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zine a g a M ll a b t o Fo The Scottish Issue One



‘They wanted a fat b*****d playing for their team!’



‘‘It would mean so much for Scotland to qualify for a world cup” League-by-league news & features from SPL to Junior Football Craig Gunn • Joe Cardle • Martin Grehan • Christopher Brookmyre • Bruno Aguiar

Published By Matchday Media Scotland Ltd. Head Office: 43/3 Slateford Road, EH11 1PR. Copyright: Matchday Media Scotland Ltd. 2009 Editor: Alex Thompson



Designer : Steven Chisholm

‘‘I would love to add to my Scottish Cup medal ’’

Advertising Production: Maree Chisholm Photography: Cover Image courtesy of Sunderland AFC. Photographs Credited MMS are property of Matchday Media Scotland Ltd. and are subject to standard copyright procedures. All other photographs are printed in good faith and are property of the credited photog¬rapher or source.

Fires Happen Every Day. How Will My Company Cope? Ask Yourself:


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You do if you are an Owner, Tenant or Employer with control of any type of commercial premises or if your business is required to have a license or be registered

What do I need?

An assessment of the fire safety risks for the part of the building you control Note -It is an offence for a Duty Holder in relevant premises, not to have carried out a competent Fire Risk Assessment.

Who should I speak to?

Call for competent advice Brian Chisholm or Ken McKim M: 07853 103 588 M: 07796 337 971 T: 0131 654 4198 E: •

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Acknowledgements: The publishing team would like to extend a sincere thank you to the following individuals/ organisa¬tions: Chris Cope, Alistair Gilbert, James M. Hamilton, Scott Mullen, Mike Oldham, Joe Dick, Derek Wilson, Adam Ogle, Keith Downie, University of Sunderland, David Oliver, Alex Rowland, Duncan Hare, Craig Anderson (Numbers Game), Neil McGlade, Amal Daher, Bob Crombie of Elgin City FC, David Reid of Stenhousemuir FC, Marlyn at Stirling Albion FC, PSYBT, Scotbet Ltd., Dave MacDonald of Big Front Door Ltd. The information contained within this volume is published in good faith on the basis of information given by companies or individuals listed. While all care has been taken to ensure accuracy, neither the publisher or the Editor can accept li¬ability for any error or misrepresentation. No part of this publication may be repro¬duced without the express permission of the Editor.

Also From The Cover Dean Windass

Fans ask questions of the Aberdeen Legend........................... Page 12

Charlie Duncan

A generation in the hotseat....................................................... Page 14

Scott Nisbet

He scored THAT goal, but Where is the Rangers man now?................................................................................. Page 16

Bruno Aguiar Talks about leaving Hearts, his Champions League hopes and his new life in Cyprus ....................................................... Page 20

Regular Features Editor’s Letter................... Page 4 Action Replay................... Page 4 Headliners........................ Page 5 Pic of The Issue................ Page 5 For the Love of The Game.Page 6 Remember The Name...... Page 7 The Burning Issue.......... Page 17 Fashionable Football...... Page 18

The Round-up SPL Diary....................... Page 19 Jack Wilson.................... Page 21 A Fan’s Guide to Fir Park.Page 22 What’s It Like To Follow Celtic? .......................................Page 22 Christopher Brookmyre: My Fantasy XI....................... Page23 Division 1 Diary.............. Page 25

Joe Cardle...................... Page 26 A Fan’s Guide to Firhill..... Page 27 What’s It Like To Follow Airdrie? .......................................Page 27 Division 2 Diary.............. Page 29 Martin Grehan................ Page 30 A Fan’s Guide to Ochilview .Page 31 What’s It Like To Follow Dumbarton?.................... Page 31 Division 3 Diary.............. Page 33 Craig Gunn..................... Page 34 A Fan’s Guide to Galabank .Page 35 What’s It Like To Follow Queen’s Park?................ Page 35 Highland League, EoS and SoS Round-Up........ Page 37 North, East and West Junior Round-Up............ Page 38


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Editor’s Letter

Pic of the Issue

IT SEEMS every footballing nation in Europe worth its salt has one – except us. No, not a place in the World Cup, but a decent, well-read football magazine.

One that showcases the best of our game has to offer, brings its personalities to life, has a finger on the pulse of real fans and uncovers the weird, wonderful and wacky ways of football in Scotland. While trying not to sound clichéd, we want to bring news and features to fans of EVERY team in the country, and we recognise that fans of junior football have just as much passion for the game as those in the SPL. That’s why we’re bringing you everyone from Bruno Aguiar to Darren McGlynn, the manager of Musselburgh Athletic. We’re also happy to have Scotland’s No.1 Craig Gordon as our first cover star and you can read his thoughts on Scotland, Steve Bruce’s Sunderland and Hearts from page 8. In addition to those directly involved in the game, we’re focusing on people who help add colour and vibrance to the sport, such as stadium-model builder Aly Gaff (page 6) and ‘fashion expert’ Steven Dow of sports shop Football Nation (page 18). We had fun putting the magazine together and look forward to producing the next one, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide what you like and dislike. We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts at Enjoy the first issue!




oday, a golden generation of Scottish footballers might have been looking forward to its international swansong at next summer’s World Cup. But instead, not one member of the squad that reached the World Youth Cup final twenty years ago, now a motley bunch of has-beens and never-quite-weres, played a part in the ultimately failed qualifying group for South Africa. Back in June 1989, this nation hosted the international tournament and was enthralled by the global celebration of young football talent, holding up a promising group of Scottish youngsters as the focus – however brief – of public fervour. The frenzy was generated not only by the people’s excitement at the hosting of the tournament and the opportunity to witness some exotic football on its doorstep but also by Scotland’s on-field defiance of traditionallysuccessful countries and subsequent progression to the final. The competition announced the arrival on a global platform of Portugal’s Luis Figo and Ghana’s Nii Lamptey, among others. But, what really caught the imagination of the watching Scottish fans – who love an underdog – was the skill of a giant-killing Bahrain side and a native squad, coached by Craig Brown, from whom Paul Dickov, Gary Bollan and Brian O’Neil went on to carve out the most successful careers. Brown’s babes, in the style as enduring and typical as a Scottish winter, made hard work of the group stage of the competition and went on to scrape past East Germany, followed by Portugal in the semis – before a crowd of 29,000 at Tynecastle. The latter victory came only after the Portuguese, fresh from winning the European Youth Championships in Denmark that same year, had their first-choice goalkeeper Paulo Santos suspended from the tournament for dropping his shorts in front of a shocked Gorgie crowd following a group draw with Guinea. The stunt, not to mention the Portuguese players’ penchant for going down too easily, didn’t do much to endear the Iberians to the fans of their host nation. 4

Heavy rain put something of a ‘dampener’ on the already-difficult season of Highland League side Rothes. The Speysiders’ Mackessack Park ground was submerged in three feet of water after flooding hit the Moray area. Chairman Robbie Thomson and fellow directors worked over a whole weekend to clean the club’s dressing rooms and forked the pitch to remove the water. Picture: The Northern Scot, the newspaper for Moray

Headliners Gary Bollan

Picture: MMS

As Scotland naturally reaped the attention of the nation’s media en route to Hampden, the advance of their final opponents, Saudi Arabia, was surrounded by suspicion of faked passports and overage players. Such accusations – similar to those directed at Bahrain, whose moustachioed players Craig Brown joked would be wellqualified to turn out at under-28 level, never mind as under-16s – were refuted vigorously. Saudi sangfroid won through as the match went to penalties after a 2-2 draw, the unfortunate O’Neil missing two spot-kicks, one in regulation time and another in the shootout. The 50,000 Scots at Hampden that day, in proudly observing their favourites conclude a fortnight of success with the narrowest of defeats, might well have thought they were witnessing a new dawn in the fortunes of the national team. Ex-Celt O’Neil and former Man City striker Dickov managed just seven and ten caps respectively (none in a tournament finals), and Bollan of Dundee United and Rangers didn’t progress to international honours beyond under-21 level. Where did it all go wrong after the summer of ’89?

Scotland’s attempts to qualify for next year’s World Cup was notable only for the lack of glory in their failure. Perhaps captain Darren Fletcher needs to work on his metaphors, though. When the chances of making South Africa, a country on the other side of the equator 6,000 miles away, seemed ever more slim towards the close of the qualifying campaign, Fletch remarked, “The World Cup seems a thousand miles away just now.” Aye, and some. Sky Sports News, though, can be proud of their play on words in wrapping up their summary of the Celtic v Arsenal Champions League play-off first leg. On a night where a 2-0 victory for the North Londoners clashed with a U2 gig at Hampden Park, Sky’s reporter concluded, with reference to the band’s guitarist, “Arsenal and U2 were both in Glasgow last night, both rocked the city and both have The Edge.” Eduardo’s dive to win a penalty in the return leg at the Emirates prompted one topical message board poster, at the time of the Lockerbie release news, to suggest, “Maybe Eduardo should tell them he is a terrorist and the Scots would drop the whole thing as a gesture of compassion.” Former Queen of the South striker Steven Dobbie made an instant impression in his first start for Swansea, scoring twice against Brighton & Hove Albion. But, ex-Motherwell goalkeeper Graeme Smith, now at Brighton, conceded nine goals in his first 140 minutes of football, his only first-team action since leaving Lanarkshire. Heading for the Fir Park exit door has proved more productive for Ross McCormack, but the Cardiff striker has struggled with injury recently and his campaign went further downhill when at the end of October, he was charged with drink driving hours after making his firstteam comeback at Sheffield United. 5

For The Love Of The Game

Remember The Name



We’ve all been there. You’re thousands of miles from home, taking a break from a mentally-draining season of football, sipping on your favoured tipple by the pool and soaking up the glorious sunshine. From nowhere, like an unwelcome offside flag, you spot someone 20 yards away sporting a slightly grubby and scorched version of the 1995 away top of your fiercest, most deplored rivals. Instantly, your holiday is ruined. Just when you had put that drawn-out relegation battle to the back of your mind, memories come flooding back of conceding that 96th minute equaliser at the home of said rivals – just when it looked like your boys would get that elusive first three points of the season. You can come across Scottish football in the most weird and wonderful places, such as a nut stall decorated with a Dundee United towel in the Portguese city of Porto (above). We want your snaps, whether it’s a St Johnstone pin badge in a Brussels flea market or a ‘Don’t Follow Me, Follow Ross County’ car sticker in Berlin… Send your photos to



Aly Gaff possesses the rare skill of being able to produce replica scale models, down to the finest details and idiosyncrasies, of famous football grounds from around Britain. His work is exhibited at Easter Road, Anfield, Villa Park and Upton Park. He is perhaps most famous for his reproduction of Liverpool’s home, a work of art that was showcased at an exhibition in Rotterdam during Holland and Belgium’s Euro 2000 tournament. The self-taught model maker and Hibs fan had come a long way since starting out 13 years previously.

The club is the ‘baby’ of the SFL having joined just last year, but Annan Athletic can already lay claim to inspiring the name of a new-born at the other end of the country.

“It came about in 1987 when I was at Newcastle airport on the way to Ibiza on holiday and I saw Simon Inglis’ book, ‘The Football Grounds of Britain’. That gave me the idea of making models of stadiums. As a Hibbee I thought I’d love to make a model of Easter Road from the 1980s. I used my skills as a joiner to make it, and had no official model-making training.

It may not have the same ring about it as Brooklyn Beckham, but a boy from Norfolk has been christened Annan – and has already adopted the Third Division side as his team with the club having sent a goodie bag of merchandise bearing his name.

“I then started on a model of the 1953 Easter Road with the high terracing, when Hibs had the Famous Five of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond. I did it without being commissioned and I was pretty chuffed with it.

