Saturday, January 26, 2013

Season 2012/2013: Match 14: Rangers 1 Montrose 1 (Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division Three)

Today was a match of strange noises and lack of noises.

The attendance at Ibrox was 46,273, which is 46,000 people more than usually watch Montrose on any given Saturday.

It must be discombobulating for the Jonathan Crawfords and Alan Campbells of this world, to go from playing in front of 12 men, a Maz, three toddlers and a dog, to playing in front of four times as many people as actually live in Montrose.

Today we experienced a round of spontaneous applause in the opening 10 minutes; an eerie minute's silence accompanied by a lone piper's lament in the 54th minute; a ground ringing to the sound of cheers when Rangers opened the scoring just before half time; and a chorus of boos when the final whistle went, Montrose having equalised and secured a point.

Montrose welcomed Martin Boyle back to the club, the current holder of the Ginger Boot back home to get some game time while Barry Smith attempts to unfuck Dundee's season in the SPL.

But with Leighton McIntosh and Garry Wood in good form of late as a striking partnership, Boyle was inserted at right wing, presumably with a view to having him run at Lee Wallace as often as possible.

Which might have been an idea if Montrose had played the ball to him to run onto. But they didn't, and Wallace dragged him out of position as he operated as a wingback.

Jamie Winter also came back into the team, and it appeared that the midfielder had a good festive period, having seemly added an additional couple of stone to his already curvaceous figure during his absence.

Neither side looked particularly good during the first half, and the greatest entertainment was to be found in watching the managers. Ally McCoist bounced between apopleptic rage, weary dismay and enthusiastic encouragement, while Stuart Garden passed the afternoon by engaging in an argument and staring battle with the linesman. When Lee Wilkie is telling you to calm down, you've gone too far.

Rangers took the lead on the verge of half time, David Templeton crossing the ball into the net via the unorthodox route of Jonathan Crawford's leg, which was a shame both for the leg in question and new Montrose goalkeeper John Gibson, as they'd both had a decent enough game up until that point. Crawford's leg was having one of its better games in fact, although I'm not yet sure if that is because Crawford himself has better control of it, or if it has escaped his clutches completely.

Templeton was the best player on the park by a fair margin, but his hard work was frequently let down by the dire situation in the Rangers attack. Francisco Sandaza may not be the worst player I've ever seen in a Rangers jersery ("Hi Nuno Capucho! Hiya pal!"), but he's a long way from being the best. Dean Shiels was unusually quiet as well.

Then we have the midfield. Lee McCulloch and His Enormous Penis were injured today [I should probably state here that I don't know if McCulloch's injury was in any way penis-related], so Rangers started with Kyle Hutton and Lewis MacLeod in central midfield. MacLeod lasted only half an hour before being stretchered off, at which point he was replaced by Ian Black, the (very) poor man's Barry Ferguson.

It should be noted here that I don't intend the Ferguson comparison as a compliment. Black has all of Ferguson's worst qualities - girny pus, bad attitude, delusions of grandeur, superiority complex - but none of the talent. Although he can pass the ball sideways and occasionally hit the post with a free kick, so I suppose there are some similarities.

Anyway, as the match went on, Rangers looked more and more average, and Montrose began to see more of the ball, and more of it in the Rangers half as well. Garry Wood came close with a long-range effort, but the match really changed when Leighton McIntosh went off for David Gray, with Boyle pushed up front to test the Rangers centre backs.

And when the goal came, it was a goal worthy of silencing Ibrox. Gray picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed a shot that rattled the underside of the bar before bouncing over Alexander's line and in. The Montrose players swarmed to the corner containing their dedicated traveling support, while Rangers' players waited for the ground to open and swallow them up.

Neither side particularly deserved to win today, although Rangers created enough chances to do so several times over. That they didn't will be of particular concern to Rangers' all-time leading goalscorer, currently one of only two Rangers managers never to win a trophy...

Question of the Day: Why were both Ally McCoist and Stuart Garden wearing tracksuits and football boots? Surely unless you plan on joining in the match, you should be in a suit?

Man of the Match: For Rangers, and the match as a whole, it was David Templeton, who was head and shoulders above everyone else on the park, but whose exciting play too often met a dead end in his strike force.

For Montrose, all of the players put in a good shift, but I was particularly impressed with John Gibson, the latest object of affection for the Montrose Goalkeepers Fan Club (Membership: 1 (and that one isn't me)).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Season 2012/2013: Match 13: Montrose 1 Clyde 1 (Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division Three)

Weather: Montrose had some today. Other places apparently had more. 12-year-old referee with no testicles decides at 10am that match will go ahead. 32-year-old men with testicles would rather keep them warm at home but decide to brave Arctic conditions and concrete shed nonetheless.

Crowd: Is 336 people officially a crowd? Or is it just a gathering? What is the collective name for a gathering of Montrose fans? A delusion? What's the collective name for a smattering of Clyde fans? A resignation?

Goalkeepers: Sandy Wood flapped like a flappy thing today. Stephen McNally didn't, pulling off a fine one-handed save on the line in the seventh minute. Unfortunately he's a right back, not a keeper. Referee Robertson, unlike McNally, made no mistakes with this one. Red card, penalty kick, Clyde goal from John Sweeney. Montrose prepare for 83 minutes with 10 men...

...but Montrose survive Clyde having most of the first half play, despite Sandy Wood channeling the ghost of Ramiro Gonzalez ("YAGSHEMASH! REGARDS!") with a goalkeepering performance that incorporates the Can-Can and an impromptu game of crab football.

After the break: Much better from Montrose, who dominate the second half despite being a McNally short. Stuart Garden resists the temptation to tinker with his team, hoping to pick up the Oscar for "Most Addams Family Substitutes Bench" by having Lee Wilkie, Paul Lunan, Phil McGuire and David Crawford sit in a row for 90 minutes.

A nifty combination of neat passing and spawny deflections sees angry woodpecker Scott Johnston equalise on the hour mark. Leighton McIntosh and Paul Watson also have chances as Montrose run their piss-poor visitors close.

What It All Means: Verbal Kint is really Keyser Söze. Sorry, wrong drama. It means Montrose are still third in Division Three (or second in the league of teams not spending £10,000 a week on strikers), and will remain so unless Peeeeeeeeeterheeeeeeeeeeeid wallop Rangers at Balmoor tomorrow.

If they remain in third place until the end of the season, they will get a play-off place to see which of the SFL's proposed divisions they play in during season 2013/2014. The Elite League of 19 teams, splitting after three matches with a round robin decider? The Championship Select of eight teams, splitting after 14 rounds of fixtures, with the the top and bottom sides meeting at Hampden in a meaningless challenge match? Or Serie 12, made up of the remaining 57.7 amateur, semi-pro and pub teams, who nobody gives a fuck about?

It's all too exciting.

Man of the Match: Terry Masson. Sent to right back after less than 10 minutes, kept Montrose's momentum up despite being out of position. Pushed close by Paul Watson, David Gray and Ricky McIntosh.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Jimmy Savile Inquiry - New Victims Emerge

It seems even the residents of Beanotown weren't safe from the shadow of Jimmy Savile. Poor Minnie The Minx. This all seemed so innocent in 1986...