30 December 2007

Phil O'Donnell 1972-2007

Regular readers of my blog will know of my love of football. Normally around this time of the week following a road trip this season I would be posting the latest instalment in my Stadium Tour of Scotland. This week I'll be postponing that entry.

The reason is that yesterday's trip passed two scenes of tragedy. Firstly just as we were starting out from our Stadium came the news that there was a major crash on the Westbound M8 which we would have to navigate around. As we passed the scene having come through Harthill on the Edinburgh Road we saw the Air Ambulance had landed, 5 ambulances, numerous police and three fire engines were in attendance. We knew it was a very severe incident even then. As we resumed our trip along the M8 the Clyde Health Special Operations van also passed us heading to the scene. A scene that was still being worked at as we passed again 6 hours later.

As we carried on our trip to Dumfries take us down the M74 from where you can see Firhill home of Motherwell. On our return trip this coincidence took on even greater significance.

For any football hearing that any other game has had a major incident treating a player that delays their finishing time is heart rendering. We all hope the player although obviously potential seriously hurt can make a recovery. So was our initial reaction when we heard that Phil O'Donnell the Motherwell captain had been the subject of 5 minutes of treatment on the park following a collapse as he was being substituted.

We continued on our way and past the still lit up Firhill, when the saddest news of all that a player who just that afternoon had been taking part in the game we loved had died. All talk of how our own team had done went by the way.

Bill Shankley famously said "Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that". Sadly since Shankley said those at the time inspirational words on many occasions they have proved hollow and today is another day on which they are proved wrong.

If you wish to pay your respects to Phil or add you condolences there are many ways already set up to do that.

His club Motherwell FC have this page where you can email your tribute to the club.

The Scottish Fans Forum Pie and Bovril have this thread.

And I've also found this page as well.

I know there are others and your own teams site may well have one as well. If so post the link especially to one of the two above as football fans of every colour shirt and scarf will always tend to mingle at a time such as this in one community.

23 December 2007

Football Stadia Tour 5: McDiarmid Park

After a week of freezing fog i the central belt some Livi fans were recollecting a previous trip to McDiarmid Park when the game was abandoned in the 80th minute after fog made it impossible for play to continue. We were glad when we arrived that although the car park was frosty that the lights in the houses on the hill to the south were still clearly visible.


The only league side in British Football to contain the letter J does not come from somewhere called St. Johnstone, nor should it be mistaken with Johnstone in East Renfrewshire. It is the team of the Fair City of Perth on the River Tay.

It is conveniently located just off the City's by-pass to the west of the City on land donated by local farmer Brian McDiarmid after whom the new stadium is named.

The Ground

Opened in 1989 it is deemed to be the first of the modern football stadia, with 4 covered seated, single tier stands holding a maximum on 10,673. There are no obscured views from any seat. Three of the stands are of equal height with the Main Stand to the West being a little higher. The South Stand is the Ormand Stand named after Willie Ormand the teams most successful manager to date. However, in recent years only the main and east stand are opened for league games due to attendance levels unless a big match is being hosted. For our visit we were seated in the Northern half of the Main Stand which is accessed half way up from the raised level of the car park on that side of the hollow in which the ground sits.

In the North East corner is an electronic scoreboard, which can keep excited and nervous fans updated of the scores elsewhere, and brought the news after full time in Perth last year that Gretna with a late, late goal had sealed promotion to the SPL instead of the Saints.

The Atmosphere

The atmosphere was cracking as every at McDiarmid Park, and although we didn't have another fan run unto the pitch our fans kept singing for most of the game. Which when you get to the match report you'll find all the more surprising, especially if you've ever been to Almondvale.

The Programme

Cost £2.50. As expected not a match to last week's zenith, but still a worthy programme. 32 pages and this week featured an early St. Johnstone versus Johnstone game in a little bit of history. The opening notes commented that Colin Mcmenamin had yet to score on his return on loan from Gretna, and predicted that he didn't expect last season's top scorer in Scotland's maiden strike to be long in coming. He proved to be better than Mystic Meg 14 minutes into the game.

Pie and Bovril

£1.10 for hot drinks with the water steaming out of a tap in front of you from the servery counter. £1.30 for a steak and gravy pie. Mine was fine but one of my neighbours said theirs was cold on the inside.


