Rising hockey star Jamie Green bagged his first senior hat-trick as Scottish Premiership pace-setting Grange swamped FSEG Clydesdale 9-0 in Edinburgh, but the highly-talented teenager didn’t celebrate.
Why? Because he has grown up in the Clydesdale family, playing in all the youth teams before moving along the M8 during the close season to Grange and he admitted: “We had a wee laugh about it after the match with my old team-mates.”
The triple whammy came in seven glorious, first quarter minutes at Fettes and underlined the development of a player who broke into the Scotland senior squad last summer and his treble arrived at the right time.
Grange, who have not dropped a point so far this term, winning all nine matches and scoring 42 goals and conceding only seven, square-up to second-placed The University of Edinburgh in a potentially season-defining clash at Peffermill on Saturday (November 11).
The hard-running students edged Western Wildcats 6-4 at the same venue last Saturday, holding a 5-1 lead at one stage in the contest which proved to be one of the games of the season so far, before edging Uddingston 3-2 in Lanarkshire to close to within six points of Grange with a game in hand. They have also scored 39 goals and lost 12 for the second best goal difference in the 12-strong table.
Green, who is on a four-year business course at Heriot-Watt University, hence the move to the East of the country, said: “The outcome could be huge.”
Saturday’s fixture is also Grange’s final one in the first-half of the season before the winter break and it could be psychologically damaging to surrender the 100 per cent record in such a key fixture and have until February 17 to reflect.
The quicksilver player from Busby near Glasgow said: “It would be really good to get a positive result on Saturday.”
Grange coach, Stevie Grubb, is leaving nothing to chance and he was an interested spectator at Peffermill to see The University of Edinburgh against Western last Saturday.
Green also knows their potential having played against them in a pre-season challenge and he said the students play a hard-running game with a high tempo.That suits the teenager who comes from a hockey family. His mother, Gillian, who is now director of hockey at Strathallan School in Perthsire, was a former Clydesdale Western player and introduced the youngster to the club, and his father, Ewan, is also a ex-hockey player who now sits on the sidelines watching his son.
Green admitted: “It was a real wrench leaving Clydesdale. I have played for the club through the age-groups and from the fives to the firsts but I spoke to a lot of coaches and they indicated that Grange was the club to go to.
“Historically, they have always been a top club, they won the title last year, and I wanted to test myself.”
Green has certainly stepped-up. Recently, he played a Premiership match in monsoon conditions with a howling gale blowing at Fettes under the floodlights against Inverleith and he shone with his stick control, balance and his pace, carrying the ball in atrocious conditions at speed and delivering telling passes at the right time.
Carrying the ball at pace is a skill he works hard at in training. It shows.
Grange won comfortably that night and have gone from strength-to-strength under coach Grubb. Now comes the crunch and Green said: “Saturday is a huge game and it will not be easy.
“We weren’t clicking early in the season. Our defense was fine but we have been working hard on converting more goals from open play.”
Saturday was an indication that the coaching staff have been doing their job, but now comes the supreme test against a university side determined to win silverware after two seasons of knocking on the door. The nearly men are primed, ready to deliver, and they are confident.
Grange go into the clash minus former university captain, Robbie Croll, who suffered extensive bruising to his shoulder in the recent win at struggling city rivals Erskine Stewart’s Melville.
The 18-year-old, he turns 19 in January, enjoys playing with Croll who has confirmed that he is out until February and he is another player who plays at high tempo and the ex-Clydesdale player said: “Losing Robbie is a big blow and we know that the students will play a high-tempo game where chances will probably be at a premium.”
Green’s developing partnership with Aiden McQuade has been a bonus for Grange and Green’s treble has come into form at an opportune time. His first on Saturday came after he picked up the ball at half-way, was 1×1 with the goalkeeper and chipped into the side net.
The second arrived when he ran to the baseline, shot and picked up the rebound and shot home while No 3 followed a carry to the baseline and a wrist shot.
Green admitted: “I’m an instinctive goalscorer, I don’t like to much time to think about it.”
Rest assured Jamie, you are unlikely to get much time to think about it on Saturday as Hamish Imrie’s green machine swarm over the opposition at all times and in all areas of the pitch.
It should be a game worthy of its status as a clash between Scotland’s top two and he said: “We’re the only club not to have lost a point in the league so far and it would be really tough if we lose but if we do we will reflect and come back in the second-half of the season.”