Blantyre Victoria 3 - 2 Rutherglen Glencairn
Vics: Black (25', 65'), MacDonald (39')
Glens: Lachlan (64', 90+1')
Rutherglen Glencairn travelled to the KG Stadium as they took on the Vics in the first competitive fixture of the season. This was a local derby that Glencairn had dominated in previous years, with the Vics failing to get the better of them in the last six seasons and it was no surprise that the West Championship winners were going into this match with confidence.
The pre-match favourites started the match on the front foot, consistently keeping pressure on the home side. The defense held up well and seen off all danger. In the tenth minute the Vics had their first chance of the match as Gavin Millar picked up the ball and struck a right-footed shot from the edge of the box - but the ball well saved by Garry Whyte. Just two minutes later Millar slipped through Lewis MacDonald onto goal. Whyte was called in to action yet again as he had to pull off a brilliant save to deny the winger.
In the 19th minute, Glencairn came close to getting the opener as Dale Simeon's free-kick picked out Gavin Lachlan who headed the ball over Vics keeper Liam Campbell but then was cleared off the line by Craig Kerr. Immediately the Vics countered and MacDonald found himself one-on-one with the keeper yet again. Whyte pulled out another impressive save to keep it goalless.
25 minutes in, after a multitude of chances at either end, it was Blantyre who opened the scoring. A pass from Garry Campbell came to the feet of MacDonald who quickly slipped the ball through to Aaron Black. Before the Glencairn defense could retreat the young winger smashed the ball into the top corner of the net beating the keeper at his near side.
Just two minutes after the breakthrough Glencairn looked certain to equalise as Callum McRobbie sent a ball across the face of goal. Jordan Leyden was driving towards the far-post but failed to make contact which certainly would have been the goal to draw the sides level, but the ball was then dealt with by Ross Caldwell.
In the 29th minute Con Boyle launched a strike from just under 30-yards which seemed destined for the net. His low-driven smacked off of the post, with the keeper left with no chance. A minute later, at the other end, Liam Campbell was called into action in the Vics goal as Gavin Mackie turned away from Fraser Allan and managed to pull off a shot but it was denied by a good save.
Rutherglen Glencairn then tested then woodwork themselves. Craig McGregor's cross from a corner met the head of Lachlan. The header beat Campbell and hit the underside of the bar and out.
On 39 minutes Aaron Black drove from the halfway line before playing a ball through into the danger area. After a deflection the ball fell to the feet of Lewis MacDonald, who despite calls for offside by the visitors had his eyes on goal. As Glencairn's defenders stopped waiting for the call, the winger played the whistle and knocked a right-footed shot past Whyte to double the Vics lead.
Just before the break Vics fans were baffled that Aaron Black didn't get his second of the match as Mark Allan whipped in a cross into the box. Black who was unmarked in the six-yard box guided the ball goalwards but Whyte pulled out the save of the season as he redirected the ball away from danger while in midair.
Both sides continued to entertain at either end of the pitch at the start of the second half. Rutherglen were looking the more dangerous of the two however. In the 53rd minute Glencairn's new-boy Lachlan whipped in a cross which flew past Campbell and across the face of goal but their was no attacker their to convert.
Rutherglen got their first goal of the match in the 64th minute. McGregor with a low driven cross into the area was directed goalwards by Gavin Lachlan, leaving the Vics keeper helpless.
11 minutes later, while Rutherglen were pushing for an equaliser the Vics counter attacked after a corner was cleared by Ross Caldwell. The midfielder found Boyle, who played it to Black and then onto substitute Martin Smith who drove with the ball into the box. Defender Rhys Donaldson done well to take the ball away from the feet of Smith but only as far as MacDonald. His strike was blocked and the rebound came to Aaron Black who found the target while the Glencairn keeper was displaced to give the Vics a comfortable 3 - 1 lead.
Rutherglen continued their efforts to try and retrieve something from the match. They were not able to breakthrough again until the 91st minute. A cross from Tom Miller was headed once again by Gavin Lachlan who curled the ball past Campbell to give them a late second goal. Although it was all too little too late for the visitors as referee Chris Rae blew the final whistle shortly afterwards.
A fantastic win for the Vics against Premiership opposition, which stands them in good stead for the remainder of the Sectional League Cup group stages and their first season back in the Championship. The Vics now travel to face top of the group Larkhall Thistle on Monday night and back to the home of their old foe East Kilbride Thistle on Wednesday.