Glencairn gaffer likes the odds as league starts
Glencairn gaffer Willie Harvey has admitted he may have a flutter on his own side to win the Superleague First Division title.
Glens get their league season underway on Saturday with a trip to Blantyre Victoria, just a week after the sides met in the sectional league cup, with the Glens emerging 3- 2 winners.
While Cumnock are the bookies’ favourites to take the title, Glens can typically be found at around 12/1 behind the likes of Clydebank, Kilwinning and Shotts.
Glens were unfortunate to miss out on a last-eight place in the sectional league cup after recording three 3-2 wins in a row following the opening day defeat to Cambuslang Rangers.
And Willie reckons his side may be worth a punt before the season kicks off as he revealed he thinks his side has not yet hit its full stride.
He said: “It all depends on whether you’re a betting man or not but I’ll be having a few quid on that.
“We’re just about on schedule right now.
“If we had taken all our chances in the section it might have sugar-coated things a wee bit, made us look better.
“We’re on the right track. We aren’t far away from where I want us to be.”
Willie also hit out at managers who had made excuses of having players missing throughout the league cup section.
He said: “A lot of other teams complained about having players missing.
“You know my philosophy. Through three games we had guys missing but I didn’t say anything.
“I think that is derogatory to the players that are on the park, basically saying they aren’t good enough to win without certain players.”
Willie is less pleased with the decision to send Glens to Blantyre just seven days after the sides met in the league cup, describing the scheduling as “mental”.
But he does not think last week will have any bearing on Saturday’s game: “You would think the powers that be would know the section and see we were playing Blantyre last week.
“It should never have happened but it will have no bearing on this week’s match.
“I happen to know Blantyre had a few players missing last week and we had two out who will return.
“Everyone knows how everyone plays in the sections anyway so there will be no big advantage from having played them last week.”
Willie added to his squad this week by snapping up former Arthurlie midfielder Alan Muir.
Alan has played in the last two games as a trialist and Willie hopes he can add something extra to the side.
He said: “He brings a bit of experience.
“He’s played at a high level and is comfortable on the ball.”
Glencairn just missed out on reaching the last eight of the Euroscot Engineering Central Sectional League Cup despite their third 3-2 win in six days.
Willie Harvey made five changes to the starting line-up as he stuck by his rotation policy for the group games, trying to get the whole squad match fit ahead of the start of the league campaign next weekend.
Glens needed to match Vale of Clyde’s result and overcome a goal difference of two to go through and they started at a frantic pace.
They had already threatened when they took the lead after seven minutes. Dunnachie reacted quickest to a loose ball from a corner and fired home from 18 yards.
There was no let-up in the tempo from Glencairn as they doubled their lead only three minutes later. Andy Neil’s dinked pass over the defence picked out a trademark run from deep by midfielder Mark Batchelor, who calmly lobbed the ball over Macklin to make it 2-0.
Vics pulled a goal back midway through the half when McShane’s header just squeezed past Dunnachie on the goal line
And only two minutes later Blantyre were level. William Ferguson found space on the left edge of the penalty area and he crossed for Ryan Tiffney to apply the finish in front of goal.
Amazingly, Glens were ahead again before half-time. McShane misjudged the ball in the air and Mark Tait was on to it in a flash, showing good composure as he controlled the ball, picked his spot and calmly rolled it past.
Both sides made changes at the interval. Blantyre brought on striker Steven Dymock to replace Duncan McGregor, while Glencairn introduced Mark McCarry to the left side of midfield to replace the injured Dunnachie, with Tony Fraser dropping into left back and Andy Neil into central defence.
McLaughlin saw a shot deflected into the side netting as Glens looked to kill the game.
As news filtered through that Vale of Clyde had taken the lead at EK, Glens reshaped to a front three with McCarry joining Zok and Tait in the forward area as they chased the required goals.
McCarry rattled the crossbar and Muir’s free-kick was saved by Macklin.
There was time for a final burst from Glencairn, with the three substitutes combining. O’Connor fed Zok on the right and his cross was spectacularly volleyed over the bar at the back post by McCarry.
The final effort of the match saw Paul Doyle head wide from Alan Muir’s corner from the right.
Rutherglen Glencairn: Hutchison, Brown, Neil, Doyle, Dunnachie (McCarry), Dean Muir (O’Connor), Alan Muir, Batchelor, McLaughlin (Zok), Tait, Fraser.
Goal Mark Batchelor
Bet Willie Harvey fancies his side’s chances