Rutherglen Glencairn Football Club


Rutherglen Glencairn u21s 2 Steins Thistle u21s 0

Saturday 4th June 2016 - LSK U21 West of Scotland Cup Final

(Report by Peter Ferguson)

Steins Thistle 1 Steins Thistle 2

Ryan Bennett lifts the West of Scotland Cup and celebrates with the rest of the squad.

They made us wait right to the final game of the season, but Glencairn Under 21s finally got their hands on some silverware, bringing the U21 West of Scotland Cup back to Rutherglen for the third time in five years by defeating Steins Thistle 2-0 in the final at Greenfield Park.

Having tasted defeat in two finals already this season, and missing out narrowly in the Premier League championship race, there was an understandable nervousness as the final approached, with seven members of the squad playing their final match of their eligibility for under 21 level. Influential midfielder Njabulo Ndlovu was missing on holiday, and his place was taken in midfield by David Quinn, but otherwise it was a full strength starting team for the young Glens, who were backed by a sizeable contingent of supporters who had made the short journey across the south side to Shettleston for the match.

There was a blow for Thistle very early in the game when their no.7 went down after an innocuous challenge in midfield, and he had to be stretchered from the field with what looked like a nasty leg injury. He was replaced by no.17, and Thistle's pre-match plans were already needing to be changed.

The opening stages were cagey, with neither team taking any firm control on the game, but Glencairn took the lead in the 14th minute with the first big chance of the game. A ball over the top of the defence saw striker Dale Wallace beat the offside trap, and he produced a calm lob over the goalkeeper and into the empty net, his 23rd goal of the season.

Dale Wallace Dale Wallace

Thistle tried to respond straight away with no.9's shot on the turn being saved by Glencairn goalkeeper Chris Truesdale. A few seconds later no.11 was released on the left and Shaun Roberts was forced to make an important block to keep Glencairn's lead intact.

In a similar move to the opening goal only two minutes earlier, Glens captain Ryan Bennett clipped a pass throught to striker Jason McArthur who again timed his run to beat offside, but he lifted his lob too high and well over the crossbar. Steins' goalkeeper made an excellent save in the 19th minute to deny Anton Phinn's low shot on the turn.

Glencairn re-shuffled their system at the mid point of the first half to quell the danger of Steins down the left flank, changing to a flat back four with Roberts moving to right back and midfield anchor man Craig Young now deployed in central defence.

A corner from the left by Connor McGuiness was misjudged by the goalkeeper and nearly dropped straight into the net, no.2 kneeing the ball clear from the goal line after 23 minutes. The next corner by Phinn picked out the head of Ross McConville whose glancing effort flew narrowly over, but the young Glens were very much in control of the game at this point.

Thistle's no.11 should have done better than slicing his shot wide of the post after some good build-up play, and it was indicative perhaps of an apparent lack of self-belief among the Thistle team at this stage.

Steins Thistle 6

Dale Wallace links with his strike partner Jason McArthur.

There was a huge let-off for the Thistle goalkeeper in the 27th minute when Phinn's attempted lob from 50 yards slipped through his fingers, but the ball rebounded from the base of the post and bounced back out. If that was lucky for Steins, there was an even bigger escape for The Glens in the 33rd minute. Truesdale misjudged a flighted ball into the penalty area, and was outjumped by no.9. The ball broke free and the striker fired across goal, the ball being turned into the net in front of goal by a Thistle player. The celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee's offside flag, and Truesdale breathed a sigh of relief after an uncharacteristic error.

Glencairn almost capitalised immediately with Quinn finding space on the right and squaring for Wallace, who didn't connect properly, with no.2 almost turning the ball into his own net but hitting the side netting instead. Thistle's no.17 (who had come on to replace the injury after four minutes) was withdrawn himself and replaced by no.12 in the 40th minute.

Phinn's corner in the 40th minute found its way through to McArthur at the back post, and he chested the ball down before volleying over the crossbar from a tight angle. Thistle had the last chance of the first 45 minutes as no.6 volleyed over the bar from 16 yards after a corner from the left.

