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Columb McKinley

I’ve only just found out that former Sons player Columb McKinley died last month.

A local lad as I recall, Columb first played senior football with Airdrie before moving to the Sons in 1975. He was centre half in the Sons side that made it to the Scottish Cup semi-fimal in 1976. I doubt a Sons team will ever achieve such a thing again. Had we won that semi-final we would have qualified for the European Cup Winners’ Cup, as the other finalists, Rangers, won the league. Sadly, despite playing well in the first game, we could only draw it 0-0. Hearts won the replay 3-0.

Columb McKinley: 24/8/1950 – 6/2/2021. So it goes.

Completing the Season

The amended fixtures that will suposedly allow Tier 3 SPFL clubs to complete 18 games for this season have been published.

(After a top five/bottom five split a further four fixtures are proposed to make up a 22 game season – but only if every side has managed to fit the 18 game total in.)

Sons’ games are scheduled as follows:-

Saturday, March 20 – Forfar Athletic (H, 3pm)
Saturday, March 27 – Peterhead (H, 3pm)
Tuesday, March 30 – Falkirk (A, 7.45pm)
Thursday, April 1 – Airdrieonians (H, 7.45pm)
Tuesday, April 6 – Montrose (H, 7pm)
Thursday, April 8 – East Fife (H, 7pm)
Saturday, April 10 – Cove Rangers (A, 3pm)
Saturday, April 17 – Clyde (A, 3pm)
Tuesday, April 20 – Partick Thistle (H, 7.45pm)

To those has to be added the game against Huntly in the Scottish Cup on March 23 (ko 7.45 pm) and a possible tie beyond that if we win.

It’s some schedule, In fact it’s an insane schedule given that we have a less than threadbare squad and no hint of imminent signings.

The players will be dead on their feet by Apr 1 (5 games in 12 days.) There’s also 4 in the seven days Apr 3-10 if we’re in the next round of the Cup. That’s due on Sat Apr 3.

Sons’ Achievement Equalled

I see that Celtic’s failure to win today means that Rangers are now Scottish Football Champions.

So Dumbarton’s achievement of winning champioships at the top four levels of Scottish football (the last being in 2009 when we won the then Third Division of the SFL) has been matched.

Rangers fans will no doubt say they did this in 2016 when they won the second tier for the first time having previously won tiers 3 and 4 in 2014 and 2013 respectively.

However those three lower league wins all came subsequent to their administration and reformation as a new club and some would consider they do not add to the 54 championships Rangers FC won prior to their financial melt-down but that this is in fact their first as overall champions of Scotland.

There is no doubt now, though, that they have equalled Dumbarton’s record.

Congratulations to them.

Willie Whigham

I see from the club’s website that Willie Whigham, who played in goal for Sons for some of that post-promotion 1972-3 season has died.

While never managing to replace previous season’s goalie Lawrie Williams in that generation of Sons’ fans affections he is nevertheless a well-remembered name for those who witnessed those great days for the club.

William Murdoch Morrison “Willie” Whigham: 9/10/1939 – 4/3/2021. So it goes.

Sons to Return

It seems Sons will be back in action soon as the Scottish Government has agreed to tiers 3 and 4 of the SPFL (and also the Scottish Cup) resuming.

Our Cup game against Huntly has already been scheduled for Mar 23. That only leaves twenty days to get back to training and up to speed for a full ninety (or heaven forbid, 120) minutes.

How the rest of the league season will be finished is anyone’s guess. There’s not enough time I would have thought for the full 27 games agreed before the season’s start to be played now. Sons completed nine before the shutdown so that would be 18 to be fitted in by May. Maybe the clubs will agree to reduce the total to 18 games which would certainly be manageable.

Fans won’t be back anytime soon though.

Dumbarton Rock and The Rock

On our visit to the town last March we also had a look in Dumbarton town centre. The Artizan Shopping Centre has seen better days. That day many of its premises did not have tenants. Covid can only have made that worse.

Some of the empty units had been brightened up though by having huge photographs of Dumbarton Rock pasted onto their frontages. These are crops of the photos I took of those huge photos.

Dumbarton  Rock, west Dunbartonshire, Scotland

Dumbarton  Rock, west Dunbartonshire, Scotland

The Rock is a beautiful sight, isn’t it?. And that’s a lovely sky.

This cracking shot of Dumbarton Rock and Dumbarton Football Stadium (aka The Rock) was posted in 2020 in a blog I follow:-

Dumbarton Rock and The Rock

And this view was in a newsletter from Dumbarton FC:-

The Rock and the Rock

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.

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