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An Away Trip

I remember football.

(Just.)

I remember away games.

(Dimly.)

The reason for our visit up north via Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven and finally Aberdeen last January was for one such away game; Sons’ 4th Round Scottish Cup tie at Pittodrie on 18/1/20.

Ticket to Aberdeen - Dumbarton Scottish Cup Tie, January 2020

Before the game we met up with my younger son and his wife, who were making a day of it, in a pub in Aberdeen city centre for some lunch. The pub had also attracted other Sons fans:-

Dumbarton F C Fans in Aberdeen Pub

They don’t half make a fuss before a game at Pittodrie.

Razzmattazz prior to Scottish Cup tie, Aberdeen v Dumbarton, 18/1/20:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

More Razzmattazz, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Teams coming out:-

Dumbarton F C at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Sons players:-

Pittodrie, 18/1/20, Dumbarton F C Before Game

Teams line up, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Apart from the result it was a good day out.

I wonder when I’ll be able to have another away day.

Third Round Draw

I do hope this post is not too previous.

Should Sons beat Huntly in our Second Round Cup Tie (currently due on Tuesday evening at 7.45) our next opponent will be Aberdeen at home.

We’ve made a habit of drawing Aberdeen recently, in the Quarter-Final in 2014 and in last year’s Third Round, both times up at their place, both 1-0 defeats.

This outcome is of course not guaranteed as the last time we played Huntly at home in the Cup (1992) they beat us 2-0.

Scottish Cup Time Again

The draw for the Second Round of this season’s Scottish Cup has paired the Sons with the winners of the Huntly vs Cumbernauld Colts First Round tie, postponed on Saturday.

I don’t think we’ve ever played Cumbernauld Colts but I well remember a home game against Huntly in a season when we won promotion from the old third tier (in the days when there were only three.) Unfortunately that success was not replicated in the Cup. In another home tie for us Huntly beat us 2-0. We were obviously concentrating on the league.

This season’s game is due to be played on Sat 9th Jan. That’ll be in the middle of a run of what are now five games at home in a row (provided the East Fife game – also postponed on Saturday – gets rescheduled during the period.

Jim McLean

I’ve just seen a report of the death of Jim McLean, the man who led Dundee United to the greatest successes in their history (bar a Scottish Cup win.)

Following two earlier League Cup wins (themselves the club’s first major trophies,) in 1983 his stewardship found them winning the League and becoming champions of Scotland. With hindsight that seems even more remarkable than it did at the time. As I recall (but don’t quote me) they achieved that using no more than 15 players in total over the whole season.

The next season saw an even more incredible achievement, a European Cup semi-final (matching the effort of their city rivals, Dundee, from 1963.) Then there was a UEFA Cup final appearance (thereby eclipsing their neighbours) in 1987. The most astonishing statistic of the club’s European games under McLean’s leadership is their two wins against Barcelona (OK, they were not the force at the that time they were to become but it was still a huge scalp) in that EUFA Cup run. Curiously the club had also beaten Barcelona home and away in the equivalent competition, the Inter Cities Fairs Cup, in 1966.

Some controversy surrounded McLena’s treatment of players, especially as regards the details of their contracts, but he nurtured many who went on to forge big careers in the game. His relationships with members of the press were not always rosy though. He was a personality, no doubt.

As a pure manager, though, his record is nothing short of amazing.

James Yuille (Jim) McLean: 2/12/1937 – 26/12/2020. So it goes.

Aberdeen 1-0 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup* Fourth Round, Pittodrie Stadium, 18/1/20.

Once again, we wuz robbed.

After Sons had held out for 87 minutes Aberdeen’s striker Sam Cosgrove went over like a sack of spuds in the penalty box. (Well, he’d been falling over every time a Sons player came near him all game so why would he give up the habit with three minutes to go?) Once again the ref bought it. And Cosgrove put away the penalty.

So, despite not a shot on target and only one corner won in the whole game – and that almost into stoppage time – one of the best Sons displays in the last few years ended up without reward. Defensively we were brilliant. Okay maybe they had thirteen or so chances – but they only caused Conor Brennan in our goal to exert himself about three times.

