They say there is nothing quite like the magic of the cup and in many respects that is true. In junior football at least, a great cup run can have a galvanising spirit not only on the club but the surrounding community too, with crowds gradually swelling as the rounds progress. For the supporter there are a few reasons that make cup football just that little bit special and it continues to baffle me that in the Premier League managers and owners seem happy with a 12th place finish and spending the last few weeks of the season mindlessly plodding along in the hope that fundamentally achieving nothing amounts to something.
The first reason, is the chance of something a bit different. There’s an old adage that familiarity brings contempt and in Scottish senior football in particular, where most teams play each other a minimum of 4 time a season, the change of drawing anyone outside of your league adds a certain level of excitement. In junior football, where the leagues are regionalised, there is no other competition other than the Scottish Junior Cup that could see teams traverse the country in the pursuit of glory from Burghead to Girvan and everywhere in between.
This brings us to reason number two, the away day. Now for some fans the cup draw should bring an endless run of home fixtures against teams they could easily dispatch. That for me is the ultimate disappointment and as far as the cup goes I’d take a 4 hour coach ride north over a walk round the corner on Scottish Cup day, new ground, new places and of course, new pies.
Pollok’s away tie to Rossvale was somewhere in between, a fairly regularly drawn foe from a lower division that was just a short 15 minutes’ drive from my Southside home. Luckily for me though, I hadn’t yet sampled a pie and so with gusto to Springburn I headed.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: Petershill Park, Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round
Price: A second consecutive junior scotch pie at just one pound. Bargain.
Presentation: So I’m going to do a bit of assumption making here. When I arrived at Petershill Park I was interested to observe a fairly frustrated looking Burger Van vendor at the bottom of the quite substantial hill the pitch sits on. On entry to the ground it became apparent that nobody was holding a Bovril, or soup, or even worse a pie. 15 minutes later and the polystyrene cups and what looked like bags of pick’n’mix started to appear. Knowing that this could be my chance I headed over to a now open kiosk within the ground where two woman were bringing in crates of pies. Why’s this story significant? Because when you were served your pastry it came, not in a tin foil case or adorned with a white napkin but instead in a small white paper poke. I suspect some quick thinking had occurred and if so kudos has to be given in resolving the issue so quickly.
Meatiness: Sometimes you can wax lyrically about the filling of a pie, other times you have to accept what you have been given is a perfectly good and tasty meat filled pastry product. The texture of the mince, spot on. The pepper kick, gentle and lingering. The grease, enough to be moist without a fatty flow creeping down your palm. This was not ground breaking but it was everything a scotch pie should be.
Pastry: Crisp and well baked throughout, sturdy enough to hold the filling during each bite. There was a golden tinge along the top edges and although the top was a little loose this in some way helped to cool the pie on its removal from the bag. Solid job.
Brown Sauce: A wee sachet of the same brown sauce that I get in the work, completely irrelevant but entirely truthful factoid there for you.
Overall: Everything you’d expect from a scotch pie, meaty, little peppery and didn’t fall apart at the seams. I am however left with but one question as to whether the pie came from McGhee’s since the well-known Glasgow bakery is one of Rossvale’s principle sponsors.
Gravy Factor: Would go well with chips and beans.
A solid effort from Rossvale, and an example of how keeping a scotch pie simple can sometimes be the best thing. In an effort to expand my repertoire my next offering will be a Portuguese Football Scran Special focusing on the match day treats consumed during my trip to Lisbon where I took in Benfica v Rio Ave. I put it to you whether this was something that you were interested in and the unanimous feedback from Instagram and a strong favourable rating on Twitter means that this will be the first time I have written about non pie things on this site.
However until then, go forth and eat pie.
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.