‘It’s magic’ as Royalists finally shake monkey off their backs

Mick Murphy
Mick Murphy

HAWICK Royal Albert manager Mick Murphy admitted his side’s first win in a year-and-a-half would take some believing.

And after watching the Albert defeat Ormiston on Saturday he revealed even his assistant manager Stuart Sharkey thought he was pulling his leg.

He told the Hawick News: “I felt we had a chance of getting a win as we’ve been pushing to do this for a few games.

“For a lot of people it will take a bit of believing that it has happened though.

“Right after the game, I phoned my assistant Stuart Sharkey who had been unable to make the match and told him the score.

“He didn’t believe me and told me to go away, but he didn’t quite say it as politely as that!”

In what was also their opening win of the season, Royalists kept a clean sheet into the bargain – the first time they’ve done this in a long while.

The Albert fought and foraged, were excellent in defence, moved the ball about well and got a just reward for all the effort they put into the game.

And Murphy was delighted with his side’s performance.

He said: “Ormiston are a good footballing side, so it was our aim to play it tight and close them down. And this worked big time for us. The players did the job I asked them to do and we also managed to play some good football ourselves.

“Our back four in particular played very well, but I was chuffed with the way everybody performed. It’s magic for the Albert to have won a game after such a long time and I’m really pleased for the boys.”

Due to call-offs from Alan Campbell, Sean Owens, Francis Martinez and Jamie Brodie, the Albert had their problems before a ball had even been kicked.

Scott Craig from Hawick Waverley and the Legion’s Craig McCutcheon were drafted in, while high school pupils Dale Whillans, Steven Drummond and Robbie Kelly – who all play for the Hawick Youth Under-15 side – were on the bench.

Reshaped Albert were first to look like scoring when the Ormiston defence got into a tangle attempting to clear a Ross Wallace throw-in. The ball broke to the feet of Liam Lavery, who fired in a shot that home keeper Paul Cadger did well to push round the post at full stretch.

Good play between Stewart Fraser and McCutcheon then troubled the homesters, with the move ending in the latter coming close to netting.

Minutes later, after Kevin Barr had swung a corner into the goalmouth, McCutcheon emerged Royalists’ saviour in bundling a Graham Nisbet effort off the line.

Back came Royalists and on being fed by a Lavery pass, Clinton Sharkey brought the best out of Cadger with a powerful shot.

Just on the interval, Albert number one Willie Turner excelled in tipping a net-bound Paul Lynch drive over the bar.

And early in the second half it was the turn of Cadger to turn on the style as he got down well to push a McCutcheon drive wide.

Wallace floated over the resultant corner which was nodded just wide by Malcolm Cooper.

In the 57th minute the deadlock was eventually broken.

Harassed by the bustling Lavery, Ormiston defender Steven Enwood hit a pass back to his own keeper, but the ball sailed over the head of Cadger and into the roof of the net from all of 40 yards.

Ormiston pushed for an equaliser from here on, but Royalists were giving absolutely nothing away at the back.

The action was hotting up and Livingston referee Gianluca Marini made several bookings as tension mounted.

With six minutes remaining the Albert were reduced to 10 men after Cooper, who had been cautioned earlier, was shown a second yellow card.

And within minutes, Ormiston’s David Cheyne was also red carded for headbutting Turner in a moment of madness that brought a sour finish to the match.