Mart’s Travels (Wishaw)

Martmak has a day out in Wishaw

Visit to the Beltane

Saturday morning had arrived. My intentions were to travel to Newtown Park for the East Superleague clash between Bo’ness United and Kelty Hearts. My plans changed when my two boys decided to stay for the rest of the weekend and wanted to be taken to a castle. I knew that Blackness Castle wasn’t far from Bo’ness but it would have meant leaving far too early for my liking. So, I went for the easy local option of a morning at Bothwell Castle, followed by the delights of a Scottish Junior Cup replay at the Beltane, where Wishaw faced Bellshill Athletic.

The kids ran around daft inside the walls of the castle and had a great time, my highlight (apart from keeping an eye on the ramparts and wondering when the last survey was done on the stonework) was to see a medieval latrine set in a dark secluded corner of the castle, that apparently may or may not have been used by Robert the Bruce. So much so, that I’m in the process of persuading a down at heel publisher into giving me an advance for writing a coffee table book. Listing Britain’s great celebrity toilets with all the associated tales of derring poo.

We arrive in Wishaw and knowing roughly where the Beltane was, turned in towards the ground and found a parking spot on the road next to a public park. From the outside, the Beltane isn’t exactly an old or even a modern style football ground, it was basically a pitch surrounded by school style steel fencing with plastic draped over the inside. The latter being completely understandable, if it weren’t so, you can imagine every Aberdonian and his dog travelling down on his grannies bus pass to watch a free game every other weekend.

We got to the ticket shed and I paid six quid entrance, the kids went in for free and I paid another quid for the wee paper programme called ‘The Beltane Blether’, well done Wishaw, my day was now complete if nothing else. I searched the portable cabins situated on one side of the ground to see if any hot food was on the go. It didn’t take long to find the meat filled delicacies that my stomach had been craving, in a cabin that served as a basic bar. I had my Wishaw Blether and a couple of hot pies, now for somewhere to stand. The boys and me decided to walk round to the opposite side of the ground, I settled in to eat my pies and watch the game.

That was until I remembered that I had a couple of offspring tagging along, and that they had a tendency to get on my nerves once too often for my liking. The first scream came when I had just decided to take a bite from my scotch pie, they had seen far too much egg chasing on ITV recently. They had made up their own rules, much like the first egg chaser Webb Ellis, and it saw them charge at each other followed by a bout of wrestling, all completely egg free. Although I can lose the rag, it’s nothing I wouldn’t have done myself.

We stood next to a photographer and a skinny Crossroads Benny lookalike, he must have been feeling a bit under the weather, as he seemed to be partaking in that popular Benedictine tonic come elixir that is consumed from big green medicine bottles. I had a wee look over the Blether, it was a basic five sheets of A4 affair with all the usual content, and I found out that Scotland’s greatest ever player, Hughie Gallagher had played for the visiting Bellshill Athletic. The pie at £1.30 a pop, was slightly above average at 7/10, was moist without being too wet and the pastry was heated perfectly, not bad.

Too the first half action and the most interesting incident came when Bellshill Athletic were awarded a penalty kick, Scott Morton stepped up in his colour coordinated yellow boots to take the spot kick. He managed to put it two inches to the side of Sandy Thomson in goal, fortunately Sandy remembered his schoolboy physics and simply allowed himself to fall onto the ball, no fancy diving needed. The best move came just short of half time when Wishaw’s Michael Collinder broke on the wing, played a one two with Ross McGeachie before sending into the Bellshill six yard box, Vinnie McGuire’s barnstorming run took him to within inches of connecting with his head!

 

Half time came and I decided to make my way round to the other end of the pitch so that I could lean on a more substantial timber barrier. I had to pass Benny, who by this time had found other ill looking locals sipping from medicine bottles, they stood behind advertising hoardings behind the far goal. As I approached, the tallest of the ne’er-do-wells shouted out “Watch out CID!”, Benny shot back in my defence “Naw he’s no, he’s got two kids whae him!”

Before I get too carried away, the second half started and Wishaw had by far the best of the play from the outset, getting their lead on the sixty third minute when Collinder crossed into the six yard box for McGuire to slide in and place past the keeper and a deserved 1-0. The game finished at 1-0 to the home side and they now face Kirkintilloch Rob Roy at Guy’s Meadow in the second round. Although the ground isn’t the best, I still had an enjoyable day and can imagine myself popping into the ground for a beer before the game if I was a Wishaw local. I’ll maybe get round to another game one day, but until then good luck at Guy’s Meadow.

 

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