Remembering Scotland’s forgotten Football Grounds

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We look at Scotland’s lost football grounds that are gone but definitely not forgotten.

Annfield - Stirling Albion

Broomfield. Picture: Andy Dakin

Broomfield. Picture: Andy Dakin

Coal Magnate Thomas Fergusson built Annfield to accommodate Stirling Albion after their original home Forthbank Park was levelled when a single Luftwaffe bomb was dropped on Stirling during WW2 and found the town’s football stadium. Fergusson’s coal lorries initially served as grandstands. Stirling won their first match there 8-3 against Edinburgh City.

Brockville - Falkirk

Brockville housed Falkirk as far back as 1885. In 1953, it was the scene for the first ever televised floodlit football match when Falkirk played host to Newcastle in a friendly tie. The stadium record a record attendance of 23,100 against Celtic in the same year.

On several occasions, Falkirk were denied entry to the Scottish Premier League because of the stadium’s inadequate seating and facilities and eventually the club moved to their new Falkirk Park stadium, after a brief stint ground-sharing with Stenhousemuir. A Morrisons supermarket now stands there with various memorabilia on display, including an ageing Brockville turnstile.

Broomfield - Airdrieonians

Airdrie ended their 102-year stay at Broomfield Park when they sold the site to supermarket chain Safeway. The ground was built in 1892, but the pitch’s most distinctive feature, the pavilion, wasn’t constructed until 1907.

Broomfield was built in a narrow town hollow, a fact noticeable by the visibility of trees hanging over the roof of the stand. It created a claustrophobic atmosphere that intimidated the visiting opposition.

Cathkin Park - Third Lanark

Brockville. Picture: Andy Dakin

Brockville. Picture: Andy Dakin

The terraces of Cathkin Park can still be seen among the trees and foliage at the municipal park of the same name, now run by Glasgow City Council.

It remains a sad reminder of the glory days of Third Lanark, a prominent club who once won the league championship and two Scottish Cups. The Thirds were a top-flight club until their swift downfall in 1967, ending in the club’s liquidation.

In recent years, a reformed Third Lanark have returned to the derelict ground and play in the Glasgow Amateur League, winning Division One in 2012.

Firs Park - East Stirlingshire FC

Firs Park

Firs Park

Situated in Falkirk, Firs Park opened the turnstiles in 1921 as the home of East Stirlingshire FC.

In 1964, the club briefly merged with Clydebank to form East Stirlingshire Clydebank.

The newly-formed side set up shop in Clydebank for a year, taking the floodlights and the roof of Firs Park to Kilbowie.

The merger was short-lived and East Stirlingshire reformed before moving back to their old home of Firs Park in 1965, where they remained until leaving in 2008.

Love Street - St Mirren

Four other sites had been home to St Mirren before the club settled at Love Street in Paisley in 1894.

Annfield. Picture: Andy Dakin

Annfield. Picture: Andy Dakin

The first few decades went smoothly for the stadium, but St Mirren ran into trouble in the 1950s when they applied for permission to erect floodlights at the grounds. Being three miles away from Glasgow Airport, in order to do so they had to go through the Ministry of Aviation, Air Ministry and Admiralty.

Eventually a compromise was met, granting St Mirren squat 40ft pylons - shorter than the height of the stand - to illuminate the pitch. Unfortunately, as the park was on a direct flight path to the airport, pilots still complained about the confusion the lights caused when coming into land. As a result, an eight-month blackout was put in place until aviation charts could be amended to include the stadium.

Muirton Park - St Johnstone

The first match ever to be held at Muirton Park was on Christmas Day, 1924, when St Johnstone beat Queen’s Park 2-1 in front of a 12,000-strong crowd.

For a time it was the biggest playing surface in any Scottish league, and attracted events outside the beautiful game. Muirton hosted hockey internationals, Highland Games, cattle sales, donkey racing and at least two re-enactments of the Battle of the Clans.

Bringing the park up to scratch with top-flight competitors was too much of a financial burden for The Saints, but supermarket chain ASDA stepped in and offered to bail the club out. They purchased the land and bear the cost of building a new site on the western outskirts, St Johnstone’s current home McDiarmid Park.

Douglas Park - Hamilton Academical

Douglas Park was built in 1888 and was inevitably replaced by the creatively-named New Douglas Park in 2011, which sits immediately next door.

The largest recorded attendance came in 1937 when 28,690 fans witnessed Hamilton take on Hearts.

When the original closed its doors, junior side Auchinleck Talbot purchased the main stand for £30,000, the turnstiles were sold to Falkirk and Hamilton kept hold of their own floodlights.

Despite not moving to their new home until 2011, the Accies moved out of Douglas Park in 1994, when the site was sold to… you’ve guessed it, a supermarket.

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