Monday 14th November 2016 - Friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Paddy Cullen in action with Arthurlie defender Scott Gair.
Glencairn took the opportunity of this friendly match at Glasgow Green against Super Premier League side Arthurlie to run the rule over a couple of trialists, and also to give pitch time to a number of players who have been on the fringes of the side in recent weeks. Willie Harvey used a total of nineteen players over the ninety minutes, with eight changes to the starting team from the previous Saturday's league match.
The best news of the evening for Glencairn supporters, however, was the return to the pitch of influential central defender Andy Neil, the club's longest serving current player (in total 124 competitive appearances since 2011). Neil has been out of action due to a knee injury for the past six months, but he started in central defence and looked as if he had never been missing as he slotted in beside Craig McGregor.
Glencairn started the match positively, and Del McNab skipped past a couple of challenges before crossing towards Paddy Cullen who couldn't bring the ball under control in front of goal. Arthurlie responded with an incisive run from the centre of midfield by Jordan Leyden, which was stopped inside the penalty area by a timely interception by Tony Fraser.
Arthurlie took the lead in the 9th minute with an excellent piece of vision by their new striker signing John Gemmell, who saw goalkeeper KP McAllister off his goal line and lobbed the ball into the net from just past the halfway line. There were complaints of a free kick not given for Glencairn for a challenge only a few seconds before the shot, but it was nonetheless an impressive finish from the giant frontman.
Both sides were creating chances, with Alan Muir pulling his shot wide of goal after being set up by Cullen, and then Gemmell curling a free kick from 20 yards over the bar at the other end. McNab was looking particularly lively for The Glens, and he skipped past a few challenges before drilling a shot just over the crossbar from 20 yards out in the 13th minute.
Leyden's skidding shot was well handled down low by McAllister, before play swung back to the other end again. Graeme Brown's cross perfect for the free head of Cullen on the six yard line, but the striker couldn't direct the ball on target and it flew over the crossbar.
Gemmell continued to threaten the Glencairn rearguard and McAllister did very well to stand up and block the striker's shot as he was released through on goal just before the half hour mark.
The teams continued to take it in turns to create chances, as first of all Ryan McArdle went close for Glencairn from a quick throw-in, goalkeeper Anton Nugent saving well down low, and then an incisive pass released Arthurlie's Trialist no.11 into the penalty area, but once again McAllister was a match to the shot.
Half time : 0-1
Glencairn made three changes at the interval, with 45 minutes deemed to be enough of a run-out for Neil. He was replaced by a trialist holding midfielder as Glencairn also changed shape.
The end-to-end nature of the match continued after the interval. Ryan Deas went close for Arthurlie as he fired into the side netting in the 46th minute, and then Jordan Marshall had two great chances for Glencairn, firstly choosing to pass instead of shoot, and then being denied moments later by Nugent.
Cullen was next to go close as he sprung the offside trap to latch onto a ball over the top, but he pulled his shot across goal and wide of the far post. A delightful clipped pass by the energetic Ryan Bennett set up a chance for Jay McKay, but he miscontrolled and the ball ran through to Nugent.
Arthurlie doubled their lead in the 56th minute as they showed their opponents a lesson in finishing. Jordan Leyden latched onto a defensive error and ran through on McAllister before firing a decisive finish from 16 yards to make it 2-0.
It was just as well for Arthurlie that they had a two-goal lead to hold onto, as their lack of available substitutes meant that Glencairn's fresher legs coming off the bench went on to dominate the rest of the match. Nugent dived to his left to parry away McArdle's angled shot on the hour mark, and then seconds later McKay's low driven shot took a coat of paint off the outside of the post.
Nugent continued to defy Glencairn as he beat away an angled drive by Bennett, and then Sean McGuire fired over the bar after good work by Trialist no.12. It was one-way traffic now, and McKay went close again with a low shot which flew just wide, and then Bennett's on-target shot was deflected out for a corner with six minutes remaining.
In their first venture into Glencairn's half for about 15 minutes, Arthurlie's Trialist no.11 almost doubled his goal tally as he held off a challenge from Brown to run through on goal, but McAllister produced another fine block.
Glencairn finally got the ball past Nugent in the 87th minute as McGuire curled a trademark effort for the top corner, but the frustration continued for the Rutherglen supporters as Ian Nimmo got himself back onto the goal line to head clear.
Arthurlie held out for a clean sheet, the first time in 22 matches this season (friendly and competitive) that The Glens have failed to score a goal. After the final whistle, Glencairn committee member Alan Thomson grudgingly presented The Mantlepiece Trophy to one of his friends on the Arthurlie committee, an award which was introduced a few years ago as a result of a bit of banter between supporters of the two clubs, and traditionally competed for when the teams meet. However, it is like the original Ashes urn, and never really leaves the possession of Glencairn, so we asked for it back a few seconds later.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- McAllister, Brown, Fraser (Docherty), Neil (Trialist), McGregor, Muir (Hamilton), McArdle (McGuire), Marshall (Hall), Cullen (Team), Trialist (McKay), McNab (Bennett).
Arthurlie :- Nugent, Convery, Blakey, Nimmo, Gair, Deas, Curren, Leyden, Gemmell, Turner, Trialist. (Subs - Trialist, Mackie, Hay.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Gerry King) Craig McGregor.