Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 3 Cambuslang Rangers 1

Monday 23rd April 2018 - McBookie.com West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Cambuslang Rangers 4

Gary Smith scored a stunning hat trick to take his goals tally to 25 for the season.

Glencairn bounced back to winning form with a thoroughly merited win over local rivals Cambuslang Rangers at The Celsius Stadium to keep alive hopes of promotion to next season's new West Region Premiership. It was a performance full of energy and commitment by The Glens, and they will now be looking to carry that into the remaining six league matches.

Willie Harvey didn't have his problems to seek in terms of team selection, with goalkeeper Jack Baker added to the lengthy injury list during Saturday's draw away to Kello Rovers. That meant that a trialist no.1 was introduced to the players an hour before the kick off and thrown straight into the starting eleven. There was only scope for one more change to the team, with Alex Grier replacing Ryan Kerr on the right side of the defence.

As is the norm for this keenly contested local derby, the match started at a fast pace, and Glencairn were first to go close in the 2nd minute as Ryan McArdle darted into the penalty area before setting up Jay McKay for a shot across goal which flew wide of the far post. Cambuslang responded with Chris Duff's cross from the right being glanced over the bar by John Gemmell.

The chances continued to come early on, and McArdle drilled a low shot narrowly wide in the 7th minute, before Gemmell went even closer at the other end, heading Dale Simeon's corner against the crossbar from close range.

The deadlock was broken in the 15th minute as Glencairn took the lead with a trademark free kick by top scorer Gary Smith, curling the ball round the wall and into the far corner of the net past the outstretched arms of 'Lang goalkeeper Ian Stewart (pictured below).

Cambuslang Rangers 2

It didn't take the visitors long to get back on level terms, though, as less than two minutes later Gemmell pounced on a slack pass to run into the penalty area and lay the ball on a plate for Callum McRobbie to fire into the net for the equaliser.

Glencairn could have gone into their shell after the setback of losing their lead so quickly, but they continued to go at the 'Lang defence with McKay released down the right and trying to set up Smith in the centre, but the final pass wasn't quite accurate enough and the danger was cleared.

It was still a very open game which both sides were clearly keen to win, and Smith went close again after good set-up play by Sean McCall, the striker turning in the box and pulling a fine save out of Stewart as he dived down low to palm the ball round the far post.

A sustained spell of pressure by 'Lang around the Glencairn penalty area in the 35th minute was met by stubborn resistance by the home defence, with Craig McGregor making a particular important clearance from right in front of goal.

Cambuslang playmaker Dale Simeon was being tightly man-marked by Glens captain Fraser, but he escaped the clutches a couple of time around the 37th minute to whip two dangerous crosses into the penalty area, but on both occasions there was no player in red on the end to convert.

Glencairn edged in front again in the 41st minute, and there was no surprise at the scorer. A cross from the left towards McKay bounced kindly into the path of Gary Smith, and the big striker didn't hesitate as he lashed a decisive finish into the roof of the net from close range.

Gary Smith

Cambuslang tried to respond quickly again and pressurised up to the half time whistle, but a fine clearing header by McArdle in stoppage time ensured The Glens took a precious lead into the changing rooms at half time.

Half time : 2-1

Cambuslang Rangers 1

Sean McGuire was at the heart of the midfield battle all evening.

'Lang made a change at the interval with Jordan Love replacing Ross McKinnon, while Glencairn were unchanged for the restart.

Gemmell was first to try his luck in the second half, holding off Rhys Donaldson before turning and lobbing a shot which dropped just over the crossbar, the trialist goalkeeper having it well covered. Glencairn soon got back on the front foot, though, and McArdle's cross from the right was flicked on in the air by McKay to strike partner Smith, who nodded the ball back across the balance of Stewart but wide of the far post.

The visitors were pressing to get another equaliser and McRobbie fired a low angled shot which flew narrowly wide of the near post, and a couple of minutes later the same player's inviting cross from the left was met at the back post by Gemmell but he couldn't turn the ball on target.

Cambuslang Rangers 3

Tony Fraser kept danger man Dale Simeon quiet with his excellent man-marking.

The Celsius Stadium erupted in the 57th minute as Glencairn went 3-1 ahead with a touch of brilliance. A free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal, and Gary Smith whipped a shot over the wall and into the corner of the net for his hat trick and his 25th goal of the season. It was a strike that the likes of Messi or Ronaldo would have been proud of.

Smith fancied more goals, and he fired a low shot on the turn in the 62nd minute which was saved down low by Stewart on his goal line. The Glens now had a two-goal lead to hold onto, and that seemed to give them confidence as they continued to go at Cambuslang while the home defence continued to snuff out any form of threat by 'Lang.

The descending gloomy skies gave way to heavy rain as the referee requested the floodlights to be switched on, and it got so dark that it seemed likely that the match may have had to be abandoned had the lights not been available. Cambuslang's second change saw Kyle Rafferty replace Chris Meikle, and the competitive nature of the match was summed up by a crunching 50/50 tackle in midfield between McRobbie and Sean McGuire, both players firing in to the challenge with nothing held back, to the delight of the busy crowd.

A quick corner by Cambuslang almost caught out the home defence in the 72nd minute, but Gemmell headed wide of goal at the back post when he probably should have scored. Tempers flared a minute later as a late challenge in midfield prompted the traditional derby shoving match involving about 12 players, with McGuire and Gemmell being shown yellow by the referee.

Glencairn appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears in the 75th minute as McArdle's cross from the left seemed to end with Del McNab being shoved as he tried to head into the net.

Cambuslang made their third and final change with Craig Hastings replacing McRobbie, the home support happy to see their former u21 player leaving the field as he had looked to be the man most likely to open up the defence. The Glens' only substitution came a minute later as Stewart Hall replaced McArdle, with McNab switched to the left flank.

McNab almost scored accidentally as his run and cross aimed for Smith dropped onto the roof of the net, with Stewart scrambling across goal to try to cover. Gemmell didn't have his eye in for his headers at all, and he once again nodded off target in the 82nd minute as time started to run out for 'Lang.

As the clock ticked towards 90 minutes there seemed little prospect of a fightback, and Glencairn were pressing for more goals rather than holding what they had. McKay broke free on the left edge of the penalty area and was stopped by what looked like a handball by Mark Staunton, but once again the referee waved play on.

The final "near thing" came right on the 90th minute as a corner from the left was glanced inches over the crossbar by the head of McNab. The Glens comfortably saw through the four minutes of stoppage time to secure a crucial three points, their first win over Cambuslang since August 2014.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Trialist, Grier, McGregor, Donaldson, Fraser, McGuire, McArdle (Hall), McCall, Smith, McNab, McKay. (Subs not used - Kerr, Palmer, Ferrier, Hutchison (gk).)

Cambuslang Rangers :- Stewart, Gebbie, McKinnon (Love), Staunton, Eley, Green, Duff, Meikle (Rafferty), Gemmell, Simeon, McRobbie (Hastings). (Subs not used - Halsman, Hay.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Ryan Docherty) Sean McGuire.

Sean McGuire

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