Football’s coming home

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THE return of Third Lanark looked closer to reality this week when it was confirmed the amateur team will make a comeback to Cathkin Park.

The Hi Hi, as they were affectionately known, played at the famous ground just round the corner from Hampden.

Third had a large and loyal support from the southside, boasting regular gates of 10,000 plus and winning the Scottish cup, as well as the 1st Division as it was known then, often challenging Rangers and Celtic.

Third Lanark was founded by local soldiers in 1872 as the 3rd Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers, who had been inspired by the first ever Scotland-England international match.

The club became Third Lanark in 1903

Although the team went into administration in 1967, the supporters club has taken regular strides to resurrect 
them.

In 2007, after many failed attempts, an amateur club was formed under the Third Lanark banner. The club would have to compete at junior level before joining the Scottish football league.

Currently a number of Third Lanark teams play, with the successful first team competin at a high level in the Amateur League.

Bert Bell, a spokesman for the supporters club said: “On April 28 1967, myself and my dad walked out of Boghead Park, Dumbarton having just witnessed Thirds’ last ever game in Scottish football.

“Despite the 5-1 slaughter by the Sons’ we had no reason to think it was the end of our club. Sadly in late June that year Thirds were forced straight into liquidation.

“We are trying so hard, not just to keep the name alive, but to ultimately field a Third Lanark side worthy of a place in the Scottish Football League.”

Southsider Stephen Kelly added: “I would dearly love to see this club resurrected.

“In a terrible time for Scottish football it would be amazing to be able to transcend bigotry and hatred.”

A homecoming dinner fundraiser will take place on Saturday.

Jim White from Sky TV will host the black tie event at Glasgow’s Thistle hotel and ex referee John Rowbottom will be a guest speaker.

Heroes from Third Lanark’s past, including former captain Alan Mackay, who won 70 caps with the club, as well as Matt Gray, Mike Jackson, Ian Hilley and Tony Connell will be in attendance.

For further information, contact Pat McGeady on 07955 229969 or Matthew Curry on 07834 641258 or e-mail the supporters club on thirdlanarkcathkin@yahoo.co.uk.