Admission £17 (most expensive of the season)
Programme £2.50
(Bacon Butty) and Bovril £2.40
Total £TBC

League Table of Cost
Morton £17.90
Clyde £20.60
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60
St. Johnstone £21.90

Match Report

Well it was pantomime season and I had jested with one Saint's fan on Pie and Bovril the Scottish Football forums, when he asked surely we couldn't beat them again, responded with oh yes we could, before laying a few conditions, based on our inconsistent showings thus far.

Well the game certainly started looking like oh yes we could. Livi started strong and started to dominate. Time and again getting into danger areas. Before Colin McMenamin got his head on the end of the ball and guided it into the back of the net. The old chant of his name at last resounded from the Livi choir in goal celebration, me very joyfully as I have the Livi number 9 in the sweep from the coach trip up.

However our joy was all too short lived. St Johnstone started to find their feet on the hard pitch and too often the Livi players started to lose theirs. Andy Jackson after some applied pressure got what was a deserved equaliser, but from the starts we were getting more and more anxious about the amount of space and opportunity that we appeared to be giving another team for the second game on the bounce. We were hoping for a goal ourselves, possibly from our other striker Steven Craig. When a Craig scored though it was Saint's defender Liam scoring his first goal for the club in the 41st minute. So for the second week on the trot we conceded a cheap but inevitable goal just before half time.

Livingston came out with a little renewed vigour at the start of the second half but it was soon snuffed out when Rocco Quinn burst through the non-existent defence to grab a third. Things then went from bad to worse and time and again the Livi players were leaving gaps on the park and two and sometimes three Saint's players had time space and no real challenge as they advanced.

We were just hoping there wasn't going to be a fourth goal from the home team. Livi have been in 8 games this season where 4 goals or more have been scored by one team, winning three 4-0, one each 5-0, 4-3 and 4-2, we have also been on the wrong end of 4-0 and 4-1 defeats. However with 18 minutes remaining Jackson scored again making it 4-1 followed 6 minutes later by a fifth from Peter MacDonald.

As I said before the fans were still singing backing their team and when chants of we want six appeared to be misconstrued by some of the players the chant was swiftly changed to '6-5 we're gonna win 6-5'. Just before the fifth goal Tam Pesir came unto the field and started to show the bit we'd been lacking for most of the game it was he who concluded the scoring more or less bang on the 90 minutes, sadly the ref didn't allow any additional time for us to attempt to get the three goal we still needed to draw level the spoilsport.

Final Score St. Johnstone 5 Livingston (St Johnstone: Jackson 22, 72, Craig 41, Quinn 56, MacDonald 78. Livingston: Colin McMenamin 14, Tomas Pesir 90)

Effect on the relative teams' positions. Morton didn't need asking two weeks in a row their draw at Firhill lifted them back above Livingston who dropped back to 6th and it could have been worse if Clyde's pitch hadn't been frozen causing an abandonment. St Johnstone on the other hand benefited from Morton's result leapfrogging Partick into 3rd spot. Winning their game in hand over the top two to bring them within 13 points.

Next time its the third of three consecutive road trips as we head South to Dumfries and Palmerston.

Previous Stadia Dens Park, East End Park, Broadwood

17 December 2007

Football Stadia Tour 4: Broadwood

We're in the depths of December but at this point of this seasons Odyssey of the Irn Bru Scottish Division 1 grounds we wind ourselves in one of the coldest most exposed locations imaginable; Broadwood home of Clyde.


Clyde currently play at Cumbernauld, although they were originally from Rutherglen. You can see the fast Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line from the stadium and Croy station is the nearest station, although getting from there to the stadium can be a chore. However, there is amble parking around hte stadium, although the signs for the away fans parking does disappear just at the crucial roundabout if heading south past hte stadium. Just remember once you pass the floodlights at the next roundabout turn right, you'll see the only sign on the exit and then mind the speed humps on the approach to the stadium.

The Ground

Has the air of being unfinished about it largely because there are currently three excellent stands and a big hole to the north with a corrugated iron wall behind that goal line, over which many a ball disappears into the marsh beyond. The Main Stand to the East of the pitch and the opposing West Stand were the first two to be completed at Clyde's third permanent home, after Barrowfield Park and Shawfield Stadium. And were first used in February 1994 after an almost 8 year wandering first to Firhill (Partick Thistle) and New Douglas Park (Hamilton Academical) who will feature later in this season's travels.

