Sunday 16th August 2015 – Friendly v MacDonald Rovers at Ralston Sports Centre
Alan Galindo; Ally McNaught, Robert Shimmons, Allan Lennox (Andy Dick), David Blair; Gary Duncan, Sean Connolly (c) (Andy McNaught); Adam Walker (Allan Mackenzie) Neale Waugh, Graeme McQuarrie; Scott Macrae
Less than 24 hours after the Bully Wee game finished we were back on the pitch against MacDonald Rovers.
Ten of the playing squad from the previous day were available and Graeme, Neale and Andy D joined them.
It was a lovely sunny day, just what the players with tired legs needed, and MacD started fairly well and showed that we had a game on our hands.
Well, a game on our hands for twenty minutes then Sebo set up Graeme who took a touch to shoot past the Rovers keeper for the opening goal.
A couple of minutes later Graeme nearly got his second when he got on the end of a Gee punt to get a shot in which the keeper turned round the post.
After the Clyde game we looked full of confidence but we were pegged back when a couple of passes saw a Rovers player through on goal and he finished well for an excellent equaliser.
The parity didn’t last long though as Graeme swung over a corner and Lenny headed home to put us back in front.
Unfortunately a couple of minutes later Lenny went in for a tackle with Ally Wilson and came off worse and had to be helped off the pitch. Sadly the diagnosis is cruciate ligament damage to his knee and he’ll be out for a long while, just one of many recent knee injuries our squad have suffered. Naturally we wish Lenny well for a full recovery and he’ll be sorely missed on the pitch.
Andy D came on for him and went to centre back for the remaining minutes of the half before Wee Al replaced Adam at the interval and joined LHD in the heart of the defence.
Rovers Boss Calum MacDonald made a half time change as well and brought himself on in defence and naturally made a difference, we scored a third goal. A through ball saw CalMac try to shield the ball back to the keeper but Graeme nipped in and the ball fell to Neale who stroked home to put us two ahead.
A few minutes later Graeme had his second goal as Sebo passed to him and he beat the offside trap to score.
The Boss was changing the team around as those players who had played 90 minutes the previous day were replaced and LHD was moved forward and scored our fifth. The Rovers keeper played the ball to Rab Wilson in defence but he lost the ball to our Long Haired attacker who finished with aplomb.
It was all one way traffic now and Andy D made it six as he swept in a corner from about the penalty spot.
It looked like game over but Gee had to make a couple of excellent saves as the MacD‘s managed to get a couple of shots at goal.
However, with fifteen minutes remaining we made it seven as, after some nice passes, Neale curled a shot from outside the box into the top corner.
The Boss was satisfied that the game was safe enough for him to come on for a cameo appearance and Sean was replaced. Captain Sean that is, in honour of his imminent move to Qatar at the end of the month.
I’m not really sure where the Boss was playing but MacD’s pulled a goal back whilst he was sort of defending to make it 7-2.
That was the final score although Neale struck the bar just before the final whistle with a powerful shot.
An excellent performance considering it was a Double Header Weekend and well done to all those who played over the two days.
THE FINAL WORD FROM THE BOSS
Compared to the high drama of the previous day, this was a bit of a stroll for our boys, and it was very encouraging to see us come through a tough weekend of football unbeaten. MacDonald once again showed that they are an improving team, and the first half was pretty evenly matched overall. We had more creativity in the final third though and just about deserved our lead at the break because of this.
Our second half showing was as comfortable as we have put together in a good while. We absolutely cruised it, and it was great to see a few different players get themselves on the scoresheet! Very impressed with how we made our quality show. Considering that a number of players who featured played a key role in the bruiser against Clyde it was excellent to see the fitness levels of our squad, perhaps the pre-season programme has paid off after all!
One sad note is the injury to Allan Lennox. It looked like a real sore one at the time and sadly early signs are he will be on the sidelines for a long spell. He’ll be a real loss to the team and hopefully he’ll still be there off the park (i.e. in the pub) most weeks. I wish him well and hope he is back in the heart of our defence ASAP.