Welcome to Issue 30
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Object lessons
By Daniel Gray

Fitbaweets on VAR

Quality Street striker who puts roofs over heads
Lou Macari had an outstanding career with Celtic, Manchester United and Scotland but he has also made his mark by providing shelter for the homeless in Stoke.
By Teddy Jamieson

Stadiums of the mind
In 1996 Tony Davis photographed 30 Scottish football grounds. He recalls a magical fortnight of discovery on the road.
By Daniel Gray

is the Sun Setting on the Spaghettihad?
They may be Scotland’s least-loved small club but five promotions, three drops, two spells in administration and a Cup are starting to add up to what feels like a proper history.
By Scott Fleming

Brechin intent on Highland escape
With the town still reeling from October’s storm, City are even more determined to find their way back into the SPFL.
By Ginny Clark

Poetry and prosperity: The rise and fall of The Souters
Selkirk FC resigned from the Lowland League in the summer of 2018, but there was a time when they stood as a formidable force, defying the odds and captivating non-league football. As their poet-in-residence, I was there to see it all.
By Thomas Clark

Burgh boss brushes off flipside of new wealth
Jamie McKim has no qualms about the extra scrutiny and expectation that have come the Johnstone club’s way since rich investors took over.
By Greg Gordon

Diamonds and the soles of their shoes
In March 2000, dozens of Airdrie fans walked all the way to Brockville to raise funds for their ailing club. They were met with a warm reception – and an 8-0 thrashing. By Kevin McAllion

The endless summer
In 2018, Livingston-born Liam Henderson broke Serie A’s 30-year drought of Scottish players. Now, he’s chasing promotion with Palermo. I caught up with him to talk life in Italy, future goals, and his remarkable journey.
By Simone Pierotti

A pilgrimage to Portugal
My grandfather’s only trip abroad was to witness Celtic’s 1967 European Cup Final victory in Lisbon, now a site of pilgrimage for the team’s many supporters. Fifty-five years after his death, I made the emotional journey to honour my club’s achievement and his legacy.
By Hugh MacDonald

The voice of Palmerston Park
For 30 years, Alex Wilson entertained the Doonhamer loyal with his unique style, wit, undying love for football and often-bruising putdowns of the opposition. Now retired, we bid farewell to this unsung hero of Scottish football.
By Giancarlo Rinaldi

Clubs count cost of hire-and-fire mania
These days a year is seen as a long tenure in management, and today’s messiahs are tomorrow’s toast. Why won’t boardrooms learn from their own mistakes?
By Maurice Smith

Big boots to fill
Since leaving a successful career in finance over a decade ago, Ryan Park has turned his boot customisation hobby into a full-time business. His services are now in high demand, making him responsible for some of the best-known footwear in the game.
By Kenny Millar

Fairytales and dreams
This season, Alan McCredie and Daniel Gray are documenting the Scottish Cup in its 150th year. Their journey begins beneath a railway viaduct in rural Perthshire. Words by Daniel Gray.
Photographs by Alan McCredie.

Change is overdue: Gender inequality in football is plain for all to see
My dream trip to the Women’s World Cup was sadly marred by the president of the Spanish Football Federation’s inappropriate kiss on player Jennifer Hermoso. Sexism in football persists, and it’s high time for action!
By Grace Jean Lawther

Scots striker who fixed match after match
Jimmy Gauld was a record goalscorer until serious injury ended his career. Then he masterminded Britain’s biggest match-fixing scandal, taking down dozens of players with him.
By Harry Pearson

Coyle’s spring of resilience
The former Ross County, Queens Park and Burnley boss did wonders for Jamshedpur in the Indian Super League amid the challenge of Covid. Now he has returned to Chennaiyin, even more intent on trophies.
By Andy Ross

The man of twists and turns
Shadab Iftikhar always dreamt of working in football. His 17 years of experience have taken him on an unlikely odyssey from Mongolia to Samoa, and Fort William to Pakistan. Still in his mid-thirties, his ambition burns bright.
By Sean Cole

