Monday, 2 May 2011

Ross County - Victoria Park

5th February 2000

Ross County 2-0 Queen of the South

As if driving from Fife to Dingwall was not far enough, I chose to extend this particular day out by taking a detour via Fort William, adding a mere 79 miles to the trip.  The reason being to allow me to drop into Fort William FC’s Claggan Park and capture a few minutes of camcorder footage (Yes, I know, I know).  

The link below should take you there, should it be of interest.

The rain drizzled on and off all the way up to Dingwall and, coming as it did following a few days of significant precipitation, I did have fears that this may prove to be the wildest of Wild Goose Chases.  The reassuring noises coming from Radio Scotland that the match was still on reassured me not a jot.  In the event, however, the day brightened as I drove north along Loch Ness, and I ended up able to spend a few hours poking around Dingwall in the watery sunshine, although I did notice some of the fields around Victoria Park were alarmingly waterlogged.

In Boots the Chemist prior to the match buying I cannot remember what (nothing salacious), after handing over a tenner I was given change for a twenty.  For an attosecond I considered pocketing the windfall, but then thought about the wee lassie behind the counter being asked to explain the shortfall in her till at the end of the day.  So I owned up and received a beatific smile from an old biddy in the queue behind me.  Which made me feel quite good, I have to say.  

Taking this incident, and my honesty, as an omen the Gods may smile on me today, I made a rare incursion into a local bookies to place a tenner (the profit I could have made immorally) on Ross County to win 3-0.  Not so inconceivable really given the afternoon’s visitors Queen of the South were having a wretched season.

To be found at the head of the beautiful Cromarty Firth, Victoria Park is one of Scotland’s most picturesquely sited football grounds – although actually, when I think about it, this is not a competition with many serious contenders.  Even with the overcast skies and substantial breeze, it was a pleasant place to waste an hour and a half of my life.  

The approach to Victoria Park along Ferry Road.

The Main Entrance to Victoria Park.

The Main Stand.

The East Stand.

After 45 minutes, however, the prospect of any return on my tenner looked negligible after a half in which neither side looked equipped to deal with the windy conditions, although County’s Dave Ross had managed to strike a post.  

But with the wind at their backs in the second-half, County were a different proposition and took the lead on the hour when Paul KINNAIRD (with a fortuitous assist from the elements), scored direct from a corner-kick.  A short six minutes later it was 2-0, the same player sending over a cross which again deceived visiting ‘keeper Chris Hillcoat, before reaching County defender Brian IRVINE who headed in. 

Suddenly my bet looked on, and each time Ross County approached the visitors’ penalty area my wee heart was going pitter-patter.  But as time wound on, and chances came and went, it began to look more and more as if the home lads were happy to settle for their two goal victory.  Then in injury time……….the ball falls to Derek Holmes….......about eight metres out……….with just Hillcoat to beat……………and the Big Haddie whacks it wide.  

I was going to send him the betting slip informing him he owed me £100, but decided to be philosophical about the whole thing and remind myself that betting truly is a Mug’s Game.

Panorama of Ross County's Victoria Park, Dingwall.

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