Match preview – Benburb v Larkhall Thistle

Larkhall Thistle travel to Govan today to take on Benburb in the league. The Jags are aiming to continue their recent run since the defeat at Carluke and extend their winning streak to three league games in a row for the first time this season.

A win or draw would see Thistle move up a place to third in the league if Lanark lose today at Bellshill, a Lanark draw would also do the Jags if we can win today.

Benburb themselves are probably sitting in a false position at fourth bottom as they have a lot of games in hand and could move up with a couple of wins. There is the problem though of having to cram a load of games in at the end of the season so it is a bit of an unknown quantity.

Good luck to Thistle today, here’s hoping for three points.

Neilston v Larkhall Thistle – Match preview

Neilston were a bit of a mixed bag last season. In our first game with them at the Brig O’ Lea Thistle ran out comfortable 3-1 winners with the home team’s goal only coming late in the game as a consolation. However after parting company with ex-Thistle boss Bobby Crilly the Renfrewshire team’s fortunes had a remarkable turnaround and they finished the season as one of the strongest teams in the league.

The tables were turned in a big way in the corresponding fixture at Larkhall, with Thistle going town to a 4-0 home defeat in one of the worst performances of the season.

Neilston are one of a clutch of teams – including ourselves – who will fancy that they might go one better this season given how tight the league turned out to be last time round and the teams current league standings.

Another hard game in prospect then and hopefully a repeat of Thistle’s result last season.

Neilston Facts and Figures

Nickname The Farmers Boys
Founded 1945
Ground Brig O’ Lea stadium, Main Street,
Manager Robert Fox
Home colours – Red shirts, white shorts
Awat colours – Black shirts, white shorts

Western League Champions 1947
Western League Cup Winners 1947
Renfrewshire Junior Cup Winners – 6 times
Renfrewshire & Dunbartonshire Cup Winners – 1953
Central League ‘C’ Champions – 1971
West Super League Division One winners – 2006
West Premier League Runners-Up – 2003
Sectional League Cup Winners – 1999, 2006

Although Neilston have never won the Scottish Junior Cup, they went very close to winning the Super League Premier division in 2002-2003, only losing to winners Pollok on goal difference.

Neilston’s most famous ex-player was Dixie Deans, who left the club to join Motherwell before playing for Celtic, Luton, Partick Thistle and Scotland. Other notable ex-players include Walter Reid, Jim McAllister, Willie Bell, Tommy McMillan and Peter Weir.

Neilston Playing Squad:
James Digney
Gareth Fulton
Kieran McDade
Kevin Fraser
Robert Campbell
James Lennox
Craig Murphy
Tam Murdoch

Martin Hughes
Andy Gibson
James Canning
Steven Docherty
Andy Essler
Darren Christie

David Adams
Robert Cameron
Derek Kennedy

Ex-Jags winger Andy Essler is on the books of Neilston and is still a handful at this level.

Match Preview: Larkhall Thistle v Port Glasgow

This is our first meeting of the season with Port Glasgow due to postponements but most people connected with the Jags will have fond memories of last seasons encounters between the teams. Thistle won the first game 3-1 in October 2011 but the real drama came in May in our last game of the season when Thistle had to win to avoid relegation. They travelled to Greenock on a Friday night and put up one of their best showings of the season, running out 4-1 winners.

This is a vital game for both teams and one which both need to win for different reasons. Thistle lost ground to Lanark and St Anthony’s who both had good wins last week, so they need the win to stay up with the promotion contenders. Any slip-ups now could see any of several teams overtaking the Jags and us slipping back towards mid table. The Jags were knocked out of the last remaining cup competetion of the season last Saturday so all the focus is now on the remaining 11 league games.

Port Glasgow need the win to pull clear of the relegation spots. They made a bit of a disappointing start to life at their new stadium and are currently sitting third bottom of the league but their form has picked up recently and they’ve won two and drawn one of their last four games including a surprise win at St Anthony’s.

Port Glasgow have been having a tough time of it this season but as we have found out there are no easy fixtures in this league and today once again we will be expecting a hard game.

Happy anniversary Dunky!

Congratulations are the order of the day for our manager Duncan Sinclair as he celebrates his silver wedding on 16th February. On behalf of everyone at the club we wish Dunky and his wife Catherine our heartiest congratulations on 25 years together and hope they, along with their daughter Carrie, have many more years together. Whatever your plans are to celebrate big man have a good one.

