THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

1978, Round Robin Cup

InvernessvHibs4002 August ~ "Tonight's match is the pipe-opener to an exciting four days of football in the Highland Capital," the editor writes. Dundee and Inverness Caledonian were the other two participants fighting for the spectacularly named Round Robin Cup, donated by the Sunday Mail. If you want to know who won it, you'll need a better search engine than mine, or access to the darkest, dustiest corners of Scottish club football's trophy rooms.

I can remember two things about this game. First, my Dad sent me to get Mars bars at half time. Twenty minutes into the second half I was still a long way from the front of the queue when, exasperated, he came to summon me back to our seats. I'd stood there torn between missing a goal (I didn't), and facing his disappointment at my failure to execute such a simple task – a regular occurrence for my 13-year-old self, nicknamed in the family as “Useless Eustace”.

The second thing was Thistle's long-haired, diminutive winger Alastair “Tich” Black, who had a good game, and was tipped by the locals sitting around us as the only player on the home team who had a chance of making it out of the Highland League. "A consistent scorer," notes the programme of Tich, "he is one of the few players in this area who can boast of having played for an international team... for British Rail vs Locomotiv Sofia, who represented Bulgarian Railways." He was still playing for Thistle seven years later when they lost a pre-season friendly at Celtic, so it has to be assumed that the intra-European transportation network face-off remained his sole experience beyond the Scottish border.

On his way out Hibs' Scottish international defender John Brownlie "was not included in the party due to an impending SFA suspension", though in fact he was on his way to Newcastle, where he made 124 league appearances. 

On his way up New in the Hibernian squad was 19-year-old Craig Paterson, who went on to make over 400 Scottish League appearances for Hibs, Rangers, Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Hamilton. He’d come from the florally named Junior club Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.

Result Thistle 0 Hibs 2

Squads: Thistle Sievewright, Fraser, Malcolm, B Black, Cumming, Milroy, Bremner, Drews, Coutts, Smith, A Black, Newlands, Bruce, Maclean, Inglis

Hibs McDonald, Higgins, Stewart, McNamara, O'Brien, Macleod, Bremner, Hutchinson, Smith, Murray, Carroll, Duncan, Campbell, C Paterson, W Paterson, McGhee

Ian Plenderleith

You can save £2 on Ian Plenderleith's "Rock n Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League", published by Icon Books

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