Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Stenhousemuir FC - Ochilview

28th March 1998

Stenhousemuir 0-1 Stranraer

I was going to say this match was Son’s first, but that is not strictly true as he had already been wheeled along to a number of Bathgate Thistle matches – his first at the age of 5 months.  This trip to Ochilview was, however, his first to a senior ground, a fact which seemed to inordinately annoy the guy in the refreshment hut.  

“How is he gonna ken which team tae support, if you keep taking him to different grounds?  You’ll just confuse the laddie” ran his objections; plainly viewing dragging a child ground-hopping just one step above sending him up a chimney.    

It was not my first visit to Ochilview.  That had been way back in the spring of 1986 to watch Bathgate play a midweek friendly.  My over-riding memory of that particular evening is one of basking in the wonderfully sweet aroma wafting from the McGowans Toffee factory next door.  The factory is still there, but they plainly do not make toffee on Saturday afternoons.

Both on that visit and this, I took the opportunity of sitting in the old wooden stand (nicknamed The Dolls’ House”) for a spell.  I enjoyed a connection with this stand, as it had originally stood at the ground of Bathgate FC’s Mill Park during the club’s spell in the Scottish League.  It was moved to Ochilview around 1930, and this relic from a bygone age was demolished in April 1999. 

 I had seen Stenhousemuir play a few weeks before and had not been particularly impressed but, despite being on the wrong end of the scoreline this afternoon, this had been a much improved display.  Indeed, I felt Stranraer had been mightily fortunate to sneak away with both points.  The only goal of the game came after 20 minutes when the visitors’ Dougie JOHNSTONE popped in a rebound after Warriors’ ‘keeper Neil Alexander had spilled a shot.

Son, making his contribution to the standing or sitting at football grounds debate.

Son, not remotely impressed, tries to show the Stenhousemuir
players how it should be done.

The old "Doll's House" stand, demolished 1999.

The "new" main stand, erected in 1996.

The main entrance to Ochilview, Stenhousemuir.

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