Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Spring 2005

Groundtastic – Scots Scene – Spring 2005

I watch a lot of YouTube videos in bed at night in an attempt to lull myself to sleep. I have mixed results with this tactic. It sometimes works if I am in the mood to listen to some soft rock, but most of the time I opt for punk rock bands of the 70’s or Britpop anthems from the 90’s.These tracks only serve to energise me, but last night I found myself having to make the conscious decision to turn off my tv in the wee small hours of the morning. I had been watching the vlogs of Footy Adventures, which I would heartily recommend to those of you who are interested in football stadiums and architecture.

I stopped watching one video where our knowledgeable guide was visiting all 42 football league grounds in Scotland. I did not want to switch this off, but if anyone needs their beauty sleep then it is me.

These vlogs reminded me of a series of articles that I was sharing with my blog readers, back in 2015/16.

Between 2002-2008 I was Scottish Correspondent for the wonderfully professional Groundtastic – The Football Grounds Magazine. I can not speak highly enough of the editors and contributors to this glossy magazine that is jam-packed with interesting information and photographic gold.

I haven’t been a subscriber to the magazine since my marriage imploded in 2008 and I was forced to leave Scotland. Since then my dexterity has deteriorated to such an extent that I now find it impossible to simply thumb through a magazine.

Imagine my excitement then when I visited the Groundtastic website to discover that they now have a digital edition available   I’ll definitely be subscribing.

Anyway, over the next few months I will be sharing a number of articles that I penned during my time North of the Border, including my regular Scots Scene news round-up of potential football ground developments and improvements. The following is from Spring 2005 and it will be evident to ground enthusiasts and football fans just how much has changed from the era in which it was written…

To view the previous Scots Scene articles that I wrote in Winter 2002, Spring 2003, Summer 2003, Autumn 2003, Winter 2003, Spring 2004, Summer 2004, Autumn 2004 and Winter 2004, click here.

Enjoy a short step back in time.


HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN could have a future at Tynecastle after all – thanks to prospective new owner Vladimir Romanov. Much maligned chief executive Chris Robinson had provisionally agreed a deal to sell the historic ground to Cala Homes for £20 million but Romanov is not convinced about the long-term viability of such a deal. The Lithuanian businessman wants to explore all the stadium solutions himself following his takeover, which, as I write, has still to be finalised.

Romanov is still in discussions to buy Robinson’s 19.6% shareholding although the deadline date for this deal was set at February 4th so by the time you read this the Baltic banker could be in control of Hearts. In January, Romanov called an EGM and pushed through a vote to block the sale of Tynecastle to Cala – using Robinson’s votes – once he provides written financial assurances to satisfy the board that staying in Georgie is a viable option.


At the beginning of December, a SPL board meeting voted to allow INVERNESS CALEDONIAN THISTLE to terminate the ground-sharing arrangement with Aberdeen and return to Caledonian Stadium. This decision was passed on the understanding that a minimum of 6,000 seats and undersoil heating would be in place by the seemingly impossible deadline of January 21. Tulloch Construction, the club’s major shareholder, had begun work on November 29 and workers spent 14 hours a day, seven days a week on the project, which has yielded two new 2200-seater stands behind each goal, taking the overall stadium capacity up to 7,200. Undersoil heating has also been installed. The entire project is thought to have cost £1.5 million, although ICT received around £400,000 from both Tulloch and Highland Council towards the overall cost. As a reward for Tulloch’s hard work in meeting the deadline and their investment, the ground – which officially reopened for the visit of Dunfermline on January 29 – will now be known as Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.

Meanwhile, although ICT had permission to play Scottish Cup fixtures at Caledonian Stadium, they were forced to play their third round ‘home’ tie against St Johnstone at Ross County’s Victoria Park, while building work continued on their spiritual home.


ABERDEEN has been left counting the cost of Inverness Caledonian Thistle’s tenure at Pittodrie – a plague of bugs eating the pitch. The undersoil heating at the ground had to be switched on more often to accommodate ICT. This created the perfect breeding ground for cranefly – commonly known as leatherjackets – that are feeding themselves on grass roots. Usually groundstaff combat the bugs with pesticide at their normal hatching time in spring but due to excessive use of the undersoil heating they emerged early this year. Head groundsman Paul Fiske said: “The leatherjackets feed on the roots of the grass, which causes bare patches on the turf which are later invaded by weeds.”


The SCOTTISH FA has decided not to bid to host the European Championships in 2012. “All of our available energies and resources must, at this time, be directed towards the development of youth football,” said chief executive David Taylor. “We know from experience [the SFA made a joint bid with its Irish counterparts to host the 2008 tournament] that mounting a bid to host the European Championships can be time consuming and costly, without any guarantee of success. The Scottish FA Board have therefore decided not to proceed with any bid but will continue to pursue other opportunities to bring major football events to Scotland, as and when opportunities arise” concluded Taylor.


GRETNA erected a temporary stand at the south end of Raydale Park for the visit of Dundee United in the third round of the Scottish Cup. The stand, which mirrors those used for the Open Golf Championships, is erected at the south end of the ground. With a capacity of 800, this meant Gretna was able to attract 3,000 fans for the visit of the Arabs. This temporary structure – positioned towards the back on the enclosure, which left room for standing in front – will be in place until the end of the season in the hope of more capacity crowds. 


After the directors of ALBION ROVERS failed in a bid to sell Cliftonhill and move to Airdrie’s New Broomfield ground, a plan to redevelop Cliftonhill has emerged. Director Robert Watt revealed the plan but no detail was given except that the plan would see the 85 year-old stadium used on a daily basis for functions and possibly as a leisure arena. Watt hoped a deal with the developer could be agreed by mid-February.


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