WHERE to begin with another tumultuous weekend in the SFL? Perhaps with a bit of brief serious stuff. Usually this column locates itself halfway up a mountainside, with only a First World War rifle, a home made hand-grenade, a well-thumbed thesaurus and a big dog for company, to be deployed against SFL targets of ridicule as appropriate.
But really, we should hope for a speedy recovery for Gordon “Juke Box” Durie as he finds himself in hospital this morning after taking a funny turn at Bayview. We must also send condolences to man of many Third Division clubs, David Greenhill, who was obliged to leave Ibrox at half time yesterday to rush to Edinburgh to attend to his dying father. Sad stuff all round.
Sad stuff in a football sense too for the hapless followers of the Bairns. They rocked up at their home ground yesterday – a still gleaming and atmosphere-devoid structure beamed down from outer space onto the edge of Gragemouth – expecting at least a competitive showing against Turnbull Hutton’s Shock Troops. But Elvis’s brown plastic shoes are slipping ominously on the sodden slopes of early season disaster, and the bearded oaf’s charges once again failed to gain any traction yesterday. A depressingly feeble and apathetic showing allowed the gleeful Fifers to record yet another 2-0 victory in the league and record a start much better than their early season cup toils suggested.
Only the witlessly awful Dumbo are having a worse start to the season than Pressley. Everyone expected the Sons to struggle this season as they are only able to afford a squad of solidly Second Division quality, and their two opening fixtures – against their nearest rivals at the bottom-end of the table – have been telling. A fine passing display from “Mickey” Cameron’s Miners saw them breeze to a commanding 3-0 win, with Dumbo barely getting across the half-way line at times.
Older Sons fans, surveying the smouldering wreckage of the first two performances, will probably be worried that another 1995-96 experience is in the offing – in that season, one of the worst-ever Sons teams in history was relegated by Christmas, garnering only 11 First Division points over the entire year.
A Franchise derby took place in the hideous dystopian roundabout that is Livingston. The Fake Diamonds, still smarting in humiliation after a shocking performance at the Shire in midweek, got a rough Jimmy Boyle size nine in the posterior and were threatened with a night out in Bathgate (and nae taxi hame) if they similarly failed to show up for this game. Boyle’s dire threat worked, as the Broomfield Fugazis recorded a 2-0 victory.
There are more Boyles at Ersatz Clydebank than on an Elizabethan tramp’s face, and trying to piece together a game’s narrative – which Boyle did what – can be confusing. Jack Boyle, a midfielder signed from the delightfully quaint Jersey Scottish this week – a team that sounds like it should be wearing “knickers” instead of shorts and playing Cowlairs or Dykehead in the cup – hit a shot off Andy “the Drop” McNeil, and his namesake John slotted home the opener. Paul di Giacomo also scored for a second successive Saturday as the Lanarkshire franchise sank their more loathsome Lothian counterparts in a game as suffocatingly drab as the surroundings it took place in.
In a nip and tuck encounter at East End, Plastic Whistle sunk JJ’s Pars by a single goal in the first half in a poor game. There wasn’t much more quality on show at half-finished New Douglas Park, as Hamilton Comicals and the Ton shared two goals and two red cards.