Wednesday 12th August 2015 - Euroscot Central Sectional League Cup Group 4
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Mark Batchelor in action on his competitive debut for Glencairn. (All pictures are used by kind permission of Jim Logan at The Lang Online website.)
The Glens' season finally got underway with a disappointing 1-0 home defeat at the hands of local rivals Cambuslang Rangers in the first Euroscot Engineering Central Sectional League Cup group game. The first match between the teams each season is also traditionally played for the William Skinner Memorial Cup, and home advantage seems to count for little in this fixture as the away side has now won the trophy for the past five years.
The visitors came into the match with very little in the way of expectation from their support, having lost 8-1 only four days previously to Blantyre Victoria in their opening match of the season. However, as the old cliché says, the form book goes out of the window in a derby match, and Cambuslang manager Paul McColl clearly had his men fired up for the occasion.
Both sides had early chances, with Cambuslang actually having the ball in the net after seven minutes through former Glencairn striker Thomas Kilmartin, but he was flagged for offside. Glencairn also threatened early on when Denis McLaughlin found the run from deep of Mark Batchelor, but his scuffed shot was saved at the near post by Cambuslang no.1 John Mullen.
Cambuslang continued to pressurise, with Neil Newman heading onto the roof of the net from a tight angle after a deep cross from another former Glencairn player Keiran Donaghy.
A marginal offside call by the assistant referee denied The Glens at the mid point of the first half as Adam Nisanci's pass released Denis McLaughlin, the flag prompting the referee's whistle before Chris Zok poked the ball into the net.
Glencairn passed up a golden chance to take the lead when another pass by Nisanci released Batchelor, and the midfielder chose to try and score himself instead of rolling the ball to the side to Zok who had an open goal, Batchelor firing wide with the outside of his foot.
There was more controversy when the referee awarded a free kick to Glencairn outside the penalty area when Cambuslang defender Paul McLaughlin appeared to handle the ball on the line of the penalty area. Denis McLaughlin drilled his shot just over the crossbar.
Cambuslang went even closer when a period of pressure leading up to half time resulted in yet another former Glens player Jamie MacLeod firing against the outside of the post, before Chris Faulds dribbled round Glencairn goalkeeper JC Hutchison, only for the big stopper to react sharply to get back up and down again and block the striker's shot.
Half time :- 0-0
Cambuslang goalkeeper John Mullen denies Glens striker Chris Zok in the second half.
Glencairn were first to threaten after the interval, with Denis McLaughlin skipping past three challenges before slipping the ball through to Zok, who tried to dribbled round Mullen instead of shooting first time, the goalkeeper grabbing the ball at the striker's feet. Denis McLaughlin was the architect again when his reverse pass released McGuire on the right edge of the penalty area, but Mullen once again was a match to the final shot, blocking for a corner.
The visitors should have been in front when Kilmartin and MacLeod combined with Ryan McBeth to set up Faulds right in front of goal, but somehow Hutchison twice denied the Cambuslang frontman.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 69th minute, as Cambuslang took a deserved lead. MacLeod's pass found Kilmartin in space inside the penalty area, and he cut the ball back into the path of Ryan McBeth who squeezed his shot past Hutchison and Batchelor on the goal line.
Glencairn pressed immediately for an equaliser, with Paul McLaughlin's challenge on Batchelor blocking for a corner after good link-up play by substitutes Alan Muir and Mark McCarry. Another substitute Paddy Cullen saw his free kick tipped over the bar by Mullen, before Paul Doyle got in front of Mullen and flicked the ball narrowly wide of the post.
A brilliant last-gasp challenge on the goal line denied Glencairn when Zok fired across goal and McGuire and McCarry couldn't apply a finish. The pressure towards the changing room goal continued as Cullen set up McCarry who fired over the bar from 12 yards. In the dying moments McGuire thought he had equalised when his shot took a deflection off Paul McLaughlin, only for Mullen to dive full length to his right and fingertip the ball round the post.
The referee blew for full time shortly afterwards and the visiting support, many of whom had been expecting to watch the game through their fingers, cheered as their team were presented with the William Skinner Memorial Cup.
Cambuslang Rangers' captain is presented with the William Skinner Memorial Cup by Glencairn committee member Alan Thomson.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Brown, Boal, Doyle, Eadie, Fraser, McGuire, Batchelor (Cullen), McLaughlin (McCarry), Zok, Nisanci (Alan Muir). (Subs not used - Neil, Kerr (gk).)
Cambuslang Rangers :- Mullen, Mackie, Scanlon, Gillan, McLaughlin, McBeth, MacLeod (Chalmers), Newman, Donaghy, Kilmartin (Smith), Faulds (Davidson). (Subs not used - Lynch, Caird.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Ronnie Harvey) JC Hutchison.