Monday 18th December 2017 - Friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
The Glens' topsy turvy form was never more evident than in this friendly match against Super Premier League side Arthurlie at Glasgow Green Football Centre. Having just lost in the league to Largs Thistle two days previously in what was probably the team's worst performance of the season, the squad responded with a display of slick passing football and some clinical finishing.
Both sides shuffled their packs to keep their squad ticking over as they go into the Christmas and New Year shutdown. Glencairn started with 18-year-old Michael Lone on the left side of midfield, the Under 21 team regular making his first team debut. There were three other u21 players on the substitutes' bench, while Arthurlie's starting XI also included three trialists.
An early disallowed goal for Arthurlie (offside) gave little hint as to what was coming later in the match and, although Glencairn were just about edging the territorial advantage in the first half, there was very little separating the teams in the opening half hour.
Glencairn goalkeeper Jack Baker limped off on the half hour mark, still feeling the effects of a collision early in the game, and he was replaced between the sticks by 47-year-old goalkeeping coach Stevie Hutchison.
The deadlock was broken five minutes before half time as two former Arthurlie players combined to score against their old club. Jordan Leyden broke through the defensive line and squared the ball for Gary Smith to fire into the net from 12 yards.
Hutchison proved that he has lost little of his positional awareness and agility, despite his greying features, as he produced a stunning save just before the half time whistle, tipping the ball over the bar from a close range shot which had seemed like a certain goal.
Half time : 1-0
The reasonably even nature of the first half gave no warning as to what was about to happen, but Glencairn's performance in the second half certainly warmed the hearts of the small band of supporters who had turned out.
Gary Smith doubled his and the team's tally as he made it 2-0 with a precise header in the 51st minute, and two minutes later a delightfully accurate shot by Jamie Hamilton from 20 yards flew into the top right hand corner of the net to make it 3-0.
Glencairn manager Willie Harvey made changes as he introduced the three other u21 players to the fray, with Marcus Fraser, Jordan Davidson and Alan Dunsmore all given their chances to impress at first team level for the first time.
Arthurlie seemed bewildered at the pace that Glencairn were zipping the ball about on the artifical surface, and Stewart Hall marked his comeback from injury with a close range strike in the 56th minute to make it 4-0.
There was no let-up in the tempo, however, and Arthurlie's former players came back to haunt them again as Gary Smith completed his hat trick in the 61st minute, and then Jordan Leyden's bullet header from a corner kick two minutes later incredibly made it 6-0 with just under half an hour still to be played.
The Super Premier League side will probably have already been sick of the sight of their former striker hitting the net against them, but Gary Smith continued to produce the goods as he made it 7-0 in the 67th minute.
Glencairn's momentum at this point seemed unstoppable, but Arthurlie put a halt to the flow briefly as they pulled a goal back in the 70th minute, Michael Daly finding space in behind the defence to roll the ball past Hutchison.
That goal took the sting out of Glencairn for a period, and it looked like the scoring could possibly be over until The Glens upped the pace once again in the final few minutes. An incisive pass through the defence picked out the run from midfield by Alan Dunsmore, and the u21 midfielder produced a composed first time finish to make it 8-1 in the 87th minute.
Gary Smith wasn't finished for the evening, though, and with almost the final kick of the ball he grabbed his 5th goal to make it 5-1, curling one his trademark free kicks into the top left hand corner of the net.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker (Hutchison), Grier, Donaldson (Kerr), Palmer, Tony Fraser, Leyden, Hall (Marcus Fraser), Hamilton (Dunsmore), Smith, Savarese (Davidson), Lone (McArdle). (Sub not used - McGregor.)
Arthurlie :- Hay, Dunn, Wilson, Tart, Daly, Spence, Urquhart, McAleenan, Docherty, Watson, Wyper. (Subs - Burns, Roulston McKenzie.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Gary Smith.