Saturday 28th October 2017 - Scottish Junior Cup Round Two
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Gary Smith completes his hat-trick from the penalty spot and scored four in the game.
It was a record-breaking afternoon at The Celsius Stadium as The Glens equalled the club's highest ever margin of victory in any match in the club's 121-year history, and it was also their highest ever winning margin in the Scottish Junior Cup. The visitors were North Region Division One East side Glentanar from Aberdeen, and it was also the first ever meeting of the sides.
There was a highly significant name in the Glencairn starting line-up as Craig Palmer made his return to competitive action after an horrendous life-threatening accident at work almost a year ago. Palmer was rewarded with the captaincy to mark the occasion, with regular captain Tony Fraser (who was making his 199th competitive appearance for the club) happy to hand over the armband. Gary Smith returned from injury to partner Jay McKay in attack, while Liam Gormley also made a return from injury with a place on the substitutes' bench.
Glencairn wasted absolutely no time in imposing their control on the match, and they took the lead with their first meaningful attempt on goal in the 3rd minute. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the penalty area, and Gary Smith curled an accurate shot round the defensive wall into the corner of the net past the arms of goalkeeper Keith Robertshaw (pictured below).
Glentanar had a great chance to equalise in the 6th minute as a cross from the left seemed perfect for the head of striker Greg Wood, but he took his eye off the ball and missed the ball completely as it flashed across the face of goal. That was a warning for Glencairn, but they soon re-established their authority and had the ball in the net again in the 9th minute, although Smith's close range strike was ruled out for offside.
Fraser's pass released Ryan McArdle on the left in the 14th minute and his low cross picked out Smith at the back post, Robertshaw getting across to make a good save to deny the striker. The Glentanar no.1 denied Smith again only a moments later as he blocked another low shot.
Glentanar defender Connor Hunter was the first player to receive a yellow card as he chopped down a surging run out of defence by Craig McGregor. A similar run by McGregor in the 21st minute ended with a pass which split the defence wide open, and Gary Smith ran through to dribble round Robertshaw and roll the ball into the net for his and Glencairn's second goal.
The one-way traffic continued a minute later as Jay McKay burst past two challenges on the left before cutting inside and firing narrowly wide of the far post. Fraser's low drilled free kick in the 26th minute was comfortably saved on his goal line by Robertshaw.
Any doubts about Glencairn winning the game were wiped away as early as the 29th minute as they made it 3-0. Rhys Donaldson made a rare sojourn out of defence (pictured below) before releasing a pass which set Smith through on goal again. Robertshaw got a partial block to the shot this time, but the ball ran into the path of Jay McKay who had an empty net to score into at the back post.
That was the signal for the roof to cave in on the young Glentanar side, and Glencairn took full advantage to score another three goals in the following nine minutes. Ryan McArdle scored his first goal of the season as he made it 4-0, running onto a pass by Jamie Hamilton and slipping the ball under Robertshaw as four Glencairn players lined up to convert.
Hamilton split the back line again to set up Gary Smith who was brought down inside the penalty area. The big striker dusted himself down before completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot (pictured at top).
Attacks by Glentanar were few and far between, but they went close in the 36th minute as Christopher Hay cut in from the left and lobbed the ball over Glencairn 'keeper KP McAllister, the ball clipping the top of the crossbar on its way over.
That was only a brief interruption to the constant Glencairn attacks, however, and it was 6-0 in the 38th minute as another player grabbed his first goal of the season. McArdle's corner from the left was met right in front of goal by Jordan Leyden, and he simply couldn't miss with his volley from two yards out.
Jack Walker tried his luck for Glentanar as he was given space to try to chip McAllister from 20 yards, but he over-hit his shot and it dropped a yard over the target. Robertshaw denied Smith again right on the stroke of half time after busy creative play by McKay, and the visitors had their goalkeeper to thank for not being behind by double figures at the interval.
Half time : 6-0
Liam Gormley came on during the second half and tried to get on the scoresheet.
Both sides made changes at the interval, with Glentanar making a double change. Ethan Smith replaced Walker, while Calum Reid came on for Kyle Harker. Glencairn's change saw defender Alex Grier being a straight replacement for McGregor.
The changes made no difference to the flow of the match, however, and Robertshaw was soon back in the action as he saved Fraser's low drilled shot on his goal line. It wasn't long until The Glens found the net again, though, as they made it 7-0 in the 50th minute. Stewart Hall was released down the right, and he rolled the ball perfectly into the path of Gary Smith who didn't need to break stride as he fired in his fourth goal of the game.
Glencairn's second change saw Sean McGuire replacing Fraser in central midfield, Fraser having taken a knock and there being no need to take any risks with the scoreline as it was. If things weren't hard enough for Glentanar, their hard-pressed defence were weakened further in the 58th minute as Connor Hunter picked up a second yellow card for a late challenge, and he was duly red carded by the referee despite appeals from the sympathetic home dugout for leniency for the young stopper.
The Glens' players clearly had their eye on setting some records, though, and there was no let-up in the attacks. A fine blocking challenge by Ethan Smith denied namesake Gary Smith a fifth goal after fine build-up play by McGuire, and Robertshaw made another fine save to cut out a cross which was heading right into the path of McKay in the 63rd minute.
Palmer tried to mark his return to action with a goal in the 64th minute as he headed across goal and wide of the far post from Hamilton's precise free kick delivery. Smith's work for the afternoon was brought to an end as he left the field to generous applause and was replaced up front by Liam Gormley.
It had been twenty minutes since Glencairn scored, but the tempo was raised again in the 71st minute as they made it 8-0. Jamie Hamilton was released on the right edge of the penalty area and, as he tried to tee up Gormley, his cross was turned into the net for an unfortunate own goal by substitute defender Ethan Smith.
Craig Simpson replaced the injured Mathew Milne in Glentanar's final change with 13 minutes left to play. It was still wave after wave of attacks from Glencairn, though, and it was 9-0 in the 83rd minute with a simply delightful team goal. Some brilliant one-touch passing involving four of five players ended with Jamie Hamilton through on goal, and he picked his spot in the net with a composed finish from 12 yards.
Goodness knows what the score would have been had it not been for the form of Robertshaw between the sticks for Glentanar, and he denied Gormley with a sharp save from close range in the 86th minute. Robertshaw looked distraught, however, in the 88th minute as he conceded his 10th goal of the game. Hall's overlapping run on the right ended with a cross which was met sweetly on the volley from close range by Jay McKay, and the goalkeeper had no chance.
The Glens weren't finished there, though, and they equalled the club's record winning margin of eleven goals as they struck again in the 90th minute. Sean McGuire was released through the middle of the defence, and he calmly clipped the ball past Robertshaw to round off the scoring.
Rutherglen Glencairn :- McAllister, McGregor (Grier), Palmer, Donaldson, Fraser (McGuire), Leyden, Hall, Hamilton, Smith (Gormley), McArdle, McKay. (Subs not used - Savarese, McNab.)
Glentanar :- Robertshaw, Laird, Silvers, Fairley, Hunter, Walker (Smith), Smart, Milne (Simpson), Wood, Harker (Reid), Hay. (Subs not used - Henderson, Robertson.)
Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Ryan McArdle.