Highland League Cup 1/4 final, MacKessack Park, 5/2/20
Rothes Football Club
Founded – 1938
Nickname – The Speysiders
Honours – Highland League – 1958/59, North of Scotland Cup 1958/59 and 1978/79
Current Division – Highland League
Random Fact – The club play in tangerine due to buying floodlights from Tannadice Park. The colours of Dundee United were also inherited at the same time.
With Wee Man harping in my ear about getting to fifty grounds recently I decided to dedicate this week to him. This meaning a couple of revisits so he hits the magic number this weekend at Sauchie. So a trip to MacKessack Park is already on my list but it was a totally different experience this time around as I was on a boys day out in corporate last time(v Clachnacuddin three seasons ago).
With Rothes being fifty minutes from my door it would have been rude not to take on the Whisky Derby in the Highland League Cup. To be honest I really glad I did. For numerous reasons…..
The first reason being the Rothes “Ultras”. (apologies if that’s not what they are called). I didnt know they existed. But I’m glad I do now. What an excellent addition to the HFL. Noisy and funny at times and the first set of supporters I’ve ever heard singing Abba songs. But to add to that the look on Wee Mans face every time they did their bounce was great, he was amazed. He was even doing his own one man version.
The game was not bad either being another reason. Before kick off I noticed the pitch cutting up badly which made me think this was going turn into an old school quagmire. By full time I wasnt far off. Im not sure i would fancy the job of cleaning the tangerine kits of the hosts and Keiths light blue.
The Speysiders are a team on the rise. They cant be ruled out of a title fight this season. This coming of the back of tenth last season, tenth the season before, sixteenth the year before and a ballhair from going out of buisiness the year before that. They were clearly the superior team tonight and it didnt take long before they took the lead through a bullet header from Allen MacKenzie. The ball in from the right wing couldn’t have been more accurate but the number sevens header was explosive. Rothes looked the hungrier team for long spells of the first half. They got alot of balls into the box but were lacking an end product. They were clearly lacking a (cliche alert) cutting edge. Toward the end of the half Wee Man decided it was pee time. As we exited the toilets, which were at the opposite end from our vantage point we were in a perfect position to see Keiths equalizer. A cross came in from the right and was met with a tame effort but due to the afforementioned cut up pitch the ball bobbled in front of the hosts number one. This leading to a parry into the feet of Selfridge who knocked in from five yards. This triggering a meteoric foul mouthed rant from Rothes manager Ross Jack which I wish Wee Man wasnt in the perfect position to hear. HT 1-1
Second half started with the Abba chants. Easily the first time ive heard this from a crowd. Not sure the words but it was to the tune of Super Trooper. Amusing. The game continued in the same vane as the first half with Rothes dominating and they reinstated their lead from the penalty spot. There were plenty of protests, which I think were acts of straw clutching as from where I was positioned, it was definatley a spot kick. Ali Sutherland was not bothered either as he nestled the ball in the Keith net. Things went from bad to worse for Keith when Andrew Smith was given his marching orders for a second yellow. Rothes should really have buried the game on two occasions prior to eventually ending the tie. Pollock and Sutherland both fluffed their lines in quick sucession, where they should have done better. But the third did come via Cormack and that was that. A deserved win, the Speysiders now find themselves in the semi final. First silverware in forty one years. Dont rule it out
Me still 178, Wee Man 48