Sunday 20th September - One For The Road League
v FC Scotspurs at Toryglen Sports Centre 1-5 (1-2)
Martin Kelly, David McLean, Allan MacKenzie (Fraser Marr), Craig McKenna (Andy Dick), Calum MacDonald (Andy McNaught jnr), Ally McNaught, Arthur McCue, Calum Colquhoun, Paul Joyce (c), Danny McFarlane and Michael Monti
League football hasn’t really been our thing since we left the Scottish Supporters League in 1994. We briefly tried it once after that and it caused us no end of misery as we came up against teams far too good for us. We got on the end of some bad defeats and lost a lot of heart and players because of it.
So, why play in another League ?
Well, it is a League created amongst friends to ensure that four teams, Appin, Ormond Saints, FC Scotspurs and ourselves get games home and away against each other.
It is easy enough for us to get games but it now gives Appin the chance to visit Perth and Edinburgh and Saintees and Spurs a chance to visit Oban.
Fat Gav from Ormond Saints was good enough to create a new tournament, the Caledonian Spring Cup, and all four teams will assemble in Perth in April and the League presentation will take place then.
To the opening game of the new League and Scotspurs were our visitors at Toryglen on a nice sunny day.
On the squad front, we still had Crossers out with a leg injury and Robert turned up on crutches as he has suspected medial ligament damage after coming off in the Calders game.
Big Calum turned up with a huge bandage on his knee, Paul declared himself as “I’ll give it a go” despite a cracked bone in his foot and Andy D intended to give the game a miss due to a cracked rib but got changed anyway.
Jazza was missing as he was working but another “old boy”, Wee Al MacKenzie came into the side for his first game since 15th September 2002. Good to see another Legend back in the fold.
With Wee Al available we had a genuine left back so we started in a 4-4-2 formation with Thin Martin in goals; Craig and Big Calum in central defence and Davie at right back for the first time (an idea that came up in a “brain” storming session in the Viccy Bar the previous Sunday); Ally and Michael took up the wide positions in the midfield and Arthur and Young Calum were in the middle. Danny and Paul made up the forward partnership.
We had enjoyed success against Scotspurs on our three previous meetings but they had been closely fought and we expected the same kind of game this time around.
Spurs were certainly up for the game and took an early lead when a through ball caught us out and Neil Quigley ran on to shoot past Martin.
It didn't take long for Tottingham to double their lead through the same player as we were caught out once again.
Our full backs were doing very well, but there were obvious signs that Big Calum was struggling with his knee injury but all that was put aside when we pulled a goal back.
Craig won the ball in defence and strode forward, as he does, and, instead of playing the simple ball that the Manager was shouting about, he passed forty yards to Psycho who took the ball in his stride and superbly lobbed the ball over the keeper.
For the next ten minutes or so we had the upper hand and Craig struck the bar with a header from a corner as we tried to make our superiority count.
Unfortunately nothing came of our pressure and we suffered an injury when Craig got a blow to the face which brought a gush of blood from his nose. He had to come off with Andy D going into midfield and Arthur going into his favourite position, centre half.
Luckily we had a new first aid box with us (in reality we might need a doctor) and Andy McNaught snr attended to Craig as the half came to an end.
The two remaining subs were always going to come on at the break but Big Calum was forced off meaning that Paul had to go into central defence, whilst Wee Al had to head to the dressing room to get his fags, the joys of Sunday football ! With Al off Fraser went to left back and Andy Boy went up front in Paul's place.
The second half certainly didn't start the way we wanted as we were carved open and goals from Ray Bates and two Graham Rennie efforts put us five one down and struggling on and off the park.
Paul moved up front, with Craig coming back on with a plaster on his nose, thankfully it wasn't broken, but Paul then had to come off as his foot was too sore.
Arthur also limped off with a groin strain, Wee Al going into central defence, whilst Andy D struggled on as we basically had nobody left to go on.
To the team's credit the heads never went down and we kept trying and created some good chances near the end by playing good football.
The McNaught boys combined with Ally setting his younger brother free in the area but Andy just couldn't get a good contact on the ball with only the keeper to beat and a defender cleared off the line.
Danny came even closer when the overlapping Davie found him unmarked at the back post with an open goal but, just as everybody said, "And Danny Must Score", he somehow struck the bar when it seemed easier to score.
The final whistle went with Scotspurs well deserved winners but the team were congratulated by the Manager for their efforts in keeping going and showing excellent attitude whilst the team chopped and changed through injury.
So many people played well and put in their best performances and but for more punch in front of goal we could have made the scoreline a lot closer.
The injuries are a worry, particularly as people are starting games not fully fit, but hopefully we will get over this incredible run of bad luck and have a fit squad for the next game, Ormond Saints in Perth.
The team limped its way back to the Queen's Park Social Club after the game and were joined by the Spurs team who had the good luck to watch their big team lose 3-0 to Chelsea.
As ever a good day out was had by all, even the walking wounded !
Player of the Day: Davie McLean outstanding at right back and also a big thanks for organising the after match food.
Sssshhhhh the Captains talking
"Another defeat, but what a difference from last season - we had adults on the park !! We will take it on the chin and move on with plenty of positives to take out of it as there was plenty of improvement to be seen across the park. We played well in parts especially when we utilised the wide men and I think the difference came down to chances taken by Scotspurs (three relatively quickly after we had been on an attack) and a side ravaged by injury. All we need now is an away trip to Perth and we will be as right as rain."