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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.

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.”

Peterhead 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoor Stadium, 21/11/20.

Well. Normal service appears to have been resumed. A good start with a draw, two wins and three clean sheets has been overtaken by two defeats in a row. Mind you according to the club’s view of the game we again, as a fortnight ago, might have got something from the game.

We now have three very hard matches indeed in a row against Falkirk, Partick Thistle and Cove Rangers respectively, all of whom are above us in the table.

My spot in front of the computer is booked for the live stream on Tuesday night.

Pitmedden Garden

When I was up north for the Peterhead game in August last year we took the chance to visit Pitmedden Garden as it’s always been somewhere the good lady wanted to see.

In the formal garden there’s some odd topiary:-

Topiary, Pitmedden Formal Garden

A fountain:-

Fountain, Pitmedden Formal Garden

A pond:-

Formal Garden, Pitmedden

Some geometric planting:-

Pitmedden Garden, Ellon, Aberdeenshire

Pitmedden Garden, knot garden, Aberdeenshire

An upper terrace with a semi-circular sculpture at the far end:-

Terrace, Pitmedden

The terrace gives a good view of the formal garden:-

Pitmedden, Formal Garden from Terrace

Formal Garden from Terrace, Pitmedden

Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead

Balmoor Stadium is the home of Peterhead FC.

I visited it for the first time when Sons played up there in August last year.

From access road:-

Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead From Access Road

The photos below take you on a clockwise circuit of the interior.

East Stand from northwest:-

East Stand, Balmoor Stadium

Main Stand from north-ish:-

Main Stand, Balmoor Stadium

Main Stand from northeast:-

Main Stand, Balmoor Stadium

East Stand:-

East Stand, Balmoor Stadium

North end:-

North End, Balmoor Stadium

East Stand from north:-

East Stand Balmoor Stadium

East Stand from south:-

Balmoor Stadium, East Stand

Main Stand from southeast corner:-

Balmoor Stadium, Main Stand

South end and part of Main Stand:-

Balmoor Stadium, South End and Main Stand

Lifted Over the Turnstiles by Steve Finan

Scotland’s Football Grounds in the Black and White Era, D C Thomson Media, 2018, 257 p. With a foreword by Chick Young.

 Lifted Over the Turnstiles cover

Annfield, Bayview, Boghead, Brockville, Broomfield, Cathkin Park, Douglas Park, Firs Park, Love Street, Muirton, New Kilbowie, Shawfield, Telford Street, Kingsmills. Names to conjure with – and all gone to dust (or housing, or supermarkets.)

To Scottish football fans of a certain age (which I am) this book is a magnificent nostalgia fest. It features 41 of the historic grounds of the present day SPFL football clubs, plus two more, Shielfield (at time of publishing Berwick Rangers were still in the SPFL,) and Firs Park. The only ones missing are Peterhead’s former ground at Recreation Park and Annan Athletic’s Galabank. The criterion for inclusion in the book was that a photograph had not been widely published before or else illustrated some quirk of the ground concerned. (I was somewhat disappointed that only one photo of Boghead, former home of the mighty Sons of the Rock, appears; but I have my own memories to savour.) And of course for Inverness Caledonian Thistle you get two former grounds, Telford Street and Kingsmills. In the course of following the Sons I have visited most of the stadia here in their heydays, excepting only those belonging to the ex-Highland League clubs (though I have walked past Telford Street Park several times and even been to Clachnacuddin’s Grant Street Park in Inverness for a game – a pre-season friendly they played against East Fife; in 1976, while I was in the town.) I have frequented many over the years since.

The book is a delightful celebration of the history of the beautiful game in Scotland – and also a memorial to what has been lost. Cathkin apart, all of the grounds on the list above have been replaced by bright(ish) new(ish) stadia but most of those have yet to invoke the glories of these now mouldered (Cathkin again) or vanished (most of the rest) temples to Scotland’s abiding sporting obsession. With only one exception, Hampden, the book tends not to delve as far back as pre-World War 2, hence the absence of even longer gone grounds such as the Gymnasium, home to St Bernard’s FC, of which photographs would in any case be vanishingly scarce.

