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John Clements

The year was 1977. My team, Holy Cross High of Hamilton, were playing Cathkin High away in a quarter-final replay of the Scottish Schools Senior Shield.

A major incentive in getting to the final was that it would be played at Hampden Park, a dream for any young footballer.

Late into the second half the game was still tied at 0-0 when, a long ball over the top left a Cathkin forward clean through, one on one with our goalkeeper with me hot on his heels. The Cathkin player hit a high lob over our keeper as he rushed from his line and I raced towards our goal following the ball in the air.

I ran into our net relieved to have watched the ball drift over the crossbar, only to be hit on the head by the ball inside the net! I looked up and saw a large hole in the netting which the ball had fallen through. The referee was signalling for a goal with me in hot pursuit screaming, “HOLE IN THE NET!” to no avail.

Shortly after, Cathkin had a corner and I pointed out the hole in the net to the ref, and the realisation that he had made a major bloomer was written all over his face. We were awarded a penalty with minutes to go when one of our players was pulled down. It appeared to be just outside the box but I think the ref was trying to make up for his earlier mistake. We scored and eventually won the tie in extra-time.

A few days later I picked up the Glasgow Evening Times and was shocked to see an article headlined, ‘Hole In The Net Mystery’, about our game. Journalist Dixon Blackstock had been at the match watching his son play for Cathkin and reported on the incident.

We reached the final at Hampden and played Caldervale High of Airdrie, drawing 2-2 after extra-time – I scored the equaliser with a header.

We won the replay in a canter 4-1, but the ‘hole in the net’ game is still my strangest football memory.

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