Saturday 3rd February 2018 - Scottish Junior Cup Round Four
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
The stadium observed a minute's silence in memory of former Glencairn club physio Terry Waters who sadly passed away on Thursday morning.
Glencairn bowed out of the Scottish Junior Cup at the fourth round stage as they suffered their first defeat of 2018 at the hands of East Region giants Bo'ness United. The final scoreline was harsh on The Glens who were still in contention going into the final 12 minutes despite being two men down, until two late goals killed off the home side's creditable battling. Unfortunately once again it was the referee who everybody left the stadium talking about, as Calum Haswell produced a performance which at times was simply baffling.
Prior to kick off the large gathering at The Celsius Stadium fell silent (pictured at top) and the club flag was hung at half mast throughout the afternoon in memory of former Glencairn physio Terry Waters who sadly passed away very suddenly on Thursday morning. Terry had been at Glencairn for 15 years and was a popular figure throughout West Region junior football.
Both teams were not at full strength for this important tie, with the visitors also making a few signings in the build-up to the match after their recent managerial change. Glencairn's top scorer Gary Smith was only fit enough to take a place on the substitutes' bench due to a toe injury, and in-form midfielder Jordan Leyden also had to miss out due to work commitments. That meant returns to the starting line-up for Liam Gormley and Jamie Hamilton respectively.
Glencairn started positively and had their first attempt on goal after only 30 seconds, Del McNab picking out Jay McKay for a shot from 20 yards which rose over the crossbar. A minute later another Glens attack ended with a tame angled shot by McNab being easily dealt with by Bo'ness goalkeeper Andrew Murphy.
The visitors started to impose themselves on the match after this and a dangerous inswinging free kick towards Stuart Hunter was well punched clear by home no.1 Jack Baker. An incisive pass through the defence in the 7th minute released Ryan Millar, but McNab showed good pace and timing to cleanly win the ball before Millar could shoot, and the danger was thwarted.
Baker made a fine save in the 13th minute to deny Will Snowdon's curling left foot shot which was heading into the bottom corner of the net. Glencairn had a couple of half chances in the 15th and 19th minutes but United's defence stood strong to deny shots by McKay and Gormley.
Murphy had to be sharp off his line in the 20th minute after clever play by McKay released McNab into the penalty area, the goalkeeper blocking the low angled effort with his legs. The mid point of the first half saw a swift break by Bo'ness which opened up the home defence, but Marty Wright rushed his shot and scuffed the ball tamely straight at Baker. Calum Scott of Bo'ness was the first player to see yellow for a late tackle on Glencairn captain Tony Fraser in the 23rd minute.
The game was a good even contest up to this point with little in the way of controversy, but Mr Haswell was about to make himself the centre of attention. Miller's angled shot flashed past the near post in the 25th minute, with Mr Haswell bizarrely giving a corner kick despite nobody even getting near to touching it.
Instead of having a goal kick and the danger cleared, The Glens' defence were now under pressure again. Before Glencairn could get controlled possession, they found themselves a goal behind as a partial clearance was returned back into the penalty area for Marc Kelly, who cleverly turned the ball into the path of Marty Wright who fired past Baker from close range.
A yellow card for Andy Neil on the half hour mark seemed very harsh as he seemed to collide accidentally with Michael Gemmell, but Mr Haswell wasn't in the mood for being reasonable.
The Glens almost equalised in the 35th minute but were denied by an outstanding save by Murphy. A cross from the left picked out Stewart Hall whose header back towards McKay then found its way to Sean McGuire, who seemed certain to score with a close range hook shot, only for the United stopper to produce a stunning save.
Another good attack by Glencairn two minutes later saw the ball moved from right to left, the move ending with McNab's slightly deflected shot flying straight into the arms of Murphy.
Having already harshly booked Neil, Mr Haswell followed that up only seconds before half time with an even worse decision as he showed a second yellow card to the same player. Neil was playing a forward pass as an attempted block tackle came in, and his momentum from the pass saw his foot collide with the United player's foot. It was clearly accidental once again, but Mr Haswell showed no understanding of the game whatsoever as he produced a second yellow card and the red to Neil, and Glencairn were reduced to ten men before the half time whistle.