The three stand put down is often aimed at Clyde fans on message boards, that plus their current distance from the Clyde. But it is one of the many first division stadiums that meet the current seating requirements for the SPL, although they would have to install a good undersoil system if they ever were to find themselves in such a position. (Ironically the game the following week was called off to a frozen pitch)

The Atmosphere

Both sets of fans were housed in the Main Stand, which although it left vast areas of empty seats did concentrate the fans atmosphere to close quarters. Shouts and gestures were easily aimed at the rival support in this game where both teams held the upper hand at times.

The Programme

Cost £2.50. This is award winning stuff, and rightly so has been the Scottish Football programme of the years every season since the 1995-6 season. It is 76 pages from multiple contributors on a whole range of issues, history, form, stats etc. It also has 8 pages dedicated to the visitors which was thoroughly researched and up t date.

Pie and Bovril

Good steak pie served here and an excellent cup of bovril. I forgot to note the price so will have to check on the second visit later in the season.

Edited: Pie £1.70, Bovril £1.40.


Admission £15
Programme £2.50
(Bacon Butty) and Bovril £3.10
Total £20.60

League Table of Cost
Morton £17.90
Clyde £20.60
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60

Match Report

Having watched our Lions beat the league leaders the week before the away support was pumped up for more of the same. The proximity of Cumbernauld to Livingston making this virtually a Derby match also meant there were some unfamiliar faces in the travelling support.

And the Livi Lions carried off where they left off against Hamilton. Playing flowing football which was rewarding in the 8th minute by another Graham Dorran's goal, when he headed in a Robert Snodgrass cross. Somehow the stadium announcer and subsequently Clyde fans believed that Snoddy had scored as a result of his own cross. If he did I've never seen anyone move that fast. We may not have a 20 goal a season striker but Graham is almost on track to be a 20 goal this season midfielder. After the goal went in we continued to apply the pressure for maybe another 12 minutes but didn't find that elusive second goal. Then the home side started to wake up to the fact that their long ball and hope tactics weren't working and looked for more productive ways to get into the Livi half. Unfortunately our defenders and midfield started to give Clyde the room and time to refine these tactics more carefully.

Having not had that second goal our early joy turned to anxiety as we hoped that we might hold out under this sudden arrival of pressure until half time so that the manager Mark Proctor could pull the team together with some words at half time. Sadly Clydes Craig McKeown finally got what was a deserved equaliser in the 43rd minute and the Clyde support suddenly came back to life.

The second half it appeared that only one team had come out to play. Livingston didn't seem to be wanting to get back ahead. With 15 minutes to go with the Livi goal under increasing pressure the inevitable happened and Neil McGregor ran past our defence and slotted home what turned out to only be the winner. Colin Stewart managed to pull off three spectacular saves which prevented the scoreline being worse than it was. 2-1 in the end flattered Livi another case of Jekyll one week Mr Hyde the next.

Final Score Clyde 2 Livingston 1 (Morton: McKeown 43, McGregor 75. Livingston:
Graham Dorrans 8)

Effect on the relative teams' positions. Morton lost more heavily than Livi so our spot in third was actually strengthened from goals scored to goal difference. Clyde however, jumped over Queen of the South into 7th place.

Next time it's off to last season's happy hunting ground of McDairmid Park, Perth home of St. Johnstone.

Previous Stadia Dens Park, East End Park

10 December 2007

2-0 It's Just Like Watching Brazil

Hamilton, the league leaders, came a visiting at Almondvale on Saturday. Now they play in red and white hoops so I have no idea why they felt the need to change into their change strip, but change they did, and it looked somewhat familiar.

Their Nike shirt was yellow with green trims on the cuffs and collar, their shorts were a very familiar shade of blue and the socks white. My initial reaction as with those around me is isn’t it a bit precocious to dress like Brazil.

Well they may have worn the clothes but they weren’t Brazil. They didn’t even threaten the Livingston goal in the first half and all the action was heading towards Bryn Halliwell in the Accies goal. The only Livi player who didn’t look up to speed was Robert Snodgrass who had been out for the last two games. Heading towards half time Mark Proctor had signalled Keaghan Jacobs to get out there and warm up so it looked like even the manager was thinking of making a change at half time, something that Snoddy later confirmed was the intention.

That was until Snoddy unleashed almost on half time a magnificent cross into the box which was just an inch or so ahead of the incoming head of Colin McMenamin, who is still looking to get of the mark on his return on loan from Gretna. This was to be Colin’s best change of the afternoon.

