Welcome to Issue 27
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Dutch delights
By Daniel Gray

Let’s turn dreams into reality
After a spell of great progress, the national team has been rocked by results and players’ disaffection with the SFA. Euro 2025 qualifiers are the perfect time to put that right.
By Chris Marshall

Scotland women keen to kick on again
The national team took giant strides in qualifying for Euro 2017 then the World Cup but progress has stalled. Player development and more resources will be key.
By Andy Ross

Leading the way for the elite women’s game
As the inaugural chair of the Scottish Women’s Premier League, Mary Galbraith has big ambitions for the development of women’s football. With a successful background in change management and a long-standing passion for the sport, she is now helping to establish Scotland at the vanguard of a footballing revolution.
By Heather McKinlay

One long school trip
In the first of a new quarterly photo essay series, minnow scholars take on the Terrors of Tannadice in a Scottish Cup fourth round tie.
Words by Daniel Gray. Photographs by Alan McCredie.

Cappielow self-esteem
Fifty-to-one title outsiders in the summer, community-owned Greenock Morton’s unbeaten run from October to January proved they were no longer the laughing stock of the league, and that just about anything is possible in this season’s Championship.
By Scott Fleming

When Nazi Germany came to Glasgow
Almost four years after Hitler came to power, Ibrox hosted a friendly between the two nations. Meanwhile, my grandfather was observing the regime from Berlin.
By Sam Phipps

Joys and endless journeys of a football parent
My son spent 48 hours on a Coerver Scotland trip to Sweden, facing the best of young Scandinavian players. Joining him was a privilege and an eye-opener.
By James Morgan

Crossing the streams
During the Covid-era, online video services made it easier for fans to follow their teams from the comfort of their own sofas. Restrictions have now been lifted, but does it make sense to scrap the streams completely?
By Giancarlo Rinaldi

Cormack knows passion and cash no panacea for his disgraced
Dons Aberdeen’s chairman has been a fan for more than 60 years. His sacking of a third manager, Jim Goodwin, was painful for both men but he is planning for the long term.
By Maurice Smith

Thistle factions make heavy weather of fan power
Jags supporters have found harmony elusive when it comes to building on the legacy of Colin Weir.
By Maurice Smith

A goalkeeper’s cure for self-doubt
Standing between the posts comes with a unique sense of pressure, requiring experience, strength of character and extreme levels of focus. So how do our keepers cope in a role that can often feel like ten against one?
By Paul Grech

The line of duty
Referees are so often the target of fan-led criticism and animosity. But what’s it like to be on the receiving end of such abuse? And how do officials cope when they know themselves that they’ve got a decision wrong?
By Mark Gordon

Scottish football tackles period poverty
The ‘On the Baw’ campaign has successfully lobbied for free sanitary products to be made available in Scottish football grounds. This marks an important step towards period dignity in football, but there is still lots more to be done.
By Chloe MacLean and Louise Malcolm

By the grace of Gauld
Ten years ago, a diminutive Aberdonian teenager, dubbed the ‘mini-Messi’, captured the imaginations of Dundee United’s fans and players alike. His time with the club was short, but his intrepid, creative play and strong work ethic lives long in the memory.
By Sean Cole

Forest’s fabulous Scots thicket
Clough’s remarkable team of trophy winners owed its sparkle and spine to the likes of Gemmill, McGovern, Burns, O’Hare and, towering above them all, Robertson.
By Rob Haywood

World Cup dream fuels Staggies brothers
William Akio and Victor Loturi came to Ross County via the fledgling Canadian Premier League. With their home nation approaching a key footballing milestone, extra motivation is not hard to find.
By Danny Lewis

Stanton’s swan song
In 1976, ‘Mr Hibs’ fled his boyhood club in a cloud of acrimony to play under his old manager, Jock Stein. His single season for the Hoops turned out to be his last as a player, but it was also one of his, and Celtic’s, best.
By Andy Bollen

