CAMBUSLANG Rangers were left twiddling their thumbs after Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie with East Craigie was called off.
The heavy rain at the tail end of last week ensured that the pitch at Somervell Park was waterlogged, and although it could possibly have been brought into a playable condition for kick off on Saturday, manager Alan Wardlaw felt calling the fixture off was the right decision.
But there was no rest for the Lang squad, as they weren’t given the afternoon off, as they had a two hour session in the gym which featured some very heavy stamina work.
Alan said: “It’s unfortunate, but it’s 100 per cent the right call to make. You’re caught in a position where, with the prevailing weather conditions on Friday and Saturday, it could have dried up overnight, was the correct thing to do.
“We were right to call it off on Friday and let them know early doors, which is the correct thing to do given they’re the ones travelling.
“Even if the park was borderline, we could have started but as a result it would have been ruined for the rest of the season. We don’t want it to cut up or anything like that, or else we’d face playing on mud for the rest of the season.
“The grounds staff have put in a lot of time and effort to the pitch, and they’ve got the playing surface to an excellent quality. It would be a shame to rush a game on and ruin it in 90 minutes. All that hard work is appreciated by the boys, who know they’ve got a good quality of park.
“The other teams who come here always comment on it too, as it’s always in excellent condition.”
The Lang were watched last week by East Craigie, when they turned in their worst performance of the season as they lost at Benburb.
However, Cambuslang had their own spy in the stand at East Craigie’s last game, courtesy of a contact of their former coach Alan Prosser.
Boss Wardlaw said: “We had someone watching them through Alan Prosser who says they will be difficult to beat, a stuffy young team who don’t stop working, and don’t seem to know when they’re beaten – even if they go two or three goals behind.
“He watched East Craigie play Blairgowrie a couple of weeks ago and drew 2-2, and Blairgowrie drew with Pollok at the weekend.
“If ever anything emphasised there are no easy ties in the Scot Cup, that shows it.
“Pollok are no mugs, and it shows how difficult it will be to get a result, playing a side who drew with the team that held Pollok.
“The gulf between sides in the east and west leagues has quite significantly drawn in in recent years.
“Traditionally, you might look at teams from the east playing in certain divisions and think you have an easy tie. That’s definitely not the case.
“The best teams in the west, the likes of your Auchinleck, Glenafton, Pollok, and Irvine Meadows would have every right to go in as strong favourites to any game, whether they’re playing a side from the east or west.
“However, with the standard we’re at, compared with those in the east there’s not a huge gulf.
“Last year we played Montrose Roselea in the Scottish Cup and although we won 3-0, it wasn’t an easy game.”
The Lang were dealt a blow last Thursday night in training when midfielder Andy McFarlane suffered an injury which has put him on crutches.
He said: “At training on Thursday night, I jumped for a header and felt Achillies go on my right foot.
“Luckily I reacted quick and landed only on my left foot. The doctor says if I had landed on right then I would have torn it completely – it’s hanging on by a thread.
“I’m looking at at least two months out I think. I’m gutted as we have hit a run of poor form and desperate to help us get out of it.”
Alan added: “Andy has a tear in his Achilles and will be out for a wee while.
“He got it in training and just went down. It looked a sore one but my initial thought was, it’s cold and wet, and I didn’t fancy it either, and he just wanted a hot shower. Maybe I was being a bit harsh, now I know what it is!
“Aside from Andy, we should be back up to full numbers and running this week.
“We hope to have Thomas Hoey back in training, but he’ ll take time to get his fitness up, after the number of weeks he’s been missing, and Brian Smith was also back in training.
“Brian’s needing an operation but we’ll see how it goes and take it in our stride to see how long he can go.
“With Bobby Thomson, I believe compensation has been paid by Harthill so that’s his move there completed.”
Cambuslang Rangers have arranged a friendly against Pollok for next Tuesday, December 6, at K-Park in East Kilbride, with an 8pm kick off.