The second half started and the Accies at least seemed to have turned up a little but Livi’s keeper Colin Stewart handled everything that was thrown at him. But a beautiful build up down the right flank by Graham Dorrans, Dave MacKay and Thomas Pesir was worthy of Brazil and the cross in fell for Snoddy for his first goal on 52 minutes. He added a second latter and had a couple of other decent attempts to get his hat-trick. When Mark Proctor finally made a substitution triple. Snoddy didn’t realise he was coming off, or maybe didn’t want to, looking for a change to earn his first senior hat-trick.

So seeing as Hamilton brought the who analogy up with their team colours and position on top of the league. We may have played like Brazil, but it was like beating Brazil.

7 December 2007

Football Stadia Tour 3: Cappielow

Sorry if I’m bit late in the week updating you on my footballing travels through the Irn Bru Division 1 grounds, but I’ve been a bit busy at work recently what with settling into my new position and everything. So here’s is my summery of my second trip of the season to the home of the Ton, Greenock Morton.


Cappielow is in Greenock along the road that runs along the south bank of the River Clyde. As a seasider by birth it is closest I get to having the smells of home whilst watching my football.

Like our trip to Dunfermline the expected delays beyond Harthill on the M8 failed to materialise so yet again all our coaches ended up at the ground a lot earlier than anticipated. But this most have been welcome news to the Chippie at the NE corner of the stadium who did a roaring trade in his fine chips at other things to the hungry masses of Livi supporters.

The Ground

The Livi fans were one again seated in the Main Stand at Cappielow, which is the southern side of the stadium. Although unlike our Challenge Cup visit earlier in the season we were allowed less seats based on where the lines of segregation tape where placed.

Cappielow is a real throw back stadium maintaining a lot of old features and attributes missing from modern all-seater venues. The two ends are open to the elements. The Western End is the Wee Dublin End, and has unbacked seating formed out of the former terracing. The Eastern end is the Sinclair Street end where ardent Morton fans stand on the exposed terracing however on Saturday this was largely empty.

Opposite the Main Stand is the Cowshed, which is largely terraced but has a small section of seating at the front on either side of the halfway lines.

However, the toilets the away fans have to use are situated down the back of the Wee Dublin end and the gents leave a lot to be desired and I’ve been in toilets blocks in the Soviet Union when it still existed that were luxuriant in comparison.

The Atmosphere

Sadly although Morton have a large support for this level their support were not very vocal when we visited on Saturday. Although this may have been down to the way their team performed especially in the latter part of the match.

The Programme

Cost £2.50. Is made by the same printers as Livi’s MDP. However, the visiting team details although slightly altered from our first visit had some factual inaccuracies due to not being thoroughly checked from the first time the pen pictures were used. Sadly as if to appease the Old Firm supporters in their midst both Celtic and Rangers achievements in Europe featured in the opening pages.

Pie and Bovril

Not a static servery but a mobile van is located in the corner between the Main and Wee Dublin stands. Very reasonably priced £1 for a Bovril and a variety of freshly grilled options available as you would expect from such a van.


Admission £13 (excellent and only £4 for juniors)
Programme £2.50
(Bacon Butty) and Bovril £2.40 (Excellent)
Total £17.90

League Table of Cost
Morton £17.90
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60

Match Report

I was confident going into this game on the sweep stake on the Coach over I had drawn the clubs two leading scorers Graham Dorrans and penalty taker Dave MacKay. So I was hoping for one of these two to clean up early so I could relax and enjoy the game. In the end Graham did score in the first ten minutes but only to equalise 3 minutes after Chris Miller got on the end of a ball send over from just in front of us from around the penalty spot. Dorrans a few minutes later made a run on the Morton goad and got a slight deflection to score from 20 yards.

For the first 20 minutes or so both teams were doing their best to take the lead. But with a lot of effort and little to so for it, but slowly Livi started a domination of the game that was only briefly broken when down Morton's left Ian Russell found space between youngster Keaghan Jacobs and Dave MacKay to allow he to swerve one in from all of 25 years that seemed to confuse Colin Stewart in goal by heading in at the last minute.

However, once again Livi weren't behind for long when Dave MacKay sent a cross into the box where Jason Kennedy made amends for being ruled offside the last time he netted here in August by equalising again.

The second half was all one way. Livi's Manager Mark Proctor if he'd brought the kitchen sink would have thrown it on as every else was being aimed at McGurn in the Morton goal.

