Saturday, 8 June 2013

Three Scottish Football Grounds: Cathkin Park, Third Lanark FC

The story of Third Lanark in the Scottish Football Museum.
Five weeks since my working week in the Glasgow area. My memory isn't great, but I do remember visiting Cathkin Park...

Views of Cathkin Park, number one.
I had a few hours to spare before my plane took off from Glasgow Airport on the Friday, so I decided to visit the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park (a bargain £10, which included a tour of the ground), and then try to view as many football grounds as I could before returning home. I had grand plans: I was going to see Cathkin Park, then Clyde's old ground at Shawfield, Celtic Park, Firhill Park (Partick Thistle), Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, St Mirren Park and Johnstone Burgh.

Number two.
It didn't work out like that. Firstly, the museum was far too interesting, so I ended up spending over two hours at Hampden. Secondly, I was hungry, so I went to the city centre, missing out Shawfield and Celtic. Thirdly, I couldn't resist visiting the Monorail record shop to see if Stephen Pastel was working there that day (he was). Fourthly, the traffic was at a standstill heading west, so it was goodbye to my Dumbarton/Vale of Leven plan. Fifthly, I couldn't find Johnstone Burgh's ground for ages, so by the time I did, it was too late to visit St Mirren (and when I did find Johnstone Burgh's ground, it was hammering down with rain, so I didn't even get out of the car - it looked great though!)

Number three.
The grounds I did see properly on my last day were Hampden, Firhill Park, and Cathkin Park. The latter was the home of Third Lanark FC, who folded in 1967, due to shenanigans by the owner. Incredibly, the ground is still there, ten minutes walk from Hampden Park, minus the big old stand on the north side, which was demolished in the 1970s.

And number four.
Cathkin Park is open to the public, so I just went in and walked around the bowl of terracing, accompanied only by two old men, out walking their dogs around the path at the top of the stadium. It was so quiet, despite being in a busy part of one of Britain's busiest cities. Ghostly. It wasn't hard to imagine the terraces packed with fans (Third Lanark were quite a big club in their day).

The crush barriers and the surrounding wall have had a lick of paint, but otherwise, the stadium has been left to crumble with dignity. It's a beautiful place to visit in the big old city. Peaceful, like an old cathedral. A football cathedral.

SPL shirts.
To finish off, here's a pair of little quizzes from the Hampden museum:

Above are the shirts of all the clubs in the Scottish Premier League 2012/13. Have a go at naming them all if you wish.

SFL shirts.
The shirts of the Scottish Football League clubs are in the display cabinet above. Again, name as many as you can (but don't expect definitive answers from me, as I haven't written them all down! The blue shirts are particularly difficult to distinguish from one another).