Sunday 27th September - One For The Road League

v Ormond Saints at McDiarmid Park  2-4 (0-0)

Martin Kelly, David McLean, Allan MacKenzie, John Crosbie, Stuart Waugh, Ally McNaught, Calum Colquhoun, Andy Dick, Paul Joyce (c) (Andy McNaught jnr), Danny McFarlane (Fraser Marr) and Michael Monti

In 1987 our seventh ever game was a friendly in Perth and we were treated to hospitality in the Social Club under the main stand at St.Johnstone's home ground at the time, Muirton Park. The man in charge of the bar was Davie Fair and he did us proud that day with food after the game.

Twenty two years later and we headed to Perth to play football on the McDiarmid Park astroturf. More importantly, however, we were going to Ormonds Bar for a pre-match warm up and then returning after the game. The owner of Ormonds is the self same Davie Fair and needless to say the hospitality and after-match food was as good and generous as it had been all those years ago.

If my memory serves me correct, in 1987 we travelled to Perth by car but we've gone up in the world since then and a minibus was booked and we had a superb nineteen bodies in the travelling party.

There were meant to be a couple more but Martin "Convenor" Harvey couldn't cope with being out the night before (something I believe he slagged off one of the younger squad members about recently) and stayed in his hoose and this meant that the injured Robert wasn't picked up as Fat Martin had the passenger list.

Of course, not all the nineteen in the party were playing and we had on the sidelines the injured Arthur and his boy Ryan, Mad Mental Michael, Andy "Da" McNaught, The Moon Man and Mr C who did have his boots but declined to take them out of his bag.

Along with the playing members, they were in Perth for the beer and we had time for a couple, or four, before the game and Arthur sprung into action organising a darts pairs tournament. With nineteen on the bus there was an odd number but our Arthur got round that by inventing another "Michael". The fact there were two Michaels, three Andys, and Old Art has double vision on a Sunday morning at the best of times, meant the competition was a slow starter.

Oh, nearly forgot, we were in Perth to play football and the darts were put to one side at the all important semi final stage as we got back on the bus to travel to McDiarmid.

Ormond Saints were our opponents and there were three familiar faces in their team as Gav The Younger, Stuart and Mark were playing against us for the second week in a row (and third time this season).

Apart from Arthur, Big Calum was missing through injury and Craig never travelled due to lack of funds despite his father-in-law being a retired millionaire.

The retired one, Crossers, was back in central defence alongside debutant Stuart with Davie and Wee Al at full backs, all in front of Thin Martin. The usual wide boys, Ally and Michael, were in midfield along with Young Calum and Andy D and Paul, despite his foot injury and four pints of Stella, was up front with Danny. Held in reserve and ready to be unleashed at any time were Fraser and Andy Boy.

It was a nice day although there was a bit of a breeze blowing, luckily Big Tam had his bunnet firmly on, and the pitch was in good condition.

The previous game in August against Saintees had been goalless at half time and this game was the exact same with chances at a premium at either end.

Thin Martin had a couple of saves to make but he was mainly tested by cross balls which he dealt with well.

Our debutant, Stuart, was doing well at the back as were the rest of the team who were showing their usual 100% and trying to play football on the deck.

As I said chances were few and far between but both teams were trying hard and the game was being played in a good spirit, as always.

A couple of changes at half time with Fraser and Andy Boy coming on for Paul, who was struggling with his foot, and Danny. Calum moved into attack with Andy Boy and Fraser went into the middle of the park.

The second half started with a bang as we took the lead within a couple of minutes. Michael picked the ball up on the left, drifted past a couple of defenders, then fired a shot into the net from the edge of the area for a cracking opener. It was a great goal but totally unexpected and just the start we needed.

Rather than build on our lead we were pegged back not long afterwards and unfortunately it was a quick one two from Saintees as they twice broke through our defence to score.

The game had been going for over an hour before we picked up our first injury but it duly came and Stuart got a knock on his hip and had to come off. Paul went back on in central defence.

The game had opened up and Andy Boy was giving the Saints defence a hard time by chasing everything and he brought us back into the game with his first goal for the Club.

Andy controlled a through ball and got past the last defender before putting the ball into the bottom corner. Cue great scenes on the touchline as his Dad got very emotional. Must have been the pre-match warm up !

(Meanwhile, in Crosshill, an old guy with a beard, gloves and duffle coat, nodded his approval as a new Machine burst onto the scene.)

It was end to end stuff now and Stuart came back on as Davie took a knock whilst Danny took Calum's place in attack.

The third goal was going to be important and unfortunately it went to the home side. A quick throw on our left caught us out and a cross was headed past Martin from close range.

We now threw everything into attack and created a great chance when Andy Boy escaped his marker again but his shot was saved when maybe he could have got his head on the ball. I don't think his Dad could have coped anyway !

An even better chance came our way with only minutes remaining as Michael picked out Andy D at the back post with a superb ball but Andy couldn't get it under control and the keeper came out to dive on the ball.

It was to be our last chance as Saintees ran up the park and scored a fourth, from a suspiciously offside position, but the game finished seconds later and Saintees had the points.

Another excellent all round performance with the spirit and attitude just what we are coming to expect. A wee bit more luck in front of goal and we could have come away with a win but our day will come.

A relatively noisy dressing room for a change then it was onto Ormonds for the most important part of the day, the darts competition !

Despite being distracted by the mince rolls, Andy Da and Paul won the pairs Final against Tam and Ally and Arthur organised a singles tournament which Andy D won beating Paul in the Final.

We had a good session in Ormonds before getting back into Glasgow about 9pm. There was still time for a wee drink in the town to make it a long day out. Just what an away game should be, particularly one that has a holiday Monday after it !

A big thanks to Davie at Ormonds for the hospitality and to Fat Gav, or Grandad Gav as he is now known, for organising the day and keeping us company in the pub. Also well done to Arthur for organising the darts and to Fraser and Andy Da for taking the photos.

An excellent sporting day out with the occasional refreshment thrown in.

Player of the Day: John Crosbie

Sssshhhhh the Captains talking

Once upon a time, no, no wait .
Life is like a box of chocolates, no that wont do.
  A long time ago, in a Galaxy far far away . ........
Ach screw it. Good game, wrong result, excellent company and an always enjoyable bus journey, brilliant atmosphere and a darts tournament what more could a captain ask for on an away trip. Well, if I'm being picky, some coke for the vodka would have been nice !!!



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