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A wanderer returns

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Although I have been at the re-vamped National Stadium on many occasions to watch Scotland or Dundee United I cannot remember the last time I was at Hampden for a Queen’s Park match, centenary match excluded...but it’s probably around 1965!

Watching Queen’s at Hampden is a link back to my Cathcart childhood – “can you give me a lift over, Mr?" – and memories of Bert Cromar (pictured left) and other great QP players of the late 1950s. It became a more occasional occurrence in my teenage years of the early 1960s as Thirds went from the heights of Hilley, Harley, Gray etc. to their desperate and embarrassing plight under William Hiddleston’s disastrous ownership. A move to Dundee in November 1976 meant, so far, forty-two years of support for United, during which the Tangerines have provided me with many moments of great enjoyment and no little pride, most of all during the fantastic Jim McLean years. But you can never really shake off your roots and on my mother’s side of the family that means Queen’s Park FC. Oh, and I was born in Prince Edward Street, around the corner from where QPFC were founded!

My younger daughter now lives just off Battlefield Road so, to a degree, a local connection continues. Suffice to say I was really looking forward to watching Queen’s at home yesterday against top of the league Peterhead, after an absence which has been far too long.

My Hampden visit began by me declaring to the security people at the turnstiles that inside the Queen’s scarf I was carrying was a one-litre bottle of whisky destined to be collected from the souvenir shop by John Richmond as a prize for the Christmas raffle he was organizing. I got through the turnstile and was then accompanied to the shop by an attentive security operative who patiently waited until I could introduce myself to a very busy Keith McAllister and hand over the whisky.

A new QPFC hat having been purchased, I asked Keith the price of the impressive-looking Queen’s Park and the Great War 1914-1918 brochure. To my astonishment Keith advised that it was free. The twenty page, fully illustrated. booklet is packed with information about many of the thirty-four Queen’s Park players and members who died, and also to those who survived the Great War. The publication, which I read this special Remembrance Sunday morning, is a credit to the club and in particular to author Frank McCrossan and editor Jim Hastie. They should both be very proud of their efforts. I may have been away for fifty-three years, but the spirit of the clubs seemed undiminished. There was also a detectable feel-good factor, admittedly boosted by a 2-0 win over the Blue Toon. Buoyed by the result, the Spiders supporters bravely headed out of Hampden and into a heavy downpour. Surely it didn’t rain as heavily as that in the 1950s!

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