C'mon boys and girls, you should know me by now!

Never look a gift horse in the mouth...especially when it's a cheeky Scottish double...

12.30pm Saturday 26th September 2009
Scottish Premier League
St Mirren v Celtic
Attendance: 6,164

Thanks to TV coverage, this game was moved to an early kick off. This presented the chance to "tick" off the new St Mirren stadium, and double it up with something a little more interesting. As you would expect the ground is nice, tidy and has all the modern comforts expected at a 21st century stadium. And it looks exactly the same as every other bloody new ground, apart from their black seats, obviously. Bland, soulless and no atmosphere...grrreat.  Not a patch on Love Street i'm afraid.

St Mirren moved into this ground at the beginning of the year, but are yet to register a home win in 2009 and are, as usual, struggling near the foot of the table. Celtic on the other hand are locked in their annual battle with Rangers to see who wins the SPL by the odd couple of points.

The game was absolute dross from beginning to end, the only highlight was a stunning Pat McCourt goal after 27 minutes, when he skipped through the St Mirren half, avoiding at least four tackles before slotting home. Scot McDonald added a second goal midway through the second half to take the points back to Parkhead. The goal had a wee bit of controvesy about it as McDonald got the faintest of touches to an Aidan McGeady curling cross/shot, but was in an offside position. The match officials never seen this touch and let the goal stand.

St Mirren offered no real threat and barely troubled Artur Boric in the Celtic goal. I was sat not to far from the Celtic bench and could clearly see some of the expressions on Tony Mowbray's face, not a happy bunny. Was it just the performance or the poor standard of competition, who knows? Maybe he should have stuck with the Baggies.

Tony Mowbray in full voice

After this game had ended it was a quick dash up the M8 to...

3pm Saturday 26th September 2009
Scottish Football League Division One
Morton v Airdrie United
Attendance: 2,104

After travelling to Paisley with no sense of anticipation whatsoever, the journey to Greenock was a somewhat different kettle of fish. Cappielow Park, the home of Morton is a fantastic ground, not looking a day younger since it (probably) had a lick of paint in the 1960's!! The ground has an old wooden main stand, a large covered terrace that runs along one side of the pitch and two open terraces behind each goal. One of the terraces behind the goal was closed, as it is being 'modernised' by, ironically, having the old roof from Love Street put on it.

It was just a crying shame the game never lived up to its surroundings. It was another 90 minutes of crap. Both teams are struggling at the foot of the table (this match was 9th v 10th) and Morton sacked their Manager, Dave Irons, in the week before this game. Airdrie weren't in this Division at the start of season and were only promoted when Livingston were kicked into Division three, so you could argue that their team IS a second division team (because that looks like where they are heading).

The game was settled ten minutes from time when Brian Graham finished from four yards out, after a shot was parried, despite doing his best to miss by standing on the ball (or if I was feeling kind, steadying himself). The crowd erupted, more in relief as anything as this goal secured Ton their first home win of the season. Graham was also booked for his troubles.

A great day was rounded off by (amongst others) a trip to the Fox and Hounds, which is the home of the Houston Brewing Company...hic!

View of the Cowshed, from the car park

The players tunnel, The Granstand

The Wee Dublin end (from the Cowshed)

The Grandstand (from the Cowshed)

The Cowshed (from Sinclair Street)

The Grandstand (from Sinclair Street)

Sinclair Street End (from the Cowshed)

Sinclair Street End (from the Cowshed)

Looking towards the Wee Dublin End

NANTWICH TOWN (Weaver Stadium)

A bonus game for me today as this fixture was changed on police advice to avoid a fixture clash with Crewe v Aldershot on the previous Saturday!?! Obviously Cheshire's finest couldn't handle the tens of people heading to the Weaver Stadium!

The Weaver Stadium has only been opened a couple of years, after almost 125 years at Jackson Avenue. As you would expect the ground is nice, tidy and has all the modern comforts expected at a 21st century stadium. We'll comment no further.

The Dabbers have had an indifferent start to the season, but nothing in comparison to Durham. The Football Conference have decreed that their 3G pitch would not be permitted in their competition, in the event of Durham being in a promotion position. This meant, especially as far a the main sponsors/backers of club were concerned, that the Northern Premier league is is far as they can go unless they revert to grass. The sponsors/backers subsequently pulled the plug on the money and all the players left the club. It was left more or less to the reserve and youth team to pick up the pieces. The Durham season record before today: Played 8, Lost 8, For 4, Against 35, Goal Difference -31.

Today, sadly for them, turned out to be more of the same and a very, very comfortable home win for Nantwich. However, this was only after a very early scare. Durham took the lead after 40 seconds when Rufus Ayre spotted the home 'keeper off his line and lobbed him from 40 yards. This was as good as it got for City. It did, however, take until the 40th minute for Nantwich to level through a Matthew Read header. Ashley Carter (who tormented Durham all game) then smashed home a shot on 44mins to give Nantwich a 2-1 interval lead.

