Final day, home straight and finish line in sight! Today we had to tick off a couple Central belt grounds, before heading south and west, before finishing up in Glasgow again.
First up, was Hamilton, and possibly one of the surprises of the tour. Apart from having a nice little new stadium, much like many of the west of Scotland grounds, Hamiltons community projects, led to a themed garden behind the far stand. This garden included plans, rockery, model cars, and even a horror forest. Really not what you would expect when visiting a football ground.
My ankle had really seized up overnight, and I fear I would be unable to complete the runs today. Determination and fear of failure got me going though, and I ended up hoping the last 100m of the pitch. This was going to be a regular occurrence today.
Still before we had even woken up yet, we were in Motherwell and Fir Park Stadium. Here we got taken through the corridors, and got a good look at the Davie Cooper suite. As a young child, I heard of the passing of Davie Cooper, and subsequently watched footage of a true footballing magician. There will never be another player like Super Cooper, Scottish Legend.
We were now to leave central Scotland behind, and embark on the very pleasing on the eye trip to the south and west of the country. It is easily forgotten how beautiful the country is to the south, with all the attention, quite fairly though, getting paid to the spectacular north west. As far as football trips go though, the South West Coast drive is about as good as you’ll get for an away day trip.
Annan, the furthest south of the day, almost back in England, was first. Seemed quite odd being this far South again, having been in Berwick already, but this was the best way to do it.
We were met at Annan by some officials, who posed for a photo with us, and even offered us hospitality at a future game. An offer we are still to take up.
Dumfries next, and Queen of the South. A nice little ground, part of a small town proud of the recent success of the team.
Queens have made huge progress in recent years, almost to the point of getting into the top league, and it is again refreshing to see clubs from small towns be successful. I had a wee tune on the pitch as the runners did their lap, then hobbled after them on my dodgy ankle.
On to Lawrence’s home team of Ayr, and Ayr Utds ground. Somerset Park, is another of the old school variety, steeped in history. You can imagine generations coming to games, and the atmosphere this would generate on match day.
We even got to stop for a haggis pannini to add to the match day vibe. Friends and family of Lawrence joined us, and it was a really enjoyable stop.
Our last stop before returning to Glasgow, was Kirlmarnock’s Rugby park. Here we were given a tour of the changing rooms, and even given a replica strip as a memento.
Again , a nicely kept ground, which we couldn’t spend to much time at due to running out time for the final push to Glasgow.