This Aberdeen side was a pale shadow of the team we played in the Cup Quarter-Final (six years ago now,) ponderous, unimaginative, plodding, but we’re not even a patch on what we were back then (as I said to my son during the game we’re not even a darn on that side) so this was a magnificent performance. It deserved better reward than a dodgy penalty against with three minutes to go. But them’s the breaks when you’re a wee team.

Again the assembled Sons fans trotted out those old favourites “What a shitey home support,” “We forgot that you were here,” “SPL, you’re having a laugh,” (admittedly that one’s really out of date now) and “You only sing when you’re winning.” Instead of Jamie Langfield it was that same Sam Cosgrove who was told, “you’re a wanker, you’re a wanker.”

Notwithstanding the final result it was a great day out. That sense of togetherness in the away section and the support for the team were both superb.

*William Hill Scottish Cup,

Cup Reward

Sons reward for beating Forfar yesterday is an away tie at Aberdeen in Round Four of the Scottish Cup.

Last time we played them was in a Cup quarter-final in 2014, also at Pittodrie. We were quite good then.

At least there’s the possibility of the club making a bit of money from this tie.

The game is scheduled for Saturday 18th January (subject to a possible but unlikely shift of date if the game is televised.)

Dumbarton 3-1 Forfar Athletic

Scottish Cup,* Third Round, The Rock, 23/11/19.

Well, we’re through. This was an odd game though.

After a fairly even start we scored after a neat move culminated in Isaac Layne passing to Adam Frizzell who still had a lot to do, beating a man before shooting. It appeared to deflect a little but still it seemed the keeper might have done better.

We immediately fell out of it, surrendering the midfield and allowing Forfar to flood forward. Consequently it wasn’t a surprise that they equalised but it was a shocking goal to lose, as nobody seemed to put in a challenge before the cross which was headed out to a Forfar player totally unmarked on the edge of the box. His curled shot was just watched into the net by everybody.

Despite Forfar having most of the game they didn’t actually force Connor Brennan in goal into any saves after that except for dealing with crosses and the like. (I use ‘dealing with’ in the widest sense as in one case he palmed the ball out almost straight to a Forfar player who thankfully didn’t make the most of it.)

In what seemed like our first foray up the field in a long time we won a corner. Stefan McCluskey swept in the corner for Ryan McGeever to power a header into the bottom corner.

It was soon all over as the most Route One goal you’ll ever see came when their centre half misjudged a Connor Brennan kick-out and Isaac Layne latched onto the ball to drive it past the advancing keeper.

At 1-1 I was dreading them scoring as we could really do with them not getting the confidence boost a win could have brought. The way we played today I doubt we’d have got back in the game. Unfortunately Stranraer achieved just that likely boost against Dunfermline today. Let’s hope that it’s short-lived.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be too harsh as we were missing the influential Joe McKee today. His general play and delivery from crosses and set-pieces is a big asset. Also out was Rhegan Tumilty, I assume because his parent club doesn’t want him cup-tied.

*William Hill Scottish Cup

Scottish Cup Draw

Sons have been drawn at home in the third round of this season’s Scottish Cup – facing Forfar Athletic on the 23rd Noveember.

At least it’s not someone in a higher division and not a potential embarrassment against a lower league side. It might only have been the once but we’ve had enough of those this decade.

Scottish Cup Again – With a Manager!

Well this has come around reasonably quickly.

Sons face Airdrie away on November 24th in the third round.

The way things have been going, though, I don’t know that we’ll be in the fourth round draw.

Hoiwever, in other Sons news, we have a manager again. The club has appointed Jim Duffy to the post.

On the face of it his should be a safe pair of hands. I hope he brings a bit of defensive solidity with him.

His appointment sees the departure of former assistant manager Ian Durrant. Former stalwart between the sticks Jamie Ewings stays on as goalkeeping coach.

Dumbarton 3-2 Dundee United

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 7/4/18

Whatever happened to Dumbarton nil?

This was a very welcome, if somewhat unexpected, three points.

We hadn’t scored against anyone bar Brechin in the league since Boxing Day and only eight at home all season (including against Brechin.) And again apart from Brechin – and Peterhead in the Scottish Cup – it’s the first time we’ve scored more than two for over a year. (The victims then were Raith Rovers on Mar 11th 2017.)

Dundee United must be pretty poor.

Seriously though, I hope the lads take encouragement into Tuesday night’s game at Cappielow. Getting at teams must be the way to go.

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