Benchman: Rocking the cathedrals of football

Who is this well known player?
Who is this well known player?
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Our man hoped Celtic fans found their way to Gibraltar – but many will wish they hadn’t after that 1-0 defeat!

EURO 2016

It was a tournament that entertained, enthralled- and infuriated in equal measures. The highlight for me was the progress of Iceland and Wales- a great advert for the small countries. We discovered the Thunderclap which will outlast other trends like the South African vuvuzela. The depths were plumbed with the early hooliganism and the chess-match fiasco of Croatia against Portugal. Refereeing standards were actually quite good. And surely, surely the English media will have learned the lessons of over-hyping their team?

TURN LEFT

Celtic fans needed to take note that their side were playing Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar, not in Lincoln, the county town of Lincolnshire. When they saw a big rock- it was not Dumbarton, but the Rock of Gibraltar. 
If they were standing in front of a big cathedral- start to panic. 
Don’t laugh. A group of Hoops fans once turned up in Kaiserslautern to see a friendly only to discover that the game was being held in Switzerland. Some of them probably wished they were anywhere but Gibraltar the other night.

CROWD, WHAT CROWD?

There were 238 hardy souls at Cliftonhill last Saturday, the majority of whom were Bairns fans. Holiday time and showers are flimsy excuses and it was a shame that more didn’t turn out to see the game. Well done to the supporters who gave generously to the bucket collection in aid of the Bring Gordy Home fund.

THE WEE ROVERS

That was a real throw-back to the days of retro football and the old ground had changed little over the years since I was last there. It was hard to imagine that the venue once hosted Speedway and the outlines of the old bends were clearly visible. It was actually good to see fans standing together and there wasn’t an army of police and stewards. As you looked out on the park, your mind went back to previous visits and Wee Rovers stalwarts like Tony Green, Vic Kasule and Sammy Conn.

THE REAL THING

As Friendlies go, it was enjoyable with six goals and plenty of effort. However, it isn’t the real thing and there will be a different approach next Saturday at Forthbank, or whatever it’s called these days. Opening days and a League Cup sectional tournament- great stuff. The grass is green, the players are toned and the optimism levels are high. Takes you back. But not to 1963 please. Motherwell 9 Falkirk 1 and a long, long cycle back from Fir Park to Grangemouth. We tried to get out at half-time when we were 9-0 down, but we weren’t allowed. Is there a retro compensation claim in here somewhere?

ANSWERS

Last week’s mystery player wasn’t a Bairn but was Kilmarnock keeper Sandy McLaughlin. The keepers who had played for Scotland BEFORE they came to Brockville were Jerry Dawson,Bobby Brown,Tommy Younger, Eddie Connachan and Thomson Allan.

TEASER

Who provided the opposition for Falkirk in Andy Nicol’s Testimonial Match?

BENCHMARKS

(Albion Rovers)

Match rating: 7

Team rating: 7

Opposition: 6

Referee: Newlands 8

Best Bairn: Will Vaulks