Benchman: Pre-match was moving and tasteful, the game was a million miles from traditional encounters

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The Benchman looks back on Falkirk’s weekend commemorations and reflects on Airdrie meetings of years gone by.

LEST WE FORGET: Congratulations to all involved in the organisation of a fine Commemoration Event before kick-off on Saturday. It was a simple, traditional ceremony but moving and tasteful, and it was impeccably observed. The programme cover was quite eye-catching and honoured those who had lost their lives during the First World War.

Benchman mystery picture: Who is this Olympian?

Benchman mystery picture: Who is this Olympian?

“SCOTTISH” FOOTBALL?: It is good that the Old Firm are making progress in Europe and this will no doubt help the European co-efficient for Scottish clubs, but it is wide of the mark to suggest that these “heroic” performances will help players who are available for the national side. Both teams line-up with many players who come from countries out with Scotland and the dearth of competitive European experience among Scottish players is worrying.

THE TABLE: Fourth in the third tier of Scottish Football? Simply not acceptable for a club with Falkirk’s tradition, heritage, potential and facilities. We all know how we have arrived at this sorry situation, but who knows how we can arrest the decline and start to recover from a dark period in the history of the club. With the level of investment in players and the experience in the squad, this should not be happening. Part-time Arbroath are fifth top of the league ABOVE us.

AIRDRIE MEMORIES: Saturday’s game was a million miles away from the traditional encounters between the two sides. Games at Brockville and Broomfield were often described as “battles” and the games were often physical clashes with plenty of action, incident and a fair smattering of red cards. Apparently, referees dreaded the appointment where the proximity of the baying crowds was a factor. Who will ever forget Super Sam’s hat-trick – “each goal better than the one before it” – or Red Card Day, when Kenny Black was sent packing and 3000 red cards helped him on his way?

HEADLINES: A lot has been written about the higher than average incidence of dementia among footballers who played in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. The heavy leather ball and the training regimes could be factors, especially for those who played at centre-half or centre forward. The focus of those who are involved in Football Memories is on CARE and trying to help those who are living with dementia and other memory problems. Other organisations and charities will strive to find a CURE and assist further research. Much more funding is needed to assist this research and help find a cure. Such efforts should not have to rely on charities, surely?

ANSWERS: Last week’s mystery picture featured Jim McIntosh receiving a military award during his National Service days at Catterick. Eagle-eyed readers might have spotted the Duke of Kent in the background.