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Ian Rankin

We were an odd family: one of my sisters supported Dunfermline, my other sister’s father-in-law was a director at Raith Rovers, and my dad liked to watch Cowdenbeath, so (as the youngest, and easily led) my own allegiances were divided.

But I do have very fond memories of those trips with my dad to Central Park. He was a good deal older than me and neither of us was sporty, but this was a chance to spend time together one afternoon a fortnight (home games only: my dad wasn’t that dedicated). We even sometimes watched Cowdenbeath reserves – yes, such a team did exist. We sat on wooden benches – there was never any trouble finding a space. Sometimes it seemed as if there were more bodies on the pitch than there were spectators. But we had bottles of juice and maybe a pie or a bar of chocolate. And the bus trip prior to the game would have been an adventure in itself (we lived in Cardenden, and had to change buses in Lochgelly).

I don’t remember Cowdenbeath FC being known as the Blue Brazil back then – maybe no one could afford the irony. But we were proud of our local heroes, of footballers who had gone on to greater feats, Jim Baxter chief amongst them.

And I never seemed to get cold. I get cold on the terraces these days, but that may be because I’m older now than my dad was when he took me to see games way back then, back in the 1960s.

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