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Kilmarnock 2-0 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup*, Rugby Park, 14/11/20.

Not as bad as I’d feared, even if we were on for a hiding in the first half but Ryan McGeever got injured which we could have done without.

It’s a long time since this Cup has been a happy hunting ground for us. The group this year always looked a stiff test. Too stiff as it turned out.

The table makes for unhappy reading but I suppose this competition is never a priority for us.

Back to league business next Saturday.

*Betfred Cup

Dumbarton 0-4 Falkirk

Scottish League Cup*, the Rock, 10/11/20.

Well, the least said about this the better.

Down to barer than the bare bones for various reasons (injuries, suspensions) we could only put two subs on the bench.

In that context and with players having to make shift, it’s not too dreadful. Thankfully it wasn’t a league game.

But. Expect the same – or worse – on Saturday in the last of this season’s League Cup ties at Kilmarnock?

*Betfred Cup if you like.

New League Cup Group

Football? What football?

Saturdays are empty at the moment, no trepidation in the run-up, no joy or despair at 4.45.

It seems an age since I posted news about Dumbarton FC.

Still, Sons’ opponents in this year’s League Cup (Betfred Cup) have been announced.

Kilmarnock, Dunfermline Athletic, Falkirk and Clyde make for pretty stiff opposition.

Something to look forward to, though. (Or perhaps, dread.)

Alan Gilzean

So Alan Gilzean, whom Jimmy Greaves said was the greatest foootballer he had ever played with, has gone.

I never saw him play in the flesh, his time in Scotland being before I started watching football regularly and he was in any case in a different division to Dumbarton but he was a byword for accomplishment.

Before his move down south to Tottenham Hotspur Gilzean played for a great Dundee team, so great it won the championship of Scotland in 1962 and a year later reached the semi-finals of the European Cup. That was, of course, in the time when other Scottish clubs could compete almost on a level playing field with the two Glasgow giants. That success came in a remarkable 17 years when Hibernian (1948, 1951, 1952,) Aberdeen (1955,) (Hearts 1958, 1960,) Dundee (1962) and Kilmarnock (1965) became Scottish Champions. An incredible sequence: between the wars only Motherwell, in 1932, had broken the monopoly of Rangers and Celtic on the League Championship and subsequently only Aberdeen (1984, 1985) and Dundee United (1983) have performed the feat.

The power of money and the lucrative nature of European competition for the big two brought all that to an end. We’re unlikely to see anything like it again.

I’ve strayed somewhat from the point.

Gilzean was a great player, one whose movement on the pitch (from televisual evidence) was deceptively effortless looking, he seemed to glide over the ground in that way that only accomplished players manage to achieve. His scoring record isn’t too mean either; 169 in 190 games for Dundee, 93 in 343 for Spurs, 1 in 3 for the Scottish League and 12 in 22 for Scotland.

Alan John Gilzean: 22/10/1938 – 8/7/2018. So it goes.

It All Starts Again

This didn’t take long in coming round.

Not even a fortnight after the play-off final Sons now know who they will play in next season’s League Cup*.

And it’s a tough draw, with two top tier sides in the section in Kilmarnock (whom we played in the same competition last season) and newly promoted St Mirren (familiar to us from the last two seasons in tier 2) alongside Queen’s Park, just relegated to the bottom tier, and non-league Spartans.

This will be Sons’ first competitive fixture against Spartans and might be a chance for me to pick up yet another Scottish football ground I’ve not yet visited. That depends on whether the game will be at home or away. Each team only plays the other once.

*Betfred Cup if you must

Kilmarnock 3-0 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup, Rugby Park, 29/7/17.

So that’s our League Cup participation over for another year.

Played four, won none, drawn one, lost three, for two, against eight.

Inspiring.

Can’t wait for August 15th when we get pumped out of the Challenge Cup.

Hope our league form is better.

Just at the minute I’m not holding my breath, though.

Football Again

The new season doesn’t take long in coming around.

Sons’ opponents in the League Cup (Betfred Cup) will be Kilmarnock, Ayr United, Clyde and Annan Athletic. Matches to be played during the second half of July.

A quick reunion with Ayr, then. Doubtless we’ll get nothing out of that. They had the hex on us last season. It’s a long time since we played Kilmarnock.

Live It Up 1: Live It Up

Three years ago it was the 1960s, two years ago the 70s and last year it was the 1980s from which we at work were to pick our favourite song as a piece of fun at Easter.

The 80s winner?

A Town Called Malice.

Second was Money For Nothing, both from the beginning of the decade I noticed.

I haven’t bothered doing 80s songs up to now as among other things it was the decade style forgot (at least if Ashes to Ashes can be relied on.) I also wasn’t paying that much attention to contemporary music then.

