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St Mirren 5-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, St Mirren Park*, 27/3/18.

Well. The inevitable happened here.

After Saturday’s exertions and disappointment it was always likely we would be flat for this game.

We could have done without losing five goals though and the result at Caledonian Stadium means we’re more than two wins adrift of eighth and only eight games left.

Wee’re not going to claw that back.

*aka Paisley 2021 Stadium.

St Mirren 0-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, St Mirren Park, 2/12/17.

What a welcome – and unexpected – three points.

Mind you we’ve apparently played quite well the past few weeks – certainly did at Dunfermline – and with St Mirren having gone down to ten men just before half-time I would have been disappointed not to take anything from the game. But I’d have snatched your hand off for three points before it started.

I was reduced to listening to the radio in the car for snippets and was increasingly worried we wouldn’t score in the second half but Tom Walsh came up trumps and – marvel of marvels – we held out for the win. (If only we’d done that in the past two games we’d only be below Queen of the South* on goal difference.)

Too early to get carried away though but surely we needn’t fear anybody in this league.

Down to earth with a bump next week?

*Edited to add: And Dunfermline, and only a point below Morton! I was only looking at 6th place when I originally posted.

Dumbarton 0-1 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 6/5/17.

Well; it’s done now.

Next season Sons will still be playing in Scottish football’s second tier. That will be six years in a row – a magnificent achievement for a part-time club.

But it was close this time. Never before has it gone down to the last day, never before have we survived only on goal difference. It’s an indication of how difficult the task is year on year. And once again we have finished above at least one full-time club. We are punching above our weight.

Making it all the more sweet is that we have been the beneficiaries of what the Scotsman inquired might have been the worst transfer of the season. It was in fact the best. Lewis Vaughan’s goals contributed directly to six points in our efforts to stay up.

But survive we have and congratulations to the management team and players.
It’s a roller-coaster ride following Sons at the best of times. In this division wins are hard to come by and few enough per season. When they do occur the joy is that much more delicious.

It will all end one day but while trips to big grounds like Ibrox, Tynecastle or Easter Road are not on the agenda for next season there is still (maybe) Tannadice and the likes of St Mirren and East End Parks to go to and the possible prospect of rare games for us in Inverness.

But football doesn’t stand still. The worrying starts again in a couple of months time. Less if you fret about the manager’s future and summer signings.

Morton 2-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Cappielow Park, 13/2/16.

Well that’s the clean sheet run gone then. And we haven’t got into the habit of scoring….

Unfortunately below us Livi picked up a point and Alloa are showing disturbing signs of coming to life.

The game at St Mirren Park next Saturday has just grown in importance.

Another Christmas Saturday

I remember Saturday Christmases. Well, one in particular, when I did something inconceivable nowadays. I attended a professional football match.

It was the last time a full Scottish football fixture list was played on 25th December. Five years later – another Christmas Saturday – a couple of games managed to avoid being called off, thereafter Scottish football gave up swimming against the tide of the Christmas juggernaut.

It was 25/12/71 and the location was in Love Street Paisley. (Was it officially St Mirren Park? It was never referred to as such.)

The fact that a full Scottish football card was played on that date wasn’t what makes it memorable. It sticks in the mind because that day I saw the best goal from a Dumbarton player I have ever seen.

There have been a few belters; Jumbo Muir’s at Shawfield – predating George Weah’s waltz up almost an entire pitch by quite a few years – he collected the ball in our penalty area and just went with it till he scored, none of the Clyde defenders seemed able to cope with him; Lee Sharp’s cracker at Livingston; John McQuade’s marvellous team goal against Cowdenbeath at Boghead in the promotion season from the old Division Two in the days of three Divisions (Cowden had just equalised and the ball went from kick-off to net via I don’t know how many passes without one of their players touching it;) Chic Charnley’s goal from inside his own half – which unfortunately I did not witness personally; Paddy Flannery’s skiter from just outside the centre circle at Central Park – though the keeper was gash for that one; and many others not quite as good.

At that Love Street game I remember I was standing near to Sons legend Jim Jardine, who had can of beer in hand, (yes in those days you could take drink into a game) giving a running commentary on the then inexperienced Billie Wilkinson’s performance at left back, “Nice wee nudge, son. Oh; he’s spotted it.”

Anyway Charlie Gallagher swung in a free kick and Kenny Wilson threw himself full length to head it into the net. That was in the middle of Kenny’s long run that season on his way to a club record number of goals in the league, averaging more than one a game, when he scored in every game for what seemed like ages, including not a few decisive goals in one-nil wins. His effort at Hampden against Queen’s Park took an age to hit the back of the net – they had long stanchions at Hampden in those days – it took so long we all thought it had gone past the post.

But that wasn’t the special one. That came later, the second in the sequence of three in a row of Big Roy McCormack’s thunderbolts. The first had been against Alloa at home the previous week, the third at Kilbowie in the defeat of the Bankies on New Year’s Day a week later.

But our second goal that day and Roy’s second in the sequence was the best of the lot.

He took the ball up, right out on the left wing about ten or fifteen yards inside St Mirren’s half, it sat up nicely and he just belted it. It flew over the keeper’s head, hit the stanchion and bounced out beyond the penalty spot! We went mental.

The referee thought it must have hit the bar and was waving play on till he saw the linesman (no assistant referee rubbish in those days, thank goodness) running back up the pitch signalling a goal.

It being 1971 there were no cameras there to mark the event so it’ll just have to stay in the mind’s eye.

It’s one of my best Christmas memories.

Not that things stayed that way. St Mirren were full time, I think, and we tired. Whatever, they pressed us back for the rest of the game, scored twice, the equaliser coming just before the end.

We had the last laugh, though. Despite them beating us at Boghead in the second last game we still got promotion, and the championship, the Wednesday after. They came third.

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