Half time : 1-0

Steins Thistle 7 David Quinn slides into an early second half challenge.

Neither team made any changes at the interval, and Steins came out for the second half in positive fashion, no.9 and no.7 linking well before being blocked out by a good challenge by Anthony Dempsey. The resulting corner picked out the free head of no.12 at the back post, but Truesdale had moved his feet well and got across to make a good save on his goal line.

Phinn's reverse pass set up a chance for McArthur to run clear in the 55th minute, but he tried to hit his shot early instead of running through on goal, and fired a yard high and wide. Steins were much more positive about their play in the second half, however, and Truesdale had to make another excellent block to deny no.11 at his near post.

Just before the hour mark Phinn should have doubled the lead for Glencairn when he stole the ball off no.5 and ran through on goal, but he hesitated and cut back momentarily before shooting, allowing no.5 to get back to make amends for his error.

Thistle almost equalised in the 68th minute when no.8's shot was deflected inches wide of the far post, with Truesdale wrong-footed and scrambling across goal. The corner was met by a glancing header which flew narrowly wide of the far post again, but Glencairn were clearly needing another goal to make their lead a bit more comfortable.

Right on cue, the lead was doubled in the 69th minute, and it was a quite delightful strike. McArthur's clever overhead pass released Wallace on the left, and he checked back slightly before looking up for options. Wallace lifted a precise cross towards David Quinn on the far edge of the penalty area, and the midfielder chested the ball down before drilling a precise left footed shot on the half-volley like an arrow into the far corner of the net to make it 2-0.

David Quinn David Quinn

The goal celebrations which followed indicated that the Glencairn boys felt that would be the goal that won them the cup, and it seemed to puncture any belief that was left in the Thistle ranks. The Glens immediately re-shaped the team with Mark McHendry replacing Phinn, providing a more defensive discipline to the left side of midfield to protect the two-goal lead. Shortly afterwards Quinn was replaced by Danny Salah on the right of midfield, and Thistle's no.17 came back on once again to replace no.11.

Thistle huffed and puffed to try and blow down the solid Glencairn defensive line, but they were meeting stern resistance from a back four consisiting of three players who were clearly determined not to concede a goal in their final match for their team, and the best player on the park in the unflappable Craig Young. One the one occasion where Young was caught out in the 75th minute, no.9 tried to score from an impossible angle and fired into the side netting.

Jordan Davidson replaced Wallace up front in Glencairn's third change, and then with eight minutes remaining Glencairn shored things up further by bringing on midfielder Jamie Strapp to replace striker McArthur.

Thistle had to keep trying, of course, and they went close after 88 minutes when a shot on the turn flew narrowly wide, and then Truesdale made another good save with his legs to deny no.9 a minute later. Bennett broke free for Glencairn in the 90th minute and tried to score on the half-volley, but the Steins goalkeeper saved comfortably on his line.

Criag Dallas replaced the hard-working McGuiness in midfield as the clock ticked into stoppage time, but the game was well and truly won by that point. The referee added on four additional minutes, but the young Glens were never in danger of throwing away their grip on the trophy, and at the full time whistle the earlier season disappointments were all forgotten as the players celebrated a happy end to the season for everybody connected to Rutherglen Glencairn.

 Steins Thistle 4 hSteins Thistle 5

Picture 1 - The u21s coaching staff with the cup. (Left to right - Tam Bennett, Alex McArthur, Jamie McGall and Andy McFadyen).

Picture 2 - The seven players who were playing their final game for the Under 21s, along with a representative from strip sponsor Mrs Millsy's Restaurant. (Left to right - Shaun Roberts, Ross McConville, Anthony Dempsey, Ryan Bennett, Mark McHendry, Dale Wallace, Danny Salah).

Team :- Truesdale, Roberts, Dempsey, Quinn (Salah), McConville, Young, McArthur (Strapp), McGuiness (Dallas), Wallace (Davidson), Bennett, Phinn (McHendry). (Subs not used - Chrystal, Caughey, McCorry, Sproull, Copland.)

Man of the match - (chosen by Peter Ferguson) Craig Young.

Craig Young Craig Young


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