On loan Colin McMenamin still looking for his first goal since his return to the Lions was clean through on a raking run, beat the keeper only to see his shot bounce off the outside of the post. Thomas 'Tam' Pesir scorched one in from all 20 yards which dipped enough to hit the topside of the crossbar only a moment later. One corner resulted in 4 or five stops from Morton keeper and defenders. A close range header from Dave Mackay and shots from Pesir and Dorrans were all somehow kept out by McGurn who surely should have been Morton's man of the match.

So we all came away from this trip sad not to have taken all three points. But if you'd asked us at the beginning we would have taken any result that earned us at least a point.

Final Score Morton 2 Livingston 2 (Morton: Millar 7, Russell 38. Livingston:
Graham Dorrans 10, Jason Kennedy 42 [ironic looking at today's other post])

Effect on the relative teams' positions. This week in Division one the top two teams beat the bottom two while the other six all managed to conjure up draws meaning the whole table stayed in exactly the same positions Morton 5th and Livi in 6th.

Next time it's off to Cumbernauld the latest home of Clyde.

Previous Stadia Dens Park, East End Park

4 November 2007

The Rose Go Marching On 2

Yesterday saw the second round of the OVD Scottish Junior Cup which saw mixed fortunes from the West Lothian sides. A couple of the matched did have some Lib Dem political significance to them.

In the Battle of the Lib Dem Blogs Linlithgow Rose, whose ground I have canvassed and delivered leaflet all around, carried on their defence of this trophy beating fellow Blogger Iain Dale's Irvine Meadows 4-2. I hope that if Iain got to the match at Prestonfield that he did actually enjoy it, even if the 6 goal-fest didn't go in his teams favour.

In the Linlithgow and Falkirk East vs Dunfermline and West Fife Parliamentary constituency match up, Whitburn Juniors whose ground is in the first ward I stood for beat Crossgates Primrose 3-0

Stoneyburn Juniors from where I first lived when I came to Scotland lost out 2-0 to Kelty Hearts from the home town of the Willie Rennie MP.

Other West Lothian wins were:

Bo'ness United 7 (seven) Dufftown 0
Troon 1 Bathgate Thistle 3
Harthill Royal 3 Longside 0

Before any pedants point out to me that Harthill is in Lanarkshire I'm claiming their locality as West Lothian because their Gibbshill Park is in Greenrigg and therefore just on the West Lothian side of that particular urban area.

However, for another year it is farewell to local sides Armadale Thistle, Broxburn Athletic, Livingston United and West Calder United who all lost out by a single goal.

Football Stadia Tour 2: East End Park

Carrying on my tour of the Irn Bru Scottish First Division Stadia this weekend I returned, for the first time in two seasons, to another familiar stomping ground East End Park in Dunfermline. Not only have I blogged about games attended and missed here before but I also saw the crowd from numerous angles and vantage points during the Dumfermline and East Fife by election.


East End Park in conveniently placed along the Halbeath Road to the east of the City, so cars and coaches are best coming off the M90 at junction 3 and coming straight into the city. It is only just outside the city centre and not too far a walk from the train station.

Unlike our trip across the Forth Bridge a fortnight ago yesterday there were delays in crossing as the road works have been completed. So masses of Livi fans who allowed time for the bridge again found themselves congregating out side the gates of the East Stand well before the gates opened at 2:15.

The Ground

Last time I visited EEP was in the SPL days and we were accommodated in one half of the North Stand. It was also the match that our club chairman Pearse Flynn still in a dispute with Dunfermline's Chairman John Yorkston was sat in the stands with the fans, in fact only about 2 rows behind me. However my mate who was sat beside me, missed the goal as he was sitting behind one of the posts holding up the commentary gantry. This time however all the Livi fans had uninterrupted views of the action from the East Stand.

Across from us was the Norrie McCarthie stand. To the right of this stand is the tunnel where the officials and players emerge like at Old Trafford from the corner of the pitch. The Main Stand to the south has the director's boxes enclosed just behind the dug outs.

Disabled facilities are good in the East stand there is a raised viewing platform but at turnstile level where 5 wheelchairs could have access. As each disabled ticket holders helper is given a hi-vis jacket on entering, even the visiting support.

The Atmosphere

Last time I was here for a match we were taking up half of the North stand and only divided by a barrier from some of the most vocal home support, real see into the whites of their eyes stuff. This time we were somewhat separated from any of the home support. The vocal mob from the North Stand did direct some chants in our direction. But even the fans in the main stand were quite far away and didn't make much noise for most of the match anyway.

