Reduced to ten men, Glasgow were cruelly dumped out of the first round of the Scottish football Cup at a rain soaked Garscube, against Borders side Vale of Leithen.The game’s pivotal moment came on the half hour mark, when Ross Montgomery was dismissed for a rash lunge on Vale winger Andy Martin which saw the game halted as paramedics were called to attend.
In the face of superior numbers, Glasgow valiantly battled on in the treacherous conditions. Yet their plucky resistance was finally broken in the 83rd minute when Vale’s Ian Shortreed poked home to break both the 0-0 deadlock and sodden Glasgow hearts.
Men’s captain Chris O’Day was nonetheless proud of his team’s performance. He told Guardian: ‘I thought we played really well considering we had someone sent off in just a few minutes. I felt that it was a soft sending off, I thought the ref reacted more towards the injury rather than the tackle itself.”
He added: “We kept the ball quite well, Vale definitely made us work hard but we were confident of going into the replay until the last seven minutes. I felt like we were in control for most of the game and we worked well as a team.’
Anyone arriving at Garscube expecting an intimidating partisan home crowd, would have been alarmed to discover that all the noise was emanating from a vociferous travelling support who had made the hundred mile round trip up from the borders.The initial exchanges of the game were an attritional battle of aerial ping-pong, with first touches seemingly tainted by the effects of the prior nights revelries.
It was in this state of incohesion that chances were inevitably going to be created. Glasgow’s main threat came early on from the torpedo-like long throw of Mark Campbell, a constant causer of chaos in the Vale defence. It was from one of these that Joe Watson almost burst through after great strength from Glasgow men’s captain, Chris O’Day.
The treacherous conditions underfoot were never going to allow for beautiful football, and any odd flashes of brilliance were immediately counteracted by simple, schoolboy errors. It was almost inevitable that the score was going to be broken by a mistake.
In this vein it was the tireless Jamie Kerr, who thanklessly hassled and harried all day, pounced on some hesitation by the Vale of Leithen right back. Kerr powered though the opposition, and his fizzing cross was smashed tantalisingly wide by Watson.
The match seemed to stagnate into a game dictated by the premise of the optimistic long ball, yet on the half hour the match was marred by a sickening injury to the Vales young winger which saw the Glasgow side reduced to ten men, as Ross Montgomery was shown a straight red.
The tackle, although clearly accidental on the hazardous surface, was clumsy and reckless and resulted in the game being delayed for half an hour as paramedics saw to the player. Being reduced to ten men completely changed the context of the game. O’Day, who had been the heartbeat of the side’s creativity, was withdrawn to defence and this stifled any attacking intent.
However the first real chance of the match fell to the invigorated Holt, who pounced on sloppiness in the Vale rear guard from another long throw. He was first to react to the bouncing ball and was unlucky to see his header flicked off the line by a panicking Vale defence.
This proved to be Glasgow’s only opportunity as they were gradually reduced to desperately repelling intense Vale pressure. It seemed inevitable that Vale would eventually break through. Glasgow must have felt destined for a return trip down the Borders however, thanks to goalkeeper Mackay.
The stopper produced several stunning reaction saves, most spectacularly from a cleverly worked free kick which saw him miraculously turn the ball away after another shot on goal. Cruelly, after 83 minutes, a sweeping move saw Shortreed burst into the box and from an acute angle neatly flick it under the despairing McKay.
With the wind knocked from their sails, Glasgow attempted a heroic comeback but it wasn’t to be, and will now just have to turn there attentions to improving for the league season ahead.