Mostly though it was because I couldn’t decide which song to go with for the series title.

I’ve opted for Live It Up because that’s what a lot of people purported to do during Thatcher’s time. (A lot more were miserable.)

This particular song always reminds me of Boghead, late lamented ground of the famous Dumbarton FC, the Sons of the Rock. It was a Second Division game when Tommy Burns’s Kilmarnock came calling on their way to promotion. (And thumped us, so ruining our already unlikely promotion prospects.) Live It Up was played over the tannoy.

The group which performed this were (are?) Australian – which also goes along with the Easybeats connection of Friday On My Mind – but their name could be Scottish. Except I suppose if it were, the last word would be much more expressive.

Mental As Anything: Live It Up

Hell Mend Them?

At the time of writing Rangers Newco are set to play in Div 3 of the SFL this coming season. (A welcome aspect of the SFL decision for me was that Dumbarton voted for that outcome.)

Whether that will be the situation by the end of tomorrow’s meeting of the SPL is another matter.

There has been talk of financial meltdown in the SPL with St Mirren, Motherwell, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee United and Kilmarnock said to be in danger of going into administration should “Rangers” be absent for the SPL for more than one year.

If the fact of Rangers (note, there, the lack of inverted commas) being liquidated were not enough to show the SPL business model as being a busted flush then surely this would be. Not one of those clubs’ finances ought to have been dependent on the presence in their league of another club – nor on the uncertain largesse of any television company. Yet that is what appears to be the situation. As I have said before I have no wish too see any club go to the wall but if they do they have only themselves to blame.

They also seem to have the outright gall to put the blame for this on the SFL clubs’ decision on Friday. If they could not survive without the presence of a phantom club (for that is what “Rangers” now are) why on Earth did they vote to expel that club from their league?

That league was set up in the belief that the so-called big clubs did not need those lower down – that the smaller clubs were in fact a drag on them.

It now turns out that the opposite is the case. By and large SFL clubs have cut their coat according to their cloth; some have even thrived! Indeed, the SFL may well be the refuge for those in trouble higher up.

A time of crisis now no doubt faces the whole of Scottish football. That it will emerge from it leaner and fitter is only to be hoped. If it does so it might be in the absence of some of those who thought themselves above the rest. Some might say, “Hell mend them.”

Not Any Time Soon

While looking up Eddie Turnbull’s career for my post on his death I noticed something remarkable.

Hibs won the league three times during Turnbull’s playing career; in 1948, 1951 and 1952. Not only that: in the seventeen years spanning their first win till Kilmarnock’s sole league title in 1965 no less than five different non-Old Firm sides won the league. Apart from Hibs and Kilmarnock, Hearts (1958, 1960,) Aberdeen (1955) and Dundee (1962) are on the roll of honour. That beats even the early years of the Scottish League when in its first 14 years Dumbarton – 1891 (shared with Rangers) and 1892 (outright) – Hearts (1895, 1897,) Hibs (1903) and Third Lanark (1904) all were champions of Scotland.

Can anyone imagine that sort of thing happening now?

The Old Firm duopoly is so entrenched that the mere thought is instantly dismissable.

The only team to upset the Old Firm domination of the league between the two World Wars of the last century was Motherwell, in 1932. (See here for the full list of winners.) The 28 year run from Third Lanark’s title in 1904 till Motherwell’s is the longest such period of unbroken Old Firm hegemony. So far.

At present it is 26 years since anyone but Rangers or Celtic won the league. (Aberdeen 1980, 1984 and 1985) and Dundee United (1983) are the only provincial sides to win a championship since the 1960s. Neither look likely to repeat the feat soon. Barring extraordinary circumstances, circumstances that are unforeseeable, to me at any rate, that 28 year record will be broken in 2014.

The Scottish Cup has always been a more likely prize for a “smaller” club to win but even so that 1950s and 60s period saw no fewer than seven non-Old Firm clubs lift the trophy. Aberdeen in 1947 (and 1970,) Motherwell (1952,) Clyde (1955 and 1958,) Hearts (1956,) Falkirk (1957,) St Mirren (1959) and Dunfermline Athletic (1961 and 1968.)

Of course, in those days the playing field was a bit more even as each club shared its gate money with the away team. Since the introduction of the system whereby each club keeps its own home gates the imbalance between the Old Firm and the rest has grown bigger. This is merely exacerbated by the Champions League money available to Celtic and Rangers nearly every season. (Though none of that stopped Rangers getting into substantial debt recently.)

The other clubs are simply not in a position to compete. It’s a sad and unhealthy situation.

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