Andy Harrow, Shaughan McGuigan and Craig G Telfer bring you the Scottish Football Bucket List; all the reasons you need to visit the Ladbrokes Championship, League 1 and League 2 during the Premiership winter break.
Paul Hartley's Falkirk
The comparisons between last season’s St Mirren and this season’s Falkirk teams are many and varied. Both were fancied to do quite well at the beginning of the season, before surprisingly poor results saw a changing of the guard in the dugout. While Jack Ross was eventually able to lead The Buddies to safety last term, the onus now rests on Paul Hartley to try and eke out something similar from Falkirk this time around. With new faces already arriving at The Falkirk Stadium, the expectation is that more additions will arrive throughout January, giving hope to Bairns fans that the similarity to last season’s St Mirren team will also extend to staying up.
East Fife's Game-of-the-Season
You never really know what you’re going to get with East Fife, with results regularly veering between the sublime and ridiculous. Their heaviest ever home defeat to local rivals Raith Rovers was seen as proof that the season was heading for the rocks but they’ve more than rebounded from that chastening experience. Airdrie were recently dismissed by six goals to one, but it was the home win over Albion Rovers which really got the pulse racing. Four-two down with a little over 15 minutes remaining, Darren Young’s side fought back to claim a last-second 5-4 win, in what was one of the best games ever seen at Bayview. However the Methil side’s season pans out, it’s unlikely to be boring.
Club mascots come in all shapes and sizes but, while they aren’t always animal themed, we’ve grown fairly accustomed to teams sporadically revealing some giant, smiling bear, lion or in extreme circumstances, a spider. Unsurprisingly, cuddly foodstuff is less common, and while Inverness Caledonian Thistle did have a stuffed-to-the-brim baguette for a few years, Forfar’s decision to create Baxter Bridie to enhance their match-day experience was a very welcome one. After all, what could be more inspiring for the home players, than sprinting on to the home park to be high-fived by an enormous meat-filled pastry?
Sat at the bottom of the Championship, Brechin City may be experiencing something of a tough time at the moment, but when it comes to the quality of their catering, they’re surely a lot closer to the top of the pile. While first-time visitors may rock up at Glebe Park excited to catch a glimpse of their famous topiary, they’d be equally impressed by the standard of their home-made soup, which has helped warm up punters on cold Angus winter afternoons for years. Even if your team’s result isn’t a positive one at Glebe Park, at least the broth can make your visit a worthwhile one.
It’s fair to say that taller visitors to Cappielow may face a bit of a tight squeeze in the away end, but it’s impossible to take a dislike to one of Scotland’s most unique venues. With terracing at both ends, the old stadium can provide a crackling and energetic atmosphere that few grounds at that level can muster, while the pitch, so often an award winner, has the happy knack of remaining verdant, long after most others have succumbed to the vagaries of a Scottish winter. Jim Duffy’s task is how to bring top-flight football to one of the nation’s most recognisable stadiums for the first time since 1987/88.
Read the rest of the SPFL Bucket list: