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Clyde 0-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Broadwood Stadium, 31/7/21.

Wow. I didn’t see this coming. It’s welcome all the same.

But it remains to be seen whether we’re actually any good (though comments on Pie and Bovril suggest we are managing to look like a football team) or whether Clyde were just gash.

The home game against Airdrie next Saturday will give me more of an idea about that.

It All Starts Again

Today Sons’ new league season begins. It doesn’t seem any time at all since the aggregate play-off win against Edinburgh City and of course we have had three games in the League Cup* already but this is the big one.

We kick our SPFL Tier 3** campaign off away from home against Clyde. What with the usual churn of players in the close season I have no idea what to expect.

At least with luck we’ll go the full 36 games this time unlike in the past two seasons.

Sometime during it I might even get to see us play in person rather than on a screen.

* Premier Sports Cup

** You can call it cinch League One if you wish.

Partick Thistle 2-0 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup,* Group H, Firhill Stadium, 20/7/21.

I was away for the past two days (family business) so did not post on the result from Tuesday night. Not as big a gubbing as on Saturday but we had nearer to a full team out.

It seems we played quite well but lacked a cutting edge. (The first part of that sentence makes a welcome change.)

I suppose though we’ll need to wait for a week on Saturday and the league starting to see how things really are.

*Premier Sports Cup.

Dunfermline Athletic 5-1 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup,* Group H, East End Park, 17/7/21.

Barring miracles it’s never going to be a good day when you lose a goal inside two minutes and then another after four. (That one came courtesy of former Son Dom Thomas.)

Needless to say miracles were not forthcoming. They were unlikely given our Covid and injury ravaged squad. The scoreline says it all.

At least we scored one, Ross MacLean getting his second of the season already.

Partick Thistle away on Tuesday night and then we can concentrate on the league. Maybe we’ll have a full complement of players to choose from by then.

*Premier Sports Cup

Dumbarton 1-2 Stenhousemuir

Scottish League Cup,* Group H, The Rock, 13/7/21.

Despite four players being out of contention due to Covid, and one more isolating, plus two injured, Sons game against Stenhousemuir in the League Cup went ahead tonight, with only three subs on the bench.

We took the lead through Ross MacLean but lost two goals in the second half, one of them came with the curse of the ex as former Son Robert Thomson (of blessed memory in the tier above) headed the winner.

That’s progression in the League Cup gone for another season then.

Two glorified friendlies away from home to get through before the league starts. Let’s hope there are no injuries.

*Premier Sports Cup

Charlie Gallagher

I was profoundly sad to read from the club’s website that the midfield inspiration of the Sons Second Division title winning team of 1971-72, the side which ended a fifty year absence from top flight football, Charlie Gallagher, has died. It is safe to say that without his promptings from midfield Sons may not have won promotion that year.

He was probably past his best when he joined the Sons from Celtic, with whom he’d been in the Lisbon Lions squad, mainly as an understudy to Bertie Auld, but was, according to the grey sage Bob Crampsey, much underrated. Nevertheless he gave that Sons team a creative midfield presence essential to its eventual success.

His displays included a magnificent performance in a 3-3 draw away at Partick Thistle in the League Cup quarter-final of 1970. We won the second leg 3-2. In the semi-final we drew 0-0 with Celtic (a team which had reached the European Cup final less than six months before) after extra time before losing the replay 4-3 in extra time after being 2-0 down in the 90 minutes. (In that extra time, at 2-2, one of their goals ought to have been disallowed for a crossed ball going out before coming back in. The linesman raised his flag but put it down again when the ball went in the net. After that goal they scored again and started to try to play keep ball. Once we got it back we did the same but then launched a counter attack up the left which ended with us scoring in a supreme get-it-up-ye moment.) Charlie played so well that it is said during the game Celtic’s manager Jock Stein told his team to “break that bastard’s legs.”

From that 71-72 promotion season I remember in particular Charlie’s free-kick against Alloa at Recreation Park – my first ever visit to the Recs. The goalie had lined up his wall and the ref was striding away towards his vantage point when Charlie carefully moved the ball aside about six inches. He then blasted it past the wall and the keeper for the only goal in a 1-0 win. (Vital at the end of the seaon, but all those wins were.)

This photo (taken from Pie and Bovril) shows Charlie about to score from a free-kick against Celtic in the Drybrough Cup (remember that?) Sons players also in frame are Johnny Graham and Kenny Wilson. Great days.

Charlie Gallagher

His skill from free kicks meant they were almost as good as penalties. In all Charlie scored 29 goals for the club.

He will forever be remembered as a club legend.

Charles Gallagher: 3/11/1940 – 11/7/2021. So it goes.

Dumbarton 0-3 St Mirren

Scottish League Cup,* Group H, not The Rock, 10/7/21

No your eyes do not deceive you. The result of tomorrow’s game is as above. One of our players has tested positive for Covid and as a result the club has had no option but to ask for the game to be cancelled. It therefore suffers the penalty of a 3-0 loss.

Not a good start to the new season.

*Now apparently the Premier Sports Cup.

Challenge Cup Opponents

The Challenge Cup is now apparently the SPFL Trust Trophy.

The Sons have been drawn to play Rangers B at The Rock in Round One. The game is to be played in the midweek of August 10/11.

This is just rubbish. There is no good reason for B teams to be playing in SPFL competitions. Most fans of lower league teams totally hate the concept as a stalking horse to them entering the SPFL itself. (Their inclusion has not led to any increase in gates at such games, in the way its proponents suggested it would. Nor will it benefit the Scottish national team in any way, as has also been put forward.)

Partly that is because lower league fans boycott these games as a matter of principle but it is also partly because fans of the respective first teams don’t give a stuff about anything but their first teams and wouldn’t cross the road to watch a B team.

The only silver lining I can take from this match-up is that the last time we played Rangers Colts (as their under 20s) was that we actually went on to reach the final.

New Season’s League Fixtures

Sons’ fixture list for next league season is on the club website. Oddly we begin and end against the same team, Clyde.

Apparently our division is to be known as cinch League One.

I’ll be sticking with SPFL Tier 3.

Sons 2020 League Cup Schedule

I forgot to post them here when the club put them up but Dumbarton’s Scottish League Cup* 2021/22 group stage fixtures are:

Saturday, July 10 – St Mirren (H, 3pm)
Tuesday, July 13 – Stenhousemuir (H, 7.45pm)
Saturday, July 17 – Dunfermline Athletic (A, 3pm)
Tuesday, July 20 – Partick Thistle (A, 7.45pm)

Four games in ten days – it’s a bit like the hectic end to last season.

The first is just over a month away!

*Now known as the Premier Sports Cup.

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