Saturday 13th February 2016 - Friendly match
(Report by Peter Ferguson)
Alan Muir curls in a wonderful free kick for Glencairn's third goal.
With no competitive fixture scheduled for this weekend, Glencairn topped up the squad's match fitness with a hastily-arranged friendly match at Toryglen against Central District League side Lesmahagow Juniors, whose own league match had been called off earlier that morning.
The match gave manager Willie Harvey the opportunity to look at a couple of midfield trialists, one starting the match on the right of midfield and the other on the substitutes' bench. Neither of Glencairn's two goalkeepers were available for the noon kick off, so trialist stopper Daniel Mastraszek made his first start for the club after training with the club for several months.
Lesmahagow were first to threaten in the 2nd minute as James Coffey almost picked out Johnny Logan in the middle, but Brian Eadie made a good interception to block for a corner. Glencairn responded a couple of minutes later as Mark Duffy set up Trialist no.7 for a shot which was sliced wide of the target from 16 yards.
Logan showed good pace to get past Eadie in the 6th minute but fired his shot across goal and wide of the far post. The all-action start to the match continued when Tony Fraser's pass to Duffy was mis-kicked fortunately into the path of Alan Muir who looked certain to score, but his effort was weak and was blocked by 'Gow goalkeeper Derek Barnes.
Glencairn took the lead in the 8th minute with a quite clinical breakaway goal. Lesmahagow's attack broke down and the ball was fed wide to Trialist no.7, who looked up and then fired a perfectly weighted long pass into behind the retreating 'Gow defence, and striker Mark Tait didn't need to break stride as he lobbed Barnes from 20 yards to open the scoring.
An excellent defensive block by David Dunnachie denied James Coffey in front of goal when an equaliser looked likely in the 14th minute, while at the other end a minute later a header backwards by defender Ryan Docherty to Barnes was inches away from an interception by Tait.
No risks are taken with injuries in friendly matches, so when Fraser felt a slight niggle in his hamstring after 20 minutes he sensibly left the field and was replaced by Trialist no. 14, who went into the centre of the pitch with Alan Muir moved to the left of midfield to replace Fraser.
Mastraszek made a good save down low to his left to deny Logan in the 24th minute after some slackness in the Glencairn defence, but it was nothing to match the slackness in the 'Gow back line which gifted The Glens their second goal on the half hour mark. An attempted pass across the penalty area by a defender went straight into the path of Mark Tait, and he didn't stop to say "thank you" before despatching the ball confidently past Barnes to make it 2-0.
Lesmahagow tried to respond immediately and a reverse pass released Jack Currie in behind the defence, but Mastraszek once again proved to be a match to the shot. 'Gow only had two substitutes to use, one of them being the manager, and he was forced into a change as James McCrorie limped off and was replaced by Mark Fitzpatrick.
A couple of minutes later Duffy had the chance to increase Glencairn's lead further as he was given space to turn inside the penalty area, but his effort was cleared off the goal line, while at the other end Mastraszek impressed again with a diving save to deny Coffey after 37 minutes.
Some of the 'Gow players didn't seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet, and the referee was watching closely and ready to intervene if necessary as three players had a very vocal disagreement on the pitch. Shortly after this Lesmahagow's manager brought himself on to replace defender Docherty.
A minute before half time Glencairn made it 3-0 with a touch of brilliance. A free kick was awarded on the edge of the penalty area, and Alan Muir stepped up to fire a curling and dipping effort into the top left hand corner of the net, with Barnes helpless (pictured at top).
Half time : 3-0
Glencairn made two changes at the interval, with Paddy Cullen returning from injury up front to replace Tait, and Mark Batchelor came on in central midfield to replace right back Graeme Brown. Kenny Hadden moved to right back and Dean Muir dropped back to sweeper. Alan Muir moved back into the centre of midfield, swapping with Trialist no.14 who moved to the left, as Willie Harvey looked to assess various options for both the trialists and the regular squad.
It seemed that The Glens had switched off somewhat at the start of the second half, and Jamie Hamilton was allowed to run at the defence and fire in a shot which Mastraszek saved down low in front of goal. The slackness continued in the 48th minute as Lesmahagow pulled a goal back, Brian Eadie short with a pass back and Logan nipping in to set up Jack Currie who couldn't miss from six yards out.
The warning wasn't heeded and 'Gow should have scored again in the 53rd minute in similar fashion. Batchelor was caught out this time, and Logan squared for Currie, but the ball seemed to bounce off the striker's shin and squirmed inches wide of the post when it seemed easier to hit the target. All the chances seemed to be falling to Currie, and he was guilty of another extraordinary miss in the 62nd minute as Logan once again set him up with a brilliant low cross, but he stumbled as he tried to shoot and Mastraszek smothered the loose ball.
Glencairn's fans were delighted to see the return to action of Sean McGuire in the 67th minute after a recent injury, and he replaced Alan Muir in the centre of midfield.
Trialist no.7 continued to catch the eye as he skipped past a few challenges and was blocked in the act of shooting, and then he pulled a save out of Barnes in the 80th minute with a curling effort which the 'Gow no.1 had to palm round the post. With three minutes remaining it was Trialist no.7 again to the fore, showing good awareness to intercept a throw-out by Barnes and volleying the ball back towards goal, the effort slipping narrowly wide of the target.
Glencairn finished the match strongly, with McGuire bursting through a tackle and firing just over the bar from 20 yards, and then Barnes saving from McGuire after he had controlled Cullen's cross and fired in a low shot.
It was a good exercise for the squad, given that The Glens have only played two competitive matches in the past twelve weeks. Willie Harvey commented after the game, "It's always good to win games, but we're not kidded on by that. We were slack at times, especially in the second half, and the teams in our league would punish us for that. However it was good to get a game, and hopefully it'll help us ahead of our scheduled home match against Clydebank next week."
Rutherglen Glencairn :- Matraszek, Brown (Batchelor), Eadie, Hadden, Dunnachie, Alan Muir (McGuire), Trialist, Dean Muir, Duffy, Tait (Cullen), Fraser (Trialist). (Sub not used - Neil.)
Lesmahagow Juniors :- Barnes, Hall, Jack Macdonald, Lygate, Docherty (Billy Macdonald), Meikle, Hamilton, Coffey, Currie, Logan, McCrorie (Fitzpatrick).
Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) David Dunnachie.