Scottish Football League teams may not quite reach the level of play in the Scottish Premier League. But they have a long history of playing the game, and the excitement on match day is unrivaled. The Scottish Football League bills itself as “the home of real football,” and the pride in the league is evident.
Here are four teams to visit when you’re traveling around the United Kingdom and want to take in a great soccer game along the way.
The Fifers’ home stadium is Bayview Stadium at Harbour View in Leven, in the historic Fife region on the coast north of Edinburgh. The stadium is a cozy place with only 2,000 seats. Although this lack of available space has consistently earned the stadium low rankings, you cannot beat the camaraderie that quickly develops in the stands. Tickets cost only £13. Since home team fans and away fans are seated together, it is best to keep the trash talking to a minimum.
Cowdenbeath F.C. at Central Park, Cowdenbeath
Founded in 1881, Cowdenbeath F.C. plays home games in the small Central Park football stadium with about 4,300 seats in the town of Cowdenbeath, also located in Fife. The football club is currently in first place in the second division. The team has played at this venue since 1917; the stadium is also used for stock car racing (the track encircles the football pitch). Plan to take the rail to the Cowdenbeath rail station, which is only about five minutes away from the field. Match-day tickets cost £15.
Raith Rovers F.C. at Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy
Seating 8,000 attendees, Stark's Park in Kircaldy, another Fife town, has been the official home to Raith Rovers F.C. since 1891. Fans occasionally refer to the stadium as “San Starko.” If you want to rub elbows with the fans, plan to get seats in the main stand. If you cheer for the opposing team, sit in the north stand. Plan to park along the Promenade, which is a short 10-minute walk from the stadium, or take the train (the station is not far). Online ticket sales are through the Livesport website. Tickets are usually £17 with occasional specials.
Ranking sixth in the first division, the Partick Thistle F.C. plays its home matches at Firhill Stadium in Maryhill, Glasgow, on the other side of Scotland from Fife. Take the underground rail to the St. Georges Cross station, which is about 15 minutes away from the stadium. Tickets cost £17. Be prepared to pay cash at the turnstile upon arrival. Fans rooting for the other team sit in the Jackie Husband stand, while home-team fans occupy the new shed north stand. There is enough room for about 10,800 fans.
by Sylvia Cochran
Photos: Partick Thistle F.C. (in yellow) warms up for a match at Firhill Stadium in Glasgow, one of many intimate venues of the Scottish Football League. (Photo by Big Jim Fae Scotland at via Wikimedia Commons)
Barrie McKay of Glasgow Rangers challenges Scott Durie of East Fife during a Scottish Communities League Cup game last year. (Picture by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)