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Cathkin Park...the seven year blitz

Updated: Dec 18, 2022

On 7 June 1967, the Court of Session in Edinburgh issued a winding-up order against Third Lanark and appointed an official liquidator. The club had debts of £40,000, adjusted later to £32,654.. A subsequent investigation into Third Lanark's affairs revealed mismanagement, deliberate and careless, on an epic scale.

The petition to wind up the club had been brought by a building company which claimed that the club owed them more than £2000 for work done on the new stand at Cathkin Park, which had been competed four years earlier. On 26 June 1967, it was announced that Third Lanark's membership of the Scottish Football League had ceased. Thirds had been founder members of that organisation as well as the Scottish Football Association.

Between 1884 and 1903, Cathkin Park had been Queen's Park's second Hampden Park. When Queen's moved a few hundred yards over the hill to Mount Florida to the third Hampden, Third Lanark took over the Crosshill ground and renamed it New Cathkin Park, thus the second Hampden became the second Cathkin. For the next sixty-four years, knowledge of Queen's Park's original ownership of the ground gradually faded. It was "Cathkin" to generations of football supporters; it was Thirds' ground.

Just seven years after Third's closure, the new stand, the much loved pavilion and the covered south terracing looked as if a bomb had hit them. Simply heart-breaking. The following photographs are taken from the Glasgow Chronicles Facebook page. The text is mine.

The new entrance gate and boundary wall were erected in 1963, at the same time as the new stand was built.

The brick boundary wall replaced a less-than-secure corrugated iron fence, which usually had more holes than a golf course. Some of these breaches were low enough, and big enough, to provide free access into Cathkin for those boys who had grown too big and heavy to approach strangers at the turnstiles with the near plaintive request of "can you give me a lift over, Mister?" Erroneously, the new entrance incorporated the legend "Third Lanark FC" in red lettering, but of course the club's correct title was Third Lanark Athletic Club.

This is the corner section of the west (Cathcart Road) terracing as it curves round to meet the west end of the grandstand. The rather spartan "new stand", first promised to Thirds supporters in 1958, had only been in operation for the four years from 1963 to 1967, at long last replacing a cosy-looking, but no longer fit-for-purpose building. The seventy-year old, barrel-roofed old stand had been moved to "New Cathkin Park" in 1903 from Thirds old ground, the first Cathkin Park, which was situated further north along Cathcart Road, near the present-day Govanhill Park. It was obvious to everyone that the club had to replace the old stand but it should have been equally apparent to the TLAC directors that sufficient finance had to be in place to pay for the construction of Cathkin's new seated accommodation. That was not the case - and the ultimate cost was the old club's very existence.

The west terracing in all its glory. Seven years after it was last used, and with the weeds beginning to win their tussle with Cathkin's concrete and cement, it is still obviously part of a what had been a significant football ground, indeed a former international match and cup final venue.

Looking east across the covered south terracing, The most popular part of the ground and my "home" every second Saturday .

Viewed from the west terracing, the new stand looks in a worst state that the seventy year old stand it replaced eleven years earlier. A truly depressing sight.

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