Touch of quality from Stennie’s Spanish guest
A chance meeting with my Glasgow neighbours started a friendship with former Osasuna player Carlos Mazana-Martínez. Soon he joined me at Westerlands AFC, then he turned out for Stenhousemuir.
By Andy Bargh

The best at thieving and football
Between the 13th and the 17th Centuries, a group known as ‘the reivers’ murdered and pillaged across both sides of the war-torn Anglo-Scottish border. There took place some of the fiercest football in history.
By Harry Pearson

The grassroots of regret
Playing was once the greatest joy of my life, so why did I let my love for it fade away?
By Graeme Giles

Dugs and derbies won’t be erased with Shawfield
The lingering death of Clyde’s old home evokes memories of Hood, Haddock and hounds, as this second paean to the place – following Ginny Clark’s in the last issue – shows. Words by Hugh MacDonald. Photographs by Campbell Ramage.

How do you solve a problem like football?
Coverage of the game is becoming increasingly reliant on charts, graphs, statistics and analytics. But is it missing the point and sucking the joy out of football?
By Michael Gallagher

Let’s blow the whistle on VAR’s ref drain
It’s unfair that Premiership demand for matchday officials since the advent of the technology has limited the pool available for Championship games.
By John Penman

The glories of defeat
Inspired by my beloved St Johnstone’s 1971 European Cup loss to FK Zeljeznicar, I travelled on a charity mission to Sarajevo in 2018. The trip came as a powerful reminder that defeat can often be as meaningful as any victory.
By Stuart Cosgrove

Treasons of the Heart
In his most recent spell as manager of the Jambos, Robbie Neilson has been nothing but a success. So why is he so unpopular with some fans?
By Martin Geissler

Forgotten Ormond made a name for himself Down Under
In Scotland, Bert lived in the shadows of his brother Willie. But in New Zealand, he became a national treasure and trailblazer who helped reignite the Pacific country’s interest in football.
By Craig Stephen

New Town, new Evans as Stevenage is miles better
The Hertfordshire club’s Celtic-daft boss has mellowed, bringing cheer to residents and fans alike.
By Mark Holmes

Twitchy behind the Iron Curtain
You didn’t get much bleaker than East Germany away. I recall my 1983 trip with a shudder, and the growing sense of unease among my friends in the Soviet bloc country.
By Colin McPherson

Under the radar in South America
Alex McLeish was lambasted as Scotland boss but the core of the team that beat Ukraine last September travelled for his losing trip to Peru and Mexico in 2018.
By Gordon Cairns

Joy as Netherdale goes back to the future
Gala Fairydean Rovers are playing in front of their masterpiece of a modernist stand again.
By Graeme McIver

No rest for Gowfers gaffer
Phil McGuire’s working day at Carnoustie Panmure can take in anything from marriage counselling to lining the pitch, as well as training with youth and women’s teams. It’s how he likes it.
By Kenny Crawford

Local hero’s rich legacy
Web Duncan nurtured community spirit at Turriff United with hard graft and laughter. Two years after his death, The Haughs is a ground to be proud of and his family are pivotal at every level.
By Jo Higgs

Giant Steps
A new football club, founded in 2021 to support men’s physical and mental health, is building a positive, inclusive space where the rewards of competition are found in the losses as much as the wins.
Words and photographs by Simon Cuthbert-Kerr

Waiting on the wings, chalk on their boots
On the flanks of modern football, there is often a no more elegant, entertaining display than that of those who play widest. In celebration, we take a look back at some of the all-time great post-war Scottish wingers.
By Chris Collins

Mud, sweeties and cheers
Scottish fans have chewed on a fabulous array of matchday confectionery down the decades, the likes of which could only be the envy of other nations.
By Duncan McCoshan

Six of the best: Ayr United
Some of Ayr United’s finest kit designs have coincided with the Honest Men’s most memorable seasons.
By John Devlin

The Steel Veined Pioneers by Jim Mackintosh
A Match For Life by Martin Goldie
Mount Florida, 1971 by Martin Goldie
4.54 Final Score by Stephen Watt