Carluke Rovers v Larkhall Thistle – Match preview

Larkhall Thistle play Carluke Rovers on Saturday, looking to make up for two dropped points in the first home league game of the season at Gasworks Park. Thistle looked to have had the game won and were cruising towards the top of the table but lost a two goal lead in the dying minutes to draw the game 2-2. Match report – Larkhall Thistle v Carluke Rovers

This will be the Jags first visit to Carluke’s new all weather park, the John Cumming Stadium, and if recent results on astroturf are anything to go by we can be hopeful of taking something from the game.

Rovers had a very good season last time out, winning the Stagecoach West of Scotland League Central District Second Division and gaining promotion along with St Rochs and Lesmahagow. They also had a decent run in the Scottish Cup, reaching the Fourth round before losing narrowly to Superleague Premier champions Irvine Meadow.

Some Facts about Carluke Rovers:

Founded 1887
Ground John Cumming Stadium, Carnwath Road. Carluke
Manager Colin Slater
2011–12 SJFA Central Division Two league champions
Home colours – All Blue

Central Division 2 League Winners: 2011-2012
Central League B Division winners: 1971–72
Lanarkshire League winners 3 times
Lanarkshire Junior Cup winners 8 times
Lanarkshire Hozier Cup winners 9 times
Glasgow Junior Cup winners 1928–29

Carluke moved to their new purpose built stadium in 2010, an astroturf pitch named after one of their most famous players, John Cumming. Cumming went on to make over 500 appearances for Hears and became their most decorated player.

Another notable ex player is John Prentice, who player for Rangers, Hearts and Falkirk as well going on to manage Scotland. He also had mangerial stints at Dundee, Clyde and Falkirk.

Carluke Rovers Playing Squad Season 2012 – 2013

Gavin McLachlan
Garry Frame
Jordan McRorie
Mark Reid
Steven Jackson
William Soutar
Andrew Barr
Mark Weir
Marc Napier
John Savage
Mark Haddow
Ian James Cook
Jamie Dickson
Craig Stark
Craig Stewart

Darren Hamilton
Kenny Wright
Stephen Ferguson
Stewart Arnott



Game Off Today

Thistle’s game with Lesmahagow today has been called off due to a waterlogged park.

Next week’s game is away to Carluke Rovers on the artificial surface, Carluke have had all their home games on so far so this should go ahead.


Match Preview: Larkhall Thistle v Lesmahagow

Larkhall Thistle v Lesmahagow
2nd February 2013
Central District First Division

Our win last time out against Greenock sent shock waves throughout the First Division and beyond in the junior circles. To go to the home of the runaway leaders and win 5-0 was a remarkable achievement by any standards and the fact that it was one of the very few games that went ahead on a frozen day placed it even more in the spotlight. As the old but true cliché goes though it was only three points and the priority now shifts to today’s match. We lost 6-3 in the reverse fixture at the end of September and it was a game that most associated with the Jags felt we didn’t deserve anything, probably the poorest display from the Jags all season.

Thistle’s 5-0 win against league leaders Greenock last week moved them up a place to second in the table, nine points behind with a game in hand after fourteen games. Unfortunately we don’t have any more games against Greenock so need other teams to take points off the leaders, but nonetheless our recent performances have left us in a good position for a promotion push.There is one other cup competition left to play for, the Euro Engineering Central League Cup involving all the 39 teams who played in the old Central League. The Jags play Shettleston at home next week in this cup and if they win will travel to St Roch’s in the next round.

Lesmahagow are unbeaten in the league since they lost 4-1 at leaders Greenock in November, although with the bad weather they have only played three games since – good draws at both Lanark and St Anthony’s and a thumping 7-1 home win against St Roch’s.

We will be keen to redress the balance today and hopefully another exciting derby match is in prospect.

Jags to face Lesmahagow next Saturday

Larkhall Thistle’s next home game will be against local rivals Lesmahagow in the Central League First Division on Saturday, 2nd February. We were due to play Shettleston but their Scottish Cup replay takes priority so we will be on league duty instead of playing in the Central Cup.

This is a vital game for Thistle in the push for promotion and also to make up for the defeat in the corresponding fixture at the Gow in September. See match report of Lesmahagow v Larkhall Thistle

Most people with Jags interests would consider the 6-3 loss at their park to be the poorest performance of the season so far. It was a game that was riddled with individual errors and to be honest a bit of a shock result in light of the fact that we were top of the league at the time and had just beaten leaders Greenock 5-2 to do so.

St Anthony’s narrow 3-2 win against bottom club East Kilbride has seen them leapfrog us again into second place but Lesmahagow are no mugs themselves, sitting handily placed in fifth with games in hand.

It’s a 2:00pm kick off so come along and support the Jags in their promotion push. Admission is £4 for adults and £2 for concessions. Any visitors not sure where the park is can find directions here.