Category: Ants Weekly

Weekend Round Up – U20’s | First Team | Walking Football

As Meatloaf once sang “Two out of Three aint bad” as the Under 20’s picked up a 5-0 away win to Forth Under 20’s in the SLDFL Knockout Cup West and the First Team moving up to fourth position in the PDM Buildbase WoSFL Second Division with a 2-0 win v Yoker at McKenna Park but unfortunately the Walking teams defence of their Over 50’s West of Scotland Premiership title got off to a slower start with a draw and two defeats on Matchday One.

First up on Friday night were the Under 20’s who bounced back in style from defeat to Johnstone Burgh in the league with a show of almost total domination at a freezing cold John Cumming Stadium. Ethan Prior opened the scoring in the 12th minute before Stephen McCulloch grabbed his 14th goal goal of the season in the 19th minute. With 8 minutes to go until half time full back Shay Harrison got his first goal of the season when he prodded Prior’s effort over the line.

The second half was more of the same and it was 4-0 after 53 minutes when Luke Gallagher scored direct from a corner kick and then 4 minutes later turned provider when his cross found Findlay Provan who headed home to make it 5-0. Alex MacLachlan and Ben Lavety, both signed from Erskine 05’s earlier in the week came on for just under half an hour and both impressed with their cameos.

Onto Saturday and the First Team welcomed Yoker Athletic to McKenna Park with just 1 point separating the teams. A win for the Ants would open up a 4 point gap, with a game in hand, but defeat would see Yoker leap above us in the table.

Jonny McKay signalled our intentions to go for the win with a fantastic effort from 35-40 yards that cannoned off the crossbar, Graeme Crawford also saw a shot clip the top of the bar but in the 37th minute the Ants got their just rewards when Omar fired in a free kick from 25 yards out on the far touchline and Stephen McGarrigle got his first since the last day of last season (where he had prompted wild celebrations with an 93rd minute overhead kick secured 2nd Division status) as he flicked the ball past Dillon to make it 1-0 Ants at the break.

Minutes into the second half the Ants doubled their lead as Ged Dobbs fired home a stunning effort from the edge of the box for his 11th of the season making sure the Ants kept all 3 points at McKenna.

Jack MacMurray, who stepped into the first team from the Under 20’s to cover for the unavailable Tony Hampson put in a tremendous performance in only his second start and was a constant thorn in the side of the visitors.

The Ants Over 50’s Walking Team have been exceptional since their formation almost 2 years ago, Winning the Glasgow Cup in our first ever Walking Football Tournament and following that up by winning the Walking Football Scotland West of Scotland Over 50’s league in our first season.

We started the defence of our title at Toryglen on the 5th of March but just couldn’t get going. We started off against North Lanarkshire Council where we fell behind to a penalty before Paul Lynch grabbed his first of the season, also from the penalty spot. Gordon McAllister produced a fine performance in goal, capped by a fantastic penalty save just before full time and it finished 1-1

In the second match of the day we faced Braehead and found ourselves a goal down early before _ equalised for the Ants. Braehead then went ahead with a dink over McAllister before the Ants equalised through Con O’Brien who scored from the spot after a 3rd running offence from Braehead. Braehead were awarded their own penalty for running violation and made no mistake and then with the Ants pushing for a leveller made it 4-2.

The third match saw us take on old friends Townhead Strollers and as with the other two matches we had to come back from a goal down after the Strollers opened the scoring. Con O’Brien equalised from the spot before Townhead scored three times without reply to go 4-1 up. Right on the buzzer O’Brien grabbed his and the Ants second of the match from the spot

Ants Weekly with Stephen Russell

Hello Ants, hope you are all well! On Ants Weekly this week I’d like to take the chance to discuss the increasing appearance of gambling within football. In recent years, it has become almost unavoidable and is bordering being an essential part of the game. I’m sure we’ve all seen countless gambling adverts while watching on the TV, or even on advertising boards at games! Gambling companies are prevalent as sponsors for both football teams and leagues; our top division is sponsored by Ladbrokes with our very own league being sponsored by McBookie! There has been an incline in the amount of pressure groups attempting to combat this but is that justified? Are betting companies within their rights to promote themselves in this manner?

You may have seen in the news that many major betting firms, including Sky Bet and Paddy Power, have voluntarily agreed to a “whistle to whistle” advert ban in light of the political movements against such advertisements. Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, stated that it was a welcome move and he is pleased to see such action amidst public concerns. I’m inclined to agree. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s ended up betting an extra few pounds after seeing a half time offer on TV – why else would they pay for them to be there?

In England’s top two divisions, over half of football clubs are sponsored by gambling organisations. Our country’s champions, Celtic, and fierce rivals, Rangers, both have the name of a betting firm across their jerseys. Are we normalising gambling behaviour or is betting a part of the culture in football?

The Gambling Commission releases a study in 2017 detailing gambling habits of 11-16 year olds. 12% were reported to have spent their own money on a bet up to a week before the survey with 11% using a parent’s account to gamble online. Shockingly, 3% even had their own accounts. On average, it was reported that most placed their first wager at the age of 12. I’ll even admit, I had placed more than a few bets before I reached adulthood – and so had most of my friends.

Another study was also released on problem gambling, conducted in 2015. Problem gambling is generally defined as gambling to the point where it affects other aspects of your life, such as relationships within your family or recreational pursuits. The report claimed that 63% of adults in the UK had gambled that year. If only Scotland is counted, this figure rises to 68%. 0.8% of adults are problem gamblers while 3.9% of adults were described as “at risk”. In context, this means that roughly 1 in 20 people over the age of 18 are likely to have experienced difficulty regarding gambling. However, remove women from the curve and this figure rises drastically. The report showed that 1 in 8 men aged 16-34 would have encountered such difficulty.

Should more be done to protect these groups of people or is that not the responsibility of these organisations? It’s a huge step forward for companies to voluntarily agree to advertisement restrictions but will that be enough? Gambling is now more accessible than ever – it takes mere seconds to place a bet from your phone – so it stands to reason that these advancements should come with further protection. Essentially, it all boils down to one question. Whose fault is problem gambling: the company or the user?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences surrounding this so for any thoughts, stories, queries or feedback please email me at I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and a brilliant New Year, I look forward to hopefully speaking with you soon!

*As always these views are Stephen’s own and not the views of the club