Friday night football: A reward for everyone putting in their graft during the week. Any game under the floodlights is special, but a Scottish Cup tie under those bright beams is something different. A one-off contest that could have significant rewards for the clubs involved. Everything is laid bare. Two teams going toe to toe to make a nationwide name for themselves. We all love the magic of the cup, and it’s fantastic to be able to witness it in person once again.
Cumbernauld Colts are a relatively recent addition to the Scottish football pyramid. Founded in 1969, the club competed in the Caledonian Amateur Leagues until their induction into the Lowland League in 2015. The Colts have since been a mainstay in the 5th tier, parading around mid-table most seasons. The club won the Lowland League Cup in 2018, making it the lone piece of silverware in The Colts’ professional league cabinet.
Despite a lack of professional history within the club, The Colts are well known in the local area. Colts in the Community is an outreach programme created by the club to provide community-focussed activities to schools and disadvantaged areas in North Lanarkshire. Football is a language Scotland is fluent in, and it has become an expectation for Scottish clubs to provide these services to those who need it most. Cumbernauld Colts are no different, and I’m sure the town is better off for it.
With the club providing terrific off-field services, I decided to see what they about on the park. The Colts were taking on Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup First Round. The Cup provides huge opportunities for lower league clubs to make a name for themselves. A few good results could mean exceptional financial windfalls and significant public exposure. Early round knockout competitions usually showcase a free-flowing and entertaining spectacle. I was hoping for this exact scenario.
With the rain pouring down in the early evening I was thankful for Cumbernauld not being a huge distance away. After picking up my guest for tonight’s entertainment, a simple saunter down the M73 brought us to highlands of North Lanarkshire. Broadwood Stadium is located a short distance outside the town but impossible to miss. The lights beamed and could be seen from a distance away. As we entered the winding road down towards the ground, I was delighted to see the car park pretty full – indicating a decent attendance from both sets of supporters. Cup fever was upon us.
Broadwood is far and away the largest stadium I have entered whilst on my groundhopping adventure. The purpose-built multi-use ground was built in 1994 and currently hosts two football clubs. As well as The Colts, Clyde play their SPFL League One home games at Broadwood. Interestingly though, despite The Bully Wee playing two levels higher and ‘Clyde FC’ being plastered across the seating, The Colts are the primary license holders of the stadium. The first electronic screen of my travels was also well-received.
Three full stands surround the artificial pitch. Behind the goals on the right-hand side is wide open, with a North Lanarkshire Leisure building proudly displaying itself for all to see. I imagine that building must be full of dents from wayward strikes at goal. I enjoy the aesthetics of Broadwood. It’s simple and more than large enough to host the events it does. I often wonder whether players enjoy playing in genuine stadiums or in tight and compact junior grounds. Answers on a postcard.
A very basic food and drink stand met us as we walked into the ground level of the main stand. Two hard-working members of Colts’ staff had proudly displayed and readied a multitude of teas, coffees, Bovril and hot food. With Broadwood often being described as one of the coldest grounds in the SPFL Pyramid, it’s no wonder these drinks were ready to go. A bar lounge upstairs was readily available to enter for a different vibe to the stand or tea-room. It feels traditional for Scottish Cup games to have a lounge open for both sets of supporters to get together. It also takes me back to my boy’s club days of eating my weight in sandwiches the home team had prepared for Scottish Cup Day. I like Broadwood and feel that it holds good stature in the Scottish game. I would be interested to attend a Clyde match soon to compare any differences. On this occasion I feel a score of 3.5/5 is a fair score.
I often expect cup games to have a better atmosphere than a bog-standard league encounter. With plenty on the line, tempers flare and patience can deteriorate quickly. It often makes for better entertainment on the pitch.
I was delighted to see a sizeable crowd brought down from Buckie. It takes a huge level of loyalty to travel the 246 mile (according to Google Maps) round-trip on a Friday night to watch a first round tie. They were in good voice too. A few songs were sung, and shouts thrown here and there. The Colts also brought a good crowd with plenty of encouragement for the home side noticeable throughout the game. It was clear to see the patter flowing between both sets of supporters in the ground too. Even with so much at stake, football is only as serious as you make of it. This was a cup-tie atmosphere, and we were here for it. 3.5/5.
