Scottish Cup 3rd Round
The romance of the cup is probably more prevalent in England than it is in Scotland these days, but it’s the Scottish Cup 3rd Round weekend and we are at Cliftonhill, Coatbridge for Second Division Albion Rovers who are hosting First Division high flyers, Greenock Morton.
We took advantage of a free sat nav app on the iphone for the first time and arrived in plenty of time for kick off. The sky was clear blue, but deceptively very cold and we bore the brunt of this a couple of days later when two of us were overcome with early stage ‘man flu’.
We paid in, got up the stairs and before identifying a decent vantage point to stand and watch the game I thought I’d go to the gents, but couldn’t see any signs for the toilets. I noticed a female steward near the pitch side and went to ask her. She wryly smiled and said “that’s them behind you” and paused for a minute to see if she was being serious as what was indeed behind me was two single portaloo’s!! Given that the SFA in recent years were hell bent on clubs having the likes of under soil heating and a minimum 8,000 all seated stadia I thought there would be certain criteria for sanitary but hey, the portaloo still served it’s purpose I suppose!
The pitch looked quite heavy after days of rain earlier in the week, and wondered if this would play a significant part in the outcome of the tie. Morton started the brighter and had forced a few corners and the Rovers keeper into a couple of saves but couldn’t break them down. Morton have played some decent football so far this season but whether it was down to the pitch or just an off day, they couldn’t get their passing game going at all.
Right on the stroke of half time and against the run of play, the visitors couldn’t clear their lines and Rovers big defender, Tony Stevenson caught the ball sweetly to volley low into the corner. Some Morton fans gave their manager, Allan Moore some stick as the teams were going up the tunnel and he gestured to them to get behind the team.
The second half was pretty much of the same and just around the hour mark, Peter Weatherson turned in the six yard box and hooked a shot, low past the keeper into the net to equalise. There were chances for both sides to win the game, with Rovers possibly having the better of them, however it ended in a draw and both sides would have to play it out again at Cappielow to decide the tie.
I found the standing area where we opted for to be quite reasonable to watch the match, with only a couple of the main stand’s supporting pillars in the way, though they didn’t obscure the view of either goal. There is a terrace on the opposite side which looks like it could be used for a bigger fixture if required, with nothing occupying the ends behind both goals. There was a decent travelling support on the day and it did seem as though there were more people in attendance than the official figure given of just under 700.
Overall I enjoyed the experience, the staff and stewards we encountered were friendly and the official match programme is of a very high standard and great value for money with good features, information and statistics.