Half time : 0-1
Before the second half was started, Mr Haswell informed Glencairn manager Willie Harvey that he was being removed from the dugout area for comments he alleged were made towards the referee in the corridor leading to the changing rooms. Harvey was astonished at the allegation as he is adamant that he did not make the remarks he was accused of to the referee.
Glencairn had to sacrifice Gormley for the start of the second half to shore up the defensive hole from the loss of Neil, and Craig Palmer was the man brought off the bench.
The Glens were clearly in no mood just to roll over and accept their fate, and the ten men set about looking for an equaliser with Hamilton now playing just behind the lone striker McKay. A clever pass by Fraser set up Palmer for a low skidding shot which was well handled by Murphy in the 51st minute.
It was hard to tell which side had the ten men at this stage as Glencairn seemed to be getting on top in the game, and a crucial defensive header by Ryan Hoggan denied Hall at the back post just before the hour mark.
United were unfortunate not to double their lead in the 61st minute as Wright fired against the outside of the post as he latched onto Kelly's header across goal. Bo'ness made their first change as Ryan Stevenson replaced Millar in the 63rd minute, and a minute later Ross Campbell's header was too straight to cause any concern for Baker as the visitors started to pressurise again.
The mid point of the second half saw Glencairn gamble tactically further forward as Smith was brought off the bench to partner McKay up front, Hamilton the man withdrawn. Baker kept his side in contention with a fine block to deny Stevenson from close range in the 72nd minute.
Glencairn were always going to create one big chance to equalise, and the moment arrived in the 73rd minute. Good link play involving Smith and Hall ended with the ball being cut back into the path of McNab on the penalty spot (pictured below). The midfielder had time to pick his spot in the net, but he tried to rip the net out and instead fired the ball high and wide.
Instead of being level, a minute later the roof caved in on Glencairn as they were reduced to nine men. Rhys Donaldson committed a foul on the right edge of the penalty area, and Mr Haswell deemed it to have been a clear goalscoring opportunity and produced a red card.
The nine men still hadn't given up, though, and Glencairn forced a corner at the other end. McKay's curling cross was clearly tipped over the crossbar by Murphy, but unsurprisingly Mr Haswell awarded a goal kick.
It was only a matter of time now before Bo'ness capitalised on the extra space, and they duly killed the match as a contest in the 79th minute. A crossfield pass released Ryan Stevenson in space on the left edge of the penalty area, and he clipped his shot past Baker to make it 2-0, and it was effectively "game over".
To their credit, the Glencairn management team still hadn't given up, and they gambled even further as striker Alessandro Savarese was brought on for defender Craig McGregor, leaving the formation effectively as 2-3-3. Baker made a fine save to deny Stevenson in the 82nd minute.
Bo'ness ran down the clock with two separate subtitutions, firstly Jamie Shirra replacing Snowdon and then Ryan Batchelor replacing Stuart Hunter. Further fine saves by Baker denied Stevenson and Kelly, but the big stopper was helpless to deny Bo'ness their third goal with almost the last kick of the ball as Marty Wright turned the ball into the net from a cross from the left.
Mr Haswell blew for full time immediately after the restart to bring an end to Glencairn's hopes of a 5th Scottish Junior Cup triumph for another year.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Baker, McGregor (Savarese), Neil, Donaldson, Fraser, McGuire, Hall, Hamilton (Smith), Gormley (Palmer), McNab, McKay. (Subs not used - McArdle, Kerr.)
Bo'ness United :- Murphy, Snowdon (Jamie Shirra), Hoggan, Campbell, Hunter (Batchelor), Jacobs, Millar (Stevenson), Gemmell, Wright, Kelly, Scott. (Subs not used - Andy Shirra, Ritchie (gk).)
Man of the match - (chosen by Alan Maxwell) Jack Baker.