Friday, March 06, 2009

Glen get it smack on against Lovat

Glen 4 Lovat 1
This was the last friendly before the Premier League started and the opponents were none other than those sons of the soil themselves- the Crofters from over the hill. The last minute switch of venue threw the Glenners a little bit and as such they found themselves without out any of the female gender available to run the kitchen. The sad result was that our guests had had to remain uncatered for since it is a given that none of the male Glenners has the slightest ability to run a catering establishment and watch a shinty match at the same time: that level of multi tasking only comes on the female chromosome, at least in the Glen.
As for the Lovat female chromosomes, the Wing Centre couldn’t possibly comment.
However, it was good to see the Lovat tribe back over the hill once again. Macritchies were there young and old, Gallaghers young and old, Fergusons young and old - but Millicans were merely old. All of them were however still game for a game. More than that, they brought with them a good side and they will perform well in the division and have every chance of picking up top place again, provided they all do some serious training. Again that depends on how much they love their shinty.
However, there is no point in being fooled by this result : Lovat did not look up for the match particularly and if they were then they should have pushed Martin Bell up to half forward. The team played well though Ryan Ferguson tended to take a few too many touches while Raymond Rennie scorned a chance to open the scoring early in the match. Ewan Ferguson is always a strong presence but the Wing Centre prefers his determination in the centreline where the competition tends to be most intense.
It was a privilege however to watch a match which had two top class keepers on display. Stuart Macdonald the Lovat keeper is an excellent stopper and in the first ten minutes he had a top class run of saves especially from Andrew Corrigan who was in sparkling form. The problem was that it was clear that Macdonald was never going to be beaten from range at least in the early part of the match.
At the other end Stuart Mackintosh was breezing through the game; little came at him directly but it was the professionalism with which he clears up the rubbish that bobs about inside the D that marks him out as special.
The Glen opener came about in 15 minutes after an excellent passage of play in which Calum Miller was prominent. The ball was worked out wide and a drive on the goal was blocked by keeper Macdonald only to fall at his feet where it was gleefully dispatched by Billy Urquhart who was following up at pace. It was a simply worked second phase goal and one the Glen will have to work hard to master this season. The object must be to get the ball on the keeper not necessarily at pace -in fact too much pace and the blocked ball will clear itself off stick or body- and then follow up into the box. The class keepers can deal with these situations but not even they can manage it all of the time.
The Glen were for the next period camped in front of the Lovat goal and though the Wing Centre was surprised to see him in the midfield, Lewis Maclennan’s long hitting was having an effect. Ali Mackintosh was next on the move but as he entered the Lovat “D” he was brought to ground but Ref Mike Cameron was unsighted. Finally just before half time another piece of Lovat skulduggery saw Lewis Maclennan presented with a penalty which he scored comfortably.
The game continued in similar vein in the second half except that in 75 minutes Andrew Corrigan got a fair reward for his afternoon’s labour when he volleyed the ball high into the roof of the net beyond keeper Macdonald. The Glen rounded off what was in fact a comfortable victory with the goal of the afternoon when John Barr got wide on the right and placed the ball in the path of Neale Reid who brought it down and fired it spectacularly into the net for the clincher.
So what is to be taken from the win. Perhaps some comfort though the same number of goals the previous week against Strathglass would have been more welcome. The Glen are certainly missing Arran Macdonald and Eddie Tembo but it was nice to see Donald Fraser and Drew Maclennan perform well at this level. It is also true that there are one or two other second team lads who might be able to make the step up if opportunity knocks and it is also true there are old heads who could do a turn if called upon.
This is going to be an interesting season - all the more so because Glenorchy seem to be able to score goals against Strathglass away from home, a feat which many other sides failed to do. The real buzz word will be character. John Barr has to be inspirational this season and the other guys have to rise to the challenge : there will be nowhere to hide and goals will have to be scored and mouths kept shut in games which will see an intensity of physical challenge which we have only met about four/five times in the last three years - v Newtonmore in Drum, against Kyles in Tighnabruaich, against Fort William two years ago and twice against Kilmallie (more so the second time). The MacTavish Cup final has been omitted because although there were periods of intensity on that Saturday the game was never close enough to be a happy memory. We played Kinlochshiel, Skye and indeed Bute in Balliemore games but in the Wing Centre’s opinion at least, these were tame matches in contrast to the ones earlier mentioned. It is just something about the atmosphere and the intensity and it must come from both sides.
The picture was intended to be of Ron Millican as goal judge, an old Lovat friend and adversary from days of yore. However Smack popped into the snap since he assumed , modestly, that he was to be pictured as star of the day, which he was to an extent. However on the serious side after JB he will be the key player of the season. Nothing else will do but top of his game from now on in.
Best of luck, S.

Scottish Blogs