Shang-a-Lang – Cambuslang Rangers – 09/10/2021

A soggy day in Cambuslang

Background

It’s fair to say that Cambuslang Rangers are a club steeped in success. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, ‘The Lang gathered an extensive haul of silverware including five Scottish Junior Cups. No strangers to the biggest stage in Scottish Junior football, Camby participated in the final of this prestigious tournament eleven times in total.

The club’s success in the 1970s is well versed through the South Lanarkshire town and it’s genuinely incredible to look at the honours the club achieved during this decade. Cup double’s, League and Cup trebles and even a quadruple winning season in 1971-72 is enough to make any football lovers eyes widen with intrigue. Furthermore, the club achieved these feats in front of tens of thousands of supporters at Somervell Park. Whilst these numbers have dwindled for a multitude of reasons, the history and success of Cambuslang Rangers is forever emblazoned in Scottish Junior folklore. ‘The Scottish Junior team of the 20th century’ is a title that no-one can take away from them.

Presently, The Wee Gers compete in the West of Scotland Conference ‘B’ and appear to be taking to the ‘senior’ set-up well. Even after pulling the club out of any league action during the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial troubles in the last few years, Camby have pulled through. They currently lead the division and have already scored fifty-two goals in the league before today’s visit from Carluke Rovers. With the Rovers dwindling towards the wrong end of the table, the ‘Lang went into the game in confident spirits.

The Journey

I primarily work in Cambuslang but have never been round to see a game at Somervell Park until today. After picking up my guest for today’s entertainment, Cambuslang is easy enough to get to. A fifteen-minute jot down the M74 took us to the park and ride just down from the town’s main street. From there it’s an easy five-minute walk to the ground and is simple enough to find. I appreciate grounds like this where it is deep within the heart of the community it serves.

Facilities

Billy Drummond immortalised

Somervell Park has been the home of Cambuslang Rangers since 1904. Over one hundred years’ worth of football has been played on this hallowed ground. Punters have seen league titles won, cup parades, horrible defeats, and calamitous relegations all in the one place. The place oozes of history and has a very old-school feel to it.

Some of the architecture surrounding the pitch itself does appear to be very dated. A blue wall runs around the outskirts of the playing field and could do with a little touching up if truth be told. To be fair, I feel it adds to the older feel of the ground and is by no means horrible to look at. The grandstand itself is fairly large for the number of supporters in attendance and suits its purpose well. On the back end the walls are painted nicely with a perfect rendition of blue and white branding – representing the club’s primary colours.

On the far side of Somervell Park stands an adjoining bar named ‘Legends’ with a high perched veranda overlooking the pitch. It looks incredible and is a near-perfect idea that allows supporters to watch the game from a viewpoint, pint in hand. A fair few supporters took up this opportunity and looked to be having a good time of it too. The fan zone idea is something I have a lot of time for.

However, the area that touched me the most in this famous ground lies within the grandstand itself. Named ‘The Billy Drummond Stand’, it immortalises a young supporter who sadly lost his life in October of 2020. In the middle of his stand lies an amazing dedication to the young man with a large photograph, a heart-warming poem and plenty of flowers at its base. It is the thoughtful things like this that epitomise the football community. Cambuslang Rangers have taken the time and effort to showcase care for their own and have ensured that this young man’s memory marches on. Full credit to the club for this.

Somervell Park scores a handy 3.5/5.

Atmosphere

A rough estimation would say that there were between 150-200 supporters in attendance for today’s match. Understandably, the soggy conditions may have caused a few more to stay at home but it’s fair to say the atmosphere was pretty quiet. A mixture of supporters old and young gathered under the shed to occasionally shout encouragement or applaud when something positive occurred for Camby. I imagine the camaraderie would have been a bit louder up in the beer garden. I’ll know for next time… 2/5.

