A Shot at Glory starts off with a bit of fun — the ashes of a long time fan are poured onto the Kilnockie stadium turf so that he can “be with the lads”. It’s during practice, and as the team distractedly stands in respect, they juggle the ball from one to another down the line. But Glory doesn’t continue the humor.
Robert Duvall is the gaffer of a 2nd division Scottish team whose American chairman (Michael Keaton) forces the manager to take his estranged son-in-law Jackie McQuillan (Ally McCoist, Rangers’ greatest goalscorer and current manager) back in the squad. Jackie has fallen from grace in the EPL due to age and bad behavior. But Jackie and the gaffer take the small town team to the finals of the Scottish Cup.
The movie centers on Duvall’s gaffer, but his face and performance look constipated, as if he needs to focus all his energy on delivering a thick Scottish accent. His conflicts make little sense: with his daughter, Jackie, and a former co-manager (Brian Cox).
There is very little emotion in the story, even when explaining the violence of the Celtic-Ranger rivalry. Unable to make us care about more than the soccer, the movie falls pretty flat about halfway through. That’s probably why it had an almost non-existent release, even with an estimated $9M budget.
There are some interesting soccer scenes. During games, the teams can hear their opponent’s manager yelling through the thin walls of the locker room. The gaffer takes the lads to a farm where they train on farm equipment and run through piles of grain. There are a lot of well-known Scottish players on the pitch, but I’m unfamiliar with them. The soccer isn’t well choreographed because most of the goals are scored with the GKs’ hands at their sides. Claudio Reyna supposedly has an appearance, but I didn’t spot it.
The Match is another Scottish soccer movie that was made a year earlier, and is much more enjoyable.
4 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 4