Friday, 29 April 2011

Dumbarton FC - Boghead Park

January 24th 1998

Dumbarton 1-1 Motherwell

The decision to make Boghead the second stop on the odyssey was, I seem to recall, very much a spur of the moment job.  By early 1998, I was still mopping up the remaining Ayrshire junior grounds on the Caledonia Dreaming trail, and I think I turned up at Saltcoats Vics’ ground to find the game postponed.  

So, following a quick scan of the Scottish FA Cup fixtures that afternoon, off to Dumbarton it was – one of the benefits of having the juniors kicking off early, is one still has time to get to a senior match in the event of a postponement.

Until its closure in November 2000 Boghead Park, first used in 1879, was one of the oldest sporting venues in the UK.  By the time of this match, the ground was in an advanced state of decay, with a good third of the terracing closed off to spectators.  The main stand, from a distance admittedly, looked reasonably trim.

The approach to Boghead Park from Miller Street in 1998.

The same view in 2017.
Houses now built on the Boghead site.  Sacrilege !

The Boghead Park stand from the rear......

........and from inside the ground.
 Entering the ground, the lad in from of me, upon receiving his souvenir programme uttered “You have got to be kidding”.  For this, arguably Dumbarton FC’s most prestigious match of the season, the club had produced a flimsy photocopied programme.  Even as I look at it now, it just about bears comparison with rushed jobs I was occasionally producing for Bathgate Thistle – frantically photocopying at work during the boss’ lunch hour.

I chose to stand behind one of the goals, under the ornate cover which once stood at Turnberry railway station.  There I was treated to a full 90 minute performance from the local motormouth.  Now, I am sure we have all come across these guys at grounds many a time – imbeciles who keep up a scattergun tirade of abuse and vitriol throughout the game.  But this guy was different – he knew his stuff.  

Each Motherwell player was treated to a comprehensive catalogue of his faults and flaws, both personal and professional.  I was particularly impressed with the way he dealt with the Motherwell subs as they limbered up behind the goal.  Each was presented with a personally designed dressing down, with the exception of veteran Dougie Arnott, whom our hero managed to insult and compliment at the same time – “You’re OK, Arnott.  At least you’ve been a player.  These clowns will never be one”.

In the game itself, Dumbarton generally coped well with the visitors’ much vaunted attack force of Owen Coyle and Tommy Coyne but, just after the break, let the nippy Shaun McSKIMMING in to open the score.  Motherwell should have killed off the tie, but Dumbarton somehow clung on, with Lee SHARP equalising 14 minutes from time converting a decidedly fluffy penalty award.  

The home lads should have gone ahead minutes later, when Paddy Flannery found himself clean through on ‘Well ‘keeper Stevie Woods, but fluffed his lines big-style.  Thus to a replay, which Motherwell won 1-0.  

Panorama of Boghead Park, Dumbarton.


  1. hey!
    i am a turkish football supporter. i wasl looking about boghead park and found your blog. good site. following you;)
    greetings from turkey!

  2. Welcome to the weird, wonderful and occasionally frightening world of Scottish Football.

  3. Always remember this day - 24th Jan 1998 - the day my father lost his battle with cancer. A lifelong Motherwell fan, and my hero. Hope you dont mind, but I've taken a screenshot as a momento. Slainje

  4. So much of my childhood spent at Boghead. I took a duvet once because I had a cold and hunkered in the back of the terrace!