THERE’S nothing quite like the first Saturday of a league season. Fans feel that little surge of excitement as the home turnstiles hove into view for the first time in a while, or as they clamber onto asthmatic old buses, chattering animatedly about the campaign’s first away trip. It’s a day for seeing old faces last seen in May, reading a new look programme, or risking the ire of the bank manager by shelling out on that rather dubious-looking Pendle away shirt.
And what better way to start a season than with a derby? The Miners welcomed the relegated Pars to Central Park. However, “Mickey” Cameron’s attempt to park the bus and leave “The Flamingo” to feed off scraps up front backfired horribly. The Pars rattled home four goals without reply, despite being not very good. This will leave readers to draw their own conclusion as to the nature of the Miners performance – their last season at Central Park might be a long one.
The “highlight” of the day came before kick off when the home team’s mascot, a man wearing a furry cow suit, paraded round the stock car track atop a grumbling motorbike, leaving fans of both sides rubbing their eyes to try and flush out the powerful hallucinogens that seemed to have taken sudden and devastating effect. So dreadful was the woebegone “Mickey’s” opening day at the First Division office, that all that was needed at the full time whistle was a grand piano to fall out of the sky straight on top of his, balding, forlorn, beaten head.
The Bairns arrived at Firhill being touted as amongst the favourites for the First Division title this season, but froze horribly against a Plastic Whistle XI. The home side needed a good performance to staunch the flow of ridicule occasioned by their gorge-rising new black and purple away kit, and quickly, their tasteless attire was forgotten as they unleashed a virtuoso demolition of “Elvis” Pressley’s new look side. A thoroughly second-gear showing from he-of-the-brown-shoes charges, saw them concede two quick goals and eventually subside pretty horribly by three goals to one. The Harry Wraggs have put down a marker in terms of performance, and it will be interesting to see if they can match it in the upcoming games. The Bairns, meanwhile, need a pretty obvious attitude transplant.
The Ton entertained Blobby Hunter’s Frankenside at Cappielow, and a strange game ensued. The loathsome Franchise had the better of the first half and went in 2-1 up at the interval. But Allan “Wee Mooro” Moore is under pressure to deliver this season after yet another expensive squad re-build, financed by Willy Wonka’s gold chocolate coins, and another bottom four finish will see the combustible little gnome given his jotters in pretty short order. A shrill denunciation of his charges at half time led to a much improved Ton display in the second half, with Tony Wallace’s equaliser ten minutes from time ensuring a 2-2 draw – the very least Moore’s side deserved. The West Lothian Council Subsidies did well to avoid being flushed around the game’s U-bend long before then.
The last time the Sons visited New Broomfield was that joyous afternoon in late May when the Golden Elephants duly crushed the Fake Diamonds in the second leg of their playoff final. What a difference three months makes. A thoroughly calamitous showing from Dumbo saw them led meekly to the knackers and turned into dogfood by the vengeful Fugazis. John Boyle netted a hat-trick in half an hour, killing off what passed for the Sons challenge. A counter from Jim “That’s My Goal for This Season” Lister was a brief spark in an otherwise lifeless display, which produced the indignity of a fourth goal from Paul di Giacomo just before full time.
Finally, Turnbull Hutton’s Shock Troops managed a straightforward enough 2-0 success against a poor Hamilton Comicals side. Pleasingly for the Pratt Street Boys, their generous back four turned into Dickensian misers, denying the Comicals “forwards” so much as a farthing for the 90 minutes.