There is a 1930s, Art Decoish-looking, building in the pictures of Shawfield that I don’t remember from my only visit there and which I assume was demolished years ago. My favourite old ground, Firs Park, is shown in the days before that huge concrete wall was erected at one end to stop the ball going on to the access road to the retail park beside the ground; before, even, the office building that overlooked that end of the park in the 1970s. That other redolent relic, Cliftonhill, is shown lying in a natural bowl perfect for siting a football stadium.

The text is studded with various titbits of arcane information. Glasgow had at one time three of the biggest football grounds in the world in Hampden, Celtic Park and Ibrox. And there were plans to extend Shawfield’s capacity to add to that list of superstadia. The world’s first penalty kick was awarded against Airdrieonians (away at Royal Albert in a charity Cup match) and was scored by a James McLuggage. (Not from a penalty spot, that had yet to be invented; from any point along a line twelve yards from goal.) A WW2 pillbox was constructed at Borough Briggs with slit windows/gun ports all round (those sly Germans could after all have attacked from any direction) and remained in place till Elgin City joined the SFL in 2000. It was Ochilview which hosted the first ever floodlit match in Scotland. Falkirk once held the world record for the highest transfer fee and Brockville was the venue for the first televised floodlit game. Rugby Park used to be ‘mown’ by a resident sheep – three in total over the years. Hampden’s square goal posts now reside in St Etienne’s museum as they were held by that club to be responsible for their defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the European Cup Final of 1976 since two of their team’s efforts rebounded out from the goal frame instead of scraping over the line. Les poteaux carres is still used as a phrase for bad luck in the city.

Attending football matches is no longer as economical as it was back in the day. One photo shows a 20 p entrance fee at Firhill in 1970. After inflation that 20p would equate to £3 in 2018. Try getting into even a non-league ground for that now! Some things definitely were better in the good old days.

Pedant’s corner:- “the current club were established” (was established,) “the club were on the up” (the club was) sprung (sprang, x2.)

Peterhead 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoor, 25/1/20.

According to the BBC Sport website we had the better of the first half. Not so the second. It seems they were all over us.

And it could have been worse as they also managed to miss a penalty.

Even so we still had more shots on target than them.

We badly neeed a fit striker though.

Game Off

I was spared the torture of watching today’s game on Sportscene Results for two reasons.

One: Sportscene Results wasn’t on because the Scottish Premiership is having a midwinter break. (This is another example of BBC Scotland’s contempt for lower league football which they tend to ignore as much as possible. Having said that I do though have to commend them on the TV show A View From the Terrace which does give the smaller clubs and their players most of its attention.)

Two: The game was off due to a waterlogged pitch. Not surprising given the weather we’ve been having.

In one sense the postponement was welcome. We’re down below the bare bones in terms of player numbers and a week off yields more time to get injured players fit.

Whether it was a good thing depends on how the game goes on the rearranged date.

As it is, not too much damage was done in terms of the teams below us as Forfar drew and Peterhead lost.

It’s the Cup game against Aberdeen up next. A free hit – except if we get utterly gubbed.

Forfar Athletic 3-4 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Station Park, 14/12/19.

At least this shows we can score goals.

We certainly need to.

I said it was a mustn’t lose but losing this we were – three times.

I suppose their third, from a penalty, just before half-time, might have been a big downer but we’ve come back from a half-time deficit away already this season – most notably at Peterhead.

Credit to the lads, then, for coming out of it with the win.

Still sixth, but now with a nine point cushion to ninth.

And (amazingly) only four points shy off fourth place – and five away from third.

Will we burst the league leaders’ (somewhat underinflated I grant you) bubble next week?

Nah.

Clyde 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Broadwood Stadium, 30/11/19.

Hey-ho.

I didn’t quite expect this, what with them beating us by the same score at the Rock earlier in the season – but I’ll take it.

It’s especially pleasing as we came from behind to win. Was the last time we did that the game up at Peterhead?

Good to see Joe McKee on the scoresheet too, with his first for the club. And Isaac Layne with his second in two games.

Plus that’s us up to fifth again.

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