Saturday, 26 September 2009

St Mirren Park (St Mirren v Celtic)

Panorama view from the South Stand.

A forgettable game for the St Mirren supporters and probably for the Celtic supporters too. I brought my camera to have a go at a panorama shot, which I took from the South Stand. The most entertaining part of the day was the family who were loudly cheering the first Celtic goal being removed from the stand and probably from the ground as well. The dad's arguments that he 'did not know it was a St Mirren stand' and that 'at Parkhead everyone can sit together wearing their own colours on the family stand' unsurprisingly fell on deaf ears...

For more pictures of this ground click here.

The West Stand.

The Main Stand.

The North Stand housed the Celtic Fans.

Saturday 26th September 2009
Scottish Premier League
St Mirren 0 Celtic 2
Goals: McCourt 27, Maloney 78.
Att: 6,164

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Rugby Park (Kilmarnock v St Mirren)

Panorama view from the Chadwick Stand.

Yesterday it was off to Ayrshire for the third round Co-operative Insurance Cup clash (I have to say 'CIS Cup' sounded a lot simpler) between Kilmarnock and St Mirren. St Mirren had beaten Kilmarnock at Rugby Park only just over three weeks ago so the Saints were confident they could progress to the quarter final of this competition for the first time since the 2000/2001 season when they reached the semis and lost 3-0 to...Kilmarnock.

Rugby Park is a fairly impressive ground for a club of Killie's stature. Redeveloped in the 1990s, it holds 18,128 which makes it the fourth biggest ground in the SPL after Celtic Park, Ibrox, and Pittodrie. The club rarely use even half of the full capacity at least according to the official attendance figures. The Moffat Stand was closed last night but it looked busier than the 3,561 attendance given. I sat in the away section in the Chadwick Stand and I have to say the leg room was very limited.

Kilmarnock is 40 minutes on the train from Glasgow. It is an old-fashioned non-electrified track and there is only one train an hour. Unlike the other Ayrshire trains it does not pass through Paisley so I had to take the train to Glasgow Central first. From Kilmarnock railway station it is about a 15-minute walk to the ground.

In the first half Killie had the better chances however neither team were able to find the net. Stephen McGinn scored the opening goal for the Buddies after 63 minutes, his third of the season against Kilmarnock. St Mirren got a few more chances as the Ayrshire men desperately tried to score an equaliser however the Saints failed to finish it off and Kevin Kyle equalised three minutes before time. Extra time now looked likely. Andy Dorman however scored the winner in the dying seconds of injury time to book St Mirren a place in the quarter finals of the Scottish League Cup.

For pictures of the 2010 Scottish Junior Cup Final at Rugby Park see this post.

The East Stand.

The Moffat Stand remained closed tonight. This is normally the family stand.

The Main Stand.

Buddies on the Chadwick Stand celebrating Andy Dorman's injury time goal...

...and all hoping for a favourable quarter final draw.

Tuesday 22nd September 2009
Co-operative Insurance Cup Third Round
Kilmarnock 1 St Mirren 2
Kilmarnock: Kyle 87.
St Mirren: McGinn 64, Dorman 90+3.
Att: 3,561

Saturday, 12 September 2009

City of Manchester Stadium (Man City v Arsenal)

Today Martijn and I took the train to Manchester and I paid my second visit to the City of Manchester Stadium. City were playing Arsenal, the same fixture I attended last season. And just like last season the Gunners were well beaten. Unlike last year however, today's game was a sell-out and City were looking to extend their perfect start to this Premier League season.

The first City goal was a lucky one, Emanuel Malinia headed into his own net, but the Blues managed to go into half-time with a 1-0 lead. The second half was more spectacular. Robin van Persie equalised in the second half but twelve minutes later Craig Bellamy ensured the Citizens were in the lead again.

After scoring the third City goal former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor sprinted all the way to the other end of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans which of course did not go down well with the supporters from North London. All the focus afterwards was on Adebayor's misguided antics but I have not read much about the loutish behaviour of some of the supposedly grown-up Arsenal fans. Objects were thrown onto the pitch and it looked like one of the stewards was hit by an object that was thrown from the away end.

The game continued however and Shaun Wright-Phillips made it 4-1 seven minutes before time. Tomas Rosicky's pulled one back for the Gunners in the dying minutes but it was too little, too late and City bagged their fourth win of the season, giving them plenty of confidence ahead of next weekend's Manchester derby.

The South Stand housed the Arsenal fans.

The Colin Bell Stand.

The North Stand.

Arsenal fans did not respond well to Adebayor's provocative goal celebrations.

After the game we paid another visit to the massive fan store.

A panorama shot, taken from our seats on the East Stand. The game was a sell-out.

Another panorama, this time taken after the game, again from the East Stand.

Saturday 12th September 2009
Manchester City 4 Arsenal 2
Premier League
Man City: Almunia (og) 20, Bellamy 74, Adebayor 80, Wright-Phillips 84.
Arsenal: Van Persie 62, Rosicky 88.
Att: 47,339

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Hampden Park (Scotland v Netherlands)

Yesterday Scotland took on the Netherlands in their final 2010 World Cup qualifier. I had not been at a Scotland game for over four years but a game against my native country the Netherlands was of course not to be missed.

Before the start of the game Scotland were second in Group 9 behind the Dutch who had won all of their previous seven games in this group, including a 3-0 win over Scotland in the Amsterdam ArenA. The eight best runners-up (of nine groups) would qualify for the two-legged play-offs and it looked like Scotland would have to beat the Netherlands to have a chance to be one of these eight.

Against the Dutch, Scotland had one of their best games of this qualifying campaign. Scotland had a few excellent chances, including Kenny Miller hitting the crossbar and a Steven Naismith shot that struck the post. Miller's effort on the rebound was saved by Michel Vorm who had earned only his second cap against the Scots.

Eventually it all ended in tears for Scotland when substitute Eljero Elija scored after 84 minutes. To make matters worse Norway had beaten Macedonia 2-1 meaning Scotland finished the group in third place. It seems unlikely however that Norway's ten points will be enough for them to reach the play-offs.

The players are heading for the dressing room after the half-time whistle.

The West Stand at half-time. The atmosphere was magnificent.

The South Stand is Hampden's only tiered stand.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar came on for Robin van Persie. Neither were able to find the net.

Huntelaar en Van der Vaart argue about who is taking a free kick.

Wednesday 9th September 2009
2010 World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 0 Netherlands 1
Goal: Elia 82.
Att: 51,230

The previous Scotland games I attended at Hampden Park were:

Saturday 4th June 2005
2006 World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 2 Moldova 0
Goals: Dailly 53, McFadden 89.
Att: 45,317

Saturday 15th November 2003
Euro 2004 Qualifier Play-Off (first leg)
Scotland 1 Netherlands 0
Goal: McFadden 21.
Att: 50,670

Saturday 1st September 2001
2002 World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 0 Croatia 0
Att: 47,384

Wednesday 28th March 2001
2002 World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 4 San Marino 0
Goals: Hendry 22, 23, Dodds 34, Cameron 65.
Att: 27,313

Saturday 24th March 2001
2002 World Cup Qualifier
Scotland 2 Belgium 2
Scotland: Dodds 1, 28 (pen.)
Belgium: Wilmots 58, Van Buyten 90.
Att: 37,480
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