Parents of the boy wrote to Athletic chairman Henry McClelland to find out more about the club after picking the name of their child at random from a map of Britain. It’s probably just as well the football-mad couple didn’t land at Dumfries when blindly picking a club to name their son after!

“Inglis had a section of his book called ‘Lost but not forgotten’ and I found it fascinating. So, in the early 1990s, I did Third Lanark’s old Cathkin Park. I researched old photographs at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and I worked out the scale of the ground from looking at drawings incorporating the land and


surroundings. The model was then put on exhibition as part of a collection of Thirds memorabilia in 1995.” Aly, a joiner by trade, then saw the commercial potential of such a skill and, with a friend, travelled around clubs in England touting his services. “We ended up getting a commission from Liverpool, who wanted an Anfield model based on the 1946 ground with the barrel-roof stands. My work is still on show at the stadium today. “I got good reviews from the Anfield model, but I’m very professional and very critical of myself, and there were things I didn’t like about it. “The model was taken to an exhibition in Rotterdam during Euro 2000 [hosted by Holland and Belgium] and that got my juices going again. It turned out Simon Inglis had seen the model there too. “Simon got in touch and we ended up forming a partnership and getting a commission from Aston Villa. There was fibreoptic floodlighting in my design, and that was the first time I stood up and was pleased. I used more techniques, a more professional birch plywood carcass, and clad it in plastic brick. “No-one else was doing this sort of thing, so it was a case of trial and error, but I learned how to ‘dirty up’ the models, making them look old and shabby, and incorporated rust effects. “It is very enjoyable work to do. If I won the lottery, this is what I’d do. The feedback you get is so rewarding, and it’s purely a labour of love.” Aly is contemplating running courses on football ground model-making. To contact him, and for further information about his hobby-turned-profession, visit

POSITION: Midfielder CLUB: Arminia Bielfeld LEAGUE: Bundesliga U23 NATIONALITY: Scottish

KEVIN Kerr may have needed an introduction to Scottish football fans when he was included in the under-21 squad for a February gathering but the ambitious young Arminia Bielefeld midfielder hopes to become a household name in future.

Aly and his Cathkin Park model e is responsible for constructing Easter Road, Third Lanark’s Cathkin Park, and many other famous homes of football – all from the confines of his modest Edinburgh workshop.


The good times are back in Scottish football – all thanks to Graeme Ross’s superb new Scottish Football Quiz Book! The 50-year-old Greenock Morton fan has compiled a list of questions on every SPL and SFL club (and more) to tease the brain of fans of all ages and stages. “It ranges from the ridiculously easy to extremely difficult, is aimed at those with a love of Scottish football, and helps to celebrate the history of the game in this country,” says Graeme. “It’s not just about Celtic and Rangers, but also about the clubs we’ve lost like Third Lanark and Clydebank. “We might be going through a low point in Scottish football, but this highlights all the great players and managers that have passed through the game.” Eleven has a handful of copies to give away to masterminds of the game.

A wandering father in the army led to Kevin, who has his roots in Airdrie, being born in Muenster and despite spending his early years in Scotland, Kevin was back in Germany before his teenage years. “It’s definitely a different style of football and taught in a different way,” says Kevin, who secured a professional contract at Bielefeld earlier this year after coming through the club’s youth system. “I think it’s a lot more technical and less physical – that’s the main difference.” Kevin showed sufficient potential to be given international recognition with the Scotland under-21s. “It was brilliant, one of the highlights of my career so far” he says. “I was a bit nervous going in but when I got there it was fine, no problem at all as everyone was really nice. I got asked by the DFB (German Football Association) when I was 16 and said no. I knew even then Germany was never an option.” Kevin, nicknamed ‘Braveheart’ at the Bundesliga 2 club, attempts to model his game on that of Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas and hopes to follow in the footsteps of successful Scottish players who have made an impact on the continent. “There are so few Scots playing out-

side the UK, it’s a surprise,” he says. “But Scottish players would definitely improve their game through moving. John Collins (Monaco) and Paul Lambert (Borussia Dortmund) offered something different and succeeded as a result.” “At the moment I’d like to stay out here and see how far I could go. I think the football here is much stronger than in Scotland and having grown up here it would be great to play regularly for the first team.”

DADDY OR CHIPS? Krombacher or Tennent’s? Krombacher.

Bratwurst or Scotch pie? Scotch pie.

Nena Hagen Macdonald?



Amy Macdonald! I don’t know the first one so I’d better go with her.

INTERVIEW BY DEREK WILSON Picture courtesy of DSC Arminia Bielefeld

To win a copy of the Scottish Football Quiz Book simply tell us:

In which year did Third Lanark go out of existence? Send your answer, along with your name and address, to or enter via our website at


Interview by Neil McGlade All images Courtesy of Sunderland AFC




The promise of a third consecutive Premiership season was a welcome bonus for everyone at Sunderland and also provided a fresh opportunity for Scotland international goalkeeper CRAIG GORDON. 8



.t could all have been so different for the Wearsiders .had they failed to avoid the drop to the Coca Cola Championship, a fate suffered by their north-east rivals Middlesbrough and Newcastle. For Gordon, 26, it meant a second chance after a season beset by injury and playing second-choice to Marton Fulop for the No.1 jersey. He admits that, despite the precarious position the club found itself in, he never lost faith in his teammates ensuring the club would begin the current campaign in the top flight. Gordon only managed 12 league appearances last season but his re-introduction this year as the Black Cats’ last line of defence has coincided with the club reaching the latter stages of the Carling Cup and retaining a top-half position in the league. “We were sliding towards the drop, there’s no doubt about that,” he says. “We couldn’t actually see where our next point was coming from and it was very difficult to get anything out of any game that we went into. Confidence was very low at that stage, so it was even more frustrating having to sit and watch knowing there was absolutely nothing you can do about it. But I was always fairly confident we had enough points on the board and quality within the squad to see us through.” The arrival of a new manager can provide mixed fortunes for any player, but new boss Steve Bruce has impressed Gordon, although the Edinburgh-born stopper had to wait to win over the new man. “The manager has been brilliant with me and has been very patient with me coming back from injury so I’m very happy. I have got myself back in the team and we’re doing well. I was injured and I wasn’t able to train and impress the new manager. But at the time, I just had to concentrate on getting myself fit and healthy so there was no point in worrying about it. “I think Steve has done very well and he has turned round things very quickly.” Big-spending Sunderland smashed the British transfer record for a goalkeeper by shelling out £9 million on Gordon in August 2007, and the former Hearts man believes the club has reiterated its long-term ambitions by spashing the cash recently. He said, “There is no doubt the quality of the squad is very high. Our strike partnership b e t w e e n Kenw yne Jones and Darren Bent seems to be really hitting it off and on our bench we have the likes of Fraizer Campbell. We want to try and finish as high as possible but we have to make sure we’re heading in the right direction year after year.”

“To win a Scottish Cup medal with your boyhood heroes is what every youngster dreams of.’’

Sunderland last tasted major silverware in 1973, defeating Leeds United 1-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley – nine years before Gordon was born. A Scottish Cup winner with Hearts in 2006, Gordon hopes to replicate his success north of the border in England. 10

“To win a Scottish Cup medal with your boyhood heroes is what every youngster dreams of. They will always be my team and I look back on that day with great satisfaction and achievement. But for Sunderland to win a cup, it’s been such a long time and long overdue. “You still hear the players of the 1973 cup-winning team being spoken about and they are treated very well by the club. We have got a massive support and they deserve a bit of success so if we could manage a cup victory for them then that would really be the ultimate goal and achievement for the club.” That sole piece of silver adorning his trophy cabinet is a reminder of happy times at Tynecastle, where Gordon made 175 appearances in seven years and was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame as its youngest ever member. He admits the Tynecastle side will always hold a special place in his heart and doesn’t rule out returning for a second spell to the club where it all began. He said, “Hearts will always be my boyhood team and I still keep an eye on their results and hope that they do well. That will never change and it’s where it all started for me. It’s a great club and I love the atmosphere it creates and everything about the place. I definitely want to return to Edinburgh after football but whether I go back to Hearts or not will be a case of wait and see.” Gordon, who married his childhood sweetheart Jennifer in June, still harbours a burning ambition for success on the international front too, with his target to go to the World Cup or European finals with Scotland. National team boss George Burley has installed him as the firm favourite in goals, and never was the high regard in which Burley holds his No.1 so clearly illustrated as when the under-fire manager gave him the gloves for a crunch match at home to Iceland in April with Gordon having not played first-team football at club level in almost two months. “I think every player dreams of playing at a World Cup or European Championships. For a country like ours, it would mean so much to the fans and we’ll give everything we have got in the next campaign. “The manager has to pick from what’s out there and available. I do think the squad will remain fairly similar to the qualifying campaign that has just finished. There are a few guys now playing down in the English Premiership so there are reasons to be hopeful that playing in that calibre of league can only make players better and hopefully this will benefit the national team.” Gordon retains a broad horizon when it comes to the prospect of moving on to further his ability and, although happy at present, is open to trying his luck in mainland Europe. “I wouldn’t rule out playing abroad but in saying that, I don’t really know too many Scottish goalkeepers who have proved successful on the continent,” he says. “It’s a possibility but I am very happy where I am and the club is progressing nicely so I am certainly not looking to move. I have my own ambitions and I would love to add to my Scottish Cup medal.” 11





ost famous north of the border for receiving three red .cards in one game, Dean Windass is one of the livelier characters to have graced Scottish football in recent times. The incident happened when playing for Aberdeen in 1997 as he collected two yellow cards, before mouthing off at the referee to earn a further red – then adding to his tally by destroying a corner flag. However, his career at Pittodrie brought much more than that. Bought for just £700,000 from Hull City in 1995, he scored 31 goals in 93 appearances and developed a hero status amongst fans with his honest and hard working nature. The respect was mutual. Windass loved the fans and the area so much that he has returned every summer since departing Aberdeen eleven years ago. Since leaving the Reds following a poor relationship with then manager Alex Miller, Windass has travelled well, plying his trade for Oxford United, Bradford City, Middlesbrough, Sheffield United and Wednesday, before

How did you feel about moving to Aberdeen FC and what made your time up here so special? Bill Stephen, Aberdeen The first thing was, ‘Where the f*** is Aberdeen?’ Coming from Hull, I’d never left Hull. It was, ‘Do I need my passport?’ and all that b******s. But I adapted very quickly from second division English football to SPL football. I scored a few goals and living there was fantastic for me, my family and my kids. The supporters were brilliant. With eleven years gone by I still go back every summer and have a bender with my mates. They know how to drink as well.

Do you ever remember getting the man of the match award from a deaf kid after a Rangers match when the Dons lost to a Gazza penalty? I was that kid! Michael Brown, Wallington (Oxfordshire) I remember the game, I think Gazza scored a hat-trick. I can’t remember getting man of the match but I must have had a blinder if Gazza had scored three but I got the award. It wasn’t a good result though because we got beaten 3-1. They had some amazing players then like Gascoigne, Laudrup and McCoist.

What is the best ‘compliment’ that someone shouted at you from the stand? Eilidh Coull, North Harris 12

returning to Bradford and first club Hull. Latterly, he was winding down his career Coca-Cola League Two strugglers Darlington. While at Darlo, Deano took time out from training at Durham police headquarters (no further isdemeanours involved – that’s where his old club trains) to answer your questions. The best compliment that I’ve always had right through my career is, ‘You’re a fat b*****d!’, which is great because once they stopped calling me that I wasn’t doing my job properly. Also every time that I’ve come out of football grounds these people that have been calling me a fat b*****d have said, ‘I wish you’d signed for us’. So they wanted a fat b*****d playing for their team!

