Determined Glen pick up three home points out of four.
It’s been a tough old run in but Glen have so far managed to come out on the plus side and although mathematical security is not quite assured the side is closer to Premier League safety that it was three weeks ago.
The first side that needed to be overcome was Glasgow Mid Argyll, a team which picked up both points when Glen visited them in the smoke. This time the points went to Glen but it was not as straightforward as the 4-0 score line would appear to suggest.
GMA did well but came to the match minus not only team boss George Hay but also without a considerable number of their more experienced players. Archie Robertson took the helm however and his expert eye laid out a side which included 6 youngsters from the Bearsden and Milngavie shinty academy.
Glen began the match all guns blazing but apart from Ewan Brady hitting the side net in an early attack nothing really went goalward with any threat behind it and the few balls which were on target saw keeper Donald Oliver on hand to smash them away. Glen however made the breakthrough in 19 minutes however when John Barr playing at centre picked up a cross ball in midfield and then fired it home from all of 40 yards
The next act of note came from Ali Mackintosh, playing in the unfamiliar role of wing forward, but his drive at goal was once more saved by Oliver with his legs.
The second goal eventually came in 27 minutes when Eddie Tembo smashed the ball in on target and this time, though Oliver stopped the initial shot, the rebound fell to a razor sharp Neale Reid who tucked the ball home with a deft touch.
In 37 minutes, Tembo, again running through the defence at will caught a high ball in the air but his full blooded overhead strike came back off the GMA bar and was scrambled away to safety.
The second half followed a similar pattern and Glen pressure eventually paid off when Eddie Tembo reacted quickly to glance home a ball which had deflected off a defender to put the home side three up and finally in 79 minutes Neale Reid got his second when some close pressure on Oliver resulted in a fourth Glen goal
The match against Inveraray was probably a more severe Premier test but a greatly under strength Glen thankfully notched up yet another valuable point. With seven players from the regular side not available for a variety of reasons, Glen started the match in a state of uncertainty but as always opened at speed. With youngster Kelvin Mackenzie starting on the wing the pace of the Glen front men did cause some problems for Inveraray and in 8 minutes Neale Reid had a snap shot which keeper Graham Macpherson had to look lively to field. Gregor McCormack was next on target and minutes later Calum Fraser drove past the post.
At the other end though Inveraray always posed a threat-even without the presence of Gary Macpherson and after some sloppy Glen defensive work Grant Griffin pounced to put the visitors ahead with an emphatic strike.
When Griffin again pounced on some uncertain Glen defensive work to put Inveraray two up matters began to look grim for the red and blacks though up the other end, with Ian Macleod and Arran Macdonald driving them on from midfield more and more pressure began to build up on the Inveraray defence. You have to say that while Davie Robertson is a fine full back, the key to the ‘Rary defence is keeper Macpherson. He is sure in the air excellent at clearing his lines- rarely does a ball come back off him far enough to make a chance for the incoming forward- and he is like lighting off his line to clear the danger. However just when the clock was running down on the first half, Neale Reid put the Glen back in the picture with a stunning strike. Macpherson had just pulled off a fine save from a powerful strike from Iain Macleod but his defenders were slow to clear and Reid work the ball wide and hammered it home to throw the Glen a lifeline. Indeed one minute later Eddie Tembo hunted down a cross by Kelvin Mackenzie but his resulting shot whizzed just past the post.
The second half opened once again with the Glen in the ascendancy, this time shooting towards the shop. Once more Reid was on target almost immediately after the break when he picked up a ball in front of the defence and buried the ball with venom to score yet another memorable goal.
And that was really that - except for the fact that Glen were unable to snatch a winner despite having a number of good opportunities and then... disaster! Calum Fraser got tangled up with Davie Robertson and having caught his opponent round the neck found himself dismissed. Fair play to Robertson, he shook his opponents hand to indicate his sympathies for the man sent off and the Glen got on with adjusting to the last 20 minutes with 11 men on the field.
Was it a fair sending off? From the point of view of old stagers who put up with and handed out worse without being dismissed, the red card looked harsh. It was however correct.
Glen pushed on and had a further chance or two but in the last ten minutes they had their backs to the wall as Inveraray pushed forward to secure a winner. By now however they found a determined Glen defence with Ali Mackintosh, John Barr, Davie Girvan and particularly Stuart Reid in excellent form. Keeper Garry Mackintosh also played his part and though Inveraray caused Glen hearts to miss a beat whenever they crossed the half way line, they did not in hindsight actually threaten as much as the Glen spectators feared they might. The real downer was that John Barr found himself in the ref’s book with the last hit of the game when his clearance out for a shy- and he struck the ball- was judged to be dangerous to the young Inveraray forward who caught the follow through on the side of the foot. Perhaps it was though the Wing Centre doesn’t think so- but he would say that wouldn’t he?
When all the fuss had died down however the end of the story was that Glen had picked up a valuable point on a day when both Oban and Bute failed to do so.
However there is still a great deal of shinty to play before anything is actually settled-and at this stage of the shinty season it is safe to say that the form book is now meaningless.
One picture is of Stuart Reid who had an excellent afternoon at full back though the other two of Lewiston’s finest- Arran Macdonald and kid brother Neale gave him a run for his money.
The other should be in a caption competition. Iain Macleod is practising his heather step but what is Whytie up to and more importantly why is EJ letting him do it?