Cappielow forever in thrall to magic of McGraw
Morton lost not one but two bona fide club legends in 2023, including the man who scored 58 goals in one season and last led them in the top flight.
By Stewart Fisher

The years with McNee
My friend and colleague, the ‘voice of football’, was a bold, intelligent, and often ludicrous tabloid journalist with an exceptional turn of phrase. He is now happily retired, but the Scottish game doesn’t half miss him.
By Graham Spiers

New Firm trio who mixed loyalty and brilliance
Willie Miller, Paul Sturrock and Maurice Malpas were all pivotal in helping Aberdeen and Dundee United upset the Celtic-Rangers duopoly and light up Europe
By Ronnie McCluskey

Archie’s winning appetite for hard yards
Steve Archibald grew up with an extreme will to succeed but the Aberdeen, Spurs and Barça legend recalls how pivotal lessons from players and managers including Stein, McNeill and Ferguson helped shape him.
By Richard Purden

Hardships and heroics of a peerless defender
She played in Italy, helped found Inveralmond Thistle, captained her country and devoted herself to the women’s game. If Fiona Winchester were playing today, we can bet she’d be a bona fide star.
By Colin McPherson

From hallowed stands to the real world
Players retiring from the game face many challenges. His career recently over, my ex-Motherwell teammate Richard Tait is using his football experiences to thrive.
By Liam Grimshaw

When a legend lit up Methil
Pinch yourselves but in 1975 the late England legend drove up from Preston to grace Bayview for the John Martis testimonial, and scored a belter.
By Donald Walker

Down the Rose with Sci-Fi Steven
Steven Clark’s band Bis were the first unsigned group to perform on Top of the Pops. Clark now splits his time between the band, the Glasgow pubs he co-owns and his greatest passion of all – following Ayr United home and away. Here, he talks about all three and why Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch is the Roy Keane of indie music. By David Pollock

Kicking back
When Morocco put a third past Scotland in Saint Etienne, my teenage dreams were shattered. Twenty-six years later, the national team have made it to Euro 2024. For fans of my generation qualification is particularly sweet.
By Michael Bochel

Sticky situations
Panini stickers can serve as unique football time capsules. Here I peel, stick, and journey back through the albums of yesteryear, unearthing and rediscovering some forgotten legends of the Scottish game
By Greg Lansdowne

The English are coming!
From the earliest days of organised leagues, a number of floundering, disenfranchised English sides have tried and failed to find themselves new homes within the Scottish game
By David Allan

Legends of a lost league
In 1923, the Scottish Football League expanded to include a new, short-lived Division Three. As Scotland’s industrial towns faced a brutal economic downturn, its teams suffered in tandem.
By Mark Poole

Vicissitudes of fortune at Victoria Park
Though they have accomplished more since, the Staggies’ greatest ever result came the day their luck finally changed for the better.
By Alasdair Mackenzie

Matches made in heaven or hell
From egomaniacal physios to loan sharks, shirt sponsorship can be a tricky business for fans, as well as a design minefield. But nostalgia usually wins out over moral qualms.
By Gordon Cairns

My quarter century with the Tuesday Night All-Stars
Every WEEK, a group of football enthusiasts gather at a pitch in Saughton, Edinburgh. I joined them 25 years ago and have returned each week since, keeping my inner child alive and well.
By Sam Phipps

Five At The Back
1. Six of the best: Dunfermline
By John Devlin
2. From the Chairman to the Tea Lady…
No. 1: Neil Wood, Brechin City groundsman
3. Dramatic last days
One sodden May night at East End Park, Falkirk were set for promotion to the First Division – until the 64th minute. By Phil Rodger
4. Record appearances
Primal Scream, Irvine Welsh and On-U-Sound.
By David Pollock
5. Poetry
Sam’s Finest Hour by Ian S Goudie
A Heivenly Heid by Donald Adamson
St Vincent’s v Carnwardric by Eileen Farrelly
O’Connors by Graham Fulton
On the Treatment Table by Dave Martin