Alex Miller sold you to Oxford United – is he still on your Christmas card list? Stuart McMichael, Glasgow It was £475,000 and a record transfer for Oxford. And no, he won’t be on my Christmas list. It was a clash of personalities. He’s the only manager in 20 years that I have never got on with. I’ve got on fine with every other manager I’ve played under apart from him. It was Alex’s problem, not mine. He had a decision to make as a manager and I fully respected that decision. He didn’t want me there. He wanted to sell me and in the end I went. It worked out well for me in the end though.

Of all the clubs you played at, which one sold the best pies? Murray Coull, Aberdeen It would have to be Bradford. Gorgeous Pukka Pies, chicken balti Pukka Pies. Amazing pies – and I’ve had a few in my time! I don’t know how much they were. I’m rich now so I can eat as many pies as I want. I would just give them a twenty and say, ‘Keep the change.’

Picture: Alex Lockwood

What do you make of your hero status amongst Aberdeen fans desapite the club’s lack of success while you were at Pittodrie? Craig Stewart, Aberdeen Every time I went out I tried my best, not just at Aberdeen, but everywhere. If I didn’t have a good game then I made sure the centre half got a few elbows and kicks. The Hull City fans talk about being a legend but a legend for me is someone who fights for their country. People are dying now in the world and we get paid to kick a football around. Although I know ‘legend’ is a different word in football than it is in life. Its nice because every club I’ve been at I can go back to with my head held high knowing that I did my best.

The Glasgow media always like to say that the Aberdeen fans are living in the

1980s and our expectations for the team are unrealistic. When you were playing for the mighty Reds did you get the feeling that we were unrealistic and was there any pressure from management or boardroom level to get the team back to the glory days of the 1980s? Kevin Reid, Abu Dhabi I just think that, because of Alex Ferguson, the supporters did talk about the ‘80s a lot. With the Rangers games, because of Simpson’s tackle on Durrant, there was a bit of extra spice. But everybody wanted to beat the best team and Rangers had a fantastic team. We were always the third best team so when you’re the third best team you always want to be second or first. So it was difficult because we just wanted to be top, but we weren’t good enough at the time. We were the third best team and that was how it was.

WANT TO TAKE PART? Those on the end of future Fans’ Questions interviews include former Dundee director Giovanni Di Stefano. Send your posers now via 13

S R A E Y 25 H T U O Y OF CHARLIE DUNCAN celebrates 25 years as manager of Fraserburgh in November and can reflect on a quartercentury of being proven right! The year 1984 may be synonymous with George Orwell’s seminal book of the same title, but for north football fans it also represents the year another visionary of similar foresight was thrust into management of Highland League Fraserburgh, going on to change the face of the ailing club. At that time, The Broch were beset by financial trouble and the struggle translated to under-achievement on the field. The fishing town’s proud football presence was kept afloat only by the largesse of chairman Jimmy Adams. Then came the revolution. Twenty-five years on, he can be found on matchday running three miles along a windswept Buchan beach before phoning his wife to find out the starting line-up for the afternoon’s match. It’s safe to say that Charlie Duncan is not your average manager.

His manner and method of working tells you as much. He was joking about his other half picking the team (I think), but what sets him apart is his devout loyalty to the community, especially the younger generation, of Fraserburgh. Not only has he given the town a winning football team after a relative dearth of trophies in the time before his reign, Charlie was also a pioneer in playing to the strength of footballing talent on the club’s doorstep. The town is home to a modest 12,000 people, making Charlie’s feat of thirteen major trophies in 25 years with a largely homegrown side all the more impressive. In the pre-Duncan era since the club’s formation, just ten cup successes were gleaned from the bigger competitions. “Nearly every single person to have played for Fraserburgh in the last 25 years has


Inverness side Clachnacuddin were inspired to follow his lead after Fraserburgh’s Highland League Cup win in 2005/06, as reported by the Press & Journal (28/06/06): Clachnacuddin have revealed plans to follow Fraserburgh’s lead and introduce a homegrown policy. Assistant manager Rod Houston has confirmed the Inverness side has already launched its bid to concentrate on bringing local players through the ranks.

“I’ve built three different sides in the past 15 years and, I think, managed to maintain a high level. If we’ve had one season being hammered 7-0 and people saying they’re too young, then we come back and prove them wrong. I get great satisfaction from that. “Fraserburgh’s players before came from Aberdeen – that’s a place Highland League sides have always plundered. Because of finance the chairman preferred local boys, so it was a good fit straight away. They were doing okay but financially they were very reliant on the chairman. I was already here as a player and after a couple of weeks I’d said that my philosophy in football was to bring through the youth. “Where we stay, there was lots of talent but it didn’t get the chance. Down in somewhere like Glasgow where there’s Partick Thistle and Albion Rovers on your doorstep, there are lots of options, but in this neck of the woods there weren’t the same opportunities and a lot of players missed out because of this.”

“Sometimes I have a game Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. But, I couldn’t do the job without (assistant) Bruce Buchan. He’s the brains, he can read and write – something I can’t do! He’s been here longer than me, and he’s amazing.” Picture: Matchday Media Scotland Ltd

A Highland League full of homegrown teams is perhaps a pipedream, but where money is tight it’s Charlie’s way or the highway!

come from the youth, all bar about half a dozen,” says Charlie from the boardroom in the bowels of Bellslea Park.

The seeds of a focus on developing young talent were sown long before Peterheadborn Charlie first stepped into the manager’s office of the club in his adopted hometown. While his playing career spanned spells at Montrose and Buckie Thistle, as well as a 13-year stint at Inverness Thistle that meant a 230-mile round trip from his Buchan home for training and matches, Charlie was moonlighting as a coach of young Fraserburgh hopefuls from when he was 21. He continues the role of youth coach at various age groups today.

Bellslea Park.


Although the club has cashed in on many products of its ‘conveyor belt’ of young stars, Charlie and Bruce have done well to retain many

Charlie at Bellslea Park of its best players in the face of bigger wages available elsewhere. So what is his secret? “They have a good-looking manager who’s a great singer… and they get a great chance. I watch other teams’ managers, and they’re not interested in developing players – all they’re interested in is medals. What we’re interested in is developing players – we throw away medals. In the modern game, they want a kid about six foot twelve: the biggest players will all be in the team while all the smaller players sit on the bench and get a minute at the end. I promote development, and the only thing that counts is a player’s improvement.” The inevitable pressure on Duncan to divert his attention from youth may close in from many angles, as sections of the club’s support tend to grow frustrated in lean times and rival clubs gain success through spending. Charlie is pragmatic about the level of expectation around a wholly-native team and admits that, anyway, the club would expect more for the price of some Highland League wages than just a footballer! “I want to win every game, but you can’t please everybody. Some people will ask why you’re not signing players, but that’s one thing as a manager you have to get used to. There are people who say the focus should

Picture: Matchday Media Scotland Ltd switch from youth, but I don’t hear them. “What other teams do is nothing to do with me, and I’m not going to criticise them for it. If somebody wants to give a player £250 a week, that’s none of my business. If I had a player like that, I would want them to do more than just play – I would want them to do some work at the ground for that sort of money! “What other clubs perceive and what they do doesn’t bother me. They don’t have the ability to do what we do. Obviously there are financial restraints here – we can’t go throwing money about.” Charlie enjoys well-kent and popular status in the town and while he continues to receive unwavering support from chairman Finlay Noble and the club’s board (“obviously, I’m a con man”) it is unlikely that he’ll be tempted elsewhere or, despite having turned 60, into retirement any time soon. “I’m amazed at the interest that there is in the club. You find people whose cousin plays on the right wing and whose brotherin-law has a laddie in the youth team. You’re pleasing people who you don’t realise follow the Fraserburgh side and at the end of the day, I work hard in developing the young players and enjoy it.” AST

He said: “We must concentrate our attentions on bringing players through our own system, very much in the same vein as Charlie Duncan has done for decades at Fraserburgh. We need to take the longer view and that’s what we are doing, using the Broch as our model. It is an example every club should be trying to follow. “What Charlie Duncan, assisted by Bruce Buchan and Brian Sim, has done over the years, with what seems like a never-ending conveyor belt of local talent, is amazing. Fraserburgh won the final trophy of last season with an entirely homegrown team…” The Broch team that beat Cove Rangers 4-1 in that final consisted of players from closer to Bellslea than the Lisbon Lions were from Celtic Park. The historic line-up... Bride, Main (Elrick), Norris, West, Wemyss (Geddes), Johnston, Stephen (Cowie). Subs not used: R. Thomson, M. Thomson.

GOOD BUSINESS Big Name Broch Transfers: Brian Thomson to Motherwell, 1987 Scott Murray to Aston Villa, 1994 (£35,000) Russell McBride to Elgin City, 2000 (reported £10,000) Marino Keith to Dundee United, 1995 (£35,000) 15

The Plastic Pitch at Ochilview

Where Are They Now?


IT should have been the moment that catapulted the career of a promising Scottish defender, but in a cruel twist of fate, the craziest goal to have graced the Champions League became Scott Nisbet’s swansong. • BY KEITH DOWNIE The then 25-year-old was as amazed as everyone inside Ibrox when he crunched into a tackle with an FC Bruges opponent way out on the touchline and looked on dumbfounded as the ball bounced on the penalty spot and spun up and over the stranded goalkeeper. Nisbet celebrated in style with his teammates as Rangers edged towards a place in the 1992/1993 Champions League semi finals, but sadly it was to be the final hurrah in a career cut criminally short by injury. For, three days later it was all over for him. Fifteen minutes into an Old Firm derby Nisbet was forced off with a groin strain. He would never pull on a blue jersey again. 16

The groin injury turned out to be arthritis in both his hip and pelvis and despite a personal battle to beat the condition, a player who was yet to reach his peak reluctantly hung up his boots. Now 41, Nisbet is putting something back into the game by running his own soccer school on the holiday isle of Lanzarote. “I’ve dined out on that goal for 16 years now and people always ask about it,” he smiled. “I remember Trevor Steven trying to cross and it came off Stuart McCall’s back. I had a fifty-fifty challenge and the Belgian lad bottled it. “The last time I saw the ball it was heading towards Harthill! “It was definitely the best goal I’ve ever scored and it helped us come so close

Nizzy now turns out in goals for his local pub team on the island of Lanzarote.

to European success that year. I still think Marseille bribed the Russians, though! “To go from one of the highlights of my career to be told it was over for me shortly after was devastating. I didn’t accept it at first and wanted to come back and play but I had no choice in the end. My specialist, Dr Cruickshank, tried everything but it wasn’t to be.” Despite his on-field misfortune, Edinburghborn Nisbet is now getting his kicks in the Canarian sunshine. He said: “At the moment we have about 1500 kids on our books. There are Spanish kids that live in the resort and British youngsters on family holidays. “The soccer school is growing by the year. It will never match the thrill of playing, but I enjoy it. The lifestyle is brilliant. We go to the bar that we have turned into a Rangers supporters club and watch the lads in action. I was the drunkest man on the island when the boys clinched the league title at Tannadice on the last day of the season! “I sit there every weekend in my shorts and flip-flops watching Rangers play. You can’t beat it.” The boots may have been traded for flipflops, but you can be sure Scott Nisbet is still kicking every ball Harthill-bound.

Picture: MMS

: ARTIFICIAL PITCHES REFEREES running around in trainers and players leaving the pitch with not a speck on their bright white boots – the concept of football on an artificial pitch horrifies many traditionalists. Taking into account the wider benefits, though, especially in the case of smaller clubs, does synthetic grass make more sense in the long run? The owners and tenants of Ochilview put forward very different cases…



I was the main protagonist behind the installation of an artificial pitch, and the board had the view that it could work. Football has had some very bad experiences with plastic pitches in the past, but the technology is always getting better. There is a tipping point where the technology becomes as acceptable as natural grass.

