IT’S EUAN MCGUFFIE’S WEEKLY LOOK AT ALL THINGS LOWER LEAGUE. IT’S TIME FOR THE SPFL CORNER.
Altogether now, to the tune of Lonnie Donegan’s ‘My Old Man’s a Dustman’ –
Kevin Cawley’s magic
He wears the magic hat
And when he saw the Indodrill Stadium
He said…..Say whaaaaat?!
Yes, the field of dreams that is Alloa’s Recreation Park is to be renamed the Indodrill Stadium after our Chairman struck a lucrative 10 year sponsorship deal with the Indonesian drilling contractor. I guess nobody can really ridicule the name given that nobody has heard of the company, nobody outside of the town’s thriving Indonesian community of course. It certainly sounds better than Ross County’s ‘Global Energy Stadium’ or Rangers’, I mean Newcastle’s ‘Sports Direct Arena’. And with a six figure sum on offer (approx £99,999.00 more than the Ibrox naming rights went for) in this day and age you bite their hand off.
I for one welcome the move, though I can’t imagine myself ever referring to that little patch of heaven as anything other than The Recs in normal conversation. I can however totally refute rumors that the Wasps will now take to the field to the 80’s pop-awfulness of Full Metal Jacket (I Wanna Be Your Drill Instructor).
Last Friday evening best-of-the-rest Championship hopefuls Raith Rovers were given a reality check in a 0-4 pumping at the hands of visitors Rangers, in Kirkcaldy. I’d like to make a point of talking-up the visitors’ display in hope of avoiding a similar pumping as Rangers visit Alloa this coming weekend. The last time Raith and Rangers met was in the Ramsden’s Cup final, widely agreed to be the worst game of all time, and though Rovers were victorious that day things were different this time around. It all fell into place on the park in a confident display from Ally McCoist’s team who began to dominate play after Ryan Conroy and Lewis Vaughan had looked lively early on for the home team.
Lewis MacLeod and Nicky Clark were proving a real handfull for the home defence and Clark opened the scoring with a header 16 minutes in. Just over 20 minutes later the ball broke to Iain Black 20 yards out and his rasping shot was deflected past Raith keeper Ross Laidlaw. The game was put beyond doubt just 1 minute later when Nicky Law curled in the third. And with just over 15 minutes left Grant Anderson’s trip on Lee Wallace saw Lee McCulloch net the 4th from the spot. A convincing, high-tempo win for Rangers and it could have been more had Laidlaw not performed heroics to deny further efforts from Law and Kris Boyd. Rangers go top of the league.
Elsewhere in the Championship: Hearts stuttered in a 0-0 draw at Dunbarton; Falkirk and QoS drew 1-1; Hibs fought back from 1-2 to beat Cowdenbeath 3-2; and Alloa got pumped 0-4 at Livingston :(
Livingston set out to prove that their victory over Alloa was not a fluke as they host Raith Rovers at Almondvale. Ach, to be fair Alloa never turned up; Livy cruised through and boss John McGlynn insists there’s more to come. Pre-season saw The Lions losing striker Andrew Barroman (to Morton), midfielder Martin Scott (Raith Rovers), defender Kyle Turnbull to Albion Rovers, and most notably striker Marc McNulty who left for big bucks to join fellow ex-Livy star Stefan Scougall at Sheffield United. Livingston’s signings seem to be paying off with on-fire former Stirling Albion striker Jordan White scoring a hat-trick against Alloa. Also arriving at Almondvale were strikers Gary Glen (Ross Co.), Rob Ogelby and Myles Hippolyte (Southall). Defender Declan Gallagher joined from Dundee along with midfielder David Robertson from Morton. I wasn’t overly impressed when Raith beat Alloa and I think this will be close but I fancy Livy to take the points.
Elsewhere in the Championship: Falkirk v Dumbarton; Hearts v Cowdenbeath; QoS v Hibs; Alloa v Rangers :\
SPFL League One
I can’t remember what I predicted the score to be in last weekend’s match between Stirling Albion and Brechin City but let’s just say I went for an emphatic victory for Brechin shall we. Ray McKinnon’s team romped to a 0-5 win at Forthbank against Binos who put in a shocker of a performance. The teams were separated by just a single goal by half time, after Andy Jackson’s 14th minute opener but he added his second just after the hour. Alan Trouten netted City’s third from the spot after being fouled by Gordon Smith and Bobby Barr got the fourth was just under 15 minutes remaining. Trouten got his second and Brechin’s fifth a minute from time. Stirling manager Greig McDonald was raging afterwards, branding the result ’embarrassing’. That’s a wee shame.
