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Jackie Bolton

I see from the club’s website that Sons’ centre half from that otherwise immortal team of the 1972 promotion, Jack Bolton, has died.

The line-up for most of that – and the preceding – season is imprinted on my memory as I heard it annnounced so many times over the Boghead tannoy:-

Williams, Jenkins and Muir;
Ferguson, Bolton and Graham;
Coleman, C Gallacher, McCormack, Wilson and B Gallagher.
Substitute, Donnelly.

Jackie, as we fans knew him, played 111 times for the club overall but unlike many of his centre half successors I can’t remember him ever scoring for us. (In those days centre halves moving upfield was still pretty much a novelty.)

As I recall he was about the last piece of the team-builidng jigsaw that manager Jackie Stewart put in place. Certainly without his influence in defence I doubt promotion would have been achieved that season, notwithstanding that side’s formidable attacking prowess.

John McCaig Bolton: 26/10/1941 – 22/2/2021. So it goes.

An Away Trip

I remember football.

(Just.)

I remember away games.

(Dimly.)

The reason for our visit up north via Dunnottar Castle, Stonehaven and finally Aberdeen last January was for one such away game; Sons’ 4th Round Scottish Cup tie at Pittodrie on 18/1/20.

Ticket to Aberdeen - Dumbarton Scottish Cup Tie, January 2020

Before the game we met up with my younger son and his wife, who were making a day of it, in a pub in Aberdeen city centre for some lunch. The pub had also attracted other Sons fans:-

Dumbarton F C Fans in Aberdeen Pub

They don’t half make a fuss before a game at Pittodrie.

Razzmattazz prior to Scottish Cup tie, Aberdeen v Dumbarton, 18/1/20:-

Razzmattazz at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

More Razzmattazz, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Teams coming out:-

Dumbarton F C at Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Sons players:-

Pittodrie, 18/1/20, Dumbarton F C Before Game

Teams line up, Pittodrie, 18/1/20

Apart from the result it was a good day out.

I wonder when I’ll be able to have another away day.

Suspended

I was looking forward to actually seeing a Sons game again tomorrow.

However today’s suspension of Scottish football below its top two tiers means that it will now not be until February 13th when the home game against Montrose is due – or just possibly the 9th if the Cup game against Huntly is scheduled for then – that I will have that pleasure.

With the coronavirus now spreading at a higher rate than ever I suppose this was an inevitable decision. People’s safety must be the main priority.

It’s still a blow to morale, though.

Third Round Draw

I do hope this post is not too previous.

Should Sons beat Huntly in our Second Round Cup Tie (currently due on Tuesday evening at 7.45) our next opponent will be Aberdeen at home.

We’ve made a habit of drawing Aberdeen recently, in the Quarter-Final in 2014 and in last year’s Third Round, both times up at their place, both 1-0 defeats.

This outcome is of course not guaranteed as the last time we played Huntly at home in the Cup (1992) they beat us 2-0.

Dumbarton Football Stadium

I’ve posted Footy Adventures’s video of Dumbarton Football Stadium from Dumbarton Rock elsewhere.

Now, in another video (posted on 7/1/21) he took advantage of the club granting him access to the ground (well there was no-one else around) and he’s very enthusiastic about the place.

He waxes lyrical about the surroundings but bemoans the fact the fans can’t see the Rock when they’re seated in the stand.

However from the stand there is a very good view of the range of hills known locally as the Long Crags but whose formal name is I think the Kilpatrick Hills, which also overlook the town and are scenic in themselves.

Posting this means I probably don’t need to inflict my own photos of the Rock on you all.

The First Kings of Scotland:

The Doc

So 2020 continued to be a miserable sod right till the end, when it took Tommy Docherty away from us.

The Doc was probably most famous for being manager of Manchester Uinted though he had previous spells at Chelsea and other clubs, plus as Scotland manager. After Man U he managed seven more clubs.

His senior playing career began at Celtic but he could not displace Parkhead legend Bobby Evans from the team and moved south to Preston North End and later Chelsea.

He played for Scotland 25 times including in the 1954 World Cup (but we’ll swiftly draw a veil over the 7-0 defeat to Uruguay – I read once of a player’s recollection that the Scotland team were in heavy woollen jerseys as if playing in winter rather than the heat of a Swiss summer and were shod in big old-fashioned boots – with the Uruguayans in more modern footwear he described as like slippers in comparison. We were lucky it was only seven was the verdict.)

