food writing

Pie 183: The Forres Thistle Pie

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Hello pie fans and welcome to the second review from the Scottish Highlands as we dive into, what turned out to be, a rather substantial scotch pie offering from Logie Park.

If you want to read about the epic steak pie from the same venue then you can do so here, that one was definitely worth the 400+ mile round trip but before we find out if it was a day for double delight I wanted to give you an insight into that journey, one that very nearly resulted in an overnight stay in Forres itself.

The day started early, arriving at The Quiach, the regular post match watering hole for half eight with a roll and coffee in hand. There is a regular bunch that take the bus to these away games, and our numbers were boosted by an extra few who wanted to leave their cars at home and enjoy what had turned out be a first trip north in over five years.

The drive north was fairly uneventful, we rolled into town a couple of hours before kick off and quickly assessed our surroundings in search of the nearest pub knowing that the ground itself, which was situated on the outskirts, had no social club to fall back on. Having had a few in The Thistle Bar we boarded the bus and headed towards the ground which was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac in a residential area. There was no parking to speak off and so our driver Wullie made the bold – and what soon turned out to be foolhardy – decision to go off road and park up on the grass, 45 seconds later the bus was stuck.

The rain had been falling heavily the night before and in spells throughout the journey and whilst a couple of cars were already in situ there was a suspicion as the wheels moved away from the safety of concrete to swampy grass that trouble was imminent.

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It was. The wheels spun, and spun, and spun, the engine grunting and moaning as the gears were cranked over and over. Still in our seats we could feel the bus slip deeper and deeper into the mud, a look out the window showing the carnage being caused. We disembarked and did the only sensible thing by making our way into the ground hoping to resolve it at half time leaving a gaggle of bus drivers to get started. 45 minutes later, it was still stuck, and with Wullie looking more and more a broken man a few of us headed out and after some digging, some pushing and the snapping of at least two tow ropes (unused seatbelts) the bus was free, our camaraderie strengthened with the path home secure and our shoes a little muddied.

The trip itself was made by that bus story as the game was very little to write home about but as we made are way back towards the gate it was fair to say we had earned ourselves a pie. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

Where: Logie Park, Forres Thistle 0-3 Pollok, Scottish Junior Cup Second Round

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Price: £2. I’ve noticed this is becoming a bit of a recurring trend where no matter the type of pie the price for each remains the same. £2 for a scotch pie is quite high for this level but then counter that with that being the same price as the steak and it all kind of balances out.

Presentation: Same as the steak on a double layer of kitchen roll.

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Meatiness: This pie was a whopper but quantity doesn’t always mean quality and to be honest I was a little bit disappointed with this one. The texture was what you would expect to see in a good scotch pie but my filling was a little cold meaning the flavours didn’t pop as much as you would want them too. The meat was a little pale and grey meaning that when eating your eyes that sense too felt a little underwhelmed.

Pastry: Much like the steak the top was a little loose from around the sides but it had a nice golden colour to it and held the substantial filling comfortably.

Brown Sauce: HP, elite sauce levels here.

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Overall: A big lump lacking a little a punch.

Gravy Factor: Bog standard bisto.

Think you have what it takes to be a judge at this year’s World Scotch Pie Championships, then luckily for you the organisers are running a competition which will see you become a judge for the day, details of which can be found below.

https://worldchampionshipscotchpieawards.org/be_a_judge_competition_.php

Next time out we are back in Ayrshire to cast our eyes over the Irvine Meadow Macaroni Pie. Until next time, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

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Pie 181: The Hibs Ladies Mince Pie (c/o Spartans FC)

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Hello again and I’m back with another Leith laced pie offering as I headed to the north of Edinburgh for some Scottish Women’s Cup Quarter Final action as Hibernian Ladies hosted Hamilton Academical. For me, knockout football is the best form of the game that we all love. A game of all-or-nothing (yes, I know about replays you fun sponge!) with heightened stakes and no guarantee of ultimate glory, it may not be the definitive indicator of who the best team in a tournament is week in and week out but come final day you can almost always find a narrative, whether it be an underdog’s story, an unexpected hero, the dawning of a new era or the crowning moment of a successful dynasty.

