Dundee were the punch-drunk underdogs when they chased European Cup glory after winning the league in 1962. AC Milan, Benfica and Real Madrid were at the peak of their powers and Ipswich would represent England after winning the league under Alf Ramsey. Dundee were about to enter a new world of glamour.

Expectations were so low that just ten Dundee fans put their names forward for a special flight to mark the club’s first venture into the unknown. The Dark Blues were up for the fight though and destroyed Cologne 8-1 in a blitzkrieg at Dens Park that left the German Embassy reeling. In the week they shared the same bill as boxing legends Sonny Liston and Sugar Ray Robinson, the British Army rescued Dundee from a mass riot with as many punches thrown in the return leg.

As this remarkable Cinderella story unfolded, fans of city rivals Dundee United were soon hitch-hiking across the continent to watch Dundee as they came close to conquering Europe, before it all ended in brawls, bribes and broken dreams.

(Publisher: Pitch Publishing Ltd. May 2022. Hardcover: 352 pages)


Read our review here: Brawls, Bribes and Broken Dreams


Dundee Football Club has always had a fine tradition of goalkeeping greats since they were founded in 1893 right up to the present day. The Dark Blue support love their goalkeepers and have voted them player of the year in four out of the last seven seasons and four of them have over 300 appearances for The Dee.

The first time the national side called up a trio of Dundee players in 1894, a goalkeeper was amongst them and Dundee have provided eight goalkeepers for Scotland sides over the years. The 1964 Scottish Cup Final was named after a Dundee goalkeeper while Championship winning goalkeeper Pat Liney is the club’s Honorary President. It’s fair to say that Dundee FC have been more than lucky with the quality of goalkeeper that has been the last line of defence throughout its history.

From Liney to Letheren, from Donaldson to Douglas, from Allan to Anderson, from Marsh to Muir, from Slater to Speroni and from Brown to Bain, this is the story of Dundee’s Goalkeeping Greats.

Read our review here: Book Review: Dundee Goalkeeping G (

(Publisher: Wholepoint Publications. September 2020. Paperback: 120 pages)

Book Review: AK-86 Two shots in the heart of Scottish Football by Grant Hill

The title of a book can sometimes be an intriguing little puzzle as to what is to come for the reader. One such that falls into the category is AK-86 Two shots in the heart of Scottish Football by Grant Hill. It is only after reading the book that you can fully deconstruct the title and come to find all sorts of meaning and games at play.

Let’s start with AK-86. Well, most people will have heard of an AK-47, or Kalashnikov rifle, one of the most widely used weapons in the world, so by using ‘AK’, Hill has created the link to the weapon and therefore the use of the terms ‘shots’, as in firing a gun, in the sub-title of the book. However, in the context of the book, AK refers to the initials of the player at the centre of this tale, Dundee striker Albert Kidd, with 86 referring to the pivotal year of 1986 when the end of the Scottish League Premier Division season reached a dramatic conclusion.

So if we take that AK-86 as having a football reference, then the ‘shots’ referred to in the sub-title have a second representation, that being the two goals that Kidd scored in the final game of the 1985/86 campaign. However, they have a third meaning, as within the book, Hill talks about 1986 as being pivotal for two major changes which changed or got at the heart of the Scottish game. These events saw the end of an era for the Scotland national team, as the likes of World class players such as Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hanson exited the international scene, never to be replaced.  Indeed 1986 saw Souness arrive at Ibrox as Rangers splashed the cash in the following years to attract players North of the Border, and as Hill outlines, start the process of financial problems that the Glasgow club has endured to this day and indeed afflicted other clubs.

In telling the story, Hill interviews many of the protagonists, including Albert Kidd, and includes contributions from managers, players and fans of the clubs involved at Celtic, Dundee, Hearts, Hibernian, Rangers and St. Mirren. By using a chronological timeline in terms of the build-up to that weekend and events some years later, the story is given a full examination including an investigation of the rumours and conspiracy theories that were banded around as the games were completed on that Saturday in early May.

Being based in England, I have to hold my hand up and say that before reading and reviewing this book I wasn’t aware of the story of the 03 May 1986. However, even if you know the outcome, Hill brilliantly maintains the suspense of the events building up to that crucial Saturday and it a book that is well worth a read, for this tale and the implications for Scottish Football following those events in 1986.


Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT

Book Review: Taxi for Farrell – Football between the lines by David Farrell

Too many books about the careers of footballer’s tend to be pretty sterile affairs, with content that plods through a season-by-season account of their playing days with little in the way of insight or integrity. However, this is certainly not true of David Farrell’s excellent book, Taxi for Farrell – Football between the lines.

Farrell made his name in the Scottish game with a playing career at Hibernian, Partick Thistle, Airdrieonians, Clydebank, Stranraer and Albion Rovers as well as coaching spells (up to the point of writing this book) at Gretna, Dundee, Clyde, Notts County and Celtic Nation.

In terms of the format of the book, the 269 pages open with an introduction which looks at Farrell’s life growing up in Dennistoun and then develops chronologically through four chapters looking at his playing days, a further two detailing his coaching/assistant management spells, closing with a reflective postscript from 2015 and his days on the streets of Glasgow as a taxi driver.

Throughout the book Farrell has a conversational style, undoubtedly influenced by his blog, Football from the Inside, which he began writing in August 2014. In addition though there is an honest and perceptive quality that provides readers with a genuine and gritty insight into the world of football; a game a million miles away from all the hype of the English Premier League.

What is apparent is that from a very young age Farrell only ever wanted to be a footballer, and despite self-doubt regarding his own ability (something which appears to have dogged him at certain points during his career) he was good enough to play for Scotland U18s and earn a contract at then top-flight club Oxford United in England.

Despite not making a first team appearance at Oxford, Farrell returned to Scotland to begin a 16 year career taking in six clubs. During this time as a ‘rugged’ midfielder/defender Farrell suffered with more than his fair share of injuries and details within this book the realities of playing with pain as part and parcel of the game and at clubs where sometimes there was no medical insurance covering the playing staff.

However, despite the struggles that he endured in prolonging his career, Farrell’s love for the game remained unwavering and pragmatically summed it up in the following way; “the higher a point you start off, the longer it will take to fall to the bottom”. Farrell’s career saw him take in the highs of a League Cup Final appearance against Rangers in 1993, to playing in Division Three with Albion Rovers in 2004 to finish his career.

With his playing days over and with his UEFA A coaching licence earned, Farrell looked to stay within the game, but struggled to get opportunities due to not being perceived as a ‘big-name’. His break came when close friend Alex Rae brought Farrell in at Dundee in 2006, but after failing to get the side back into the Scottish top-flight, the pair were sacked after two years.

This section of the book where Farrell has stopped playing has a darker feel to it, as the reality of the difficulty in finding work within the game hits home and the implications for his ability to pay the bills and resultant pressure on his family, is apparent. Farrell is totally open in stating that he was selfish in trying to stay within the game and was aware that he had to seek other work in order to provide for his family to provide some stability. Cabbing in Glasgow seemed to provide the answer.

Indeed in the books postscript, sub-titled Retired? Farrell writing in 2015 states, “If nothing ever came up again in football again I can honestly say that it wouldn’t bother me”. However, it is evident after reading this book that Farrell is a football addict and that the game is in his blood, even though he understands what an unstable and ruthless business it is. With that in mind, it brought a smile to the face on hearing at the start of 2016 that Farrell was once again back in the game as assistant manager at St Mirren working to Alex Rae.

Taxi for Farrell? Not yet. Fingers crossed his football journey has a few more miles yet.


Category: Reviews | LEAVE A COMMENT