That being said I was up near the back of the East Stand and the acoustics did seem to have an effect later on we did get both Mark Proctor and Curtis Fleming plus all the subbed players to respond directly to our chants. Having said that the atmosphere in the Livi end was buoyant for most of the game and all the later stages, whereas the most noise that the Pars fans created was at he end when they booed off Stephen Kenny and his players.

The Programme

Cost £2.50. One highlight for me was to see Willie Rennie's smiling face advertising his surgeries from the advertisement pages. It had two pages dedicated to the visitors and a random selection of players selected for profile, and surprisingly for a first visit of the season not more emphasis on some first team regulars. There was a two page interview with one of the home players, on this occasion local boy made good Steven Crawford. There was a section looking back at one of the Pars great games from the sixties. Also there was a section looking at programmes from the past which in a tribute to the visitors also mentioned the first programme between Meadowbank Thistle and Dunfermline on 25 September 1976 at Meadowbank.

Us away fans did play a quick game of Play Your Cards Right with the previous two games reports. For the record the winners went lower, higher. However, tow downsides the first page of the programme did call our manager Martin Proctor. Plus the Dunfermline players were listed by their UEFA cup squad numbers. Not only a fling back to the Pars SPL days and a slight slur on the rest of the clubs in the league, but also now never to be used again this season, except for identifying who the subs were replacing the team stats section.

Pie and Bovril

There is only a scotch pie not a steak pie at EEP, however, why quibble when almost every away fan looks forward to the steak Bridie which at £1.90 is gorgeous. Added to this the Bovril is only £1.10 and you are saving 60p on Dundee. For those not used to a bridie think a little like a beef stew stuffed into a Cornish Pastie pastry. The bridie on offer was exquisite the meat was lovely and tender, and just enough gravy to hold it all together. My bovril was lovely and warm especially as I didn't even start to drink it until 10 minutes after I bought it.


Admission £16
Programme £2.50
Pie (Bridie) and Bovril £3 (Excellent)
Total £21.50

League Table of Cost
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60

Match Report

The first half looking at the scoreline would have suggested a very even game. However, Super Mario in the Livi goal was hardly troubled and didn't have to make a save. With Dave MacKay back at right back he started running overlaps with Graham Dorrans and provide all sorts of option. Jason Kennedy surging forward from midfield and Lee Makel distributing from there were creating all sorts of havoc for the Pars defence. All that was lacking was a finish. However they kept hounding the Pars box. Steven Craig once getting to the goal line but without support for a lay back before being unceremoniously dumped off the ball for what could have been a penalty. Later on he again broke the offside trap (which was a tough act for him yesterday) and was through into the box when Bamba pushed him over the ball, but the ref failed to blow for an even clearer penalty. However, Craig finally got on the end of a Tomas Pesir cross to head home the first just before half time.

The second half couldn't have got off to a much worse start for Dunfermline when 4 minutes in when two Dunfermline defenders managed to collide in the centre of the park allowing the ball to trickle past them. Steven Craig needing no second thought pounced on it to punch away his second of the afternoon. This must have dumbstruck the official as for the next ten minutes they didn't flag him for offside, and when they did it was some time after Dunfermline had cleared a ball and it was being passed around on the half way line. Livi didn't sit back though and continued to make advances on the now largely static Pars midfield and defence. At one point managing not just a 1-2 but a 1-2-3-4-5 between two players who didn't even move. Mark Tinkler, who along with new signing Julius Raliukonis have made no error in central defence, finally put a seal on the game and possible the Dunfermline managers tenure with a great strike on 66 minutes, which would probably have not even been stoppable without the slight deflection it received. Finally on 90 minutes almost 3 months after he hit the back of the net only to have it ruled offside Jason Kennedy finally found his name on a Livi scoresheet.

Final Score Dunfermline 0 Livingston 4 (Steven Craig 44,49, Mark Tinkler 66, Jason Kennedy 90)

Effect on the relative teams' positions. Dunfermline drop from 6th to 8th one point above bottom spot . Livingston move out of the play-off 9th spot to replace Dunfermline in 6th.

Previous Stadia Dens Park

28 October 2007

The Rose Go Marching on

Well the Scottish Junior Cup holders are making the most of the new set up for the Scottish Cup.

