From the December issue of The Albion magazine
A very busy December at Forthbank, with three home Ladbrokes League 2 matches – up first Elgin City, followed by current leaders Annan Athletic and, finally, our Boxing Day visitors East Fife. I extend a very warm welcome to the supporters, players, management and officials of all three clubs.
With our Scottish Cup tie against Cumbernauld Colts falling foul of the weather at the end of November, we’ve already played one game at Forthbank this month, with the postponed match being rescheduled for 1st December.
The outcome was a convincing 6-0 victory but more pleasing than the score was the overall team performance, the long-awaited return to the starting line-up for Darren Smith and Craig Beattie completing his return to fitness, after a couple of U20 outings, with a two-goal substitute appearance.
A special mention, too, for our young on-loan St Johnstone striker, Kyle Lander, who was in the right place at the right time to score his first senior goal. Kyle’s game time has been limited during his time with us but his attitude and application have been that of a consummate professional and I’ve no doubt he will make his mark at a higher level as his career progresses.
Pleasing as the cup result and performance were, the exciting prospect of the resulting tie against the current Scottish Cup holders Inverness Caledonian Thistle has to be put firmly on the back burner until next year with 15 league points up for grabs before we face them at Forthbank Stadium on January 9.
There has been much (mostly ill-informed) comment made about the waterlogging of the pitch that led to the aborted first attempt to play our third-round Scottish Cup tie and it is only appropriate that I set the record straight.
The weather leading up to the match was simply horrendous with rainfall records being set not just for that week but also for the month. This made it impossible for the groundsman to prepare as he would have wished.
On the Monday, the respite from the rain allowed him to get the necessary machinery on to the surface, from around lunchtime, to undertake verti-draining and deploy a specialist Air2G2 machine (Google it!).
The sight of the tractor headlights piercing the pitch dark of the stadium until approaching 10 o’clock that night reflects Graeme’s dedication to duty. His (and our) reward was the immaculate surface he presented the following day, despite persistent rainfall until early afternoon. Everyone at the club – most especially the players – would wish to formally record their huge appreciation for his unstinting efforts.
My best wishes to all Binos for an enjoyable festive season – hopefully with a sackful of points – see you, Inside the Box, in 2016!
Chairman & Operations Director