The second half was one way traffic as Michael Lennon bagged a brace and Matthew Read completed his hat-trick. I must give a mention to the Durham 'keeper Max Stoker who did his best to keep the score down to single figures with some great saves. I subsequently found out later that the Durham 'keeper failed to show and Mr Stoker was in fact the centre half, this made his performance even more incredible.

Ashley Carter (green) whips in another cross

Nantwich on the attack once again

Sunday 20th September 2009
Northern Premier League
Nantwich Town 6-1 Durham City
Attendance: 395

GUILSFIELD (Community Centre Ground)

A relatively local trip today as I journeyed into Mid-Wales for another Cymru Alliance clash. This was my first visit to Guilsfield (a village on the outskirts of Welshpool) since they moved over the other side of the hedge at the Community Centre. Today they were playing (the mighty) Flint, so what better reason to pay a visit!

The ground is a neat and tidy set up, with hard standing and a small covered seated stand, but unfortunately no electricity in the refreshment bar. That meant no hot food...on my last visit they served up the tastiest pork pies, so bit gutted!!

Speaking to a club official I asked why the reason for the move, to what is the width of a hedge. The previous ground was actually council owned, so there was no way of developing an enclosed ground, as the football pitch is for the use of the community. Over the hedge the land is privately owned, so after securing a long term lease, this land can be developed into a proper football ground, thus securing the future of the club.

The game itself turned out to be a stroll in the park for the Silkmen as they were 2-0 up inside 12 minutes, goals by Mike Thelwall and Shaun Beck. A lack of concentration let the home side back in just before half time, when Ross Frame netted. In the second half, two further goals from Paul Williams and John Hilll put Flint 4-1 before Guilsfield pulled it back to 4-2 on the hour through substitute Richard Astley. Three goals in the last 15 minutes, from Alan Dawson, Shaun Beck and Paul D. Williams (penalty) completed the rout for Flint. The scoreline was a little harsh on the home side but Flint were more than worthy winners.

The stand at the OLD ground

A walk through the gap in the hedge and the new ground comes into view!

The stand at the NEW ground

Paul D. Williams slots home from the penalty spot (89m) to complete the rout
Saturday 19th September 2009
Cymru Alliance
Guilsfield 2-7 Flint Town United
Attendance: 57 (h/c)


24 hours after being in Kent (England), I now found myself in Lanarkshire (Scotland) as, due to the Strathclyde polices' inability to be in three places at once, the SPL game between Accies and Hibees was put back until Sunday. This was another chance to slowly eat away at the "42" (after that particular Pandoras Box was opened last year) and tick off my fourth Scottish league ground of the season (so far).

The journey to Hamilton was easy enough as it is virtually motorway all the way and, after the obligatory stop at the Cafe Royal in Annan, we arrived at New Douglas Park in very good time. New Douglas Park was opened in 2001 after the original Douglas Park was bulldozed in 1994 (The Accies led a nomadic existence of groundshares in the intervening years) and currently has only two sides to it (though there is a temporary stand that can be utilised if there is a large away following - there was today).

Hamilton went into this game rooted to the bottom of the table with zero points but came out of the blocks with all guns blazing and took the lead after just nine minutes when Simon Mensing scored from the penalty spot after Colin Nish was adjudged to have handled. Mickael Antoine-Curier bagged a second just three minutes later when he fired home from a Mensing pass. The pre-match predictions of an away banker were proving wholly incorrect. Hamilton continued to have the better of play for the rest of the half, as a quite frankly dreadful Hibs team couldn't cope, or indeed, force themselves into the game, despite playing with three out-and-out attackers.

The second half was a bit of a damp squib as Hamilton naturally sat back on their lead whilst Hibs continued where they had left off in the first half. However, with twelve minutes remaining The Hibees were thrown a lifeline when a penalty was awarded (by the linesman) after Trent McClenahan handled on the line. This was obviously the denial of a clear goal, but not one of the officials could pinpoint who had handled and thus Mr McClenahan got away with a red card. The injustice to Hibs was compounded when Tomas Cerny saved Derek Riordan's penalty and kept the score at 2-0. Hibs' Colin Nish was shown a red card late in the game for a second booking but this did nothing to influence the final outcome of the match.

The West Stand

The West Stand

The West Stand

The North Stand (Away End)

The (temporary) East Stand

The South (open) End. The touchline of the original Douglas Park
was where the goaline is at this end of the ground


The Accies on the attack again as a corner is swung in

Sunday 13th September 2009
Scottish Premier League
Hamilton Academical 2-0 Hibernian
Attendance: 4,023