As a young boy, going away from home to support your team was always a great event.
I would marvel at the atmosphere and the banter . . . it always seemed to be different from home games.
For one city fan, though, two of his early away days ended in thrashings . . . and both were by the same team!
Barry Downs resident Mike Laidlaw remembers: “Early away days for me included two trips to Cathkin Park to see Dundee United visit Third Lanark.
“It was the first couple of seasons after United were promoted in the early 1960s. I think the bus used to leave from Courthouse Square in Dundee.
“There were very few United fans at these games, and I think ours was the only bus!
“Anyway, we were given a right hiding on both occasions, 6-1 and 7-2 if I remember correctly.
“Mind you, Third Lanark had a very good team at that time with players such as Dave Hilley and Alec Harley.
“I can only really remember Rolando Ugolini being in United’s goal.
“Do you have any info on these games?”
With the assistance of journalist, author and Dundee United historian Peter Rundo, I was able to find out that there were certainly fireworks for the Hi-Hi’s fans on Saturday, November 5, 1960, when they beat the Tannadice men 6-1 in front of 7000 supporters.
Thirds striker Alex Harley, who was later to become a Dundee FC player – notched a hat-trick, and the full list of home scorers were Alex Harley (10 minutes), Dave Hilley (24), Alex Harley (31), Matt Gray (55), Alex Harley (62), Dave Hilley (83).
United’s goal came from a Jimmy Briggs penalty after 26 minutes played.
United lined up – Roando Ugolini; Kevin Cairns, Jimmy Briggs; Tommy Neilson, Ron Yeats, Stewart Fraser; Jim Irvine, Dennis Gillespie, Tommy Campbell, Tommy McLeod, Gibby Ormond.
Third Lanark – Jocky Robertson; Findlay McGillivray, John Caldwell; Jim Reilly, Hugh Smith, Willie Cunningham; Jimmy Goodfellow, Dave Hilley, Alex Harley, Matt Gray, Joe McInnes.
Just over a year later, on October 7, 1961, things got even worse for the Tannadice outfit as they returned home after a 7-2 defeat, with just over 6000 supporters attending at Cathkin Park.
Harley again was the marksman in chief, netting five of the home side’s goals. Gray and Hilley were also on target.
Wattie Carlyle and Dennis Gillespie got United’s goals.
Representing United that day were – Roando Ugolini; Tommy Graham, Jimmy Briggs; Tommy Neilson, Doug Smith, Stewart Fraser; David Boner, Jim Irvine, Walter Carlyle, Dennis Gillespie, Neil Mochan.
Thirds kicked off with – Jocky Robertson; Findlay McGillivray, Billy Lewis; Jim Reilly, John McCormack, Willie Cunningham; Jimmy Goodfellow, Dave Hilley, Alex Harley, Matt Gray, Joe McInnes.