Quality of the Match
Buckie came into this match in decent form and find themselves 3rd in the Highland League table. Cumbernauld on the other hand had already lost 8 league games this season and lingered in the lower reaches of the Lowland League.
The away side started the far brighter. They dominated play from the off and showcased themselves as a good passing side with plenty of attacking impetus. A few early chances saw a deflected close range from Andy MacAskill fly out for a corner. The resulting set-piece was well-worked and produced a smart save from Alex Marshall in the Colt’s goal. Buckie should have taken the lead after a whipped free kick was headed wide by Kyle MacLeod. A wasted opportunity from a guilt-edge free header.
The Colts had their first real opportunity of the game with Ewan Macpherson striding down the left-hand side. His eventual strike rippled the side-netting, much to the frustration of his unmarked team-mate on the 18-yard line. Buckie regained control thereafter and wasted yet another opportunity. Some superb play down the right resulted in a driven cross being fired through the Colts defence. The home side could only watch in relief as the ball smashed off the post at the far end.
Half time: Cumbernauld Colts 0-0 Buckie Thistle
After some vocal grumbles from the Buckie support, their team continued their domination early in the second half. Sam Urquhart fired a decent strike just over the Colt’s bar, with the away side wondering if it was going to be one of those dreaded nights.
Their fears were becoming a reality shortly after. A pacey run from Macpherson cut through the Buckie defence. After beating 2 or 3 defenders, he was taken down on the edge of the box. Craig Murray produced a scintillating strike to fire the ball in the far corner of the Buckie net from the resulting free-kick. A fantastic strike. Not so sure about the knee slide on the AstroTurf through.
Buckie’s shock didn’t last long though. The much-needed wakeup call produced a startlingly quick comeback. A good cross in from Buckie’s left was flicked on well, leaving Kyle MacLeod free in the Colt’s box. There was no way he was missing this one as he swept the ball home to give the away side the momentum once more.
Normal service resumed. Buckie continued to apply pressure into the depths of the match. A poor pass in the Colt’s midfield gave Buckie the chance to break. A good ball into the feet of Scott Adams could only result in the midfielder’s strike coming off the wrong side of the post.
Cumbernauld produced the last half-chance of the contest. A surging run by Stephen O’Neill pushed the Colts forward. His cross-come shot evaded everyone as the ball trickled across the by-line. A frustrating end for the home side with a chance to win the game.
The game began to peter out with long-balls being fired in both directions. There was time for a few crunching tackles and on-field arguments to liven proceedings though. Unfortunately for both teams, heated arguments and petty shoves don’t count towards the final score.
Full time: Cumbernauld Colts 1-1 Buckie Thistle
Buckie will naturally feel frustrated about their performance here. The away side had countless opportunities to bury the game in the first half alone. Some poor finishing and a lack of clinical composure allowed The Colts into the contest. However, they will feel they can take tonight’s hosts up to the highlands and finish the job.
I was impressed by Buckie’s Jack Murray in central defence. His towering presence controlled any aerial threats coming Buckie’s way. He also seemed to enjoy a stroll into midfield and proved his intricate ball control skills along the way. I’d be interested to track his career path and would expect him to be playing at a higher level soon.
Cumbernauld Colts may also feel aggrieved with this result. After taking the lead against the run of play, they will be disappointed to lose the lead so quickly. Despite being second-best for the majority of the game, The Colts will travel to highlands next week with the belief they can take something from the game and push Buckie all the way.
Overall, I enjoyed my time watching this contest. The loudest crowd of my travels so far, a decent storyline on the park and a real cup-tie feel around this match are all positives in my book. A possible lack of finishing quality only added to the tension. I believe a score of 3/5 is fair.
Tickets for this Scottish Cup tie came to £8. A big cup-tie between two decent teams with plenty on the line is well worth this price tag. Food and drink also came to fair prices for a game of football. As previously mentioned, I feel any game below League 2 will achieve 5/5 for pricing. The Colts are no different. 5/5.
Cumbernauld Colts finish with a final score of 15/20. A very enjoyable experience at a cracking ground, a decent game and good company.
I wish both teams the best of luck with their cup replay next week and for their respective league seasons. I will be back at Broadwood at some point for an experience of Clyde FC.