GLF 71: View from the press box

Last updated : 04 September 2017 By GLF

GLF 71: GB see things from the back of the stand




REFEREES - my favourite subject, but I had a bit of an eye opener recently. I had the pleasure of seeing Alan Muir referee on two consecutive Saturday's. Most of you will remember him as the guy who had a shocker at Lover St in the final league game there.


By a quirk of fate, thanks to our game with Inverurie being called off, I saw him take charge of the Airdrie v Spartans cup tie. While he may have upset some of the fans who had an emotional attachment to the game, I actually thought he handled the game really well although he may have made one mistake, and it was a big one, by allowing the game to finish as by half time the pitch was close to unplayable as by that stage it resembled a paddy field!


This then got me to thinking that the step up from lower league football to the SPL is bigger than we think (or maybe the SFA think!!).


The Airdrie v Spartans also got me thinking about this perennial discussion subject. The game ended up with a pitch where the ball wouldn't roll, if you put it in the air the ball the wind caught and if you were sitting in the stands you were getting wet and cold.


The crowd for this game was only just over 1400, with the prices down to £10, but you can't blame anyone who didn't bother turning out in these conditions.


I know in the past I have said you can't anticipate the weather in this country as we can still get Snow in April, heavy rain in June etc. But if we played March to November the extremes of weather are not quite so bad, with frost not getting in to the ground so deeply, the winds are usually a bit lower (and a tad warmer).


The grass will also get a chance to grow, and we may go a season at Fir Park with a green surface!!


It would also mean the drive up and down the A9 to Inverness (although we may not have to worry about that next season) would be a bit easier and it may be carried out in daylight in both directions.


The change would also mean more games would be played in natural light rather than having to use the floodlights. I read recently that Jim Ballantyne of Airdrie reckoned it cost them a fortune each time they had to put them on.


The only down side I can see is how you fit in the Major Championships (which we never qualify for anyway) and the effect Summer holidays may have on attendances in July.


I remember when Gordon Smith was a BBC pundit he was right behind this kind of move but he seems to have gone a bit quiet on it since moving into the sixth floor at Hampden as SFA Chief Executive.


- Whilst disappointed, and a bit cynical, with our postponement against Hearts I am not sure I understand the fuss being made about the call off.


The self titled greatest league in the world managed to see two games cancelled as soon as they had a bit of frost and I believe Fulham and Portsmouth are probably bigger than us. I didn't hear a whole week of complaints in the media surrounding these call offs, more a resignation that these things happen at this time of year.


I also haven't seen a clamour to hammer Hamilton for narrowing their pitch for the game with Aberdeen when part of their pitch was left frozen after an USH malfunction.I would rather have the game called off than resort to this kind of "cheating".


Having said that if it was only a small area in the six yard box that caused the problem against Hearts, maybe we should have shortened our pitch to get the game on!!


Going back to the Hearts game, it was a perfect postponement for us, given that at the time of the original date I think we may have lost heavily but with Clarkson, Craigan etc available for the re-arranged game we had a chance - well done to all concerned ;-)


- there have been a couple of strange fixtures anomalies in the last month or so that have caught my attention;


1.Christmas/New Year - why no "holiday" fixture this year?The New Year game always brings out a slightly bigger crowd than normal and surely it would have been possible to play on Thursday 1st and then Saturday 3rd?Or are players and fans getting soft?

2.Scottish Cup postponed games - for some reason we had to wait until Jan 21st for our re-arranged game but the Forfar and Brechin games were planned for a week earlier in the 13th - why??


108 YEARS- while I am no great fan of Hearts I do find it funny when Hibs go out of the Scottish Cup each year and their fans are reminded how long it is since they last won it - 108 years it will be now….


The teams who have won the cup in that time include: Rangers, Celtic, Aberdeen, Hearts, Motherwell, Kilmarnock, Falkirk, St. Mirren, Third Lanark, Dundee, Dundee Utd, Partick Thistle, Morton, Clyde, East Fife and Dunfermline.


I am sure Hibs will think they are a bigger club than most of these sides….


Csaba Laszlo
- I had the pleasure of hearing the Hearts boss speak after the 1-0 defeat and sadly I had no idea what he was talking about for the best part of the fifteen minutes he rambled for.


I respect the media guys who managed to get meaningful quotes from what he said. I'd been warned he could talk forever, but wasn't ready for his monologue after the game.


Fortunately I don't need to cover his thoughts every weekend, thankfully I only need to make sense of the thoughts of Mark McGhee, Kenny Black and John Brown for L107.All three are a joy to listen to and give enough audio clips for radio…


Graham Barnstaple

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