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The Ultimate Scottish Football Bucket List

To coincide with the publication of our 30th issue we asked lovers of Scottish football to name the must-sees and dos of our national game. They suggested everything from exotic pies to Victorian architecture.


The nation has spoken and – much as you would expect when it comes to Scottish football – the nation’s views come as quite a surprise.

When we asked lovers of the game for their top 30 Bucket List experiences, the outcome was a colourful tapestry of Scottish football from the most obvious – such as taking in all three big city derbies or joining in with the Hampden Roar – to the more obscure – such as sampling the exotic delicacies of Camelon’s Steak and Buckfast Pie or the Donner Kebab equivalent at Armadale Thistle.

Indeed, it was the wackier suggestions that dominated Nutmeg’s list: with the chance to marvel at Scottish football’s Victorian architectural masterpieces, to venture to the wildest north to watch Eriskay versus Barra, to peek through the Brechin hedge or to stand in the marrow-frozen fringes at Arbroath while gobbling down a couple of smokies appearing frequently in people’s shortlists.

There were also plenty of nominations from less daring, but equally romantic, fans.

There were some for whom the chance to listen to iconic BBC broadcaster James Alexander Gordon reading out the classified check on Sports Report was their idea of a slice of football heaven. Gordon, who was born in Edinburgh and who perfected the art of intoning whether a match had ended in a win, loss or draw, once confessed that his greatest fear was a scoreline of Forfar 4 East Fife 5, an outcome which coincidentally also appears on the list.

The most voted for Bucket List experience on Nutmeg’s top 30 was an away trip to Dingwall to watch a game involving Ross County with no trip to the Highland club seemingly complete without a visit to the local watering hole, The Mallard Bar, with one fan noting: “Travelling to County away via train, every football fan will know about this pub. It’s a genuine staple in Scottish football. Walk off the train, straight in for a pint before a less than five-minute walk across to the ground.”

Each list entry represents something that speaks to the essence of the game in Scotland but it is also a very personal, almost esoteric list.

“What surprised us was the diversity of things on people’s bucket lists,” said Nutmeg Editor Daniel Gray. “There was a big concentration on northern Scottish and non-league football and quite a low proportion of people choosing an Old Firm fixture. Indeed, rather than just watching Celtic against Rangers, the Holy Grail for a number of fans was a trip to combine it with the Edinburgh and Dundee derbies.”

The Ultimate Scottish Football Bucket List

Stand by the Brechin Hedge

Feel the tranquil calm that watching a game beside football’s finest topiary brings. Bonus points for seeing the ball bounce back off it.

Experience the joys of Gayfield

A pre-match Smokie (but leave room for a Pie Hut visit), Pleasureland slot machines and a tap on the shoulder from the North Sea. The perfect day.

Relish a European game under the lights

At Ibrox and Parkhead, at Pittodrie, Tynecastle and beyond, experience the floodlit crackle when continental clubs are in town.

Do the 42

From Elgin to Annan via everywhere in-between, visit the many homes of the SPFL. You’re probably already halfway there. Might as well carry on. Then do the Highland League…

Feel the history at Vale of Leven

Marvellous Millburn Park. (Photo: Vale of Leven FC)

Indulge in time travel to ancient Alexandria, where the Victorian Millburn Park awaits. An unchanged gem at a club where the kettle is always on.

See all three big city derbies

In Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, watch at Dens, Easter Road and Ibrox, then do it again at Tannadice, Tynecastle and Parkhead. Electric weekends.

Shake hands with Kingsley

The sight of Partick Thistle’s jaggy legend cannot fail to cheer even the grumpiest of souls. Aged 8 or 88, shake the mascot’s hand or go mad and high five him.

Meet the Ochilview Nordic

Stenhousemuir Norwegian Supporters Club have been cordially invading for decades. Go to a match when they are in town and enjoy the shenanigans.

View a game in the Lesmahagow Colosseum

In the small Lanarkshire town can be found a venue of unique splendour: the grass-banked natural amphitheatre of Craighead Park. Go.

