Roddy Doig
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Roddy Doig - Player 1984-86



Here we chat to Roddy Doig, the left-sided midfielder who played for Cowden some 20 years  ago.

‘I come from Dunfermline where I lived in McKane Place as a boy. I went to Dunfermline High School and my football really started with Inverkeithing United. Then I was with Hill of Beath Swifts at the same time as Willie Callaghan before I joined Raith Colts who were an Under-18 nursery side for Raith Rovers. I was a Rovers s-form signing then and we played our home matches at Thornton Hibs ground Memorial Park.

  At the end of season 1983/84 though the Colts released every player apart from one. Cowdenbeath had an Irish lad then who was a scout for them in Dunfermline and he phoned me up to ask me to play a trial for Cowden. I duly played in a trial match at Central Park against Bumtisland Shipyard and was signed by Cowden along with my former Raith Colts teammates Ian Kinnell and John ‘Jake’ Mitchell. Cowden also signed Robert Duncan from Dunfermline Railway Club and he had been at the Raith Colts with us.

Ex-Lisbon Lion John Clark was the Cowden manager then and he was a good guy. There were good training methods and you could see the experience he had gained at Celtic and Aberdeen. He was quite strict and didn't like to see young players going out ‘hellraising’. We had a pre-season tour where we went down to England and played Fleetwood and Choriey. We weren't allowed out to play at night though as all the younger players had to be back at the Hotel by 10pm.

I made my competitive debut for Cowden at Cliftonhill. We lost 1-0 to an Albion Rovers side that included Bernie Slaven and Vic Kasule. That was the season Cowden reached the League Cup quarter final where we lost 3-1 to Rangers at Central Park. We beat St Mirren and Partick Thistle in the earlier rounds.

Many of my early appearance were as a sub and I grabbed a few goals. I scored in a 4-0 win at Stenhousemuir and then netted a last minute equaliser at Arbroath. The ball was laid off to me in the box and I hit it in off the post. I then had a run in the side until a home match against Stenhousemuir. In that game 1 got a kick in the foot and had to go off to hospital. I had six or seven stitches put in my foot and was on the sidelines for  months. I went back to Central Park from the hospital that night to find the game was already over as it had been abandoned due to fog.

One of the most memorable games during my time with Cowden was actually a Reserve Cup tie. We met Aberdeen at Central Park and Alex Ferguson was there with a strong Dons side which included Bryan Gunn, Joe Miller, Dougie Bell, and Steve Cowan. Aberdeen were leading 2-0 before I scored twice to level matters. Robert Duncan made it 3-2 and then Stewart Williamson finished Aberdeen off when he hit home a 30 yard raker.

There were a lot of raised voices in the Aberdeen dressing room that night after their surprise defeat. In the next round, we lost 2-1 to Dundee - I remember the famous Albert Kidd was in their line up.

Another game I remember well from my first season with Cowden was on New Year's Day at Berwick. There was a strong wind and I hit an inswinger right on top of the keeper. That was our normal strategy with Ian Paterson standing right on the goalie. The ball went flying into the net and we won 2-0. We had a pretty good team then and just missed out on promotion by three points in fourth place.

 Raymie Allan was an excellent goalkeeper. I know he played later briefly at Motherwell but I feel nowadays he would have played at a higher level. He still works down at Rosyth Dockyard. Stewart Williamson and Dave Wilcox were the full backs. Davie is manager at Kelty Hearts now while Stewart who lives locally is assistant manager at Tayport. Then there was Danny Wilson from Bonnybridge and Grant Tierney. Grant was a rock solid centre-half and he had a good few years along the road at Dunfermline as well. Davie Armour was in centre midfield and he was good pro, a real clean living teetotaler who was ex-Rangers and Ayr.

Up front we had Ian Paterson who we got from Brechin. He was tall and skinny but a good centre. Alan Oliver came from Stenhousemuir in a swap deal for Brian Christie. Then we had two stars in Colin McGlashan and Kenny Ward. Kenny lives in Valleyfield now and is driving lorries. There were some good youngsters too including Alan MacKenzie and Keith McCulloch. Keith played for Alloa for many years. That season I was voted Cowden's young player of the year and was presented with my award at a dinner dance at a hotel in Kinross’. 

‘In season 1986/87, we started off pretty well and were challenging at the top of the Second Division.  I particularly remember the early-season game at East End Park.  Colin McGlashan put us one up and then a few minutes later Paul Quinn played me in with a cut back.  I was about 10 yards out on the left-hand side and drove the ball into the Dunfermline net. 


owever the Pars soon hit back.  Steve Morrison scored and then Ian Heddle fired a 30-yarder into our net. Heddle was a good player.  Then John Watson grabbed a winner for Dunfermline but really we had the chances to get a result.  I was speaking to John just last week.  I used to stay next door to him and Norrie McCathie when I was first married and living near the driving test centre in Dunfermline. 


