Saturday, September 25, 2010

Season 2010/2011: Match 4: Montrose v Clyde

Every so often, you get a football game that defies all logic.

Montrose were the worst team in the Scottish Football League last season. Not only did they finish bottom of the bottom division, but they really were awful for most of the season.

Clyde also had a poor season and found themselves relegated from the Second Division.

In theory, a relegated team should be able to assert itself as one of the top sides in its new division the following season. But Clyde haven't been able to do that, and today's match at Links Park was between the two sides propping up all of Scotland's 'professional' teams.

Not so much clash of the titans as clash of the tits, today's match had ineptitude written all over it before kick-off.

The opening spell of the first half mostly involved Clyde attacking and Montrose defending in their usual haphazard style. Little of note happened until midway through the first half when Clyde's Graham Girvan chopped down Aaron Sinclair on the edge of the box as the young winger was bearing down on goal. The Clyde man was shown a straight red card, but Ross McCord thumped the resultant free kick against the crossbar.

Having a numerical advantage should have counted in Montrose's favour, but those of us who subject ourselves to Links Park on a frequent basis know better than to assume Montrose are capable of making the best of any given situation.

But even the pessimists amongst us were given cause to look on the bright side just two minutes after Girvan's red card when he was joined in the early bath by Ross McMillan.

In one of the strangest episodes I've ever seen in football, McMillan hacked down Paul Tosh as the striker was preparing to shoot from near the penalty spot. Referee Des Roache initially booked Tosh for diving and awarded Clyde a free kick, but after consulting with his linesman decided to rescind the yellow card, show McMillan a red and award a penalty.

Tosh slammed the ball into the bottom corner and Montrose never looked back. McCord added a second with a header 10 minutes later to given Montrose a two-goal lead at the break.

With a two-goal and two-man advantage, Montrose were clearly going to have to implode in fairly spectacular fashion to come away from the match empty-handed. For once, they didn't, and spent the second half ripping into Clyde with clearly gleeful abandon.

Conor Thomson scored a deflected third, his shot looping over John Charles Hutchison's head and over the line. Tosh finished his hat-trick with two goals in as many minutes just after the hour mark, poking home a Watson free kick and slamming a Hegarty corner into the net from inside the box.

Martin Boyle, introduced as a substitute 30 seconds earlier, raced into the box in the 70th minute and cracked a low shot into the goal, then McCord scored an audacious goal in the 72nd minute, picking up the ball on the edge of the area and sending a bullet shot across the box and into the top corner.

Clyde did score a consolation goal in the 81st minute, Neil McGowan scoring a weak header where Montrose goalkeeper Scott Bennett should have done better.

Montrose completed the rout when they scored their eighth in the 83rd minute, Watson blasting a 40-yard shot into the top corner.

So, Montrose 8 (EIGHT) Clyde 1. Montrose move off the bottom of the table and Clyde reach a new low (both on and off the park).

The early sendings off obviously changed the game immeasurably, but Montrose played well while Clyde were horrendous. Their players were guilty all too often of standing and watching as Montrose passed around them, and at least three of the goals could have been prevented by players being alert enough to close down attackers (or mark Montrose's centre forward).

Perhaps most surprisingly, Chris Hegarty didn't pick up even a booking in a match that saw two red cards and six yellows.

Man of the Match: Plenty of candidates in the Montrose ranks. Ross McCord was an attacking livewire throughout and was unlucky not to score a hat-trick. Aaron Sinclair's pace caused problems in the Clyde ranks, particularly after the red cards. Stephen McNally had a great game in central midfield. But the obvious recipient is Paul Tosh, who banged in a hat-trick with composure from the spot and two well taken striker's goals.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Who?

I know I've written (groaned) about this before, but it's becoming increasingly apparent to me that I'm falling further and further out of touch with music.
Today I was filling out a survey for NME, and one of the questions was "What is your favourite band in the world today?".
I assumed that the question meant a band still plying their trade, still recording albums, still touring.
Which immediately ruled out my three favourite bands - The Beatles, The Stone Roses and Oasis.
I could have said The Rolling Stones, but they haven't exactly been prolific in releasing classic albums during my lifetime.
AC/DC might actually count, but they slipped my mind at the time.
In the end I opted for Super Furry Animals. Whose debut album was released in the mid-1990s and whose best album, Radiator, came out in 1997.
I could easily have gone for Doves or Elbow, if I'd remembered them before the Super Furries (the fact that I was listening to a SFA bootleg at the time may have had an impact on my decision.
But for a few minutes I couldn't even think of ONE band I'd regard as my current favourite.
Radiohead? Meh, patchy and a little bit too wanky to be a proper favourite.
The White Stripes? Great singles but average albums.
The Libertines? Are they properly back together again or was Reading/Leeds just a one-off?
And so many of my other favourites have gone - The Cooper Temple Clause, Supergrass, The Doors, The Smiths, The Jam, Black Sabbath.
How many acts in the average issue of NME have I even heard of, let alone do I like? A tiny portion.
Which comes as a great disappointment. I always thought that by now I'd be in a fairly high up position at NME, having made my name as one of the best music writers of my generation. I know there are hundreds or thousands of journalists who can say the same, but I genuinely thought I had a chance. My music reviews while I was at university were good enough to get me onto the shortlist for the 2001 Guardian Student Critic of the Year award.
I assumed that bigger and better things were just around the corner, and that by the time I turned 30 I'd have interviewed Oasis, spent time hanging out with The Cooper Temple Clause and would have written the definitive review of Elbow's mid-career masterpiece.
But now I have an attic full of CDs that never get played because they're on my iPod and I write about boats for a living.
Which is a slightly different path to the one I imagined I'd walk when I was 21.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Note to members of shop staff: if I approach the counter of your emporium holding items and my debit card, this should be taken as a sign that I have decided what to buy and am ready to pay.

I do not require several minutes of "jaunty" banter on the merits of my purchases, nor on the weather or the quality of music on the radio.

Just let me pay for my stuff and leave.

Thank you.