Terracing at Cathkin Park, Glasgow

Home of Third Lanark AC fifty years after club’s demise

1967 was a good year for Scottish football. Celtic’s Lions of Lisbon became the first British team to lift the European Cup (a year ahead of Manchester United) and – arguably even more important – the national side beat the auld enemy (and reigning world champions) 3-2 at Wembley.

But it was not all good news. 50 years ago today, Third Lanark Athletic Club played out a 5-1 defeat against Dumbarton in the final match of an undistinguished season. They finished 11th out of 20 clubs in the Scottish League Division Two (at that time the Scottish Football League comprised only two divisions), just six years after a third-place finish in the top flight with a tally of 100 goals scored.

TLAC colour

Rare colour photograph of Third Lanark in action at Cathkin Park (image from the Scottish Football Museum).

Founded in 1872 as Third Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, the Glasgow side were founder members of the Scottish League. They enjoyed considerable success in their early days: a Scottish Cup win in 1889, League Champions in 1903-04, and another Scottish Cup win in 1905. They also won the Glasgow Cup – then considered to be on a par with the Scottish Cup – on four occasions. In 1903 they moved to the second (of three) Hampden Park when Queens Park moved to the present Hampden Park; the ground was renamed New Cathkin Park after the club’s original home (the ‘New’ eventually fell out of use).

cathkin park

Exterior view of Cathkin Park (image http://www.stadiumguide.com/cathkinpark/)

Although later years did not bring the same level of success, the ‘Hi-Hi’ as they were known (thought to be a reference to hoofed clearances) were force in Scottish football until their decline in the mid-1960s. Relegated to Division Two in 1965 after a disastrous campaign that saw them win just three matches and draw one, they failed to make in impact in the lower tier.

The 5-1 defeat at Dumbarton’s Boghead Park would be Third Lanark’s final competitive match. The club had been mismanaged to the extent that its affairs were subsequently investigated by the Board of Trade; it was deeply in debt; and it was wound up after failing to pay a Glasgow building company for work at Cathkin Park.

Although the stands have long since been demolished, the terracing at Cathkin Park remains to this day as an eerie reminder of times past.

 

 

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