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Dumbarton 1-4 Queen of the South

Scottish League Cup* Group E, The Rock, 20/7/19

Well.

This isn’t looking good, is it?

I know they’re a division above us but still. Annan drew with them in midweek after all – and Annan aren’t very good.

I hate to think how many Motherwell will put past us on Tuesday night.

*Betfred Cup.

Morton 6-1 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup*, Group E, Cappielow Park, 16/7/19.

Ouch!

We could have done without such a thumping.

I suppose it’s a sign of our lack of cohesion. The team hasn’t had any time at all to gel. But it’s a bit of an embarrassment nonetheless.

Still, we lost 7-0 at St Mirren in the League Cup in August 2008 and went on to win the league that year.

Do you hear the sound of someone clutching at straws?

*Betfred Cup

Annan Athletic 0-1 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup* Group E, Galabank, 13/7/19.

A win! A win I wasn’t expecting – certainly not after only signing five of the players on show within the previous forty-eight hours.

But this ought to be tempered with caution. Annan were far from impressive even if they are only one tier below us. But compare last season’s equivalent game at Spartans – two tiers below us – where we only got a draw.

With nine new players starting I had no idea who was who to begin with – apart from Kyle Hutton and Stuart Carswell, the latter now Sons captain and the stand-out player on the park.

We had the better of the early stuff, several efforts on goal (Annan’s first did not arrive till 40 mins in – their second was only a couple of minutes later but both were wide of the mark; indeed, crosses aside, Jordan Pettigrew in Sons’ goal did not have a save to make in the entire game) and a lot of corners in our favour but I still never felt our defence was comfortable. Too many years watching Sons does that to you.

New right back Lewis Crawford – a local lad – was solid and got forward well, he had our first shot on goal but it was blocked and not long after a header which unfortunately was straight at the keeper. He’s no Sam Wardrop though. Rico Quitongo on the other flank seemed defensively sound and got forward too.

Paul Crossan (P J Crossan on the club’s squad list) looked effective on the wing, reminiscent of Andy Stirling in build. He cut inside well and looks to be an upgrade on Bobby Barr.
Ryan Tierney up front held the ball up impressively but whether he’ll be able to do it against better defenders remains to be seen. He took his goal well though. Neither of our front two is on the tall side but Tierney still managed to win quite a few balls in the air. Mati Zata in midfield, though, looked like a fish out of water, not really getting into the game at all.

An Annan fan sitting near me said to his mate sometime during the second half that Dumbarton looked organised. How that’s so is a miracle given our lack of time together or maybe it’s just a reflection of Annan’s lack in that regard. Or (at the risk of getting ahead of myself and despite Sons fans less than enthusiastic embrace of the signings so far) do we simply have better players than them?

Three games against teams in higher divisions now before the league starts. Make the most of the win.

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness

Home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.

This sits just off the A 9 immediately south of the Kessock Bridge. It has three stands. The western side is open, without seating or standing area. I visited it for the first time in April last year when the Sons were up there for a league match.

Stadium from Kessock Bridge:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness

North Stand from access road. (Emblazoned with the legend “Tulloch Caledonian Stadium”, as was the South Stand. This may be a sponsorship which has now lapsed):-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, North Stand

Main Stand. (The Jock MacDonald Stand):-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand

Main Stand from south:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand From South

South Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, South Standd

Main Stand seating:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand Seating

North Stand from Main Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, North Stand from Main Stand

South Stand from Main Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, South Stand from Main Stand

Challenge Cup 2019-2020

Sons’ opponents in the new season’s Challenge Cup* will be either St Mirren Colts or East Kilbride Thistle, who play against each other the previous week for the privilege of meeting us.

At least it’s a home game for us, but given our record in this competition under its various names – season 2017-2018 notwithstanding – it will most likely be the only one.

*Now apparently sponsored by Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer.

New Season’s Fixtures

The league fixtures for next season are now on the club’s website.

It looks fairly tough already.

Given we only have ten players signed at the moment – one of whom seems to be permanently crocked and two being goalkeepers – it may be even tougher come the actual games.

League Cup Fixtures

The dates for the four* games Sons will play in next season’s League Cup have been announced.

July 13th Annan Athletic away,
July 17th Morton away,
July 20th Queen of the South at home,
July 23rd Motherwell at home.

It’s an odd sequence; with two away games followed by two home ones.

*We won’t be going beyond four.

League Cup Draw

Gosh. These things come round quickly.

Sons have been drawn against Motherwell, Morton, Queen of the South and Annan Athletic.

The games are to be played between July 13th and 27th. No other details as yet.

Stevie Chalmers

Barely a week after the sad demise of Billy McNeill comes news of the death of his Lisbon Lion teammate Stevie Chalmers.

But Chalmers wasn’t just a teammate. He was the scorer of that goal. Not the best, not the most spectacular, not the most intricate, but perhaps the most precious goal in the history of Scottish football. It was the foot of Chalmers that deflected the course of Bobby Murdoch’s shot into the Inter Milan net and so made sure that Celtic would become not only the first (and so far – and likely forever – the only) Scottish, but also the first British (and first North European) team to lift the European Cup.

Bill Shankly is reported to have said to Celtic’s manager that day, Jock Stein, when they won the trophy, “Jock, you’re immortal.” Well, so too is Chalmers; or at least his memory is.

Looking at his Wikipedia page I see Chalmers turned out for the Sons of the Rock (for one game; as a trialist. Looks like we missed a good one there.) Our loss was Celtic’s gain. He ended up the club’s fifth highest ever goalscorer.

Thomas Stephen (Stevie) Chalmers: 26/12/1935 – 29/3/2019. So it goes.

Relief

Well. It’s been a season.

Not the one we’d hoped for, but also not the one that for a long time I feared.

Today’s 3-0 win at home to East Fife, combined with Brechin’s loss at Stranraer and Stenhousemuir’s at home to Forfar means we can not be relegated. There is even an outside possibility we could finish as high as fifth if we win our last two games, but I’d suggest that’s an unlikely scenario.

Where we would have ended up without our four wins against East Fife I dread to think. It’s a seriously odd statistic that we beat them four times this season when we lost to Brechin twice at their place and also twice to Stenhousemuir. Still, that’s what a league is all about.

A stress-free last two games of the season await but memories of Dom Thomas apart, this has been one to forget, really.

I don’t suppose it’ll be long before I get to worrying again, though. July is only three months away.

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