Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going to the Celtic Game

Sometimes a fortunate decision is made on a whim and it turns out to be the right one on the day. This past week end the Wing Centre was fortunate that because of circumstances he missed out on a trip to Inveraray to take in the Celtic game.
Which is why when he went down to the training on Monday to see a row of dustbins acting the part of the Inveraray defence (it was a training exercise and the dustbins seemed to be having a good game and were even playing in front of their men too) he was greeted with the question.
“Where were you on Saturday?”
“At the Celtic game”
“Don’t suppose that’s too bad a reason. Didn’t Ross County do well?”
“Ross County? It was Beauly that was playing Celtic. I was over at Braeview watching the Beauly game. It is not often you get a wee team like Beauly playing against a side from a big city like Oban so there was no way I could miss that”
“You mean you did not know that Ross County beat Celtic 2-0, Wing Centre?”
The answer was indeed no- for the Wing Centre is not often up with topical events unless they involve shinty. He only became aware of the Gulf War when the Highlanders had to postpone a Strathdearn cup tie.
Of course some past events now began to make sense. He remembered that when he was over the hill partaking of a quiche and quaffing a glass of Chianti in the cafe on the corner of the square a chap at the next table seemed pleased when he received a text telling him that Celtic were two down. It seemed a bit sudden because as far as the Wing Centre knew Astie would have scheduled the match to begin at 2.30 and as far as his watch was concerned it was 2.15. Of course, the text chap must have been talking about the football. No wonder the Wing Centre got a funny look from the folk in the cafe when he asked if Sean or Barry had got the goals.
It seemed strange at the time too because when he went up to Braeview the match had not started but at the time the Wing Centre had simply thought the man in the cafe was a Beauly fan getting a wind-up off one of his mates.
It was a lovely day at Braeview and though the crowd was sparse it was good humoured. They enquired after the Wing Centre’s welfare and gave him some tips for surviving in Beauly. They also asked him if he had come over as a tourist, told him where the Priories were (hotel and historic building) and advised him not to go into Munro the Butchers unless he had at least a tenner in his pocket because otherwise the butcher would laugh at him.
By this time Oban Celtic had gone ahead with a low hard shot from Kenny Wotherspoon which beat Beauly keeper Martin Davidson for pace. However from that point the Beauly defence marshalled by Innes Simpson and Rodger Cormack began to lift their involvement and Celtic were pinned back in their own half. Beauly’s David Neilson equalised with a shot from close range in 23 minutes and Sean Stewart put the Greens (who were actually playing in orange) into the lead soon after. The first half finished with Beauly 4-1 up through further goals from Jamie Maclennan (close in and through the keeper’s legs) and David Neilson (from close range again)
Halfway through the first half however, news had come to the Wing Centre that the Glen were 2-0 up in Inveraray and were also defeating Lochcarron comprehensively in the Sutherland: there was no further need to worry. He could relax and enjoy the rest of the Celtic game. But that sadly went off the boil in the second half. A Celtic player took a head knock at the start of the second half and whether it stemmed from that or not, the match became towsy and went downhill a little. Beauly took two other goals-Neilson completing a hat-trick and Mark Maclachlan finally getting on the score sheet just before the end of the match- but the Beaulacs lost Innes Simpson to a nasty blow on the ankle which may have been simply careless .Whatever the cause it looks as if the big man took a sore one and the Greens will miss him for at least a week or two.
The match ended 6-1 but by that time your reporter had ceased to care because the news had come in from Inveraray that things were not good. After going two up through goals from Eddie Tembo and a stunning strike from Lewis Maclennan the Glen lost a goal via a soft penalty which was converted by Gary Macpherson. By half time the scores were even and in the second half Inveraray ran the show with Russell Mackinlay coming off the bench to hit a hat-trick. It was not a happy performance and while an end result would have been acceptable at 4-2 which it was until the last eight minutes or so, when Inveraray rubbed salt in the wounds with two late strikes.
The reason? The Glen defence could not handle the pace of McMurdo, Macpherson and Griffin while Mackinlay’s finishing is always top class. No wonder they won two cups last season- they have every chance of winning more and they will no doubt target them making sure they have key personnel ready for cup ties.
The Lochcarron result was a boost though no one likes to see a side lose so many goals. Hendo continues with his youth policy though apart from Ewan Brady it was the more mature players who hit the net with a strike from Ross Macaulay, doubles for both Stuart Morrison and Gregor MacCormack and a incredible 6 for Dave Smart who must be worth a blog photo if only he would slow down to pose for a snap beside that fancy car of his.
The snap-an Inveraray landmark- but the guys should not have taken it literally.

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