It was as a manager that The Doc made the most impact, taking over a very declined Man United and not able to turn the club’s fortunes round till after a relegation but leading them to a swift – one season – return to the top flight and then to an FA Cup win against Liverpool (denying that club what would have been a first ever treble by any English side.) Who knows what might have transpired if The Doc had not had an affair with the wife of the club’s physio Laurie Brown and as a consequence got the sack? (I note from the obituaries that Docherty was still married to Mary Brown when he died.)

Despite plying his trade mostly in England Docherty, like most of his ilk, remained a proud Scot.

There was a tale told – I think it was of Joe Donnelly, Dumbarton’s perennial substitute in the 1971-1972 season (only one sub allowed in those days and that for injury) that the player had once been involved in an altercation with an English team mate who had called him a “Scottish b*****d.” Docherty, as their manager, took them into his office, got them to settle the matter reasonably amicably then let the Englishman leave the room. Whereon he immediately turned to Donnelly and said, “You didn’t hit him hard enough.”

A character, then.

Thomas Henderson (Tommy) Docherty (The Doc): 24/4/1928 – 31/12/2020. So it goes.

Dumbarton P-P Airdrieonians

So another postponed game, the third this season and the second in a row – with the possibility of a fourth next Saturday if Huntly cannot get their 1st round Cup tie against Cumbernauld Colts on before then.

Mind you, when I saw the weather forecast for Dumbarton for the week just gone and that the temperature would not rise above 0oC until about 3 pm today I knew this would be off.

So we are now in eighth place, just one above the relegation play-off spot and with Clyde in ninth having a game in hand (they have had even less luck with getting games played than we have.) Admittedly, Peterhead are only two points above us and we have two games in hand over them.

I’d still prefer to have more points on the board, though.

Scottish Cup Time Again

The draw for the Second Round of this season’s Scottish Cup has paired the Sons with the winners of the Huntly vs Cumbernauld Colts First Round tie, postponed on Saturday.

I don’t think we’ve ever played Cumbernauld Colts but I well remember a home game against Huntly in a season when we won promotion from the old third tier (in the days when there were only three.) Unfortunately that success was not replicated in the Cup. In another home tie for us Huntly beat us 2-0. We were obviously concentrating on the league.

This season’s game is due to be played on Sat 9th Jan. That’ll be in the middle of a run of what are now five games at home in a row (provided the East Fife game – also postponed on Saturday – gets rescheduled during the period.

Montrose 4-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Links Park, 19/12/20.

Ouch!

This is a riddy* in anyone’s language. A comprehensive doing.

My son watched it on Montrose’s live streaming and told me afterwards we weren’t ever at the races.

And Peterhead’s win at Firhill today makes our point there a fortnight ago look much less of an achievement. Plus two other teams below us won.

So we’re down to sixth and only two points above ninth – with everybody below us having a game in hand. (Those might be against each other, though.)

The four games at home in a row we now have (barring an away Cup draw) really need to count.

*West of Scotland abbreviation for “red face.”

Dumbarton 1-0 Cove Rangers

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 12/12/20.

Our first ever game against the visitors – and we got a welcome win.

It probably wasn’t that long ago but I can’t remember the last time we beat a team above us in the league.

Watching on the live stream is a peculiar experience. It seemed even more nerve-racking than actually being at a game. It didn’t help that, once again, as against Clyde, we were holding out for a win – this time only for 40 mins rather than the majority of the game.

It was fairly even in the first half but I felt Cove always looked more comfortable on the ball than us. We had the first effort on target though, a fairly centrally aimed Ross Forbes free-kick. Our failure to score despite some pressure (and no truly clear-cut chances) is the sort of thing that can come back to bite you. And it almost did as Cove forced Kevin Dabrowski in goal into two very good saves indeed and a further block outside his near post. Then Rico Quitongo danced round the defender on the bye-line and cut it back to Jaime Wilson who hit it fiercely but nearly straight at their keeper. Half-time 0-0.

Not long after, we were ahead – from an unlikely source. Nat Wedderburn – a strong presence in midfield throughout – bulleted a Ross Forbes corner into the net on 50 minutes, his first goal for the club.

From then on Cove pushed forward and we did not seem to be able to find an out ball. Hence the racked nerves. They did hit the post late on and it seemed the ball must go in but it trundled along the goal line for what seemed like ages before Stuart Carswell cleared it sideways – Kevin Dabrowski having to dive over his clearance.

We did manage to venture forward in the last few minutes but the final whistle still came as a relief.

So we’re now two points off third place and five clear of ninth.

It’s a tricky visit to Montrose (in fourth) next week though.

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