The recent Scottish Junior Cup exploits of Lochee United caught the imagination of the Dundee footballing public.
And this was confirmed when around 2,000 attended the second leg of the semi-final against Auchinleck Talbot.
The Bluebells, of course, didn’t succeed this time around, but, for one former Thomson Park favourite, the event saw the club win hands down.
Davie Bruce played for Lochee United in the 1960s and early 70s, and opened: “I was at Thomson Park to watch the game and, although disappointed at the result, it was a great day with a big crowd and a pipe band.
“Also, the players had their families on the park as mascots.
“It also gave me the chance to catch up with some of my old team-mates.
“They included Danny MacAlpine, Willie Caswell, Martin Breen, Jimmy Gowans and some of the Lochee United diehard fans.
“Plus, of course, Andy Walker.”
Davie, although a few years older than myself, was my club-mate at Butterburn Youth Club in the early ’60s, and he continued: “We were speaking about the biggest crowds at previous Lochee games, and we thought that the biggest crowd was when we played Dunipace.
“I reckoned the crowd was around 3,500 in a Scottish Cup tie.
“What stood out in the conversation was that we were desperate to get the tie on as it was the only game on in Dundee due to the bad weather.
“I can remember the committee and helpers virtually digging up the penalty box with spades and putting down tonnes of sand, then rolling it.
“The game did go ahead and we won 1-0 due to, I think, a Willie Ross header to get us into the next round.
“I think we reached the quarter-finals that year before going out to Ashfield away from home.”
Returning to the present, Davie concluded: “A big thanks to Tom McMillan and his committee – and the team – for putting on a great day and for the fans who came along.”
Long-time Lochee United fan Kenneth Brannan was also at the tie.
He offered: “Although I was disappointed with the result, I can’t fault our players for lack of effort.
“I honestly believe they gave all they had, but, in the end, came up short.
“Nevertheless, this was still a great occasion for Lochee and the surrounding district.
“The team were well supported on the day and I think the good weather and carnival atmosphere may have contributed to the size of the crowd.
“As I was walking up Gray Street on to Liff Road, I was going to enter Thomson Park from the Liff Road end.
“However, the huge numbers of people standing in that queue changed my mind about that!
“So I walked around the corner and up the wee brae to gain entry from the Napier Drive end of the ground and, guess what . . . an even bigger queue waiting to get in.
“There were youngsters, couples with babies and other kids, and many elderly people, too.
“All waiting patiently just to get in to see Lochee United and, for me, that was a brilliant sight.”
Like Davie Bruce, Kenneth also encountered a living legend.
“Best of all, though, while I was waiting in the queue I saw — and spoke to — Lochee legend Andy Walker, who was taking photos of the large crowds of people waiting to get into Thomson Park.
“The kick-off had to be delayed to let the big crowd get in.
“One wonders when was the last time that happened for a junior match anywhere in Dundee?
“I am sure Andy Walker will have a few stories to tell about that in the years ahead!”
Kenneth, a keen contributor to this column over the years, went on: “Many former Lochee United players were at the match and I spoke to three of them – Danny McAlpine, Davie Bruce and Martin Breen – all great Lochee players in their day.
“There has been recent publicity about some shops in Lochee closing down and many other people in Lochee are unemployed. But, despite all that in the week leading up to the semi-final second leg, there was a great ‘buzz’ about the whole area.
“This tie was something for many local people to really look forward to and I am sure the local economy got a welcome boost on match day.
“I think the lesson I learned from this semi-final is it just shows you what a football match can do to give local people hope and to raise their spirits.”