Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 0 Rutherglen Glencairn 1

Saturday 30th May 2015 - Stagecoach West Region Super League Division One

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 2

Denis McLaughlin and Tom Collins battle for first half possession.

The Glens finished the season in a positive manner and brought the West Region Super League Division One season to a close with a 1-0 away win against Kirkintilloch Rob Roy at their temporary home at Guy's Meadow in Cumbernauld. The result meant that Glencairn have secured 5th place in the league table, the club's highest finish since they won this league five years ago.

Both sides were far from at full strength for this end-of-season encounter. Rob Roy protected a number of their players ahead of their two play-off games this week with a day-off, but still had 14 signed players in their matchday squad. The Glens, however, were missing no fewer than eight players and only had nine signed players to choose from. That meant that there were places at right back for a trialist and on the bench for two under 21 players, while Brian Welsh continued his playing comeback in the midfield holding role. Top scorer Ross McNeil and right back Graeme Brown were given midfield berths, while Willie Galloway switched from right back to left back, and Ross Ballantyne continued to show his versatility on the left side of midfield.

Rob Roy were on the front foot right from the start, and almost scored in the first minute. A cross from the left found Ryan Tiffney at the back post, and his effort on goal was blocked by JC Hutchison on his goal line. The ball broke out to Steven Aitken who had the goal at his mercy, but he fired wildly over the bar from six yards.

That was an early let-off for The Glens, but they gradually settled into the game, although the trialist right back was shown a yellow card for a late tackle on home midfielder Chris Duff, who was unable to continue and was replaced by Tom Collins.

Both goalkeepers were called into action in the 16th minute, home no.1 Jonathan Murdoch chesting away a over-hit pass back by Scott Upton, and then seconds later Hutchison making a terrific save from Jordan McGuire. diving full length to tip a goal-bound shot over the crossbar.

Glencairn had a claim for a penalty kick in the 27th minute when Ross McNeil skipped past two challenges and then went down under a third. The referee showed a yellow card to McNeil, which seemed harsh as, although it may not have merited a penalty, it certainly wasn't a dive. Two minutes later Denis McLaughlin tried his luck with a dipping shot from 20 yards, but he got too much on it and the ball flew a yard over the crossbar.

While the home side had the bulk of the possession and territorial advantage, they struggled to turn that into clear goalscoring chances, with Andy Neil and David Dunnachie performing well in central defence in front of their in-form goalkeeper Hutchison. Collins sliced a shot well wide of goal from 20 yards in the 37th minute as Rob Roy's frustration began to grow.

Hutchison frustrated Rob Roy again two minutes later when he tipped a header by Aitken round the post. McLaughlin was shown yellow for breaking up a home attack in the 41st minute, and Collins fired the resulting free kick over the crossbar.

Half time : 0-0

The Glens made a half time change with young Daniel Salah coming on in right midfield in place of the trialist right back, with Graeme Brown dropping back from midfield into his normal defensive position.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Rob Roy once again pressurising, and Hutchison made a terrific save to deny what seemed a certain goal for Ryan Tiffney, somehow parrying away the striker's close range shot.

Andy Neil limped off with a knock in the 52nd minute and Josh McCorry replaced him in central defence, but it made no difference to Glencairn's determination to keep a clean sheet as Dunnachie took command of the defence and headed everything away that came near the goal.

McLaughlin was fortunate not to see a second yellow card when he was penalised for deliberate handball in the 61st minute, the referee deciding that a final warning sufficed on this occasion.

A minute later the deadlock was broken. McNeil won the ball in a block challenge in midfield, and the ball broke through to Thomas Kilmartin, who raced through on goal and then squeezed the ball past Murdoch (pictured below) to make it 1-0 to Glencairn.

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 1 Thomas Kilmartin

Thomas Kilmartin fires Glencairn into the lead.

The goal seemed to give a huge confidence boost to Glencairn, and also seemed to knock the belief out of Rob Roy. As the game moved into its final third it was the visitors who seemed the fitter side, despite their lack of training and matches during the 4-week wait to play this match. A lovely passing move ended with McLaughlin releasing McNeil on the left edge of the penalty area, but his shot was too straight at Murdoch.

Jamie Hunter replaced McGuire for Rob Roy in the 70th minute, and Hunter tried his luck from 20 yards five minutes later but pulled his shot well wide under good pressure from the disciplined Glencairn defence.

McLaughlin tried a spectacular finish in the 84th minute when he was picked out by a ball over the top by Welsh, but he overcooked the effort again and it flew over the crossbar. Rob Roy tried to press for an equaliser, but their efforts lacked belief and Aitken pulled a tame shot wide of the target in the 87th minute.

Glencairn saw the game out comfortably despite a few minutes of stoppage time, and manager Willie Harvey was pleased to end the season in such a positive manner. Harvey commented, "The players' attitudes were excellent out there today, and when you consider how many players we had missing and players playing out of position it was good to end the season positively. Some of these players will be moving on now to other clubs and some will be staying, but there was no difference in application from any of them, which was good to see. It's good to finish in our highest position for a few years, but we could have had more had it not been for that bad dip in mid season. But we'll take a few weeks off now and then go again, hopefully we can continue to improve our league status."

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy :- Murdoch, Carter, MacKenzie, Upton, Martin, Davison, McGuire (Hunter), Duff (Collins), Aitken, Tiffney, Flood. (Subs not used - Houston, Brogan, Brown (gk).)

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison, Trialist (Salah), Galloway, Neil (McCorry), Dunnachie, Welsh, Brown, McNeil, McLaughlin, Kilmartin, Ballantyne.

Man of the match - (chosen by Colin McNab) JC Hutchison.

JC Hutchison JC Hutchison

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