WHEN the SFL fixture computer spat out the season’s card on the Hampden dot-matrix a few weeks ago, many would have predicted Saturday’s encounter between Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory XI and the Bairns to be one of the games of the day. However, both sides are proving to be less than the sum of their parts in the first few competitive games after turning in a number of pisspoor performances.
Alas! To the relief of the travelling support, it was the Bairns who levered themselves away from the wrong end of the table with a 2-1 win. All the damage was done in the first half, with Lyle Taylor’s right-foot pilotless drone wiping out the leadership of the Greenock insurgents just before half time.
Some relief, then, for “Elvis” Pressley; but none at all for “wee Mooro” in the home dugout. The squeaky little tracksuited gnome has had to endure a public questioning of his “tactics” by Wonka in the papers this week, and greeted this chastening criticism with a sigh and a shrug. “You’re always under pressure at Morton” was his bizarre response – akin to a car park attendant observing that “you’re always under pressure at NCP Sauchiehall Street”. Moore now faces two critical games against the Miners and Dumbo and really has to win both, as it’s clear that another miserable season trampling down the sour grapes of the First Division mid-table will not be tolerated at Cappielow.
Plastic Whistle went into a dogfight with the hapless Dumbo at Firhill, with the Sons already trailing smoke from both engines and the crew bailing out. This is exactly the kind of fixture the Harry Wraggs have been embarrassed in throughout their history and only a fool would have bet confidently on their success. But so bad are the Sons that, yet again, the Maryhill Magyars couldn’t help but win 3-0. The result leaves Saturday’s antagonists at opposite ends of the table; Thistle have the only remaining perfect record in the First Division, whilst poor Dumbo have settled at the bottom of the league like a torpedoed convoy.
The Pars travelled to take on the Fake Diamonds in Lanarkshire, wary of their opponents’ unexpectedly good league form. After yet another Boyle opening the scoring for the Broomfield Fugazis midway through the first half, it looked as though it might be another good day for the team still smarting from being placed in a league higher than the one they had been preparing for. Just as the Pars coaching staff were about to prepare a mumbling post-match address involving the words “consolidation” and “we should be the 12th club in the SPL”, some Champions League hoofball saw them pick the lock to their cell and burst relievedly from the jail.
HOOF! The mercurial Cardle levelled from a corner. HOOF! Yet another header from another cross that landed on Stephen Husband’s head via the upper atmosphere, and the points were headed back to Fife. The Pars have enough going for them at set-pieces to do tolerably well this season, without ever seriously troubling the promotion race.
Speaking of Fife, Turnbull Hutton’s Shock Troops shut out the stuttering Franchise at Stark’s Park in a topsy-turvy scoreless draw, whilst a lone goal from the Miners‘ Kyle Miller was enough to see off a mediocre Hamilton Comicals side at Central Park. Billy Reid’s Comicals have raised few laughs of late, and this was another performance that fell badly flat before a stonily silent travelling support.