Thursday, 26 May 2011

Albion Rovers - Cliftonhill

26th September 1998

Albion Rovers 0-1 Cowdenbeath

Who are the worst team in Scottish League football?  I am sure some enterprising chap with slightly too much time on his hands has drawn up a league table of all Scottish League clubs comparing their respective records.  I would not bet my mortgage on it, but would hazard a guess that Albion Rovers could be found propping up the lot.  Although East Stirlingshire would run them close, I should imagine.

Formed in 1882, following a merger of two clubs: Coatbridge Albion and (obviously) Coatbridge Rovers, the club attained league status in 1903, taking up residence in Cliftonhill just after WWI.  Perhaps the club’s most impressive achievement, is the fact it is still in existence after almost 130 years of barely tangible success and minimal support.

Home attendances tend to rattle around the 300 mark, so the 403 who turned up to watch this match with Cowdenbeath would have tested the resources of the pie-hut more than somewhat.  These figures, by the way, do not include the “Over-the-Wall Gang”, a group of skinflints who would watch matches from a hill overlooking the ground.  The club erected large advertising hoardings in order to attempt to dissuade these individuals, but a few still persist.

A view of the stand from Over The Wall.

Same view in 2016

The rear of the stand at Cliftonhill.  I always feel there is
something vaguely Germanic about the way it has been painted.

Same view in 2016

Taking my seat in the stand, I immediately began to wonder if standing outside peering over the wall would not have been a more comfortable option.  Never have I encountered seats which such limited leg-room.  It was impossible to sit with your knees facing forwards.  They either had to be tucked in to one side, or splayed out in a most undignified manner.  I eventually struck upon the technique of placing my legs over the back of the next row, resting my feet on the seat in front.  Even this grew uncomfy after a while, and I finally plumped for the same option as most of the other folks in the ground and stood on the terracing.   

Possibly had the entertainment on the field of play been more diverting, I may not have noticed the lack of creature comforts.  But it was not.  It was dire.  The whole business could be summed up in One goal (Brian WELSH), Two orderings off (Rovers’ Robert Greenock and Cowden’s Stuart Robertson), Three points for the visitors and Ninety minutes of my life I would never get back.

Panorama of Albion Rovers' Cliftonhill, Coatbridge.

Same view (sort of) in 2016


Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton
16th July 2016

Paul Willis (who was never really given a decent opportunity at Dunfermline IMO)
looked the most accomplished player in yellow this afternoon.
Here he is making sure everything is in place before play commences.

Here Willis shugs off an opponent, whilst the well-nourished Jon Scullion looks on.

There was just a single lonely soul in the Over The Wall Gang this afternoon

Numbers on shorts should be obligatory.
I think this is Gary Oliver, but happy to be corrected.

More guesswork - Lewis Strapp?

And this pic has a Michael Doyle look to it.

Whilst here we have the aforementioned Mr. Doyle utilising a rather dubious
tactic to get the better of Albion's Scott McBride.

Cliftonville stand

Albion's number 9 Calum Ferguson puts out an arm hoping the referee might not notice.

Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton - July 2016

Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton - July 2016

Quite how home number 4 Gary Fisher managed to maintain this pose, I have no idea.

Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton - July 2016

Albion Rovers v Greenock Morton - July 2016

Ross Stewart - Albion Rovers

Andrew McNeil - Greenock Morton

Morton's Scott Tiffoney chooses to whack his attempt in the penalty shoot out straight down the middle.
Ross Stewart obligingly chooses to dive out of the way.

Albion chaps applaud teammate Scott McBride's successful spot-kick.
It was Morton, however, who ultimately won the shoot-out 4-3.

Cliftonville is presently being marketed (if that is the correct term) as the Exsel Group Stadium,
although there was precious little evidence of any rebranding.

Unused covered terracing at Cliftonville - July 2016


  1. Hi Ian, by coincidence I also attended this match as a neutral. If you remember, admission was reduced to £5. Gerry McNee had said on TV on Friday night that he wouldn't go if you PAID HIM the £5! I had just passed my driving test so, full of enthusiasm, went along with two colleagues after work on Saturday morning. The game was poor as you describe it although I quite enjoyed the day out and my colleague won top prize in the club draw! The pub beneath the main stand was open at the time and after the game, Cowden boss Craig Levein (who??), came in with his players for a drink.
    As an aside, do you have the teams that day? Willie Limond the boxer was in Rovers squad at the time though I can't remember if he played or not. Current Pollok heartthrob Ian Diack was starting out with Rovers at the time as well.

    Can I finish by saying a big thankyou for your work in collecting such a fantastic archive of footage from around Scotlands grounds. As a Junior fan myself, it's a phenomenal record which may sadly only be fully appreciated in time.

    Best wishes, John D

  2. John

    Thank you for your kind words.

    I have the programme from the match and Limond and Diack were indeed both in the Rovers squad, but have no note of actual teams I am afraid.

    The Juniors vids were fun to make - my one regret being I did it all in the days of anologue - the quality not a patch on the stuff the Young Pups out there are posting nowadays.

    Maybe its time to do it all again..............?

  3. Hi Ian,

    Many thanks for your comments on my blog! Had a look through some brilliant posts here and some excellent pictures! Cliftonhill is a ground I really want to do before Albion Rovers move so these pics have wet the appetite even more!