Climb the Tarves hill

There are other turfy sensations in our game (e.g. Bon Accord’s giant pitch) and other great inclines. But not even Bonnyrigg or Wick surpass the Tarves ski slope.

Watch Eriskay v Barra

Set the compass north. After a dram of whisky galore in the AM Politician, see a Western Isles derby on one of the world’s most beautifully located pitches.

Complete a cup

Pick a team, any team in the earliest round of a domestic cup. Follow the winners each time. Your life in the hands of those numbers in a hat. Well not a hat, but…

Hunt a 4 v 5 result

Travel in hope to Station Park when visitors from Methil are in town. Someday the much-fabled Forfar 4 East Fife 5 is bound to happen. And, there are worse places to be as you pursue it.

Eat a catering hatch special

The Killie Pie is famous, but what of our other regional delicacies? Pie on a roll at Alloa, Camelon’s Steak & Buckfast pie, the Donner Kebab version at Armadale…

Travel to watch Scotland away

We’ll be coming, and so should you be. Whether alongside the seasoned kilts of the Tartan Army or alone, you’ll be welcomed for a trip that will inevitably result in stories to tell for years to come.

Wonder at Leitch’s genius

Archibald Leitch was the Charles Rennie Mackintosh of stadium architects. Scandalously little of his work remains, which makes gawping at his Ibrox main stand a must.

Revel in the needle of a lower league derby

Petty? Often. Fierce? Always. But push the turnstiles at Falkirk v Dunfermline, Airdrie v Albion or for an Angus clash and survey the fireworks.

Be part of the Hampden Roar

Fans may decry the running track and miss terraced times, but there are few greater cacophonies to be among than when Scots back their team.

Wolf down a Bridie…but in Fife

This could well cause panic on the streets of Forfar, but the best bridies to sample are those sold at Dunfermline’s East End Park.

Go away to Dingwall

Is Ross County the fans’ favourite away day? Possibly. Reasons include train cans, lunch at Wimpy, Mallard pints and then homely Victoria Park. Magic.

Rejoice at Somerset Park

Ayr United’s home makes first time guests grin and happily reflect that this ‘is how things used to be.’ It is a place we should visit, love and treasure.

Hear Sunshine on Leith at Easter Road

Millions have seen the Hampden video, but pick the right occasion and experience goosebumps in the anthem’s home. It might even be sunny.

Walk down Tannadice Street

An Eighth Wonder of the World? Possibly. Two proper football grounds, on one street, as if imagined in a football-mad child’s toy town. Stroll slowly between them.

Gaze at Brutalist delight in Galashiels

Recently restored to its full concrete elegance, Netherdale’s design marvel of a main stand attracts visitors from across the globe. Be one of them.

Wander with ghosts at Cathkin Park

When Third Lanark collapsed in 1967, their ground was left abandoned. So it remains, trees now standing on its terraces. Seldom has an empty place been so atmospheric.

Behold the remote-control taxi at Glasgow City

As if the salt and chilli chicken and chips at Petershill Park were not reason enough to visit, now the matchball’s arrival on a miniature vehicle provides further glee.

Take in the Auchinleck Talbot v Cumnock derby

For raw rivalry, make for East Ayrshire and see the teams of two old mining towns go hell for leather. This one matters.

Watch an Edinburgh fringe show at Hearts

Surely the capital’s greatest summer attraction is Tynecastle in August, when optimistic noise cascades from its tight stands. A raucous joy.

Listen again to James Alexander Gordon

Was there ever a more soothing sound than the words ‘Hamilton Academical’ in JAG’s gentle Edinburgh lilt? Find an old classified results recording, or the new AI version on social media, and relax….

Marvel at Cappielow

Greenock Morton’s sublime home should be Listed like the Titan crane and sugar sheds that overlook it. An unspoiled marvel and a Subbuteo stadium made real. Unmissable.

Issue 32
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