Elsewhere in League One: Ayr United were knocked off top spot in a 0-2 defeat to Stranraer; Morton beat Airdrie 2-1; Dunfermline go top after 3 wins in a row and most recently beating Stenhousemuir 2-0; Forfar beat newbies Peterhead 1-0.
Forfar travel to Forthbank hoping that Stirling Albion will put in the same type of ‘performance’ they did against Brechin. It’s looking good for Forfar right now as they moved level on points with leaders Dunfermline and Ayr following last Saturday’s win. It’s 3 wins from 5 for Dick Campbell’s team so far this season, including one over Dunfermline. The Loons finished seventh in League One last season and although not tipped by many to set the bridies alight this time around they are still capable of pulling off the odd surprising result and I think they can hold their own in the division.
Over the summer Forfar lost defender Iain (son of Dick (that sounds worse than it should)) Campbell to Cowdenbeath and fellow defender Marvin Andrews to Elgin. Keeper Darren Hill joined Hamilton in the Premiership while midfielder Jamie McCluskey joined Morton and forward Paul McManus left for Arbroath. Arriving at Station Park was the experienced former Aberdeen and Dunfermline midfielder Derek Young and fellow midfielders Danny Denholm (Livingston), Stephen Husband (Dunfermline) and Dale Hilson (Dundee United). Good start to the campaign by The Loons and I expect them to leave Stirling with the points.
Elsewhere in League One: Airdrie v Stranraer; Brechin v Ayr; Morton v Dunfermline; Peterhead v Stenhousemuir.
SPFL League Two
It’s looking good for former Wasp Darren Young in his first foray into management as his Albion Rovers team went top of the table following a 0-2 win at Montrose. It was always going to be an uphill struggle for Montrose however as their keeper Stuart McKenzie was sent off for a foul on Ross McNeil after just 3 minutes. The home team didn’t crumble though and came close to taking the lead themselves in the 20th minute when Paul Watson’s free-kick forced Rovers keeper Neil Parry into a great save. McNeil opened the scoring with a header after half an hour but The Gable Endies continued to make the visitors work for the points until Mark McGuigan got the second on 81 minutes. There was really only going to be one outcome though, after losing their keeper so early on.
Elsewhere in League Two: Barry Ferguson’s Clyde blew a load of chances and lost 1-0 at East Stirlingshire; Annan beat Berwick 2-0; Queens Park beat Elgin 2-1; and Arbroath were knocked off top spot after losing 0-2 to East Fife.
East Fife play Queens Park at New Bayview. East Fife were relegated from League One last season, having flirted with that eventuality the season before, and boss Gary Naysmith has had a clear-out. Former coach Robbie Neilson is at Hearts and keeper Greg Paterson remains in League One with Stirling Albion. Defender Scott Durie went to Clyde and a load of midfielders have left New Bayview: Gregor Fotheringham (to Stenhousemuir); Scott McBride (to Arbroath); Paul Willis (to Berwick); Gary Fisher (to Albion Rovers). And who can forget Liam Buchanan’s move to Alloa and his cracking winner over the Hibees.
Arriving in Methil were former St. Mirren and Hamilton striker Jon McShane, along with fellow forwards Kevin Smith (Dumbarton) and Ross Campbell (Forfar). Defenders Fraser Mullan and Ewan Moyes arrived from Raith and Brechin, respectively. Midfielders Caolan McAleer arrived from Partick along with one-time-Abroath-fixture Paul Cook. After a disastrous start of three straight defeats it’s now back-to-back wins for the Fifers going into his weekend’s match with Queens Park. Two wins and three defeats for The Spiders and this will be a tough one for them, with East Fife expected to be up in the mix at the end of the season. Fifers in this one I reckon.
Elsewhere in League Two: Berwick v Albion Rovers; Clyde v Arbroath; East Stirlingshire v Annan; Elgin v Montrose.
*Note to Ed. – please don’t post a link to that Drill Instructor song….