Nov 11 2010 By Kevin McGoldrick
SARACEN PARK is not one of junior football's most fashionable venues and my day started by figuring out how to make my way to the turnstiles without getting my adidas Sambas ruined in the gauntlet of puddles.
Hop, skip and a jump was the answer and my day soon got a whole lot better when I glanced at the Ashfield and Blantyre Vics line-ups.
Watching Jim Smith go through his paces for the home side was enough to turn my frown upside down . The big fellow is a former team-mate of mine at Queen's Park and he has four league winners' medals with various clubs at senior level. And we wonder why our game is in the state it's in.
Next I saw Davie Arbuckle, another ex QP stalwart, go over the ball in a challenge - and it was still only the warm-up! At Hampden Mr Arbuckle enjoyed touching the ball too far in front so he could maul his opponent with a knee-high assault. (Sorry, Davie).
As I looked around I clocked James Orr, who was playing for the Spiders when I first arrived at the home of football. The only reason I didn't spot the auld yin was because he looked in better shape now than he did 18 years ago.
With Arbuckle and Orr in the same team there was sure to be incidents galore and to their credit they proved they can still mix it with boys half their age.
Pity about big Smith, who decided to make a game of it by playing a short pass back straight to the opposition for them to make it 2-0. But Darren O'Donnell grabbed a late double and I was happy to sit on the fence with both sides having guys who used to clean my boots.
But that was then and this is now, with some tasty looking games on the card. This week Pollok entertain Auchinleck, who are smarting after defeat by Ayrshire rivals Irvine Meadow.
The Newlandsfield outfit are also coming to terms with their Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Neilston and will look to born-again Lok hitman Bryan Dingwall to bag the goals.
Petershill's shock 3-0 win at champions Beith last weekend can give them the confidence as they welcome Irvine Meadow.
Further down the leagues, Shettleston travel to Possil to face Perthshire while Maryhill look to push up the division after their recent good form by welcoming Larkhall to Lochburn Park.