Author: Dave Lamb

Peebles Rovers 3 Hawick Royal Albert 1

David Knox

at Whitestone Park

A HALF-TIME rollicking helped Peebles Rovers pick up their first three-points in the East of Scotland Conference A on Saturday.

And left Hawick Royal Albert rooted to the bottom of the new-look table.

Rovers boss Smith admitted it had taken a few raised voices at the interval to inspire his players to the much-needed win.

He said: “The guys got a rollicking at half time as I thought we were poor in the first half.

“We want to finish this season around mid-table to determine the division we play in next season and I knew we could do a lot better than we showed in the first half.

“I was pleased with the performance after half time as we showed a lot more composure on the ball and deserved the win.”

It couldn’t have started much better for the hosts as Grant Wilson produced a brilliant glancing header to steer Jamie Mackay’s angled cross into the far corner of the net.

Only some scrambled defending had prevented Peebles taking the lead before the seventh minute goal.

But Hawick responded well after going behind and Polish midfielder Miloz Pajik should have done better when unmarked at the back post than steer Josh Neil’s deep cross wide of the target.

The Albert went even closer on 17 minutes as Moudo Touray squared for Demba Thiam in front of goal but somehow Callum Mackenzie threw himself in the way of the shot to chest clear on the line.

Hawick deservedly drew level three minutes later.

Alan McMath uncharacteristically lost control at the heart of the home defence and tugged back Touray as he tried to capitalise.

Pajik brilliantly rifled the resultant 25-yard free-kick over the wall and beyond Tom Kerr.

The hosts had a great opportunity to go back in front after being awarded a penalty just after the half hour but Craig Saunders made a terrific save to deny David Lindsay.

Saunders, though, went from hero to villain in the 55th minute.

Peebles were enjoying their brightest spell when the keeper failed to hold a Robbie Renwick shot from distance allowing Ross Lamb to pounce on the loose ball and net from the angle.

Lamb was unfortunate not to score again just after the hour as his powerful shot from the edge of the area deflected inches wide.

The third goal arrived on 72 minutes with the former Gala Fairydean Rovers midfielder rifling in a powerful low freekick from out wide for Michael McEwan to convert from close range.

Apart from a Pajik shot which Kerr saved comfortably Hawick offered little threat during the second period.

And only some fine saves from Saunders prevented Wilson and McMath extending the home advantage.

The Albert’s misery was compounded in the closing stages as Scott Murphy was shown a straight red card for a late challenge on McEwan.

Peebles Rovers. T Kerr, J Mackay (J Dodds 81), C Mackenzie, A McMath, B Gettel, J Davidson, G Lamb, R Lamb (C Sclater 74), G Wilson, R Renwick & D Lindsay (M McEwan 62).

Hawick Royal Albert. C Saunders, R McRae (J McNaught 71), D Pacitti, M Pajik (N Johnson 81), S Murphy, L Knox, D Thiam, F Touray, M Touray, J Neil & L Cooper (S Odetayo 60).

Photograph by Graham Riddell Photography

Ormiston 1-3 Peebles Rovers

The league campaign finally kicked off this weekend as Ormiston hosted the Rovers at East Mains. On what was at best a carpet and a hurricane blowing across the pitch, it was always going to be a difficult day for both sides to try and come up with any real quality.

Peebles however had settled down quicker trying to use the wind to their advantage and as Zavaroni picked up a loose ball in the middle of the park he launched a shot towards goal. Ormiston’s number one struggled to deal with the flight and the ball squeezed over the line. Rovers tried their best to play out from the back in what was becoming a near impossible mission. Link up play from Ross Lamb, Rossi and Gregor Lamb finally saw a neat run from Schulz almost go all the way. His trickery took him past three players before his strike was saved by the feet of the advancing goalkeeper. As the ball spun back in the wind it was Lindsay to nod over from close range. Two- Nil going in to half time.

As the second half got under way it was Ormiston rushing out the blocks trying to use the wind to their advantage. Straight from kick off Weldon broke free however his shot drove harmlessly wide. Rovers managing their game play extremely well could’ve went further into the lead. Sharp passing from Zavaroni, Rossi and Lindsay opened up the chance for Schulz. The big striker tried to place his shot however and the wind almost took it to Bonnyrigg. Stand in goalkeeper Yosi Bejaoui produced the save of the game after a scramble ensued in the box. The wind again causing mayhem allowed the ball to fall at Weldon’s feet who was only but 8 yards out when his stinging strike was palmed away to safety by the giant paw of Bejaoui. Zavaroni was up next as the skipper almost produced the moment of the game. Picking the ball up in his own half Zav almost broke the land speed record with the wind at his back as he ghosted past the entire Ormiston backline. His resulting effort however was lost in translation with the blustery hurricane and as the ball flew off his right foot his shot also flew wide of the target. With the game clock running down Ormiston were reduced to 10 men as a second yellow saw their man head towards the showers prematurely after a lunge on Colin Smith. Ross Lamb was then on hand shortly after to put the game firmly to bed as his powerful run and composed dink past the goalkeeper on the 90th minute looked enough to send the Peeblesshire men back down the A68 with their opening day 3 points. Ormiston to their credit refused to give up. Deep into injury time slack play on the right hand side opened up a direct through pass for Ormiston. They nipped through on goal untouched grabbing a consolation goal. As Rovers regrouped for centre the referee blew his whistle for the last time.