I’m dead against it – it’s not right. That was my thought from the start. It’s part of the game to be able to play on different standards of grass surfaces. It’s not all about silky skills, and for me it’s perhaps more about sliding in and getting stuck in. That’s what I’ve always said: artificial surfaces are too clean and clinical, and you shouldn’t be coming off the pitch with clean boots!

Saying that, there’s no arguing that natural grass is better, but an artificial surface is better from January onward.

To use a music analogy, it’s like people saying, ‘At least Dire Straights can play guitars.’ I don’t want a virtuoso performance.

If there’s a slight bobble during a game, everyone points and laughs. But, we were very lucky that when it came to installing the pitch the technology had just moved to third generation artificial pitches (3G). The majority of people playing on it say it’s as good. Alloa have the same pitch as us but the one at Montrose is slightly different.

I went to Annan with Shire last season in the middle of winter and thought to myself, ‘Won’t it be good to get on a traditional pitch, with wind and snow.’ But, I think there’s more to it than that – it’s a whole different dimension. Given the choice, I would go for grass, but I think that’s due to my upbringing, in the same way that I think cricket should be played in whites and not under floodlights.

I think all community clubs should have it for a number of reasons. It’s as much to do with the social aspects as with who’s going to be the greatest footballer in the world.

If you were to start all over again, it would be ridiculous NOT to play on artificial surfaces. However, to answer those people who ask, ‘But don’t you want a good summer pitch throughout the whole year?’ – I don’t think I do.

People think that there’s lots of money to be made from having a pitch like this, but we hire out the pitch for only about ten hours every week. The rest of the time, there are training sessions, games of our numerous youth and community teams, twilight leagues for youngsters and we also have a tie-up with schools.



Left to right, Partick’s Chris Erskine, Liam Buchanan, Paul Cairney and Kris Doolan model the outrageous new pink camouflage. Picture: Greaves Sports

Replica football shirts – you either love ‘em or hate ‘em! But, they are for sure the single most obvious way for a fan to identify visibly with his club. They are also worth a lot of money for the clubs that are lucky enough to be in a position to do a deal with a top manufacturer. But who wins and who loses when the kits all come out at the start of the season? Sports shop owner Steven Dow, of Football Nation, investigates… Every year the marketing departments of companies like Adidas and Nike and of Scottish football clubs try and come up with a shirt design that will better the last one. Some succeed, some sink – and this year has been no different. This year’s success story in terms of marketing has been without a doubt the Celtic away shirt or, as it is now known, “The Bumblebee”. Based on a design that Celtic used in the mid 1990s, the contrasting colours of black and fluorescent yellow have been a runaway success. Despite the original having featured in a Daily Record “Worst Shirt Ever” poll, this season’s return has been a bestseller, with some fans declaring it the best ever away shirt. That said, it would be hard not to improve on some of the country’s worst ever run of away shirts, the design of which Celtic have struggled with for a few seasons now. On the flip side, take look at Partick Thistle’s offering for this year, surely a contender for “Worst Shirt of The Year”! After daring to go pink last season with considerable success they have trodden the same path colourwise, but unfortunately appear to have spilt a tin of grey paint over 18

but then what can you do with an all white strip? Manchester United have launched two new kits this season and both have been very popular but the English Premiership’s star performance goes to the new Liverpool away shirt. The subtle shade of dark grey with the contrast of the cream Adidas 3 Stripes seems to be ticking the boxes for many Liverpool supporters. For kids, it’s been one of this season’s best sellers.

it in an attempt to create “pink camouflage”. Why would you need pink camouflage? Time will tell if that proves to be a popular choice. Overall, we have seen a lot of new kits released this year and the number one best seller has not been due to design but due entirely to who wears the shirt. ‘In demand’ would be a massive understatement in describing the fever surrounding the launch of the Real Madrid shirt. In many cases, stock of that shirt had sold out before it hit the shelves with a flood of pre-orders. As Real Madrid shirts go, it’s nothing special

Christmas is the great leveller. That’s when we find out which shirt will come out on top for the season. Most die-hard fans will now have bought their shirts and it will now be up to more fairweather fans to choose which shirt graces their back. This is when people search out the more unfamiliar shirts such as Fenerbahce, Sampdoria, Palermo, Atletico Madrid and more. Sometimes with a connection to their own team, sometimes because the shirt just looks great. A best seller this season in Edinburgh has been Werder Bremen’s home top, a dead ringer for a Hibs shirt! For unhappy Partick Thistle fans though the new Palermo shirt is nice and pink – without the camouflage!

• What’s it like to follow Celtic? • A fans guide to Fir Park • Former Hearts and Hibs men Bruno Aguiar and Jack Wilson • Upcoming fixtures • Christopher Brookmyre’s All Saints XI THE CURSE of the opening day double hit SPL strikers, as Danny Cadamarteri, Kevin Kyle, Aiden McGeady and Kenny Miller all struck twice on the first weekend of the SPL season – then scored just seven goals among them in their sides’ eight matches since.

In the scoring stakes, Kris Boyd continues to prove his worth to Rangers after turning down a summer move, while Motherwell’s Ross Forbes has emerged as an instant hit with a deluge of goals in the opening exchanges. Last season, Forbes joined then-Third Division side Dumbarton on a six-month loan and helped the Sons to promotion, but even then he didn’t show the promise in front of goal (one goal in 18 league games) that saw him strike eight times in the SPL, cup competitions and in Europe. Hearts, as many commentators had predicted, struggled to capture any sort of consistency and instead the nearest pretenders to the Old Firm throne (should they ever win that move to England) are Hibernian and Dundee United. After a summer that saw another set of priceless exits from Easter Road, this season looked to be shaping up to be rather drab for the Hibees as they bade farewell to Steven Fletcher, club captain Rob Jones, as well as a host of younger players including Jack Wilson (see page 21). However, late on in the window the club chose rather uncharacteristically to invest in a number of relatively high-profile




players, John Hughes raiding former club Falkirk for Patrick Cregg and Kevin McBride, while also adding young Manchester United winger Danny Galbraith, Anthony Stokes from Sunderland, former Celtic midfielder Liam Miller and experienced goalkeeper Graham Stack, brought in to provide much-needed competition for Yves Ma-Kalamby. The club also welcomed back Merouane Zemamma from his loan period in the UAE and opening results have largely gone the way of the Easter Road side, despite a CIS cup exit to St Johnstone. Mark McGhee is one manager aspiring to the heights hit by Hibs and United, and expressed his increasing frustration at the lack of leeway he is allowed in turning around his Aberdeen squad. That hasn’t stopped him ringing the changes behind the scenes, though, as Dons legend and goalkeeping coach Jim Leighton left his role at Pittodrie. Leighton can take some credit for Scotland squad member Jamie Langfield’s improved performance recently, but many fans reckon the standard of goalkeeper to have graced the north-east club has been woeful since Leighton concentrated on coaching in 2000. In his first spell at Aberdeen before moves to Manchester United and Hibs, Leighton wrote himself into legend as a member of Alex Ferguson’s European Cup-winning side. His departure means that the number of ‘Gothenburg Greats’ employed at the club is down to four. JD, AST

The number of yellow cards shown to St Johnstone’s Graham Gartland in his opening four league games this season. 19




After 18 months out of the game with a career threatening ankle injury, there were times when Bruno Aguiar thought his playing days might be over. Nothing could have been further from his mind 42 minutes into his comeback this time last year, though, as he netted a sublime free-kick against Hibs at Easter Road. • BY AMAL DAHER The Portuguese midfielder went on to enjoy his best year at Tynecastle last season and with seven goals he also weighed in as the club’s top goal scorer. Despite his desire to stay at Hearts and the high quality of his displays in midfield, a contract offer wasn’t forthcoming for the 2006 Scottish Cup winner. Aguiar, with a family to look after, didn’t wait around to be shown the door and substituted the SPL for Cyprus’s Division A with Omonia Nicosia. “Yes, I wanted to stay,” said the former Benfica man. “I was happy there and I loved playing at Tynecastle. In football you have a short career 10-12 years and you play for a good contract. Omonia offered me that and a fantastic opportunity.” Bruno was instrumental in helping Hearts reach this season’s Europa Cup qualifers, and tuned in to support his former employers in their quest to qualify for the group stages of the competition. In his view, the defeat to Dinamo Zagreb is merely a result of Hearts’ inability to replace 20

the outgoing crop of players, including himself and captain Robbie Neilson. “I watched the game at Tynecastle and it was a good game which they deserved to win. It just wasn’t enough if they hadn’t conceded so many goals in Croatia they could have made the group stages. I think it was difficult for Hearts to lose so many players and not to bring in any new players that the manager wanted. If they had been able to keep these players this season could have been great.” Bruno has enjoyed a successful start to the season with Omonia Nicosia, scoring on his debut and helping the side to the top of the table. As he settles in to life in the Cyprus, the change in football is not something that has bothered Aguiar who feels part of being a successful footballer is the ability to adapt to different leagues.

He says his main aim is to make it to the Champions League with Omonia, but didn’t rule out a move to Scotland, where Celtic and Rangers were rumoured to be interested in his services prior to his departure from Tynecastle. “The football in Cyprus is different, more direct. In Scotland they played the long ball, here they play more football. It was like when I moved from Portugal to Scotland, I had to adapt and now it is the same for me coming from Scotland to Cyprus. “Last season I scored lots of goals because I was playing higher up. My work is not to score goals so I won’t be angry if I don’t score but still help the team to win. In football you never know what will happen in the future. I want to get to the Champions League with Omonia and then see what happens if we achieve that.”

It’s not often that a cry on a primary school football pitch of ‘Me, Ryan, and Scoba against the rest’ causes genuine trepidation among ‘the rest’. But when the ‘me’ in question was Jack Wilson it was genuine cause for concern. I was fortunate enough to be at school with Jack and witness somebody who at eight years old displayed deft close control and vision beyond his years. • BY JOE DICK Four years later, Jack signed a contract with Hibs and then, at 17, penned a fulltime contract and lived every boy’s dream of leaving the classroom for a career in professional football. Part of a talented crop of Hibernian’s youth system, Jack was fortunate enough to be coming through the ranks at the same time as players like Scott Brown, Derek R iordan, and Kevin Thomson were beginning to graduate into the first team. “At Hibs the first team and the youth were encouraged to train together,” he recalls. “Most of these guys, particularly Kevin Thomson, always had chat for the youngsters and this gave me a target to look up to.” Despite a healthy grounding in the

game, Jack was released in summer by incoming manager John Hughes in a move that saw a number of promising youth and reserve players axed to pave the way for a new generation. Despite a lack of firstteam opportunities, Jack does not harbour resentment but reckons he “wasn’t given a fair chance”, as he explains. “This was down to a lot of bad timing in management changes,” he reasons. “Having to catch a different gaffer’s eye almost every season is difficult, and in a physical league like the SPL there is a reluctance to play smaller guys.” However, his move to Doncaster Rovers can be viewed as a step in the right direction given the current status of the Championship and the collapse of the reserve league north of the border, a decision that Jack predicts may have swingeing consequences.

“Guys not getting games will become completely demoralised and see no point in training without a game to aim for. No doubt it will also have a huge effect on the national team’s performance in five or ten years.” With respect to his personal future, Jack is currently considering his options. Being on a short-term deal at Doncaster means working extraordinarily hard to impress manager Sean O’Driscoll. He says, “I’m looking to secure a longer contract at Doncaster. To have the option to play in a league like the Championship is really great.” In the meantime, gaining a first-time place is the target for last season’s recipient of a Clydesdale Bank Rising Star Award. While aiming for an immediate impact at the Keepmoat Stadium, Jack will be looking to kick-start a career that began all those years ago as a Musselburgh lad running rings round his classmates. 21

A FANS GUIDE TO... FIR PARK (Motherwell) How to get there? Fir Park is situated in north Motherwell, and is within handy reach of both train stations (Airbles and Motherwell). These routes can be taken from Glasgow Central lower level, and will have you there in just over half an hour.

