Sunday 13 October 2013

Raith Rovers - past times

Just as with popular music and hair styles, one's taste in football strips doesn't appear to move on  much after the mid twenties arrive. For example,  Dunfermline will be forever associated by me with the black pinstripe design on a white background which they wore when they won the Scottish Cup in 1968, and when they dumped Everton and West Brom out of the Cup Winners Cup.

And if I want a laugh, I merely have to picture the Ajax strip ( yes Ajax ! ) Hearts deported when they lost 7-0 at home to Hibs. However such nostalgic hankering most emphatically does not apply to the strip worn by this week's opponents Raith Rovers in the late 1960s. which  was a white top with two horizontal hoops, the dignity and gravitas of which has been captured perfectly by the David Bedford lookalikes in the recent 118 adverts. Quite deservedly they shipped ten goals at Ibrox in that strip although, unlike when we lost 10-0 at Parkhead, they did at least manage to score a couple themselves. (incidentally our Billy Lamont's place as top rated footballer in the Daily Express was unaffected by this setback !)

I also suffered my own personal setback at a Rovers game. Readers might not know this, but  before it was flattened in 1978,  the the terracing at the Clydesdale Street end rose to a fairly substantial height near the main ( and only) stand. This explains why so many were able to cram in - officially and unofficially, at the Montrose cup tie. When I say terracing, a more accurate description would be grass, foliage,  and wilderness - all patrolled by legendary Accies steward, big Jim Burke

But it was a fantastic place as a youngster to mess around and play during  frequent boring interludes on the pitch. Anyway on this occasion I decided to commemorate a 3-1 defat by Rovers ( such defeats were routine in those days) by swinging on a broken crush barrier, falling over, crashing against it and almost breaking my nose. No-one found it in the least offputting that the barrier had been broken for, well, years without attracting any interest whatsoever, health and safety regimes lay many years ahead, and the general consensus was  that I had got (firstly) exactly what I deserved, and (secondly) a very useful lesson for the future about self preservation.

A more favourable recollection was my introduction to national media, which occurred when I was pictured on the front cover of The Accies Matchday Magazine, celebrating Big Neilly's goal in the 3-3 draw with Rovers in November 1972. Such an accolade was not to be sniffed at as Tom Marchbank and Alan Dick had revolutionised the Accies programme, which now not only had photos ,but a different one on each cover - just like the papers !

Incidentally, up until then the Accies programme had enjoyed a variety of contributors, each with their own individual style - biblical, in the case of Charlie Bent who reported that after Tommy Cogill's  goal at Clydebank, "the fans rejoiced and sang his praises "!

The return game in March 1973 was a less happy occasion, as our long unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-0 reverse.  Alan D, being even then  a guardian of sporting fair play ,was less than happy with the circumstances of our defeat and the "simulation" of the Raith, and future Hearts winger, Malcolm Robertson. Alan duly referred to Malcolm's "Oscar winning performance " in the next edition of the Accies MDM, and you all know what happened  next......... albeit on this occasion only a censure by the big wigs at the SFA.

There's plenty more to follow as we're not yet into the last 30 years, but that'll do for just now !

1 comment:

  1. I see their manager Grant Murray is SPFL Championship manger for September so i am expecting a tough game tomorrow but one if we are realistic title challengers we must win.