The Third Division campaign arrived at Ibrox with a rabble rousing speech from Charles Green, the gist of which was “We’re still here, please keep giving us your money, WATP”. The home crowd, purring at having been stroked in the right places by the bluff Yorkshire carpet-bagger, was stunned into silence on three minutes as Shire took the lead from the penalty spot after a clumsy foul from Carlos Bocanegra on Michael Herd. Shire – mischievously clad in their new “American convict” orange away top – proceeded to troll the home faithful for the opening quarter hour, before running out of steam.
Andy Little netted a hat-trick and Sandaza gave a masterclass in how now to finish chances before falling over himself for the fourth. The game finished 5-1, a flattering conclusion for Sevco 5088, who had been made to work by the Shire for at least an hour.
Shire are a funny team to work out. People under the age of about 25 can’t really remember the One Team in Falkirk (Town Centre) as being anything other than a penniless, bottom-of-the-table laughing stock, barring a brief interlude under Jim McInally. But it looks like John Coughlin is fashioning the present group in the image of Shire teams of the eighties and nineties – teams full of mavericks and last-chancers, such as Charlie Kelly, Charlie Lytwyn, Mungo McCallum – who never really challenged for honours, but who were capable of beating anyone on the rare occasions when they could be bothered.
Shire may be bottom right now, but their dazzling inconsistency should seem them lifted to about seventh by the end of the season. As for Sevco, well, they will certainly be champions of Division Three this season – and the usual slurping Sunday morning succulent fellatio has resumed in all newspapers as well (Graham Spiers’ polishing of Charles Green’s profile yesterday is a master of the genre). To read some reports, it’s as though the virulently orange Shire were actually Valencia as the subjects of yesterday’s “rampant rout”, etc. Plus ça change!
A decent crowd of over 500 turned up at Galabank yesterday, to see if struggling Annan Agricultural could get the better of “Yano” Little’s still half-awake Borderers. At half-time, with Harry Cairney’s desperate side 0-2 down, it would have been no surprise to the home faithful if the manager had re-emerged from a meeting with the Chairman and a cattle gun round the back of the main stand. However, a genuinely inspiring half-time mumble from Cairney saw the hosts transformed, and the complacent Northumbrian dimwits were dismissed with a 3-2 flea in their ear. Some commentators had the Wee Rangers down as playoff possibles in pre-season, but there seems little evidence that there will be any future basis in reality for such claims.
Reality engulfed Duff Jimmy’s Bully Wee at a largely empty Recreation Park yesterday as despite a reasonable start, two horrific defensive brainfarts presented the Fishy Jailers with all three points. Reality also engulfed the Binos and banished any lingering smugness from their opening day five-goal showing. Mankini-wearing mercenary Mark Peat had to pick the ball from the net a satisfying three times, as Hellgin Academy Sixth Form recorded their first three points of the season at the expense of his pisspoor side.
The Gable Endies’ last victory at Hampden occurred sometime shortly before the Relief of Mafeking, but for a long period yesterday it looked like that centuries-old hoodoo would finally be smashed. The loss of the talismanic teenager Martin Boyle to Jute City through the week was, thankfully, counterbalanced by some disabling tactical nurdling from Gardner “Il penseroso” Spiers in the home dugout and lingering tiredness from being wrestled to a standstill by Plastic Whistle in midweek.
The travelling Skoda-Estelle’s worth of fans were left in open-mouthed astonishment midway through the second half when Scott Johnston added to the free-scoring Lloyd Young’s opener. However, never underestimate the Bottom Endies’ ability to fashion failure from the raw materials of success. Sickening late counters – both scored in the last four minutes – gave the Arachnid Amateurs a point they definitely didn’t deserve from a rotten, two-left-footed performance. Questions will be asked about the Links Park Lost Causes lack of mental and physical fitness after surrendering such a good position so tamely, and suffering yet another morale sapping body blow in the process.