My Fantasy XI

rookmyre Name : Christopher B Profession : Author Team : St Mirren FC ERT

Where to eat and drink? The Jack Daniels bar is a firm favourite with supporters and is , just behind Motherwell Civic Centre, a five-minute walk from the ground. It tends to fill up on match days so this is your best spot for soaking up some pre-match atmosphere. Alternatively, the Electric Bar is yards from Airbles train station and a typical Wetherspoon’s joint graces the town centre.



Costs Admission prices at Fir Park are among the lowest in the SPL. Entry for an adult home supporter can be as little as £18, however, visiting fans at premium matches will have to fork out as much as £25 a ticket. Child, student, OAP and family tickets are available for all stands.


If you get beat, at least it’s a nice drive. Picture: credit However, the atmosphere at matches – especially clashes with bottom-half SPL clubs – can leave you a little underwhelmed. On the up-side, visiting fans will generally be housed in the large South Stand, which will give an unobstructed view of the scintillating football on show. SM

With the newly-named Phil O’Donnell stand being erected in the 1960’s and the ‘authentic’ East Stand being transformed from the original terracing, Fir Park certainly has a character that the Almondvales and New Douglas Parks simply can’t match.










CRAIG WILSON combines his job as an assistant to Tory MSPs with his love for Celtic. HIGHLIGHTS?

One of my favourite ever moments following Celtic was seeing us beat Juventus 4-3 in the Champions league back in 2001. Ultimately we still failed to qualify, just, but what a game that was!



If you read the press then the English Premiership something that I hope does actually happen.

FAVOURITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME? Chris Sutton – what I would give to have a player of his quality in the current Celtic team. Just for the way he would terrorise a defence, the current Celtic team lacks the presence that players like Sutton had. Artur Boruc – the Holy goalie. The best goalie I have seen in my time supporting Celtic although that might not be the highest of praise when you consider some of the keepers that I’ve seen!!






I’m looking forward to Mowbray turning the current team into his team and can’t wait for that. The signs are quite positive so far but there’s a long way to go.

Like any Scottish football fan will say, the entertainment value has dipped in recent seasons. The days when Celtic could attract players of the calibre of Chris Sutton, Henrik Larrson and Stillian Petrov are tragically nothing more than a distant memory.


I love Parkhead. It’s difficult to describe my feelings the first time I visited, dumbstruck at the noise and passion for starters.





I think Celtic have some fantastic fans, best exemplified by the noise that we can create that must intimidate even the biggest sides, especially in big European ties or in Old Firm games.

Helicopter Sunday when Scott McDonald’s two goals for Motherwell saw Celtic defeated and Rangers winning the SPL – not the end to the Seville season that I had hoped for.



It’s crazy to think that winning the SPL earns a club around about £1m yet TV revenue in England is worth £20million. Heck, when Celtic won that four-team tournament at Wembley in the summer they got £3m! There is little or no money in the SPL and that is damaging for Celtic and Rangers in Europe. Taking the Celtic brand into the English Premier League would be massive. We’d struggle to start with but once the money started rolling in then we’d be able to attract the best players around.

The number of players used by Hamilton Accies manager Billy Reid in their first four SPL matches of the new season.

Christopher Brookmyre combines writing crime fiction with his ‘duties’ as a St Mirren season ticket holder. Here, he picks his Buddies Dream XI, a side not to be messed with! 1 • CAMPBELL MONEY St Mirren were well-served for keepers during the 80s, with Billy Thomson earning a Scotland cap at the club, which was why I was all the more grateful that his successor proved even better.

2 • STEVE CLARKE One of the most accomplished defenders at Love St, Clarke looked the finished article from a young age. Very exciting to watch as he marauded down the flank.

3 • ALEX BECKETT An icon of a forgotten era when footballers could still proudly sport monk-like tonsures and baldy patches. A Saints immortal for his last-minute wonder-strike volley to win at Parkhead.

4 • KIRK BROADFOOT - DC One of the most passionate, committed and entertaining players I’ve ever seen in the stripes. He was influential in driving the whole team forward and flatly refusing to accept defeat.

5 • BOBBY REID - DC A big no-nonsense defender whose time at the club spanned its rise from the old Second Division to qualifying for Europe. Chipped in with a generous quota of goals too.

6 • LEX RICHARDSON Got sent off in the first St Mirren match I saw (a 3-2 win over

Dumbarton in 1976 early in his career) but went on to become a graceful and inventive midfielder.

7 • BILLY ABERCROMBY On any Saints fan’s all-time XI. He took no s*** from anybody, especially the Old Firm, whose players he relished straightening out. Captain of the 87 cup-winning team and undisputed legend.

8 • IAN SCANLON St Mirren’s signing of the century. An exhilarating winger and a regular goal-scorer, the pick of which was his forty-yarder against Celtic to seal a 4-2 victory (from two-nil down) in 1983.

9 • DOUG SOMNER Somner’s prolificity almost won Saints the Title in 1980. Scored our first-ever European goal, as well as notching one in our 5-1 AngloScottish Cup final victory over then top-flight Bristol City.

10 • FRANK MCGARVEY A genuine match-winner of a forward, the kind of player who could unlock the tightest defence because nobody ever knew what he was about to do next, often including himself.

11 • BILLY STARK Bubble-permed midfield genius, who was to prove just as vital to Aberdeen and Celtic with that invaluable ability to arrive late into the box and finish with aplomb.

Christopher Brookmyre’s new book Pandaemonium is out now in all good book shops. 23


Your Nations Bookmaker!

November 7 - December 30

Saturday 7 November 2009 Aberdeen v St Johnstone Hamilton v Motherwell Hearts v Hibernian Kilmarnock v Dundee Utd Rangers v St Mirren

Sunday 8 November 2009 Falkirk v Celtic

Saturday 21 November 2009 Falkirk v Hamilton Hearts v St Johnstone Motherwell v Aberdeen Rangers v Kilmarnock St Mirren v Hibernian

Sunday 22 November 2009 Dundee Utd v Celtic

Saturday 28 November, 2009 Aberdeen v Rangers Celtic v St Mirren Hibernian v Falkirk Kilmarnock v Hearts Motherwell v Dundee Utd St Johnstone v Hamilton

Saturday 12 December 2009 Aberdeen v Hamilton Hearts v Dundee Utd Kilmarnock v Hibernian Motherwell v Celtic Rangers v St Johnstone St Mirren v Falkirk

Saturday 19 December 2009 Aberdeen v Hibernian Hamilton v Dundee Utd Kilmarnock v Falkirk Rangers v Motherwell St Johnstone v St Mirren

Sunday 20 December 2009 Hearts v Celtic

Saturday 26 December 2009 Celtic v Hamilton Dundee Utd v Kilmarnock Falkirk v Hearts Motherwell v St Johnstone St Mirren v Aberdeen

Sunday 27 December 2009

Saturday 5 December 2009 Celtic v Aberdeen Dundee Utd v St Mirren Falkirk v Rangers Hibernian v Motherwell St Johnstone v Kilmarnock

Hibernian v Rangers

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Sunday 6 December 2009 Hamilton v Hearts

Aberdeen v Falkirk Hamilton v St Mirren Hearts v Motherwell Kilmarnock v Celtic Rangers v Dundee Utd St Johnstone v Hibernian

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INSIDE • What’s it like to follow Airdrie? • Fans guide to Firhill • The Pars’ Joe Cardle • Upcoming fixtures


undee and Inverness CT will contest the first piece of silverware up for grabs this season as the final of the Alba Challenge Cup is staged at McDiarmid Park on Sunday 22 November. The Dark Blues won at Cowdenbeath and Stirling before a semi win over Annan Athletic at Dens Park, while Inverness needed penalties to dispose of Montrose before success in further home ties against Stranraer and fellow Highlanders Ross County. Dundee will be looking to pick up their first trophy since they were crowned First Division champions in 1997/98, while Inverness were winners of the Challenge Cup in 2003/04, the same year they won promotion to the SPL as champions. At the other end of the First Division scale, Davie Irons became the first managerial casualty of the season and, at the time of writing, the Greenock Morton manager’s position was set to be contested by a number of candidates. Among them was Stirling Albion boss Allan Moore and Dundalk manager Sean Connor. Moore publicly admitted interest in the post, while Belfast-born Connor, 42, was interviewed at the end of October. The Northern-Irishman won the Irish First Division title with Sligo Rovers in 2005 and helped them to the semi-final of the Irish Cup. Kenny Black may be the next to follow Irons out of a First Division hotseat, as a substantial section of Airdrie United supporters voiced their bewilderment at the direction of the club, without a win in their first round of league games and bottom of the table at the time of writing.




In a typically tight league table, Partick Thistle are among those who look capable of pushing pacesetters Dundee all the way. Unfortunately for Jags’ fans, many of the more newsworthy items involving the club at the start of season 2009/10 have involved goings-on off the pitch. A £1 million investment in August from a consortium of Partick Thistle fans will see the transfer of Firhill’s Main Stand and south end area to an independent property company, Propco, owned 50 per cent by the football club. The investment will cut the club’s £1.6m debt to £800,000 and reduce annual repayments and interest payments by 50 per cent. However, the announcement of the deal has brought a great deal of scepticism amongst some Thistle punters, who would seem to have very viable questions about the way the deal is structured, voting powers for the new partnership and the arrival of Thistleminded ‘white-knights-in-shining-armour’ investors just as property prices are at rock bottom levels. On a slightly more positive note regarding the dear old Firhill ground, it celebrated its 100th birthday on Friday 18 September. The day after, Thistle rounded off the birthday bash celebrations with a 2-0 home defeat of Dunfermline. Whether the ground sees another 100 years of Firhill thrills (or perhaps even another 10 years if you listen to some reports) is very much a wait and see… CC,CA,AST

The number of goals conceded by Morton in their opening five matches in Division One this season. 25

A FANS GUIDE TO... FIRHILL (Partick Thistle) How to get there: Firhill is a short walk from Kelvinbridge and St. George’s Cross subway stations, whilst regular buses pass along Maryhill Road, with Firhill stadium a stone’s throw away.

Where to eat & drink: Check out The Strathmore or The Munns Vaults on Maryhill Road for some nearby watering holes, or for a taste of cinematic history, drop by The Crosslands on Queen Margaret Drive, the scene of Begbie’s pub rage in Trainspotting. For pre/post match eats there’s also a number of outlets on Maryhill Road, including Micha’s Takeaway and Café D’Jaconelli

Surrounding area: Firhill Stadium is located near to Glasgow University’s Murano St. halls of residence so expect a student flavour to the nearby area, and with the lattes and indie shops of Byres Rd not too far away, Firhill is on the cusp of cosmopolitan eclecticism - even if the immediate surroundings don’t quite reveal such panache.

Costs: Adult tickets cost £16, with concession and youth admission costing £11. Under-16s are also able to take advantage of free entry to all SFL games. The programme costs £2.50, whilst halftime replenishments vary from £1.90 for a steak pie to £2.60 for a hotdog, with your Bovril and other drinks costing £1.50.

Firhill Picture: PTFC

Crowds: Firhill recently celebrated its centenary, so this is a club that has its roots well and truly in the history books, with crowds this season ranging from 1500-3000. The fans are noted for their disapproval of their Glasgow neighbours: ‘There’s only one team in Glasgow’ is a common chant.

