One year on: Clyde hero Ally Love reflects on his promotion winning penalty against Annan

Clyde promotion hero Ally Love has admitted it was difficult to block out just how much THAT penalty against Annan meant to the club.
Ally Love celebrates after scoring for Clyde from the penalty spot against Annan to clinch promotionAlly Love celebrates after scoring for Clyde from the penalty spot against Annan to clinch promotion
Ally Love celebrates after scoring for Clyde from the penalty spot against Annan to clinch promotion

Twelve months on from his date with destiny, Love this week relived how he forever became part of Bully Wee folklore by scoring the spot-kick which sealed play-off final victory on a dramatic afternoon at Broadwood.

With David Goodwillie off injured Love was determined to shoulder the responsibility when Bobby Madden pointed to the spot with just four minutes to go.

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He was in familiar territory, having netted for Brechin City in both semi-final and final shootouts as they won promotion to the Championship two years previously.

But while Brechin’s promotion was something of a surprise, Love admits there was a greater weight of expectation on him this time round.

He said: “The Clyde one was more important for me. When you’re involved in a penalty shootout it can go any way. All you can do is try and score your penalty - once it goes to penalties you shake hands and it’s a lottery and you’re one of five.

“But when you’ve got the situation of winning promotion with one penalty and one kick it’s more added pressure than a shoot-out.

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“You know how important it is for the club financially, for the supporters, to make sure you score. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t going through my head.

“I was never in doubt that I was going to take the penalty with Goodie going off injured. I’ve got a pretty good ratio with penalties throughout the years but everything was going through my head when I picked the ball up.

“I just kept saying to myself to make sure I get a good connection - and score.”

“You know how much it means to the supporters after being in that league for so long; a club that size and with that backing shouldn’t be in the bottom division. They should be challenging at the top of League One or in the Championship.”

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They may have left it late, but Love is in no doubt Clyde got what they fully deserved after the SPFL imposed a five point deduction, just as the run-in started, for an administrative error.

Love insisted: “The club, the players and the fans had been through a lot and there’s no doubt in my mind that we would have won the league if we hadn’t got the points deduction the SPFL gave the club.

“We still took it to the last game and it was almost as if by getting promotion through the play-offs it was meant to be.

“It showed the togetherness that the players had with the supporters and the management team.

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“I’ve been involved in more clubs than Tiger Woods and this dressing room and the bunch of boys that the gaffer’s assembled is incredible. The togetherness and the spirit that we’ve got in that changing room is unbelievable.

“The boys had full confidence that we could still do it after the first game down at Annan, losing 1-0. Our home record was pretty decent throughout the season.

“The biggest thing for us was just to go out and play the game. The gaffer had said to us before to play the game, not the occasion; to first of all try to win the game.

“Annan came with a game plan to sit in but we just played our normal football and were always in the ascendancy, but we had to be patient.

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“I’ve played in quite a few play-off games over the years and it’s very easy to get caught up in the occasion. But we knew we would get chances and thankfully we took them.”

Since ending their decade-long exile in the bottom tier Clyde have consolidated and sat in seventh place, but well clear of the relegation play-off spot, when the campaign came to a premature end.

The season had its moments. Falkirk were beaten three times out of three, Clyde were undefeated against East Fife, beat Airdrie and - an early spanking apart - gave champions Raith Rovers a run for their money.

But, as Love admits, what cost them a higher position was a lack of consistency and points shipped against teams they should have beaten.

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He said: “For me personally, I was a bit disappointed in where we finished. We picked up towards the end and were on a right good run and I’ve no doubt we’d have finished higher with the remaining games we had left.

“I think as a squad the biggest thing for us is probably consistency. Against teams like Falkirk we didn’t just compete; there were times where we were well on top and battering teams and then we were losing points away to Forfar and Peterhead.

“We got a more settled team towards the end, which helped. But consistency is the biggest thing in that league because there’s nothing from the top of that league to the bottom. There’s not a massive gulf and you need to be on it.”

Thought are now turning to next season, whenever that may get the go-ahead.

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Whether Love, whose current Clyde deal is about to expire, is back at Broadwood then remains to be seen given the current uncertainty surrounding Scottish football.

He admitted: “I am out of contract next month so it’s just a case of waiting and seeing what happens.

“I know Clyde are in a sticky situation just now with budgets so I’ll just weigh up my options.”

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