Graeme’s Eventful Day Out At The Fitba

Largs Thistle v Beith Juniors (West of Scotland Cup, 2nd Round)

By Graeme Swanson

I offered to do a wee blog and share my experiences about travelling to and from the game, the game itself, and what a day it turned out to be!

Train Journey Home

I live in Edinburgh and usually drive over to see my team (Largs Thistle), but for big Cup games I can sometimes be tempted to let the train take the strain. So here’s how my day panned out.

8.30am – set off to get the bus to Omni Centre, so that I can get a breakfast and a pint at Lloyds Bar. All goes well, then off I go to Waverley Station for the train to Glasgow Queen Street. I’ve arranged to meet some Largs supporters at the pub in Central Station at 11am.

11am – meet up with 5 others for a couple of pints. One chap has never been to see Theesel and is really looking forward to it, so I help build the pre-match atmosphere for him.

11.50am – train to Largs Vegas, I’ve brought some Peroni’s to help settle the nerves. ‘Any empties’ said the Scotrail guy before the train had started moving. I’m quick, but not that quick.  We then meet some other Theesel guys at Kilwinning and Glengarnock. Our Vice-President tells me that we have loads of injuries and call-offs. Will we get gubbed…?

1pm – I get to the cabin at Barrfields, our President Peter greets me with a hearty smile (for folk that know Peter, he genuinely does smile sometimes) and I have a few pre-match beers and chats. I meet another fella who has never been to the juniors and arrange to have a few pints after the game.

2pm – kick off on a bitterly cold and windy day. I’m guessing about 340 at the game. It won’t be silky soccer due to the strong wind. Beith score after 10 mins (Collins) and we equalise through Nicky Jamieson after 41 mins. I was a wee bit disappointed with some Beith guys as I walked past, in the Juniors you learn to give and take banter but some of the stuff I got wasn’t pleasant. But hey, the other Beith guys were sound and good fun. Full time 1-1 and penalties. We win 5-4 and my Man of Match Twitter award goes to Jamie McDonald, so off to Sharps I go to meet the fellow who’s a Juniors virgin. He loved his day, the atmosphere and the honest football. He’s a season ticket holder at a Scottish Premiership club but swears he’ll be back to Barrfields soon.

Unfortunately I miss my 5.33 train, so I buy a chippy and get a bottle of wine (a cheeky wee Italian red) for the next train home.  Meet up with a few LTFC guys on the train and get a great photo of a policeman holding my Theesel flag while we have a sing-song. Good guy! The photo has appeared quite a lot on Twitter and Facebook, to me that means great publicity for the Juniors.

Glasgow then becomes a blur as the excitement of the day gets to me. I get a train to Edinburgh, but unfortunately fall asleep and only wake up when the train is returning to Glasgow. Time to phone wife and apologise. She knows me so well!

Eventually I get to Edinburgh on the ‘crazy’ train from Glasgow at midnight after jumping in to a 1st Class coach and having great banter with others who did the same. I think I’ve turned them into Theesel supporters. If not, at least they now know about Junior Football. It’s the best.

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