Forthcoming home games: Inverness CT (Nov. 21), Dundee (Dec. 5), QoS (Dec. 26)




Joe Cardle is already a journeyman footballer at the tender age of 22, but is looking to achieve greater things via an already convoluted career path that has led him to Dunfermline. Representing a social paradox as a boy with a Scottish west coast accent brought up in the very English resort of Blackpool and as a footballer sought after south of the border but who chose to take his chance with Airdrie, Cardle’s route to the top – if he gets there – will not be reached by orthodox means. His existence as a nomadic winger-cum-forward has taken in Burnley’s school of excellence, a professional contract at Port Vale, a loan spell at Colin Hendry’s Clyde, a short time under Kenny Black at Airdrie United and, finally, a settling down at East End Park. It was former manager Black at Airdrie who can accept the thanks from Pars boss Jim McIntyre and a growing Cardle fan club in Fife for tempting the player north in the first place. “I still rate Kenny highly,” says Joe. “He and Jimmy Boyle took me under their wing and helped me a lot. I had only played 25 games for Port Vale and most were coming off 26

the bench, so not many people had seen me, so I just needed a club to get games under my belt. Kenny invited me up and it was the perfect club for me that time. “I was meant to sign for Luton or Darlington when the transfer window opened in January. But, Kenny said to come up to Airdrie for a week before I was due to have talks with the English sides, and I thought the manager and the club were perfect for me. It was the right move for me, as I didn’t want to sit on the bench, I wanted first-team football. I ended up playing 23 games for Airdrie over a few months and got noticed by a few teams. “I chatted to Jim McIntyre in the summer. Dunfermline is a big club with a huge fan base and if I went to the SPL, I don’t think I’d have got many games; at this stage of my career I need games.” Cardle’s early season form saw him bag two goals in the Pars’ opening three games, and the attacking midfielder reckons Dunfermline will be able to mount a promotion challenge, despite a relatively slow start. “I’m enjoying it so far – we’ve not had the best of starts but I’m enjoying it. We’ve not had the rub of the green, but if that happens I still think personally we’re the best footballing side in the league. But, it’s about getting three points, so we have to work on that.



As Airdrieonians, reaching the old European Cup Winners Cup in 1992 and playing Sparta Prague which has been our only venture into Europe.

That’s a sore subject with me. I’m a lover of terracing and I think every ground should have them, so I’m not overly keen on our concrete jungle that is the Excelsior Stadium.



Dying, basically! When Airdrieonians died in 2002, everything, 100 years of history and everything the club had achieved up to that point, was taken from us.

The fans come in different shapes and forms, like many clubs, and while 90% just want to come and watch football, there is still a split over the identity stemming back to 2002.



In general it’s tough being a football fan in Scotland and the same applies at Airdrie. There’s no natural skill anymore and teams seem to be too afraid to fail.

Kenny Black came to us in tough times and has had to work in very tight constraints during his spell here, but we like him.


FAVOURITE ALL-TIME PLAYER Sandy Stewart, who was a fantastic sweeper and man-marker at Airdrie and one of the best I’ve ever seen. I also liked Alan Gow, who came through and did well, but ruined his career by sitting on the bench at Ibrox for two years.

FAVOURITE CURRENT PLAYER It’s hard to pick one out at the moment as each of them has pros and cons, but Paul Lovering does a decent shift at left back .




I fear in five years we will be where we are now which is flitting in between the First and Second Divisions barring a dramatic change.

FINANCES In a word, tight. The budget is dictated by what comes through the gates and our attendances have dwindled from 1,000 to 800 in the last year. CA

Number of current Dundee players that ended last season as top scorers for their respective First Division clubs. Leigh Griffiths (Livingston), Sean Higgins (Ross County), Pat Clarke (Clyde), Gary Harkins (Partick Thistle) and Mickael Antoine-Curier (Dundee). 27


Your Nations Bookmaker!

November 7 - December 26

Saturday 7 November 2009

Queen of South v Inverness CT

Ayr United v Queen of South

Raith Rovers v Airdrie Utd Ross County v Greenock Morton

Dundee v Airdrie Utd Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle

Saturday 12 December 2009

Raith Rovers v Dunfermline Athletic

Airdrie Utd v Partick Thistle

Ross County v Inverness CT

Dundee v Ayr United

Saturday 14 November 2009 Ayr United v Ross County

Dunfermline Athletic v Ross County Greenock Morton v Queen of South Inverness CT v Raith Rovers

Dundee v Queen of South Dunfermline Athletic v Partick Thistle

Saturday 19 December 2009 Ayr United v Partick Thistle

Greenock Morton v Raith Rovers

Dundee v Greenock Morton

Inverness CT v Airdrie Utd

Dunfermline Athletic v Inverness CT

Saturday 21 November 2009

Queen of South v Raith Rovers

Airdrie Utd v Greenock Morton

Ross County v Airdrie Utd

Queen of South v Dunfermline Athletic

Saturday 26 December 2009 Airdrie Utd v Dunfermline Athletic

Raith Rovers v Ayr United

Saturday 5 December 2009

Greenock Morton v Ayr United Inverness CT v Dundee

Ayr United v Dunfermline Athletic

Partick Thistle v Queen of South

Partick Thistle v Dundee

Raith Rovers v Ross County

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INSIDE • What’s it like to follow Dumbarton? • A fans guide to Ochilview • The Binos’ Martin Grehan • Upcoming fixtures


success story within Alloa Athletic’s youth system saw teenage striking sensation Greig Spence on his way out of Recreation Park to join Celtic. Wasps vice-chairman Mike Mulraney said of the 17-year-old’s departure, “We couldn’t hold him back as he is joining one of the two biggest clubs in Scotland, and they can help him progress, so we wish him all the best.” Meanwhile, Alloa secured the loan signing of Iain Russell from Morton. Russell’s most recent moment of glory came with a double as the Greenock club upset Hibs in the League Cup in August last year, winning 4-3 at Easter Road. Since then, he hit just three goals in 24 games for Morton. Fellow promotion hopefuls Stirling Albion have managed to ignore off-field matters to record a successful start. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo, the Caldwell brothers and Andy Murray all reportedly shelling out £40 towards a fans’ campaign to save the club, 82-year-old chairman Peter McKenzie continues to pull the strings at Forthbank. The Buy Stirling Albion campaign, a fans’ bid to purchase controlling shares, has bought a shop in the town to raise awareness. Eddie Docherty, who leads the retail team, said, “The new retail unit gives us a fantastic opportunity to really connect with the local community as well as a fantastic campaign HQ.” In Livingston’s game of snakes and ladders, Cowdenbeath are the beneficiaries of a place in the Second Division and have proved themselves able to compete, enjoying a sound start.




Fellow newly-promoted sides Stenhousemuir and Dumbarton have experienced contrasting fortunes, with Stenny looking capable of battling for another play-off spot while the Sons have been slow to gather speed. Peterhead, keen to push for promotion this year, have added Aberdeen midfielder Nicky Clark to their squad. The 18-year-old son of the Pittodrie club’s former coach Sandy Clark will spend the rest of the year at Balmoor. Forfar Athletic picked up Chris McGroarty and Ian Harty from Brechin City after losing Stuart Malcolm, Ally Divine and Darren Brady to injury for a considerable time. Forfar is 28-yearold McGroarty’s tenth senior club in Scotland after the midfielder started out at Dunfermline, while journeyman striker Harty will be looking to regain the sort of form that saw him score nearly a goal every two games while at Clyde between 2003-2005. Both players joined on a 28-day emergency temporary transfer arrangement. Lastly, a memorial match for Dumbarton’s former captain Gordon Lennon has been provisionally scheduled for Sunday 15 November. ‘Guido’ died aged 26 in an off-road vehicle accident in June and a tribute game is likely to involve a Dumbarton select and a side consisting of his former team mates from Albion Rovers, Stenhousemuir, Partick Thistle and Harmony Row, subject to player availability. Please contact the club for further details.

The lowest attendance in Division Two when Arbroath visited Cowdenbeath’s Central Park on the opening day of the season. 29



At the age of 25 he has experienced more highs and lows than many a grisled professional. MARTIN GREHAN explains why he still has top tier ambitions

If a heart monitor was programmed to track the size of clubs Grehan has graced in his fledgling career to date, the aggressive rise and fall of the lines would suggest a very irregular beat. Indeed, the fortunes of a young talent due for bigger and better things almost slipped into a permanent coma after the player was released by East Fife. “Everybody always thought I’d be a footballer because I was head and shoulders above the rest,” he says. “When I was 18, I was in the youth team at East Fife and scored quite a few goals there. I was a left midfielder, but then started scoring and was moved up front. But, I was released because they said I had an attitude problem. “I always thought I’d make it, but when I went back to amateur football I started losing interest. My mates all said I was a wasted talent.” Grehan, a Fifer by origin, put his considerable talent to use at amateurs Kell United after his release from New Bayview. He played three seasons there, winning four caps for Scotland Amateurs and scoring on 30

En route to the ground from the direction of the railway station, you will first come to The Crown Inn and then, via a slight diversion towards Stenhousemuir town centre, The Plough Hotel. Both are typical old-fashioned boozers that serve all the usual drinking fare and snacks. The Plough prides itself on a good selection of lagers and real ales on tap. The walk from Larbert takes you through a relatively well-todo residential area – before the town merges seamlessly with Stenhousemuir. The town centre in Stenny may not be much to look at, but it does feature a couple of good pubs (see above) within a two minute walk from the ground.

When serving as second fiddle at Motherwell to the likes of the prolific Chris Porter and Scotland internationalists David Clarkson and Ross McCormack, Martin Grehan says all he wanted was to “get out there and make a name for myself”.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed an early season average of around a goal every two games for the Second Division pacesetters and showed the type of all-round form that justifies his rescue from the footballing scrapheap.




Today, in the more sober surroundings of Stirling Albion’s Forthbank, Grehan stands undeterred from his ambition of becoming an SPL striker and his is the name on the lips of many admiring fans of thirdtier football.

By train is the easiest way to reach the ground and Larbert railway station is just a 15 minutes walk from the ground. The journey from Glasgow, Edinburgh or Perth takes 40-50 minutes. Driving from those three cities takes 35 minutes, 45 minutes and just over an hour respectively.

COST OF ADMISSION: A neat main stand (£11/£6) is the place to be for home fans, while the majority of away fans tend to congregate in the terrace behind one of the goals (£10/£5). Programmes come in at a standard Martin (left) congratulates young Ross McCord on a goal against East Fife. Picture: MMS

his debut in the Republic of Ireland. He moved briefly up a level to the East Region Juniors with Hill O’Beath but preferred the comfort zone of “playing with my mates” and moved back to Kell. A second stint at junior level, however, was to change the direction of his career in little over a season. “My mate then asked me to help out at Dundonald Bluebell because they were short of players and I went along for a game against Kirkcaldy. It was the first game of the season and we ended up winning 6-0. I scored two, and the chairman obviously said, ‘We want to sign that boy there!’ “We won the league in my first junior season and I scored 32 goals in 33 games.” Grehan’s progress didn’t go unnoticed, but while his team mates were attracting overtures from Cowdenbeath the deadly marksman had Motherwell on his mind after turning the heads of Fir Park scouts. “It was a big enough step from junior to Third Division, never mind to the Premier League,” he says. “It was a bit surreal at the time, going down to train with the likes of Ross McCormack and Phil O’Donnell. I had to take three days off work to get time to do it, then went for another three days before winning a full-time contract.” Grehan penned a short-term contract in January 2008 and made his SPL debut in the dying minutes of a 3-1 defeat to St Mirren at

Love Street. However, no further first-team opportunities were forthcoming at Fir Park and after a loan spell at Forfar Athletic (ten games, two goals), the lofty frontman found another suitor in Stirling. A tip-off to Alan Moore from a friend at a Falkirk amateur side alerted the Binos gaffer to Grehan’s availability and the forward was duly signed. “Allan had never seen me play before. I didn’t score in my first ten games and he’s wondering if I’m really a striker. I ended up with twelve goals that season though.” Despite a return to Fife with Raith Rovers being there for the taking at the end of last season, Grehan opted for stability and a management team he thinks can take him forward. “Speaking to Allan Moore, he’s keen to bring my game on. With [coaches] Roddy Grant and John O’ Neil also there, I’ve come on in leaps and bounds. “I’m happy where I am just now, at the right end of the league with Stirling. If the chance came about again, I’d love to play at a higher level. You always want to challenge yourself against better players. “The reason I signed is, if we kept the nucleus of the squad and brought in a couple of new signings, we’d be there or thereabouts. To have the good season we’ve had is brilliant for us, but obviously we can’t let it slip. There’s a good atmosphere in the dressing room and we must take it game-by-game.”

