The Benchman: Sons can shine in SPFL

Mystery pic: Who is this East Stirlingshire favourite?
Mystery pic: Who is this East Stirlingshire favourite?

The Benchman reckons Dumbarton and their ex-Bairns are well equipped for the SPFL Championship.

OLD BOYS REUNION: Last Friday night saw the return of Darren Barr, Willie Gibson and Steven Craig to The Falkirk Stadium. Darren just had to be the scorer of their goal, didn’t he? It seems no time since Steven scored that great goal against big-spending Livingston at Brockville, and looked on course for a glittering career. 

CALLING WALTER ALEXANDER: Did you hear that drivel spouted by West Ham manager Slaven Bilic after their win at Liverpool? “We parked the bus, but didn’t have the hand-brake on.” Was the oil changed, did the wing-mirrors work? Was there room upstairs? Could you smoke? Was spitting prohibited? Why bother with this manager-speak?

NOT DUMB AND DUMBER: Stephen Aitken has assembled a useful side for this division. He did a great job at Stranraer, and he has recruited experienced players who will surprise a few of the more fancied teams. They looked useful and did well to recover from that bad opening spell.

LEAGUE CUP: Is common sense breaking out at last? Neil Doncaster, a man not renowned for his visionary thinking, hinted that we might be going back to the League Cup sectional format played in the opening days of the new season. Much better than meaningless pre-season Friendlies and it does provide Summer Football. Whatever next? Maybe an 18 -team top flight playing each other twice a season? Steady on.

SURELY NOT? West Ham’s last win at Liverpool before Saturday saw goals from Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters earn a 2-1 victory. There were no “foreign” players on show- if you discount Ron Yeats and Ian St John- and the crowd was a mere 45, 495. What was staggering was that it was 52 years ago. Looking at the line-ups, I could remember every player. Worrying.

TOON HEROES: Had a small sherbet in the famous Strawberry pub just outside St.James Park last Saturday and was delighted to see the Falkirk connection on display. On the walls were pictures of players and teams from the past ,and Jim Scott was well to the fore. That goal in the Fairs Cup Final against Ferencvaros won’t be forgotten on Tyneside.

ANSWERS: Last week’s mystery player was Bert Ormond and Jimmy Adam was signed from Stoke City.
TEASER: To which club did Falkirk transfer Joe McLaughlin?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE LIKELY LADS?: Found a great old programme recently. England 5 Scotland 3 Schoolboy International April 30th 1960. The line-ups contained some promising youngsters- and some went on to become famous players. In the England line-up there was Len Badger, Ron Harris, David Pleat, Barry Fry with Paul Madeley as a reserve. Scotland featured Bobby Moncur, Bobby Watson, Alex Willoughby, Jim Forrest, George Graham. Falkirk boy Ian Mitchell was the youngest player in the side. Guess who the captain was? A West Lothian lad by the name of John Markie.

Match rating: 8
Team rating: 7
Opposition: 7
Referee: Cook 5
Best Bairn: Blair Alston