Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

Subtitle

East Kilbride Thistle 3 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 12th August 2017 - Central Sectional League Cup Group 4 (Centenary Cup)

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Gary Smith

Gary Smith scored his first competitive goal for Glencairn.

The Glens cannot now qualify from this season's Central Sectional League Cup group after a disppointing defeat away to East Kilbride Thistle. The result meant that Cambuslang Rangers were confirmed as group winners prior to the two sides meeting in the final game on Wednesday.

Once again manager Willie Harvey chose to rotate the playing squad to try to get everybody up to full fitness ahead of next week's start to the league campaign. For the second game in a row there were seven changes to the starting line-up, including first appearances for the season for Ryan Bennett in midfield after a back injury, and striker Fraser Team returning from holiday.

Things looked positive early on for the visitors as they had the ball in the net after only three minutes, but Gary Smith was deemed to be offside from Sean McGuire's pass and the strike was disallowed. Bennett's run and shot in the 16th minute saw the ball fly a yard over the crossbar.

Smith headed over the bar a minute later from Bennett's cross, and the pressure continued as Smith set up strike partner Team for a shot which flashed across the face of goal and wide of the far post.

Thistle started to show their teeth at the mid point of the first half, and Glencairn goalkeeper KP McAllister had to cut out a dangerous cross at his near post. After all The Glens' early threat, the home side took the lead in the 25th minute as they pounced on a defensive slip. Del McNab's attempted header back to McAllister did not have enough pace on it, and Kevin McLean pounced to slip the ball past McAllister to make it 1-0 to the home side.

Glencairn reacted well to this setback and went back on the front foot looking for an equaliser. Persistent play by Bennett saw him ride a few tackles before firing in a shot which stung Thistle goalkeeper Gary Noble's hands as he palmed the ball over the crossbar. The scores were level in the 31st minute as McNab crossed to the back post where Gary Smith had cleverly pulled away from his marker, and the big striker nodded the ball back across Noble and into the net.

East Kilbride almost caught Glencairn cold from the restart, and Scott Hadden's ball over the top saw Kevin McLean knock the ball past McAllister, but Craig McGregor got over to make a timely interception. Both sides had free kick opportunities on the edge of the penalty area as the half time whistle approached, Hadden firing miles over for Thistle before Njabulo Ndlovu's effort for Glencairn dropped narrowly over the crossbar.

Half time : 1-1

There were no personnel changes at the interval, and the home side were first to threaten as a low cross almost picked out Chris Faulds, McAllister diving out well to smother the ball cleanly. Thistle were appealing for a penalty in the 49th minute when Faulds went down claiming a foul by Rhys Donaldson, but the referee wasn't interested and waved play on.

Ryan McArdle replaced Stewart Hall in Glencairn's first substitution just before the hour mark. A sustained spell of pressure by Glencairn just after the change failed to create a clear cut opportunity, with McArdle scuffing his shot into the ground with the best opening from a series of crosses into the penalty area.

McAllister did well to palm away an angled shot by David McKean which had been deflected off Donaldson, and Ndlovu completed the clearance behind him as Thistle started to pressurise again.

Jay McKay was brought off the bench to replace Bennett in the 63rd minute, and five minutes later there was a straight swap up front as Graham Boyd replaced goal scorer Smith. Boyd almost turned the key of the Thistle defence in the 75th minute as he cut in from the left and curled an angled shot narrowly over the crossbar, the closest thing to a goal in the second half so far.

Disaster struck for the Glencairn defence only a minute later, however, as Faulds' lobbed pass over the defence sprung the offside trap, allowing Scott Hadden to dribble round McAllister and Andy Neil on the goal line before rolling the ball into the empty net to make it 2-1 to the home side.

Things got worse for The Glens in the 80th minute as Kevin McLean was allowed to run onto a pass despite the claims for offside, and he slipped the ball under McAllister for his second goal of the match and Thistle's third.

Glencairn huffed and puffed to try to get back in the match, but they rarely looked like making another breakthrough. Thistle ran down the clock by using all three of their substitutions late in the match to break up play even further.

Positive play by Boyd almost forced the ball into the path of Team, but he was snuffed out by a combination of the two home central defenders and Noble completed the job. The final goal attempt saw an angled effort by Team comfortably saved at his near post by Noble.

Thistle were presented at full time with the Centenary Cup, a trophy donated to Glencairn in 1996 to mark the club's centenary by lifelong supporter and club member Hamish Allan, and played for each season in the first meeting between these two sides.

East Kilbride Thistle :- Noble, Gray, Callum McLean, McIntosh, Gillan, McKean, Morgan (Thomson), Hadden, Kevin McLean (Bryce), Faulds (Barclay), Gillespie. (Subs - Bain, White.)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- McAllister, McGregor, Neil, Donaldson, Ndlovu, McGuire, Hall (McArdle), Bennett (McKay), Smith (Boyd), Team, McNab. (Subs - Grier, Fraser.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Alex Forbes) Sean McGuire.

Sean McGuire

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