Ochilview or, if you’re an East Stirlingshire tenant, Lesser Firs Park Picture: MMS £1.50, while the refreshments offered by the girls in the doublesided pie hut – which serves stand-goers from one side and the terrace from the other – are a class apart. A ‘healthy’ selection of Scotch, steak and chicken curry pies and burgers and a wide array of hot and cold drinks is enough to turn your mind away from the football momentarily.

FORTHCOMING HOME GAMES: Stenhousemuir: v Brechin (Nov. 21), v Clyde (Dec. 12) East Stirlingshire: v Forfar (Nov. 14), v Montrose (Dec. 5)’



centre-forward and our most expensive signing at £50,000.

‘You’re having a laugh, right? But seriously, there have been a few. Recently we won the Third Division title, whilst winning promotion to Division Two when Murdo MacLeod was gaffer with a last day victory over Stirling Albion is a also a special memory, as was the last ever game at Boghead when I was privileged enough to be match sponsor.’

The squad that won last season’s title are all heroes and now officially Sons legends. It would be unfair to single anyone out. From wee Alex Brown and his pal Scott Connie who sell matchday 50-50 tickets right through to the gaffer, we’re all in it together.




Jim Chapman is the hardest working Sons gaffer I’ve ever met - his full-time role at the club has been a real piece of vision. Jim is our youth guru too, and spends a lot of time working in the local community. A good lad in my opinion.

Getting relegated to Division Three was rough. It’s a hard, hard division to get out of for all sorts of reasons. Season 95/96 was one to forget too, with regular beatings including an 8-0 slaughter at Tannadice.


ENTERTAINMENT VALUE Last season the team was flying. Charismatic players like Derek Carcary and Stevie Murray were a joy to watch. It was total football, Sons-style!

FAVOURITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME It has to be Sir Charles Gibson of Old Kilpatrick, or just Charlie, as we knew him then. He was an old fashioned




I don’t honestly know. Football is such a terrible thing to predict, so I won’t go down that road. However, the Sonstrust are looking for the club to be communityowned, with real fans playing a pivotal role in the running of the club. That’s very important.


Goals conceded by Third Division champions Dumbarton in their first five league matches, a third of what their total conceded last season. 31

SFL 2 FIXTURES Saturday 7 November 2009

Clyde v Arbroath

Brechin City v Arbroath

Cowdenbeath v Stenhousemuir East Fife v Alloa Athletic

Clyde v Cowdenbeath

Stirling Albion v Dumbarton

East Fife v Peterhead

Saturday 12 December 2009

Stenhousemuir v Dumbarton

Alloa Athletic v Brechin City

Stirling Albion v Alloa Athletic

Arbroath v Stirling Albion

Saturday 14 November 2009

Dumbarton v East Fife

Alloa Athletic v Stenhousemuir

Peterhead v Cowdenbeath

Brechin City v Clyde

Stenhousemuir v Clyde

Cowdenbeath v Dumbarton

Saturday 19 December 2009

East Fife v Stirling Albion

Cowdenbeath v Arbroath

Peterhead v Arbroath

Dumbarton v Alloa Athletic

Saturday 21 November 2009

East Fife v Brechin City

Arbroath v Alloa Athletic

Peterhead v Clyde

Clyde v East Fife

Stirling Albion v Stenhousemuir

Dumbarton v Peterhead

Saturday 26 December 2009

Stenhousemuir v Brechin City

Alloa Athletic v Cowdenbeath

Stirling Albion v Cowdenbeath

Saturday 5 December 2009 Brechin City v Peterhead

Arbroath v East Fife Brechin City v Stirling Albion Clyde v Dumbarton Stenhousemuir v Peterhead

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November 7 - December 26

INSIDE • What’s it like to follow Queens Park? • A fans guide to Galabank • Elgin’s Craig Gunn • Upcoming fixtures


t is all to play for in another closely-run Third Division this season, as just a couple of wins separate the top five teams on most given weekends. Dick Campbell’s Forfar Athletic were top scorers in the early weeks, Martyn Fotheringham and more notably the league’s top marksman, goal-a-game Ross Campbell, helping The Loons to 17 goals in their opening 10 league games. Joining Forfar in the running for promotion are Livingston, who finally got their Third Division campaign underway after refusing to fulfil their initial fixture at East Stirlingshire. Seventeen-yearold Andy Halliday, once a teammate of John Fleck in the Rangers youth setup, scored Livi’s first Third Division goal since May 1996 as he grabbed a brace in their opening day win over Montrose. He said, “I got a few goals in pre-season and I’m glad I could carry that on into today.” Propping up the rest of the SFL last season with only Elgin City beneath them for comfort, Berwick Rangers overhauled their squad in pre-season, manager Jimmy Crease releasing a total of eight first team players from their contracts including Stuart Fraser, Steven Bonar, and John Dillon. Crease was active in signing replacements, and ex-Hibernian youth product Damon Gray, who once scored 42 goals in a single season for the Hibs youth side and duly ingratiated himself at Shielfield by scoring a brace to bring them success in the City Cup final against Whitehill Welfare. The Borderers also

signed another ex-Hibee, Oliver Russell, the captain of last season’s successful Hibs youth team, as well as former East Stirling goalkeeper Mark Peat, who boasts 105 appearances for Arbroath, a place in the 2007/2008 Third Division Squad of the year and a spell at Aberdeen as part of his invaluable experience. Joining Forfar, Livi and Berwick in the promotionchasing pack are perennial strugglers East Stirlingshire and Albion Rovers. Under Jim McInally and Paul Martin respectively, both have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes this year. Tellingly, Shire signed former Celtic youth Simon Lynch to bolster their attack and the Coatbridge side managed to hold on to exciting winger Bobby Barr, two players that could prove vital in deciding who goes up. Meanwhile, Annan Athletic enjoyed their finest hour since joining the SFL by progressing to the quarter final of the Alba Challenge Cup. The Galabank side, though, lost 3-0 to Dundee at Dens Park after home wins over fellow Third Division sides Queens Park, East Stirlingshire and Elgin City. Montrose, rooted to the bottom of the Third Division, got their first win of the season against North junior side Banks O’Dee with a 3-0 win in the Scottish Cup. Fellow bottom side Elgin City are much-improved this year but due to a series of draws, many highscoring, continue to languish near the foot of the table.




Early season Call Offs in Division Three: One through a refusal to fulfil a fixture, one through a traffic jam and one scrapped because of a concert. 33

A FANS GUIDE TO... GALABANK (Annan Athletic) How to get there? Trains from Edinburgh (1hr 45mins) and Glasgow (1hr 30mins) run via Carlisle to Annan, and the ground is a 15-minute walk from the town’s railway station. Buses from Scotland’s two biggest cities can take 3-4 hours and by road, Annan lies just over 80 miles from both Edinburgh (2hrs) and Glasgow (1hr 30mins).

Where to eat and drink? The Shed ( is the most renowned hostelry in the town and is located on Lady St, just off the High St. A 10 minute walk from the railway station and the same distance from the ground, the pub has a range of beers and ales on tap and serves light snacks.

Surrounding area Annan stands 15 miles from Dumfries and eight miles from the English border. It is located on the Solway Firth. Previously famed for its shipbuilding, engineering and whisky distilling, the town restored Dumfries and Galloway’s representation in senior football to two teams (alongside Queen of the South) following the demise of nearby Gretna.

Costs Admission is £9 for adults and £5 for concessions (OAPs and under16s) while children under 12 with an adult get in free. An informative, glossy, full-colour programme will set you back £1.50, while a high

GUNNING FOR GLORY N o restrictions, no limits and a glass ceiling of expectation. A free-scoring striker just gets on with doing what he does best – dispatching the ball in the opposition net.

Frizzell also weighed in with their fair share of goals and, having seen what the rest of the teams in Third Division have to offer, Gunn is confident that Elgin can push for promotion this year.

“I don’t set myself targets,” says Craig Gunn. “I don’t care as long as Elgin are winning.”

“None of the teams are really that much better than us,” he says, “There is Forfar, and East Stirling with money behind them, but none look like they’re not beatable.

A ruthlessness in the penalty area and a talent for team-play – Gunn is a master creator as well as prolific goalscorer – has seen Elgin City enjoy a solid, if unspectacular, start to the campaign. And much of that is down to the flying form of their No.7, a summer signing after his release by Ross County. At the end of October last year, Scotland’s most northerly league club were rooted to the bottom of the table with just 11 goals scored in their opening ten matches. City took half the number of games to equal that goal tally in the current campaign amid some spectacular high-scoring affairs, with Gunn in the thick of the action with a near goal-a-game record. Fellow strikers Jason Crooks and Craig 34

“Probably the best striker we’ve played against is Chris Templeman at Forfar. He should definitely be playing a higher level. He’s good with the ball at his feet, he holds off defenders, and obviously with his height he’s good in the air. I can hopefully learn from him.” Craig grew up in Wick as a Celtic fanatic, idolising the likes of Pierre van Hooijdonk, Jorge Cadete and Henrik Larsson. But, as he points out, there is someone closer to his adopted home from whom he may be able to learn a thing or two. “When I joined Elgin, I knew quite a few of the boys from playing with them at Ross County, so it was quite easy settling in. Obviously, the Elgin manager Ross Jack was

The locals come out in force to Galabank. Picture: MMS quality of Scotch pie awaits at just £1.20.

Fans Still buoyed by their club’s admission to the league, the people of Annan (population, 8,000) turn out in relative force to support the team. Galabank hosts the second-largest crowds – after Livingston’s Almondvale – in the Third Division. Attendances of around 500-600 are all the more impressive considering the long journeys involved for many away fans.


nicknames are brill!)

Beating Aberdeen on penalties in the CIS cup two seasons ago, two championship wins in 1981 and 2000 and a promotion through the play-offs two years ago.

assistant at County and I knew what kind of coach he was, and was very glad he called me. “He was a former striker himself, so he can help me and the team as a whole [in that department]. And obviously, we’ve managed to score quite a few goals so far!” ‘Gunny’ has a proven track record in the art of goalscoring, having enjoyed success in front of goal since his breakthrough at Highland League level at the tender age of 16. He was dubbed a sensation when he began bulging the net with Wick Academy while still a schoolboy, and subsequently signed for Ross County. With opportunities for him limited in Dingwall, he was dispatched on loan to Peterhead. After four goals in his first nine games at the Blue Toon, his form fizzled out, but his predatory instinct has been positively rekindled since his summer move to Borough Briggs. “After Ross County, there were opportunities elsewhere with a few Highland League teams, but once I got the call from Elgin my mind was made up. I’m happy just getting goals.” AST


STADIUM Hampden holds happy memories over the years with Queens and sometimes Scotland, although I would have sold it in the 80s and spent the money on sprucing up Lesser Hampden.


