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Raith Rovers 4 - 3 Aberdeen

HT Score: Raith Rovers 3 - 1 Aberdeen

Scottish Cup First Round
Raith Rovers scorers: Pigg 12, McAllister, Birrell (pen), Pigg
Aberdeen scorers: Bruce 14, Bruce, Bruce.

21/01/1928 | KO:


Raith Rovers played strong and forceful football to secure victory over Aberdeen at Stark's Park. In the opening minutes the home forwards gave the visitors' backs several rude shocks, which proved a foretaste of persistent aggression in the first half by the home men, in which the forwards worked with understanding and half-backs added strength to the attack. At the outset Pigg made a couple of errors, but he soon steadied and proved a gallant leader and a do-or-die sharp-shooter. Birrell provided brains as well as bustle to the home forward play, and Beath and the left wingers never spared themselves. Pitcairn did well, but gave Bruce too much scope. Perhaps the hardest worker on the field was Batchelor, who struggled with no little success to thwart Love and Cheyne, Aberdeen's most dangerous wingers. Aberdeen were long in settling down - their half-backs never seemed to get set - but in the second half they moved quickly and finished strongly. Their marksmanship, however, was not good, while the rear ranks were not on a par with the men in front. In the last quarter of an hour they rallied splendidly and produced some delightful combination, but the effort came too late to be of use. Bruce was an enterprising leader, and the right wingers played up to hime with every vigour. Jackson and Livingstone should have done better, yet they were too often harassed by the storming tactics of the Rovers' forwards. It was a gallant win for the "Lang Toon" team, more particularly when it is remembered that in the teeth of a strong wind they reached the interval with a score of 3-1 in their favour. Goal scorers for the Rovers were Pigg (2), McAllister, and Birrell, and Bruce (3) for Aberdeen. The attendance was 8000, and receipts £400.

Source: The Scotsman, 23rd January 1928

The Dons failed to surmount the first hurdle in the Scottish Cup Competition. Their defeat was due to tactical and defensive blunders in the first half. Yet the Dons almost forced a replay, and I do think they should have been awarded a penalty in the closing stages. They made a great rally in the last half hour, and their play during that period was well worth seeing. This defeat, however, will come as a severe blow to the Aberdeen club financially, while interest in football in the city will diminish.

The Dons were beaten on Saturday by a very moderate team. The victors were by no means a convincing lot, but they made no bones about establishing an early lead, which is a tremendous advantage in a cup-tie. Truth to tell, the Aberdeen defence was flustered during the first half-hour, and the blunders made were costly indeed. The Rovers literally won the game in the opening thirty minutes. To enjoy a lead of 3-1 at the interval was sufficient to give any team good heart for the remainder of the struggle. On the other hand, such a deficit midway through the contest was enough to knock the confidence out of any eleven. The many supporters who travelled with the Aberdeen team had, at the interval, given up all hope of the Dons even drawing, and when the homesters got a fourth goal, well, you can imagine the feelings of the Aberdeen people. All was lost, so to speak. Yet in the closing half-hour the Dons made a wonderful rally, and, frankly speaking, the play of the Aberdeen forwards during that period was well worth going a long way to see. Bobby Bruce scored three wonderful goals, and I am convinced that he would have drawn the game in the last five minutes, had he not been unceremoniously brought down. I am prepared to say that Mr Dougray would have been justified in awarding Aberdeen a penalty in this instance. To put the matter in a nutshell, however, Aberdeen lost because of the serious mistakes by the defence in the first half, Yet, on the run of the play they were worthy of a draw.
Blackwell saved many dangerous shots, but he let his team down badly when the second goal was scored. It was probably the easiest ball he had to deal with all afternoon, yet he let it slip through his hands. This goal was, to my mind, the deciding factor in the game. Jackson took a long time to settle. He failed to hold Turner before the interval, and it was from the outside left that most danger came. He came into his own in the second half. Livingstone was the coolest man in the Aberdeen team. He kicked and tackled well.
I was not at all pleased with the half-backs, who formed, I thought, the weakest part of the team. At no period in the game - not even in that glorious closing half-hour - did they get a firm grip of the Rovers' forwards. Had the Aberdeen half-backs settled to their game early, I am convinced that there would have been a different tale to tell to-day. Black was not the Black we have seen in recent games. Jimmy was below his usual standard. His tackling has always been good, but on Saturday his timing was bad. Yet Black occasionally executed some of the smartest moves in the game. McHale, too, was not up to his usual. He failed as a breaker-up, and it will be admitted on all hands that it is in this sense that he is of most value to the team. The penalty awarded against him was a correct decision, and it can be said that the Aberdeen pivot made a big contribution towards the defeat of his team. Ross was a plodder. He worked hard throughout, but much extra labour was thrown on to him as the result of the ineffectiveness, through injury, of McDermid.
I had the feeling, from the very start of the game, that if the Aberdeen half-backs could force the play as they have been doing in the various games since the New Year, all would have been well. Their failure to do so resulted in the Aberdeen attack being less powerful in the early stages than it would otherwise have been. The Dons' forward line, however, as the result of the skipper's mishaps, was thrown out of gear, and became somewhat lopsided. If McDermid had been able to throw his whole energy into the fray, he would have made a mighty difference to the team. If there was one player deserving of all praise, he was Bobby Bruce. The little centre was responsible for putting "not too bad a face on things" by the clever manner in which he snapped up his goals. He was a real live leader. It is only fair to add, however, that Smith had a big say in two of the goals, for it was the outside left who slipped the ball over to the centre when the latter scored the second and third points. Aberdeen's best forward throughout the game was Love. If he had only steadied himself a little more in the closing stages, he might have scored more than once. Cheyne was clever at times, and was unfortunate not to score with a terrific drive in the first period.

