, , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday 15th March 2023 ko 19:45

East of Scotland League Premier Division


BROXBURN ATHLETIC 4 (Wright 18 Douglas 45 65 Brass 70p)

Att 557

Entry £8

Programme £2

In so many ways Olivebank Stadium was the pivot point of Robyn and I’s 2023 Scottish Hop. After Robyn’s fall at Tynecastle the previous day it was the point where the hoppers realised that my wife may have been sore but had sustained no long-term damage, so they switched from asking whether she was okay to taking the mickey. I must admit we found the latter more comforting.

The other reason to anticipate Musselburgh was our friend Jim Kidd. Jim and I go back quite a while, from watching obscure low-level games in South Wales, through the very first Swedish Hop and even me turning up unannounced at East Stirlingshire once! Sadly, mobility problems mean he can’t travel like he used to, but he does have a season ticket at Musselburgh Athletic, the ground nearest his home. I stood in line with many others for the chance to catch up with a genuine legend of Scottish football. 

Perhaps it was an evening for catch-ups. Lesley Birrell tapped me on the shoulder, wondering if I remembered her? How could I forget the secretary for Preston Athletic and welfare officer for the league? They were the club who managed to turn the disappointment of a late postponement into something positive, all the unsold food was donated to local charities. She and Preston will always be friends to GroundhopUK and it was lovely to catch up. 

Then just when thought I could consider my surroundings I was asked to decide on the man of match. I scuttled off to the far side to consider what I was watching. On a purely bricks and mortar basis Olivebank is a must-visit if you want to see a classic former East Region Junior ground, and that terrace does need to be seen to be believed. Just get there early, as parking does come at a premium and don’t forget to try a stovie!

So, if you are afforded the honour of awarding man of the match, what’s the worst thing that can happen? I found myself thinking back to a time in Sweden where the press box awarded the man of the match then watched the recipient get sent off! Here it was nearly as bad with Musselburgh taking a real, yet surprising walloping at the hands of Broxburn. I had to wait awhile to award Zach Khan his wine; the debrief after the game was fairly thorough! That was no trial though, the club were lovely company while Robyn and I waited, and despite the car’s clutch complaining bitterly in its death throes we still made it back to the hotel before the coach!