Losing to Forfar in the quarter final of the Scottish Cup in 1983 when we were a good team. The semi final opponents, Rangers, were at one of their lowest ebbs in living memory and we would have beaten them. We were 180 minutes from competing in Europe!

Without exception, a fine bunch of gents and ladies except for the young lads of the (Diet) Irn Bru Firm. They are mental!

MANAGER I think Gardner Speirs is going through a difficult time at the moment with the transtion to Third Division football. But I am sure, like the guys before him, success will come.

ENTERTAINMENT I think “mixed” must be the best way to describe it with the exploits of some of our colourful and eccentric fans!


FAVOURITE PLAYER OF ALL TIME Derek Atkins, our goalkeeper from the promotion-winning team in 1981, who should have played for Scotland instead of ending up at Beith.

CURRENT FAVOURITE PLAYER Richard “Sinky” Sinclair and Antony “Quinno” Quinn. (I know – our




Good question, with the uncertain nature of the effect of the Commonwealth Games coming to Hampden, I would like to see us in a 5,000 seater stadium on the site of Lesser Hampden…

FINANCES Ludere Causa Ludendi - to play for the sake of playing [the amateur club’s motto]. DH

Yellow and red cards shown to players of Elgin City in their first five league games. 35



Saturday 7 November 2009

Berwick Rangers v Elgin City

Albion Rovers v Montrose

East Stirlingshire v Montrose

Elgin City v Livingston

Forfar Athletic v Albion Rovers

Forfar Athletic v Annan Athletic Queens Park v East Stirlingshire

Saturday 14 November 2009

Livingston v Stranraer

Heriot Watt have made a bright start under recently-appointed former Berwick Rangers boss Michael Renwick and are hot on the heels of leaders Lothian Thistle and Spartans.

Saturday 12 December 2009 Berwick Rangers v East Stirlingshire Livingston v Forfar Athletic

Annan Athletic v Elgin City

Montrose v Annan Athletic

Berwick Rangers v Queens Park

Stranraer v Queens Park

East Stirlingshire v Forfar Athletic

Saturday 19 December 2009

Livingston v Albion Rovers

Annan Athletic v Livingston

Montrose v Stranraer

East Stirlingshire v Albion Rovers

Saturday 21 November 2009

Elgin City v Stranraer

Albion Rovers v Annan Athletic Elgin City v Forfar Athletic

Forfar Athletic v Berwick Rangers Queens Park v Montrose

Saturday 26 December 2009

Montrose v Berwick Rangers

Albion Rovers v Stranraer

Queens Park v Livingston

Annan Athletic v Berwick Rangers

Stranraer v East Stirlingshire

Elgin City v Montrose

Saturday 5 December 2009

Forfar Athletic v Queens Park

Annan Athletic v Queens Park

Livingston v East Stirlingshire

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First Division sides Eyemouth United and Leith Athletic will contest the Alex Jack Cup final after notable wins over Premier League opposition. Eyemouth, who overcame Easthouses Lily in the semi, had won at 3-1 at top-tier Tynecastle previously, while Leith Athletic won by the same scoreline at Premier table-toppers Lothian Thistle.

Albion Rovers v Elgin City

Stranraer v Berwick Rangers

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November 7 - December 26

Buckie captain Kevin Small with the Aberdeenshire Cup.

Picture: MMS

Highland Round-Up Buckie Thistle picked up the first silverware of the season with a 2-0 win over Cove Rangers at Turriff. Local hero Stephen Bruce bagged both goals to shock a dominant Cove, and captain Kevin Small received the trophy from First Minister Alex Salmond amid jubilant scenes at the final whistle. Meanwhile, Wick Academy’s signing of Sam Mackay from Deveronvale means the Harmsworth Park club, fifth in the league last season, now contains those awarded the managers of the year (Richard Hughes and Ian Munro), player of the year (Richard Macadie) and the Highland League young player of the year in Mackay. The former Scotland schoolboy international proved an instant hit with a debut hat trick against Rothes. Coach Hughes said, “It’s great to get him. He is a quality young player and will be a great asset to the team. He is happy to be coming to Wick and

enjoys the kind of football we play.” Inverurie Locos continue to press ahead with plans to develop a new community stadium with a local sports centre. The project would see last season’s runners-up relocate to a purpose-built 500-seater community sports stadium within a £6million complex. Brora Rangers have added old boys David ‘Daisy’ Ross and Gary Farquhar to their squad for the season and, after just six league games, the club had already gained the same number of points as in the whole of last season following wins over Rothes, Fort William and local rivals Wick. Strugglers Strathspey Thistle, who may well find themselves battling with perennial bottom side Fort William to avoid last place, signed ex-Rangers, Aberdeen and Hearts goalkeeper Nicky Walker. Manager Donly McLeod reckons the former Scotland stopper can help current goalkeeper Chris Bowles, who looks like he’s in for a busy season. “Nicky thinks Chris has a lot of potential to develop into a good goalkeeper but thinks he is a bit raw at the moment and needs some help with certain aspects of his game. That is where Nicky’s experience and know how will come in,” said the gaffer.

At the other end of the table Coldstream boss Peter McNulty left the club at the end of October after nine consecutive defeats. McNulty had saved the Streamers from relegation with successive ninth-place finished in his two years in charge, but was able to lift Coldstream out of the bottom two this season. Former Streamers manager Colin Gracey took temporary charge while the club searches for a new boss. An East of Scotland under-23 select side led by coach Willie Darroch will play its debut match in early November in a friendly against Livingston at Almondvale. The squad is as follows: Youssef Bejaoui (Whitehill Welfare), John Gilbertson ( Tynecastle), Darren Aird ( Tynecastle), Stuart MacPherson (Edinburgh University), Michael Bruce (Edinburgh City), Alisdair McKinnon (Edinburgh University), Dean Hoskins (Spartans), Aaron James (HeriotWatt University), Gareth Thom ( Tynecastle), Gavin Malin (Spartans), Ousman Sonko (Vale of Leithen), Douglas Bryden (Coldstream), Paul Devlin ( Tynecastle), Andy Martin (Vale of Leithen), Aaron Sommerville (Vale of Leithen), Tony Nicholson (Gretna 2008), Wayne Sproule ( Tynecastle), Daniel Carmichael (Gretna 2008). Civil Service Strollers won only their third Scottish Cup tie in twenty attempts by overcoming Edinburgh University. Strollers hosted Berwick Rangers in the Second Round and narrowly lost 2-1 at Muirhouse. Spartans comprehensively beat Highland League Fraserburgh in Buchan by 4-1 and were rewarded with a home tie against Forfar Athletic, a match that will see former Spartans striker Ross Campbell return to North Edinburgh. Edinburgh City, after seeing off amateurs Burntisland Shipyard, will face Keith, conquerors of Vale of Leithen. In the only remaining tie involving an East of Scotland side, the winners of the Second Round replay between Whitehill Welfare and Threave Rovers will welcome crack Highland side Inverurie Loco Works. 37



Last season’s Super League champions Banks O’Dee shrugged off the disappointment of missing out on a place in the Highland League and lead the way in the table alongside Sunnybank, both sides on course to rack up 100 goals between them after the first 20 round of fixtures.

Auchinleck won 7-0 in their senior Scottish Cup debut.

Picture: MMS

West Super League Premier Division Newly-promoted Largs Thistle set the pace in the league campaign alongside Pollok and Beith, and counted a 2-1 win at champions Irvine Meadow among their early-season scalps. Meadow continued to struggle in defence of their title, suffering a further three defeats from their opening six games. Athurlie claimed the first silverware of

the season, the Sectional League Cup, with a 1-0 win over Shotts Bon Accord at Maryhill’s Lochburn Park courtesy of a Frank McKeown strike. Meanwhile, Auchinleck Talbot marked their debut in the senior Scottish Cup with a resounding 7-0 win over Fort William at Beechwood Park. played Linlithgow, who are the best team in junior football, and Bathgate, who were cup winners last season, and we’ve done well. “The priority, though, is staying in the Superleague. The first thing is to get enough points on the board. It was such a close league last season, and it’ll be the same this season.”


The former Falkirk, Berwick Rangers, Linlithgow and Whitburn player, who also starred for his current side on the field, cites winning promotion as champions last season as the highlight of his four-year stay so far.

Following promotion from the East Region Premier League as champions last season, Musselburgh Athletic made a storming start to Superleague life and had further cause for celebration other than just their tabletopping form.

“Winning the league last year was a great achievement,” he says. “We’re not a so-called ‘big team’, but we got the double by beating Linlithgow Rose in the cup final too. Four trophies in the last two years is great for a small club.”

Progress in the early-season League Cup was halted at the semi final stage by Linlithgow Rose on penalties, but the men from the Honest Toun went on to open their league account with a 3-3 draw against ‘Lithgae’ before slender victories at Bathgate and at home to Bonnyrigg Rose.

David lists attacking midfielder Paul Currie, now of Berwick Rangers and who scored 55 goals in 146 games for Musselburgh, as the standout performer in his time.

The brains behind their surge to the pinnacle of the east top tier, manager Darren McGlynn, marked his 200th match in charge at Olive Bank in the 1-0 win over Bathgate.

“Matty King and Chris King have been great for me too,” he says, “and we signed Adam Nelson from Brechin City in preseason. I’m constantly on the phone to people, trying to get information on teams and players – you’re talking to people all the time.

“Obviously to get a win against Bathgate in my 200th game was great,” says McGlynn, 34. “The Superleague is a massive challenge for us. In our first two games we

“Obviously I’ve got ambition and I want to manage at the highest level possible. But, establishing the club in the Superleague is our focus at the moment.”


Dee were unable to cause an upset in the senior Scottish Cup, losing 3-0 in something of a local derby against Montrose at Spain Park in front of 190 fans. Culter, also in the championship hunt having already won 11 trophies in the 2000s, were unable to sustain their quest for the Grill League Cup, falling to free-scoring Sunnybank in the semi final. Longside, struggling in the lower reaches of the league, gained some welcome relief from the same cup competition and will contest the final after overcoming Banchory St Ternan.

life and fate don’t take notice of what someone’s telling you

EAST SUPER LEAGUE PREMIER DIVISION Following an opening day defeat to Edinburgh United that put paid to their hopes in the League Cup, Bo’ness United strung together a 12-game unbeaten run to take them to the top of the league and progress in the East of Scotland Cup, scoring 35 goals in the process. Newly-promoted Musselburgh Athletic and Newtongrange Star appeared able to hold their own, both quickly making top-half places their own, while Linlithgow Rose remain on the tails of the chasing pack despite an indifferent start to the season. Fife sides Glenrothes and Kelty Hearts meanwhile struggled for momentum, and Camelon could only muster four points from a possible 18 in the early stages.

SJFA EMIRATES BOOST Emirates airline is the new, big-name sponsor of the Scottish Junior Cup after agreeing a two-year deal with the SJFA. The tournament held its first final in 1887 and now has 160 competing teams from across Scotland, with Auchinleck Talbot the current holders of the famous trophy. Tom Johnston, the secretary of the SJFA, welcomed the partnership, saying, “We are delighted Emirates has agreed a sponsorship deal which will allow us to build on what is recognised as one of the best known football competitions in the country. To be associated with an international brand such as Emirates is a tremendous boost to our game and their involvement is greatly appreciated.”

Available from Out November 15th . ‘No One Left To Visit’ is the latest novella frm Edinburgh Author Ryan Sam Turner. For more books and short stories from Ryan, visit


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Eleven: Issue 1  

The launch issue of Scotland's ONLY football magazine that looks at every level of the game, from junior and women's football to the interna...

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