That Monday Morning Feeling
Little Boy Blue has probably felt worse on a Monday morning.A comfortable victory for the Gers, FC Semtex suffering their FIFTH defeat from German opposition this season and the inevitable fall-out from HIVs European horror show all combined to put a wee smile on his face over breakfast this morning. ..... Not being a big fan of pre-season friendlies - although I’m told the trips to Bristol and Sheffield will be remembered for quite some time - I’ve been itching for the serious stuff to get started and, while Albion Rovers at Livingston is hardly the sort of fixture to have me drooling at the mouth, the very fact that something was at stake gave it the necessary edge. And with memories of how the Rangers huffed and puffed their way through the trip to Brechin in their Ramsdens Cup opener last year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect this time around. Clearly a well-planned, rigourous pre-season routine has yielded great benefit, with the new players settling into the squad. Mind you, the unlawful signing embargo will continue to bite for a while yet. Ally will be juggling his resources over the next few weeks before all the SFA-imposed nonsense clears but, on the evidence of our team’s display at Almondvale, we have a lot to look forward to. Playing two men up front, supported by a very attack-minded midfield, it looks like the negative stuff of the past year has been consigned to history. Fingers crossed. Emerging from the dark clouds of a hangover on Sunday morning, I logged on to my laptop to find that the Gangrene Brigade had been spotted lurking around Queen Street station and Bears travelling by train were urged to tread warily. What is it with these sad specimens? If I supported a team which had a free run at the league title and the European scene, I wouldn’t be at all concerned about what is going on elsewhere. But as we all know, they are totally obsessed by our great club, it is and always will be all about the Rangers. There were even suggestions that they might be tempted to head for Livingston to noise up our fans and lend their support to Coatbridge’s finest. But it didn’t happen. Perhaps they, just like the HIVs who had been well and truly pumped by Malmo on Thursday night, were still licking their wounds from Saturday when, in front of little more than one man and his dog, FC Sporting Integrity de la Gallowgate lost 2-1 to Borussia Moenchengladbach. Maybe the prospect of joining a big crowd scared the GB away. Having just returned from a wee jaunt to the sun, I settled for a Sunday afternoon with the Armchair Loyal and looked forward to some hooghing and chooghing with BBC Alba. Never being too inclined to listen to what TV commentators have to say, the Gaelic dialogue didn’t put me off. The football was very easy on the eye and, with some good Christian music booming out from the stands, it was as good a way as any to get back into the old routine. When the TV cameras zoomed in on Dumbcaster I found myself wishing a Bear would question him about the eligibility of our trialists. Quite amazingly, the new SPFL – the body which we are assured will be the saviour of Scottish football – isn’t quite sure about the rules. ‘We inherited this competition’ was their pathetic response in the build-up to the weekend game. Decisive management, eh? Then the cameras turned their attention to Nacho Novo, making his way into the ground more than 20 minutes after the start. Perhaps his minder, the Manfromdelmonte, overslept...for a 4.05 p.m. kick off!!! Two excellent goals from Nicky Law had the Gers in easy street before half-time, Ian Black linked up well with Jon Daly to hammer in our third, then David Templeton came off the bench to fire in one of his trademark 20-yarders near the end. A comfortable win, a good performance but, predictably, Timothy wasn’t overimpressed. Pre-match talk was all about the make-up of the Albion Rovers line-up, with a few of the Septic-minded vowing to do us some damage. Well, nobody can accuse Kevin, Ciaran and Michael (Messrs Nicoll, Donnelly and Dunlop) of willfully letting their mates down. I'll bet they all consoled themselves last night by bragging about how, although they were played off the park by the Sons Of, 'we sure got stuck right intae them currant buns'. Who cares about a 4-0 humping when you can boast about getting a yellow card? Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of Scottish football in the twenty-first century. They can stick a new label on the package but, whether it be SPFL, SPL or SFL, it is still the same hate-filled product. They tried to bury the Rangers but failed miserably. All the frustrations of the on/off league reconstruction, a cynical move to give the corrupt SPL access to the Rangers pound, have to be filed away in the memory bank. Payback time will come, there is nothing more certain, but for now we have to get on with the business of winning the Second Division - don't gimme that League One pish! - and if we can make an impact in the cup competitions then so much the better. The Ramsdens Cup is well within our capabilities. I won't stick my head in the oven if we don't win it but it would be good to get our name etched on yet another bit of silverware. Sunday's performance certainly gave us some cause for optimism.
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