I was never going to readily acknowledge that this football journey we have embarked upon would be without its troubles and Livingston haven't let us down. The ongoing saga over their future and the possible ramifications for Airdrie and Cowdenbeath have meant that there are still several fixtures which have yet to find a date for our visit. But that's for another day. Last weekend's glorious double header provided us with 13 goals, decent pies and Bovril's and a near incredible comeback from East Stirling.
This weekend we had just the one fixture and it was a trip to Dumfries to see the opening First Division tie for the season between Queen of the South and Raith Rovers. I don't think I am alone in saying I had my doubts that the 4 of us would all be able to complete the entire expedition and sadly after just one week my fear has been realised. Sean pulled out of today's trip which left Kieran, Jamie and I to soldier on. The journey down to Dumfries was rather longer than initially thought but we did get to experience the wonderful sights, sounds and smells that deepest darkest Ayrshire had to offer (although I'm still not sure what the difference between Cumnock and New Cumnock is ' perhaps they use a different type of wood to board up their windows).
Palmerston Park didn't appear to offer much on the outside but inside a relatively new looking stand at one side accompanied by a small main stand opposite and a bank of terracing behind the goals certainly raised it above Ochilview. After a nightmarish pie and Bovril, Jamie managed to acquire the last programme in the ground and we pored over the players on show. I have a feeling it may become a ritual to see how many players appear that once played for our respective clubs that we support. We stood behind a dozen or so of the apparent diehard Doonhamers who sang lustily throughout the game (and indeed were accompanied by a drummer for the 2nd half).
The match itself was a mixed bag, high on drama but bereft of football skill. The referee was the focal point, dishing out 8 yellows and 2 red cards in a game he almost appeared to lose control of at one point and seemed out of his depth constantly. The red cards were at best debatable, the majority of the bookings completely laughable.
Queen's actually appeared to have let the match slip them by until an astonishing Holmes volley in the 91st minute, completely out of character with the game, levelled the game at 1-1. In truth it was a game that neither side deserved to win.
However if you were to ask the three of us what we will take from today's trip the answer will be unanimous: Gregory Tade. Marked as a 'strong French midfielder' the Raith Rovers player was undeniably awful. for a tall man he won nothing in the air, his close control was as graceful as Bambi on ice and his one shot at goal resulted in smacking a Queens fan right in the coupon behind the goal. A hero is born.
Oh and we have already seen 11 balls cleared out the stadium after just 3 games.
Journey - 5/10
Pie - 2/10
Bovril - 1/10
Ground - 5/10
Game - 5/10