03/04/05 The Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield
v Coasters at Holyrood Sports Centre
1-0  (1-0)

James McLaughlin, Arthur McCue, Alistair Dorward (Colin Shepherd), John Crosbie, David Ferguson, Paul Joyce (Owen Grain), Alan Main (Raymond McCulloch), Logan Taylor (John Kirkland), Roddy Davidson, Barry Cook (c) and Brian McGowan

A visit by Coasters was always one of the highlights of our season and, despite only ever notching up two wins against the Oban side, we were always optimistic of “getting a result”, well in Glasgow anyway.

 Our last game against them, at North Connel, had resulted in an 8-0 defeat where we lucky to get nil, but a stronger squad was assembled at sunny Holyrood for this encounter for the Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield.

 Coasters were late as usual and had enough for a team which meant that we didn’t have to loan them anybody, particularly ex Coasters star Roddy Davidson, who slotted into our midfield.

 Our usual 4-4-2 formation was picked and we started off with James The Penguin in goals; full backs were Arthur and Algie with Crossers and Fergal in central defence; along with Roddy in midfield were Psycho, Tyrone Main, and Logie; skipper Barry and Choccy McGowan were up front.

 The Coasters side had an unusual look about it with Steven “Maccy” McIntyre in goals and regular net minder Mugsi up front. To be honest it was a blow for us as Mugsi was normally worth a goal of a start to us in Glasgow. Although, in saying that, it meant that we didn’t have to play against a top class defender like Maccy who also had the ability to score goals as his winner in the Ian Younger Sixes in 2001 will testify.

 What was the reason behind this ? Well, apparently those wacky Coasters boys had decided to pick their formation by drawing names out of a hat and Maccy’s name came out first. As you can tell, from the outset Oban’s finest were taking the game seriously.

 From our point of view, we were taking it seriously as Coasters were undoubtedly the best team we played against at that time and it was always good to test ourselves against a quality team.

 The first half went to plan for us as we put in a tremendous performance, capped by an opening goal from Barry Cook. Obviously Coasters always carried a threat but The Penguin was on top form in our goal.

 At half time we made four changes with Shep, Uncle Owen, Raymie and Big John all coming on as we looked to carry on our good form.

 Ten minutes into the second half we won a free kick outside the Coasters box and a high looping cross was put into the area. Four or five players from both teams attacked the ball as it came in but everybody missed it and the danger was cleared.

 But, disaster had struck.

 Fergal had thrown himself at the ball at the back post but slipped and ended up in the back of the goal with one foot caught in the net and the other stuck under him.

 Unfortunately his ankle had broken in two places and we carefully removed his foot from the net, as he was clearly in agony, and someone ran to the pavilion to phone an ambulance.

 It was a long wait for the ambulance to come but Fergal was in relatively good spirits, well, he was The Man of Steel after all, although it did help that he couldn’t see the damage done to his ankle.

 Coasters supremo John “Scotty” Scott immediately decided that we should abandon the game but we agreed that both teams would stay on the pitch until Fergal had left in the ambulance out of respect for our legendary player.

 Eventually the medics arrived and Shep, who had suffered a similar serious injury two years previously, joined Fergal in the ambulance to the Victoria Infirmary.

 Meanwhile at Holyrood the teams got changed and then headed to The Mire Bar in Aikenhead Road for hospitality and some refreshments.

 The game had only lasted 55 minutes but the result stood and Scotty presented the Alexander MacGregor Memorial Shield to Barry after the pies had been scoffed.

 Coasters said their goodbyes, and headed to The Park Bar on the way home as always, and we then raised a toast to Fergal and began a long drunken night in The Mire as apparently “it’s what Fergal would have wanted”. Hearing there was Guinness on tap Jazza joined us as well

 Fergal stayed in hospital for a week and had his ankle operated on but has never been able to play elevens again, although he did make a goal keeping appearance at the 2011 Ian Younger Sixes for QPSA.

 It was a big loss for our team as Fergal was undoubtedly one of our best ever players and an outstanding central defender, as well as playing in most positions. A regular for sixteen seasons, apart from a couple of injuries, he was in line to break the All Time Appearance record, a goal he had set his mind on, and he played his part on many an away trip and tour.

 There is a rumour that he might come out of retirement during our 25th season and make a cameo appearance in goals during one of our games, and more than likely he’ll excel at that.

So, we won the Shield but lost a Legend.

(More Photos in the Photo Gallery)


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