Not long after that defeat from the Pars  we played at Dumfries.  Ian Paterson had us one up early on at Palmerston.  Queens though were a good side with Jimmy Robertson a real star and they ended up hammering us 6-1.  John Clark was not a happy man that day but we were pretty surprised when soon after he quit and shortly later took the manager’s job at Stranraer.


His assistant was another ex-Celt Joe Craig and Joe stepped up to become Cowden manager.  Bobby Ford (ex-Dundee and Raith) who was our reserve coach then became Joe’s assistant.  I got on fine with Joe Craig and Bobby Ford.  However, I seemed to fall out of the first team picture although there was never any fall-out between Joe and I.  Perhaps I just wasn’t his cup of tea.


I therefore left Central Park at the end of season 1986/87 and went junior with Halbeath.  I was at Halbeath for four years and we had a pretty good squad of boys including Willie Callaghan, Ian Pryde and Colin O’Brien.


Jim McArthur the cousin of the ex-Cowden goalie was in charge at Halbeath and he had brought a number of players to Village Park from his old side Dunfermline Railway Club.  Jim’s now a coach at East End Park.  We won the Fife Junior Second Division during my time at Halbeath.  I can also remember playing against Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Cup when they brought about 600 fans through in a fleet of buses to Halbeath. 


Big rivals back then were Hill of Beath Haws while Oakley United were a good team.  They had Terry Wilson and Ross Hamill both of whom had been on Cowden’s books.  Unfortunately I had a couple of injuries including a broken ankle during my time at Halbeath. 


Halbeath eventually folded and Jim McArthur then took me to Ballingry Rovers with him.  However, I broke my elbow in just about my first match for Ballingry.  I had just started working at the Dockyard and basically I then decided to knock the football on the head.  I had already had some time off work before due to injury and I wasn’t keen to risk keeping on missing work due to injuries just after starting at the Dockyard as a painter. 


I learned my trade as a painter and decorator with Dunfermline Co-op Works Department after leaving school.  I then worked for Edinburgh Decorators before getting the job at Rosyth. 


In 1992, I made a comeback in the Saturday amateurs with Townhill and that lasted about a year and a half.  Since then I’ve played a bit of 5-a-side now and again.  Sometimes I played at Beath Centre against ex-Cowden players Bobby Wilson and Eric Archibald. 


Looking back on my time with Cowden I think John Clark was a very good manager.  Mind you so were Freddie Muller at Hill of Beath Swifts and Kenny Mackenzie at Raith Colts. 


My parents were also great at encouraging me and my Dad used to watch me playing for Cowden.  I can also remember Jimmy Reekie the physio at Central Park.   Eric Mitchell and George Dick were Cowden directors then and I always found them very encouraging.  Every game they’d pop their head round the door to wish the team luck. 


On the playing side, we did have some really excellent players.  There was  Kenny Ward who was so fast up front along with Colin McGlashan who had a great first touch and held the ball up so well.  They could both score goals.  I also rated Jake Mitchell who is still playing along at Hill of Beath.  He played in the juveniles with me as well and was always keen to push forward. 


Raymie Allan was undoubtedly a top class keeper and he played for Cowden for years.  Then there were two more experienced guys who were to die tragically quite young.  Davie Armour the ex-Ranger had seen it all and he was a great pro talking all the younger players through the game.  He died just over a year ago at the age of 50 from cancer.  He was still turning out for Dukla Pumpherston in charity matches not long before his death. 


It was another shock to the learn of the death of big Drew Rutherford from cancer as well just a month or so ago.  I used to see him around in Dunfermline but hadn’t seen him for about 6 years.  He was another good pro.


Dunfermline and Queen of the South were among the best of the League opposition I played against.  Beating Fergie’s Aberdeen Second XI in a Scottish Cup tie was also a memorable experience.  Hardest opponent ever though was Walter Kidd of Hearts – he was a really tough guy. 


I always enjoyed playing at Gayfield as Arbroath’s pitch was like a bowling green.  Muirton too was a good pitch but I wasn’t too keen on Cliftonhill.  My favourite grounds though were Central Park and East End Park when we had the big crowds for the Cowden v Pars derbies.  We held our own against Dunfermline in those encounters. 


I am still down at the dockyard where I work beside Cowden fan Jimmy Scade.  Raymie Allan too still works at the yard.  I have said to Jimmy I’ll come through and see a Cowden game in the near future.  I did enjoy my Cowden days and it would be nice if there are still a few fans that remember me.’


Cowden Conversations with David A Allan