Source: Bon-Accord, 28th January 1928

Despite a great rally in the second half, during which they had much the better of the exchanges, Aberdeen went out of the Scottish Cup competition at Kirkcaldy, where Raith Rovers beat them by 4 goals to 3. It was thrilling game from start to finish with an abundance of incidents, and on the run of play Aberdeen were unfortunate lose. In the first half Aberdeen had the assistance of a strong breeze, but they failed to turn this to advantage, and for long periods they were strictly on the defensive. It was not until the second half, which they opened facing a deficit of two goals, that they really struck their game, and several times near the close they came within an ace of drawing level. An injury to McDermid in the first half contributed to unsettle Aberdeen. He was off the field for a time, and when he resumed he went to outside left. Near the close he again took up the inside-left position, but in his crippled state was unable to do himself justice.
Against the wind, in the first half, the Rovers gave a surprisingly smart exhibition of fast and nippy football, their forwards persistently harassing the Aberdeen defence, and it was no more than their due that they should have led at the interval by goals 1. In the second half, the Rovers forwards were still very nippy and quick to make ground in spasmodic rushes, but for the most part Aberdeen did the attacking.

"Hat Trick" for Bruce

The Aberdeen half-backs never really got a grip of the opposition in the first half, and weakness in this department contributed largely to the defeat. Blackwell was at fault with the second goal, allowing the ball to slip through his hands from a long shot. Apart from this mistake, he played well. Jackson was the better back, and Black took the eye in the intermediate division, but it was not until the second half that he struck his form.
Among the forwards, Bruce, who had the hat trick, was best, but Love also played well although showing a tendency to inaccurate shooting.
Rovers were splendidly served by Leckie in goal, and Barton at back. Batchelor was the best of the half-backs, and forward, Allison, Pigg, and Turner were most prominent. The tie attracted 8000 spectators, and the gross receipts amounted to £400.

Story of the Game.

Rovers were first to attack, Jackson clearing when Pigg was all but through, and following this, McHale headed clear after Beath forced a corner. A run by Smith brought Aberdeen no advantage, but they persisted, and Pitcairn cleared when Love was in the act of shooting. A good shot by Birrell was saved by Blackwell. At this stage McDermid was injured and had to be attended to off the field. He was absent for three minutes, and when he returned, Aberdeen made play on the right, Love shooting wide. After twelve minutes Rovers went ahead. Blackwell conceded a corner and following the flag kick, Pigg netted from close in. Aberdeen retaliated on the left and Smith had a shot finely saved by Leckie. Rovers returned to the attack and McHale was penalised for a foul in midfield. Pitcairn took the kick and placing to McAllister, that player tried a long shot and Blackwell allowed the ball to slip through his hands into the net. Aberdeen retaliated and got a goal immediately Bruce receiving from Black to go through and beat Leckie from close in. After this success Aberdeen played much better and Leckie threw himself at full length to deflect a great shot by Love. At this stage McDermid left the field, and short-handed, Aberdeen played up pluckily, Cheyne sent in a terrific shot of which several players claimed the ball had struck the ironwork at the back of the net and rebounded into play. Aberdeen's appeal for a goal was not upheld by the referee. After this each defence was kept at the stretch. Smith just failed to reach a cross by Love, and Blackwell fisted away from Turner. McDermid returned and changed places with Smith. In a raid by the Rovers' forwards, McHale was adjudged to have fouled Birred in the penalty area, and the referee awarded a penalty kick from which Birrell scored. At the other end Leckie averted a score by throwing himself at Bruce's feet. Near the interval Aberdeen again came away strongly and Leckie blundered but made a wonderful recovery, and at half-time Raith Rovers led by 3 goals to 1.

Aberdeen Second Half Efforts.

McDermid was still at outside-left when play resumed. Aberdeen set up a strong attack, and, after Leckie had saved from Bruce, Lovee just missed with a shot from the right. Following this, Smith was high with a back-heel effort, and later, Bruce headed just over from Love's centre. After clever combination McDermid worked through to shoot against the crossbar. Rovers occasionally broke away on the wings, but were easily repelled, and Aberdeen for the most part made the running. A cross shot by Love swerved wide of Leckie's charge, and Bruce and Cheyne were both dispossessed in the act of running through. McDermid and Smith resumed their original positions, but Rovers attack again came into prominence. Clever play on the left resulted in Allison sending against a post, and Pigg ran in to head a fourth goal for the Rovers.
Aberdeen made a spirited response, and Bruce accepted from Smith to go through and beat Leckie at close quarters. Following this, Blackwell at full length saved from Pigg, and Barton dashed in at the other end to clear from Bruce. Aberdeen again took up the running, and after clever play by Smith, Bruce sent wide from close range. Eighteen minutes from the end, Bruce completed his " hat trick " for Aberdeen by heading through from Smith's centre. Several corners followed for Aberdeen, who were desperate for the equaliser, and there were a series of exciting scrimmages in front the Rovers' goal. Bruce spoilt a good chance by fouling the ball when about to shoot, and later there was a claim that he had been brought down in the penalty area, but the referee decided otherwise. Following a run by Bruce, and a return by Love, Cheyne just missed getting the equaliser the ball going inches wide. In a rally by the Rovers Blackwell saved cleverly from Allison, and the end came with Aberdeen attacking and having just failed to draw level.

Source: Press & Journal, 23rd January 1928

Raith Rovers Teamsheet
Leckie; Barton, Hopewell; Alister, Pitcairn, Batchelor; Beath, Birrell, Pigg, Allison, Turner
Attendance: 8,000
Venue: Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy
Referee: T. Dougray, Bellshill
Next Match
10 Jul 2024 / 19:00 / Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead