Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club

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Rutherglen Glencairn 1 Partick Thistle Youth Team 1

Saturday 6th December 2014 - Friendly match

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Partick Thistle Youth Team

Jamie Gilmartin curls in a second half free kick.

With the scheduled league match away to Yoker Athletic postponed due to a cup replay for Yoker, The Glens took the opportunity to keep the squad ticking over with a friendly match against a young Partick Thistle side under the roof of the Toryglen Regional Football Centre.

It was pleasing for The Glens' management and supporters to see the return in central defence of Marc Russell, who has been missing for two months due to a thigh muscle injury, and he took his place beside Mark Bishop who also returned after missing last week's win over Maybole. There was also a place in the starting XI for trialist right back Graeme Brown as manager Willie Harvey continues to weigh up his defensive options.

Glencairn made a positive start and had their first shot on target in the second minute, Jamie MacLeod and Thomas Kilmartin combining to set up Denis McLaughlin for a shot which was saved by Thistle goalkeeper Connor Cullen. Another attack down the left wing in the 11th minute saw Andy Neil's overlapping run end with a cross which was sliced over his own crossbar somewhat fortunately by Thistle midfielder Cameron Ferrier.

Thistle's first attempt on goal came in the 16th minute as Mark Lamont skipped away from Jordan Dalzell on the edge of the penalty and fired in a shot, but JC Hutchison saved comfortably on his goal line. The young Thistle side should have been in front in the 20th minute but, after Alex Cassells rounded Hutchison, his finish wasn't hit strongly enough and Brown got back onto the goal line to hook the ball clear.

The match was being played at a good tempo on the huge pitch inside the Toryglen arena, although clear cut chances were at a premium. MacLeod's free kick from 20 yards in the 25th minute was saved down low by Cullen.

Glencairn upped their game at the 35th minute and McLaughlin went close twice in a minute, first of all firing over the bar from 18 yards and then pulling a save out of Cullen with a rising shot which the Thistle no.1 tipped over the crossbar.

Cassells had the ball in the net for Thistle in the 42nd minute but the effort was correctly ruled out by the referee for a clear offside. Glencairn had the last chance of the first half as Brown's cross from the right was met by a bullet header by Bishop, which Cullen did well to parry away.

Half time : 0-0

The Glens made five changes at the interval, with Laith Al Naeme replacing Hutchison in goal, and also introduced were top goal scorers Ross McNeil and Jamie Gilmartin, winger Keiran Donaghy and defender Willie Galloway.

Thistle had the first effort on goal in the second half, James Beattie allowed to run diagonally towards the penalty area before shooting, Al Naeme saving on the dive to his right. At the other end a few minutes later Gilmartin pounced on a slack pass back and tried to chip Cullen, but got it completely wrong and scuffed the ball straight back to the grateful goalkeeper.

The deadlock was broken in the 54th minute, as Thistle took the lead. A precise pass in between Bishop and Russell released the pacy Alex Cassells and, although Al Naeme got a good hand to the shot, it had enough strength to drop behind the unlucky Glencairn goalie and into the net.

Cassells almost doubled his tally in the 62nd minute with a similar effort, but this time Al Naeme got enough of a block on the ball to be able to scramble back and smother the ball before it crossed the line. Glencairn then used their final substitute, trialist midfielder John Hollis replacing the energetic McGuire in midfield.

A superb diagonal pass by Galloway in the 64th minute picked out the run of MacLeod on the left, and the winger's first touch took him away from his marker before he fired the ball across the face of the goal and wide of the far post.

Glencairn were pressing for an equaliser, and McNeil went close in the 70th minute as his sharp turn and shot inside a crowded goalmouth was parried away by Cullen. Three minutes later Lamont should have scored for Thistle after a pacy run and cut-back by Cassells, but he pulled his effort wide from 8 yards out.

If Glencairn were going to get a goal then McNeil was looking the most likely, and his curled free kick from 20 yards in the 75th minute flashed inches wide of the post with Cullen beaten.

Nobody expected the manner in which The Glens would get their equaliser in the 78th minute. Thistle keeper Cullen rolled a goal kick out to central defender Corey Irvine, who tried to return the ball to Cullen, only to see the keeper not reading the intentions. First to react to the loose ball was Ross McNeil, and the striker had an open goal to roll the ball into for probably the easiest goal he will ever score.

Ross McNeil Ross McNeil

Both teams still fancied winning the match, and a mistake by Hollis in the 82nd minute allowed Andy McCarthy the chance to get in behind the Glencairn defence, but he fired over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.

Three minutes later a lovely pass by Gilmartin released McNeil on the edge of the penalty area, and he tried to beat Cullen at his near post, but the young keeper got a foot to the shot to deflect it over the crossbar.

Al Naeme made an excellent save with two minutes remaining as Beattie pounced on a slack pass by Esplin, the Glencairn stopper diving full length to his left to beat away the goalbound shot. A late flurry of corners for Thistle was comfortably defended by The Glens' defence, and the referee brought the game to a close after two minutes of stoppage time.

Rutherglen Glencairn :- Hutchison (Al Naeme), Brown, Neil (Galloway), Bishop, Russell, Esplin, Dalzell (Donaghy), McGuire (Hollis), McLaughlin (McNeil), Kilmartin (Gilmartin), MacLeod.

Partick Thistle Youth Team ;- Cullen, Malcolm, Gallagher, Simpson, Irvine, Ferrier, Munro, McCarthy, Cassells, Lamont, Beattie. (Subs - Hood, Lynch, Granger, Bonnar.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Marc Russell.

Marc Russell Marc Russell

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