It should be the thing that everybody wants to be in and nobody wants to be out of and in Scotland, I believe that we are fortunate to be in a position that all clubs still approach these tournaments in that manner.

That is no different in the women’s game and so I headed east in search of some piping hot cup action and of course a cheeky little pastry. So without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Ainslie Park, Hibernian 3-0 Hamilton Academical, Scottish Women’s Cup Quarter Final

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Price: £2 is a top end price for what some may view as a standard pie offering whilst conversely for those of you that would view this as a luxury item £2 is pretty fair. I’m somewhere in the middle.

Presentation: This pie came served on an off white paper plate, always a bit of a novelty, with some self service deep-blue coloured napkins. Sturdy base for peak pie consumption.

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Meatiness: This was really moreish but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. The filling, being a mince pie as opposed to scotch, was a lot looser with a more gravy like consistency with beef being the star of the show. It was well seasoned and there was a spicing to it that made my taste buds curious whilst also yearning for more. Enjoyable stuff.

Pastry: The pastry was fairly standard, held well and had a smooth top bringing pack memories of Bell’s pies of reviews past. This though was a level up.

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Brown Sauce: Wee sachets of HP. I always feel the wee sachets are a bit stingey in terms of the volume of sauce within but it was help yourself so I could dab aaway to my hearts content.

Overall: Decent pastry with a moreish meaty filling.

Gravy Factor: Goodness gravy me.

Next up I have a double dunt from the North Region Juniors and Logie Park, home of Forres Thistle.

However until next time, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 180: The SWNT Macaroni Pie (c/o Hibernian)

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There is a very Hibs heavy theme to this most recent tranche of reviews. It’s not deliberate, but with the women’s side being involved in the league, Scottish Cup and Women’s Champions League and the national side playing their most recent Euro 2021 qualifier at Easter Road, the fates have seen the north of Edinburgh become a hub of meat filled musings.

I’ve mentioned before that I now cover Scottish women’s football fairly extensively and in the last couple of weeks I have made the decision to move Meat Filled Pastries sister site, Leading the Line, to exclusively cover women’s football, particularly in Scotland. If you’re into that kind of thing I would highly recommend giving it a follow and of course subscribing to the podcast too.

Catering is still an evolving concept in Scottish women’s football but at Easter Road it has long been a staple so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Easter Road, Scotland 8-0 Cyprus, Euro 2021 Qualifying Group E

Price: After driving from west to east through the torrential rush hour rain and, having forgot that dinner is a very important part of the day, I share no shame in claiming this pie for free as part of my role covering the game.

Presentation: Presented in the press lounge in a couple of big silver catering trays with on-brand large green napkins for moping any residuals from the corner of my mouth.

CheesyPastainess: Pretty tasty. It was generously filled with the cheese sauce wrapped around well cooked macaroni curls. There was no flouriness to the taste or the texture and the additional sprinkling of cheddar across the top had bubbled to just the right level, the best side of crispy to ensure the colour had changed but there was no burning on top or the cheese all coming off in one bite.

Pastry: Unlike a lot of macaroni pies the pastry here had a good golden tinge to it. There was a little bit of boil out which can be expected with cheese such a key component of the filling. It held the filling admirably and could be relied on in the tilt, a hand position that needs to be taken with the unpredictable macaroni potentially ready to tumble at any moment.

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Brown Sauce: As always with a macaroni pie I mix things up on the condiment front with a dod of tomato ketchup straight from a bottle of Heinz.

Overall: Pastry that held well encasing a nicely flavoured and generously portioned macaroni filling.

Gravy Factor: There’s a touch upon my lips, and that touch is a tasty macaroni pie.

I did say at the start that Hibernian would be a recurring theme and that theme continues as next up is a Mince Pie (not a Scotch pie) from Ainslie Park as Hibs Ladies hosted Hamilton Academical in the Quarter Finals of the Scottish Women’s Cup. As well as another new pie you can also look forward to me shoehorning some more Proclaimers based puns into this piping hot content. 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

 

 

 

Pie 179: The Workington AFC Steak Pie

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The August Bank Holiday Monday is braw. In my particular part of Scotland, for most, this is a normal working day with the September Weekend taking precedent but for the rest of the UK, including me, it is a day where everything truly shuts down. That is everything bar the football and as such I have now made a habit of firing up the Groundhopper App and seeing what’s within a comfortable day’s reach.