Quality of the Match

After an impeccably observed minutes silence, Cambuslang immediately pressed from the offset. A superb ball out to the wing allowed Gary Giffin to control the ball impeccably and deliver a superb cross into the box. A rising header by ‘Lang striker Scott Williamson was saved well by Carluke ‘keeper Dean Wilson. The Rovers stopper was brought into action twice more in quick succession. He saved a decent drive with his feet from Jay Nelson before denying Williamson once again. However, he had no chance with Camby’s opener. A superb driven effort by Tony Stevenson glided across the wet turf and flew into the bottom corner. A well-deserved opener for The Wee Gers despite Wilson’s efforts.

Cambuslang continued their high pressure and held nothing back against a Carluke defence struggling to grasp any possession. A good ball in from the right by midfielder Ryan Stewart found Williamson who smashed the ball through the legs of Wilson. It was three-nil very shortly after. A brutal mistake at the heart of Carluke’s defence allowed a Cambuslang forward to snatch the ball in the area. He dribbled away from the onrushing ‘keeper before squaring the ball to Gordon. He swept the ball home with ease to net his first of the season. It got even worse for the Rovers just before half-time. A corner swung in was met by a looping header from John Gemmell. After his effort hit the crossbar, Williamson comfortably dispatched the rebound. A riot of a first half in which Camby controlled with ease.

Half time: Cambuslang Rangers 4-0 Carluke Rovers

The home side started the second half in the same manner as they ended the first: in full control. A few decent saves by Wilson in the Carluke goals and a couple last-ditch challenges the only thing stopping ‘Lang from increasing their lead. This was until a good through ball for Williamson produced a terrific snapshot toward the bottom corner. That concluded the striker’s hat-trick and meant he had scored 31 goals in 17 games this season. Those are incredibly impressive numbers.

If things weren’t already difficult for the away side, they were about to get worse. Dillan Duddy got himself sent off from what I presumed to be dissent, although I could be wrong. Regardless, Carluke were down to ten with an impossible mountain to climb.

Shortly after a Camby effort was cleared off the line, some slack defending allowed the home side to pass ball around the edge of the box. The resulting strike from Ryan Stewart made it six-nil. Carluke fell apart afterwards. After strong battling in the middle of the park, a through ball was played through to Camby substitute Gordon Dick. With not a single defender anywhere near him, he slotted the ball away to make it seven. Then, literally from kick-off the exact same scenario repeated itself. A defence cutting through ball to Dick gave him all the time in the world just inside the box. The forward attempted an audacious flick over the onrushing keeper, which amazingly fell into the net. A fitting finish to say the least given ‘Lang’s performance this afternoon. I think it’s fair to say the away side were glad to hear the final whistle blow.

Full time: Cambuslang Rangers 8-0 Carluke Rovers

I think it’s clear to see why The Wee Gers are top of Conference ‘B’. They played some fantastic football and did not seem to be bothered in the slightest by the wet and soggy pitch. Their intricate passing and moving from the midfield created a multitude of chances going forward. The Camby back line must also be applauded. They controlled the game superbly and never once looked threatened by the away side’s attackers. Every league challenger needs a powerful defensive line, and Cambuslang have just this.

Despite Carluke’s mostly disappointing performance, it’s worth nothing that Dean Wilson had a good game in goals. He made a string of important saves toward the beginning of the match and can count himself unlucky regarding the quality of Camby’s finishes. On another day he may have been what Carluke needed to take something from the game.

Usually, I’m not a fan of complete walkovers like this. One team being massively better quality than their opponents can often bring a rubbish game to watch as it’s so easy. However, on this occasion I was massively impressed with Camby’s play. They played some slick football and took control of the game from the off. It was superb to watch at times. For this reason, the game scores 3/5.

Pricing

Standard pricing for this level of football. We paid £6 for entry and witnessed eight goals. Can’t really complain too much can we? 5/5.

Final Score

Cambuslang Rangers end with a final score of 13.5/20. A reputable score with plenty of potential for more in the future. I really enjoyed my experience at Somervell Park and hope to return at some point. I imagine when I do so, The Wee Gers will be in the Premier Division at the least. I wish both teams the very best for the rest of the season. I’ll be in Carluke for a game there soon…

– Connor

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