BENCHMAN: Crossing the line

Who is this mystery man?
Who is this mystery man?

The Benchman had some observations on the weekend’s match officials.


There was never a more appropriate sponsor for the referee and his assistants as Specsavers. Every week you think you’ve seen the worst display of officiating, and then it’s surpassed by one even more baffling performance. Surely a decision about the whole of the ball being over the whole of the line can’t be too hard? 3,000 people can’t all be wrong? (I’m excusing those in the North Stand).


Football supporters love a wee bit of trickery, and even more so, one that shows flair, style, panache and a suspicion of flashy confidence. Simon Stainrod had it in spades and Russell Latapy was capable of it too. Myles Hippolyte gave us one such moment last Saturday. Racing in off his wing, he tackled one opponent, knocked him off the ball, then another and was heading for his own goal-line. Instead of booting the ball out, he nut-megged his man and sent a brilliant ball up the wing. Great stuff.


Agatha Christie would have been inspired by the rate at which United players were dropping to the floor. All three subs had been used, and then two more dropped down injured. Ten “almost fit” men saw the 90 minutes out and we set our watches for the excuses coming out from the United management.


That looks a bit better now. The Ayr win at Easter Road was a huge incentive to close the gap and after a shaky start, the Falkirk bandwagon is well and truly back on track.


For younger readers who never experienced football as it used to be, there is a great chance to get a feel of what grounds like Brockville were really like. Friday night, October 7, Somerset Park, Ayr. Real terraces. The freedom to move about. More atmosphere than sitting in seats next to the same old negative supporter. And good value.


Last week’s mystery player was Jimmy Murray who came to Falkirk from Hearts. Tommy Murray moved to Queen of the South from Falkirk.


How many of last Saturday’s Falkirk squad had played for Dundee United at some time in their careers?


Who is the player above?


Credit to the station for showing Championship games, especially after you-know-who were promoted. For those who want to join in with the commentary, here is a useful phrase or saying. “Eil fhios agad de tha thu a deanamh.” (Best sung in a chorus.)


In an era where there hasn’t been much joy for the Senior Men, it was good to see the Scotland Women qualify for a major tournament. Anna Signeul has done a great job and has developed a team over a long period of time. Succession planning with a vengeance and Pauline Hamill is a vital member of Anna’s management team. There are many lessons for the Men’s team in there.


Match rating: 10

Team rating: 8

Opposition: 7

Referee: Allan 4

Best Bairn: Myles Hippolyte