Following up their 6-0 win down at Newton Stewart in the first round Linlithgow Rose took on East of Scotland League side Spartans. Spartans are no slouches in the Scottish Cup. In 2005-6 they beat league sides Berwick Rangers and Queen's Park (sadly not at Hampden) before holding St. Mirren (who went on to promotion to the SPL) to a goalless draw at home before losing at Love Street. And in 2003-4 they claimed the scalps of Alloa and Arbroath before losing out to returning former tenants of their City Park ground Livingston who were at that time in the SPL who were heading to the Semi-Finals and CIS Cup win that season.

But the Junior Cup holders didn't show any fear for one of the regular giant killers of recent years. Instead they carried out their own act of giant killing. For it was the home side that lifted the crowd at Prestonfield when Bradley scored in the 24th minute. A lead they maintained until the half time break, when the result earned almost as big a cheer as the Dunfermline losing scoreline announcement at fellow West Lothian side Livingston's ground.

In the second half Spartans did strike back on 54 minutes with a penalty strike by McLeod. But t he little teams lead was restored 4 minutes later when Donnolly scored their second. With just over 10 minutes to go Rose then killed the game off with two strikes in just over a minute from Tyrell and Hogg.

Linlithgow Rose make it into Saturday's draw when big local rivals Livingston of the Iron Bru Scottish Football League Division join many of the other SFL teams in the draw.

22 October 2007

After a weekend of sporting disaster

As a Scottish member of the BoSox nation, for those not au fait with Baseball that is what us fans of the Boston Red Sox are known as, I had a sleepless night last night.

Game 7 of the American League Championship Series fell on Five's normal Sunday scheduled basball night. So having recovered from 3-1 down during the week to take the series to the deciding game us UK fans were guaranteed at least one more look at the Green Monster, an iconic 37 foot high wall, at Boston's Fenway Park for this year. The Sox starting well getting the first hitter in each of the first 3 innings unto base and scoring a run as a result. However, two double plays (that is a hit that results in two men getting out) helped keep the Cleveland Indians in it as many runners were left on base. At the same time Boston's Japanese Starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka retired the entire Cleveland team in order for no hits.

The Middle three innings saw Cleveland fight back with two runs scoring. But there also controversy in the fifth when after collecting the ball off the Green Monster in his ungloved hand, fired it to second base, where the umpire ruled that Kenny Lofton had been tagged out by Dustin Pedroia. TV replays showed that the tag did not occur until after Lofton's left hand was securely on the bag.

However, after a solid defensive game and series by both teams the errors started to happen in the final third. An error by shortstop Julio Lugo allowed Kenny Lofton to finally make it to second base. From there he set off when Franklin Gutierrez hit a line drive down the third base line, but it ricocheted off the photo boxes and out into the outfield where Manny Ramirez was bearing down on the ball. Lofton was held up. But Japanese reliever Hideki Okajima got out of his own mess without allowing Cleveland to trouble to scoreboard operator.

The bottom half of the inning again saw Pedroia take centre stage. After Casey Blake possibly worried about Jacoby Ellsbury's pace allowed the rookie to ease to second base when he should have been held at first, up stepped Pedroia. Relief pitcher Rafael Betancourt, after giving up his first hit of the series to Ellsbury, then could only watch as Pedroia leaned back and let one rip up into the first row of the Monster seats, the smallest man in the game had come up with the biggest hit.

There was more to come in the bottom of the eighth when first Kevin Youkilis fired a homer which hit the Coke bottle part of an advertisement over the Green Monster for a home run double. Before Perroia followed up with the bases loaded to hit a drive through the centre to score three more. Making the final score 11-2, if the Red Sox repeat their World Series win of 2004, which wiped out the Curse of the Bambino, in the year that 4 time winning manager Joe Torres walks from fierce Divisional rivals the New York Yankees many hope it is the start of a transfer of power in the AL East, that might last as long as the curse.

21 October 2007

Football Stadia Tour 1: Dens Park

I've returned to my blogging just in time for the second quarter of the season in the Iron Bru Scottish Football League Division 1. So maybe this is an opportune time to start my personal take on the various venues that I come across on my travels. For the rest of this season there will be nowhere new to visit as the first quarter including the cup games has taken me to the strange fields once before.

Therefore this weeks venue was Dens Park home to Dundee.


As any football trivia buff will know Dundee's Dens Park is just along Tannadice street from Tannadice home of Dundee United. And therefore is one half to the trivia question which two league grounds are closest in the UK. In fact as away fans are located in the Bob Shankly stand, the end closest to Tannadice much supporters coaches catch sight of Dundee United's stadium first before they see Dens Park once they turn the corner into Tannadice street.

