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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

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.

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.

League Cup Group 2021

Gosh. This came round fast.

Sons have been drawn in a group with St Mirren, Dunfermline Athletic, Stenhousemuir and Partick Thistle in next season’s League Cup, now officially the Premier Sports Cup.

Thr group starts on Saturday July 10th. That doesn’t leave much time for our new manager – whoever he may be (I assume it’ll be a he – to get players in. Four of last year’s squad have left as it is – twoof them for group opponents Stenhousemuir.

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.

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.

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