Battling against the elements and an unfortunate early error, Glasgow came from behind to record an ultimately comfortable 3-1 victory against Edinburgh 2nd in their opening game in the BUCS Scottish Conference Men’s University League. Trailing after 45 minutes and shooting into a treacherous wind in the second half, Glasgow made their domination count with three well-taken goals in the space of ten clinical minutes.
At one point, however, it was feared the game would not go ahead. A 15 minute delay in kick off was brought about because of a clash of colour between Glasgow and the referee’s shirts. While the players and managers joked that the real reason for the delay was because the referee didn’t fancy running around in such terrible conditions, Edinburgh immediately demonstrated just how crucial a part the weather might play in the game by winning the toss and electing to swap sides to have the advantage of the wind in the second half.
With the usually pristine Garscube pitch resembling more a war field than a bowling green, there was a real fear that this may hinder Glasgow’s usual style of play. and they would not be able to heed deputising manager Harry Nolan’s words of ‘pass, pass, pass.’ These worries were realised after only two minutes.
An Edinburgh free kick was floated into the box and claiming the ball, Glasgow goalkeeper Jamie Macfarlane came rushing out, only to find he had misjudged its flight. It soared over his head and into the path of the grateful striker, who had the simplest of finishes to send Edinburgh into the lead.
Glasgow spent much of the first half proving that the Edinburgh goal had been, in their manager’s words, ‘a fluke.’ Ten minutes after conceding, Glasgow sensed the Edinburgh goalkeeper could be vulnerable if put under pressure after he blundered a simple back pass from his centre half by kicking the ball straight out of play. Striker Aaron Scoular immediately set to work by testing the keeper’s mettle with a string of ambitious efforts, and whilst they were comfortably saved, Glasgow were certainly threatening.
There were probably none more threatening than winger Ross Gallacher. A constant pain for the Edinburgh centre half and left back, he worked tirelessly in the first half jinxing past the Edinburgh defence and crossing balls into the box. Troubling the goalkeeper with a shot from close range after twenty two minutes, Gallacher’s partnership with marauding right back and captain Neil Buchan was the most potent of the entire match and throughout the 90 minutes they drew fouls and corners from the Edinburgh defence. Though these crosses into the box were usually effectively dealt with by the towering Edinburgh centre halves, Glasgow weren’t pouncing on the second ball enough and too many times the ball was dropping in just the wrong places. This was a shame, especially given the abundance of crosses into the box that Glasgow were afforded; at one point, four corners coming in the space of two short minutes.
The half time break probably came too soon for Glasgow: as the game progressed, they looked ever closer to breaking the Edinburgh defence. However, it allowed Nolan the opportunity to instill in his players the importance of composure in the final third. It took only six minutes for his words of wisdom to take affect.
Having won a free kick outside the Edinburgh penalty area, midfielder Gavin Ferguson curled the ball past the wall and into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal. It was no more than Glasgow deserved. A second soon followed, when the substitute Andy Pender latched onto a lofted through ball from Man-of-the-Match Ewan Rothnie and exhibited that composure that was lacking in the first half by emphatically scoring. Glasgow were on the up, and when Scoular was given time to turn and shoot just minutes later, there was only going to be one outcome. With Glasgow now 3-1 up, there was only going to be one winner.
With confidence in their high defending line in the rare occasions Edinburgh made it out of their half and in the excellent possession skills of Rothnie, Glasgow went on the attack again. Using all three substitutions to allow trialists an opportunity to impress for the team, Glasgow were unlucky not to make it four when Pender nearly beat the goalkeeper with a speculative lob from outside the penalty box. Ironically, however, it was Edinburgh who came closest to scoring when a curling shot was rebounded off the bar. However another goal would have truly flattered them.
Suggesting why Edinburgh couldn’t make a comeback to match Glasgow’s, goal scorer Ferguson said, ‘it was Edinburgh’s second team and not their first, so when the goals started going in, I think their heads just really went down.’ He added: ‘Despite the horrible conditions, didn’t give the ball away. I was really impressed with the performance today.’
For Glasgow Men’s football the future’s bright, even if the weather’s not.