Getting to the ground cars and coaches are best to take the ring road and then come off down either Clepington Road or Strathmartine Road to get in towards the stadium. Unfortunately is two miles uphill from Dundee's railway station, so for a visiting fan who is looking after their carbon footprint the best option really is to grab a seat on one of your visiting clubs supporters coaches, as unless you can work out the bus timetables you'd be relying on getting a taxi up from the station.

Although with the ongoing work to the Forth Road Bridge, we spent 25 minutes on our coach staring toll booths before getting to them, 18 of which were on the roundabout on the approach from Kirkliston, so we turned up only 15 minutes before kick off.

The Ground

As already mentioned the away fans are housed in the Bob Shankly stand behind the eastern goal and is a single tier. There is dedicated wheelchair seating at entrance level with a companion seat beside the wheelchairs' slots. Which yesterday afternoon gave us a brilliant view of Dundee's spectacular first goal by Bob Davidson a screamer from 30 yards into the top right hand corner. The late evening sun at this time of year did start to get in our eyes towards the end of the match, so much so that I was considering urging Dundee Council to move one of the tower blocks, to the south of the stadium, slightly further east to act as a sunshade.

Opposite behind the other goal is the nearly identical twin to the Shankly Stand the Bobby Cox stand. To the right as away fans view the pitch is the Main (North) Stand, which is unusual in that it is the one section that remains of the old oval ground, meaning that those who sit on the halfway line are actually furthest away from the action on the park. It is two tiered however, there are very few seats in the lower tier, with the majority being in the upper tier.

That leaves the Southern Enclosure known locally as the Derry. Nobody has yet explained coherently to me exactly how this stand came to be known by the name of the city of my father, outwith the connection to a sectarian style chant that has had the words altered subtlety from the original Loyalist connotations. This though is where the most vocal Dundee supporters congregate in what was the last terrace; the Derry Boys and Dark Blue 62 Ultras.

The Atmosphere

Fortunately the design of the two goal end stands does add to the atmosphere as the ability to make a great deal of noise is greatly enhanced. As my previous visit was for the CIS Cup game that went to penalties this was definitely the case in a tense tight game. As with many grounds the vocal home support is close to the away support which adds to the atmosphere as the banter does flow between the two adjoining sections.

The Programme

Cost £2. Had four pages dedicated to the visitors profiles. As well as a four page interview with one of the home players. The centre was the season stats section. With a great deal more stats than some other clubs include. There is a collector's section which this week featured the 1947 Great Britain versus Europe programme from Hampden Park.

Pie and Bovril

There is a bridie or macaroni pie available. But I went for the steak and gravy pie to accompany my bovril, cost £2.10 + £1.50. The steak in the pie was gorgeously tender, the crust was cooked just right and wasn't too thick or burnt, and the gravy while hot wasn't scalding, excellent fayre. However, by Bovril wasn't warm enough so I'm quite glad it wasn't really the depths of winter when I rely on it as much to warm my hands as my insides.


Admission = £16
Programme = £2
Pie and Bovril = £3.60
Total = £21.60

Match Report

Livingston started strongest and could have been up even before Czech Thomas 'Tam' Pesir scored in the 14th minute but Kenny Sampson had pulled off a spectacular save. Livingston continued to dominate even though Bob Davidson released his spectacular equaliser 6 minutes later. However, a combination of poor finishing and more saves from Sampson, some of which a poacher might have leapt on as they bounced free from the keeper, kept the scores level at half time.

At the start of the second half Livingston continued to have the lions share of territory, possession and chances. But shots seemed to be nowhere on target. Then Jan Zemlik got on the end of a move started by Dixon who found McDonald in the box who laid it off for the second Czech to beat Mariusz 'Super Mario' Liberda in the Livi goal.

The third Dundee goal came seven minutes late in the 68th minute and was a second for Davidson, who made a run across the penalty box. It was clear from the away end that he pulled on Dermot 'Des' McCaffrey's shirt in order to get past him to get his shot in, but the goal was allowed to stand effectively killing of the game as a contest. Five minutes later it was as Derek Lyle on a a substitute for Zemlik made it 4 for the home team. Although there were calls for offside and protests after the goal from Livingston.

Final Score Dundee 4 (Davidson 20, 68, Zemlik 61, Lyle 73) Livingston 1 (Pesir 14)

Effect on the relative teams' positions. Dundee remain in 2nd Livingston remain 8th.