We caught up with Ger right after the game. “Today we asked for a reaction after last weekend and to a man we certainly got that. I felt we managed the game well in what was extremely difficult conditions for both sides. There wasn’t much product when it came to our passing game but again that was direct reflection on the surface and the small hurricane blowing across East Mains. The disappoint for myself and the boys was in the way we lost the goal so late on. It takes a little bit of the shine away from how accomplished the performance was from the team today. That being said it was a strong three points to kick start our season and we now look ahead to next weekend. We would also like to thank big Yosi for standing in as Ben was on holiday, in troublesome conditions the big mans experience came in extremely handy.

Signing News: It’s Great To Be Back!!

The Gaffer is delighted to announce the signing of the experienced former Hawick Royal Albert, Edinburgh United and Pumpherston Juniors, player Raymond Fleming.

“Skinny” returns to Whitestone Park after a few years plying his trade away from the club but when we caught up with him he was delighted to be back in Peeblesshire. Raymond told us.

“Its great to be back. Obviously a lot of things have changed since i was last here, however the club still has fantastic characters behind it. I’ve known Ger for a while so when i got the call i was keen to sit down and hear his plans. There’s a lot of young players in the changing room and one of the first things Ger had said would be that my experience would not only aid the overall shape of the team but he felt it would also bode well for the younger guys going forward. Raymond went on to finish by saying. “I’ve only been around the club for a short period but the guys have been fantastic already. The club is trying to go in the right direction on and off the park and i’m now just excited to get going. ”

Ger followed this up by saying. “Ray coming in adds more than just experience to what we are trying to do. Playing with and against him, his attitude is always something I’ve admired. He’s the type of player that will never let you down and goes into every training session and game fully committed. Our young lads will learn a lot from him and he still has plenty to offer. Without a pre season behind him we are maybe a couple of weeks away from seeing how good the guy actually is, but already his levels have impressed not only myself but every one at the club.”

We wish you the very best for the season ahead Ray, welcome back to the club!

Q&A With Our Young Gun Jamie Mackay

Jamie Mackay is our player feature for this week and he hasn’t held back. Here is what the talented self proclaimed best dressed player has said about his fellow team mates.

Q. So to one of our our youngest members of the Rovers squad, how are you finding life at the club so far.?

JM. I’m enjoying life so far at the Rovers. We’ve had plenty of ups and downs already but there’s a great bunch of boys in the dressing room. I feel this has also shown on the park. After a difficult start, we are now starting to put a much better run of results together.

Q. Spending almost more than half a season in the changing room, who is the biggest moaner within the group and who is the one that always finds a positive for everything.? 

JM. Smithy (Colin Smith) has to take the biggest moaner hands down. Probably closely followed by myself. Benzo (Ben Brown) always has a snide remark to make which lifts the spirits in the changing room. I’m not sure if that’s him trying to be positive or just trying to be the team joker.

Q. Best dressed and who’s the squad member that gets changed with the lights off. 

JM. There are a few in contention for worst dressed. The ones that stand out however are Speedy (Alan McMath) for his crocs and big Jason Newell for those horrific white firetrap boots. Benzo always comes close as he never takes his am’s kit off. Best dressed to be fair i scrub up well, and am probably the slickest in the team. Followed by Gregor Lamb. He has some decent clobber and pulls out all the stops whilst modelling his Armani t-shirt when chucking the 8kg weights about the gym.

Q. Who is least intelligent in the squad and who’s head is full of brains. 

JM. Jason Newell is by far the least intelligent. Most intelligent would be big Foff (Ross Forrest) seeing as he claims hes a lawyer.

Q. Who would you beat in an arm wrestle and on the flip side who’s the one you’d rather not entertain. 

JM. I’d fancy myself against the majority to be honest. Especially Robbie Renwick. I’d stay clear of Saul Schulz. Strength is about the only department he excels in.

Q. It’s a team night out (when you finally turn 18). Who is the 3 team mates you want by your side and why. 

JM. 1. Robbie Renwick. His speed dial is electric and would be able to sell out an empty room. 2.Ben Brown he loves the sesh. (youngster terminology) 3. Gregor Lamb. Wee Bambi is the cutie of the changing room and always catches the ladies eye.

Q. Who is the funny man and who’s patter bores you to tears.

JM. Ben Brown has some decent patter along with Robbie Renwick and Gregor Lamb. Mikey Cockburn has the worst mainly due to the fact that he never speaks. The gaffers team talks last an eternity so he’d be up there too.

Q. Almost there. If roles were reversed for the weekend and you were the gaffer who’d be the first name on the team sheet. 

JM. Definitely Ben McGinley. It would however be a dilemma in where to play him. He’s been magnificent for us all season in the sticks but during fives he knows how to stick the ball in the back of the net.

Q. Last one “Slick Rick” describe these players/ staff by using only one word. 

Colin Smith- Moaner, Lee Zavaroni- Unpredictable, David Lindsay- Explicit (rhymes with bits), James Runciman- Engine, Club Legend Derek Learmond- Loyalty, The Gaffer- either tactical or towing.Both sum him up well.

 

There you have it. The young boys seem to rule the roost in the changing room. However it would be interesting in hearing what one of our more seasoned pro’s have to say about those young pretenders. Stay tuned for more Rovers Q&A.