time Top Scorer had in the first half as he saw a shot saved after a superb passing move (yes,really) and then he struck the post with a shot from outside the the box. If only Calum had found the money sooner.
Despite getting back into the game we continued to lose goals at the back and Mad Richard the referee, known as that because his name is Richard, chalked another goal off when it was offside, about three times.
Andy D pulled another goal back for us when he headed home from Sean's corner and we looked dangerous every time we got a set piece but it wasn't to be.
The heat had taken its toll but thankfully Saintees slowed the game down at every opportunity by making endless substitutions.
The final whistle was a blessed relief and we were glad to get to Ormonds Bar to rehydrate ourselves.
As expected Appin won the Cup and their Kenny McLean won the Player of the Tournament.
However, the result of the day was at the raffle where we won two bottles of vokda and a bottle of some whisky liquor thing. Good to have presents to take home to the family.
Eventually we made our way home and it was good to hear Tam remember his roots and give us an array of Welsh songs and something about an old barn door.
Not a very good day on the pitch but off it we enjoyed ourselves as ever and it was good to see a couple of the Legends back. In fact Jazza is so keen to play that he cycled home to East Kilbride to keep his fitness up. Apparently the Dominos guy didn't even notice it was missing............
A big thanks to Gav and the Ormond Saints team for organising the tournament and to Davie Fair at Ormonds for the usual high class buffet.
Just the one elevens game to go this season and we should have a cast of thousands when we play Wee Al's work at Toryglen.