Workington AFC, situated towards the Cumbrian coast, has long been on my radar and on discovering that they were to be at home to the wonderfully named Pontefract Collieries I booked my train tickets to head south of the border on what turned out to be a wonderfully sunny day.

Being a city boy it always strikes me how much towns such as Workington completely shut down during these days with the ten minute walk from the station to the ground feeling like a cut scene from Shaun of the Dead, the streets empty and doors closed. To be a resident on days like this would certainly take some getting used to but I knew I had dealt with any concerns about not being able to get a couple of pints during some pre-match scouting which revealed that the Tony Hooper Bar located inside the ground would be able to provide exactly what I was looking for.

I was even more grateful when it was announced that the visitors had been delayed by 45 minutes as a result of traffic and so, as I sat down to my second fruity cider of the day I decided it was time to deal with the real reason I was here, so without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Borough Park, Workington AFC 2-1 Pontefract Collieries, Northern Premier League Division One North West

Price: Much like in the case of the Bohemian’s Pie there was an option to turn my single pie into a proper feast with a Steak Pie being served with chips, peas and gravy for just £5. A deal like that is an insta-take after a couple hours of travelling.

Presentation: This meal came in a long, rectangular, yellow polystyrene box with cutlery and napkins available on a table beside the service window located in the bar.

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Meatiness: I had a slight worry as I went in to consume this pastry driven by a conversation between the person ahead of me in the queue and the kiosk proprietor who had suggested that it would be better with the gravy as the steak pies had come out “a bit dry”. It was a concern rightly shared because as I pulled apart the pastry with my plastic knife and fork it became clear that there was indeed very little gravy held within.

The meat was nice enough, fine strands with a slight hint of ale on the tastebuds, but it was indeed pretty dry and I soon found myself dipping my forkfuls into the pastry’s gravy surroundings. Tasty but perhaps needing a little more filling and a little less baking.

Pastry: The pastry had a good colour on it and proved to be a robust foe against my brittle cutlery. There was some boil out, again hinting at the dryness within, but the gravy helped soften everything although the bottom was not forgiving and I ended up picking that up like a form of meaty biscuit to make consumption much easier.

Brown Sauce: No brown sauce needed here thanks to the generous ladles of gravy, and side of mint-tinted mushy peas. The chips, which I should probably mention here, were fine.

Overall: Bit dry but gravy saved the day whilst paying just a fiver for a full lunch is value that can’t be sniffed at.

Gravy Factor: Glad it had some.

A decent pie was accompanied by an enjoyable game at Borough Park, with the home side running out 2-1 winners, the last ten minutes being particularly entertaining as the referee totally lost control of the game.

Next up I’m in Scotland’s capital where the women’s national side started their Euro 2021 qualifying campaign against Cyprus at Easter Road. I was working, but I still managed to snaffle a pastry.

However until next time, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 178: The Hibs Ladies Bridie (c/o Penicuik Athletic)

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries, your home of Scottish football baking. It’s taken a wee while to get around to writing this next batch of reviews, so my apologies for that. I’m currently going through a glut of women’s football work and writing which is wonderful but is also keeping me very busy and hopefully your appetite was sated by my History of Pie and Bovril piece. People seemed to like that which was nice.

This review comes from Penicuik Park, normal home of East of Scotland Penicuik Athletic but, for one sodden August evening, also home to Hibernian Ladies as they took on Stirling University in the Scottish Women’d Cup. A 300+ crowd turned up for the game and with team sheets, kiosk and even a half time draw the game had a right “proper” feel to it.

I go back on forth on the entry requirements for SWPL football in Scotland, I think cover is necessary, but personally I can cope without seats, especially when sometimes the view and comfort of the seating is highly questionable *cough* Ravenscraig *cough*, and I think a more holistic view of fan experience sometimes needs to be taken into consideration. I’m writing these next three reviews whilst watching Chelsea v Spurs in the Women’s Super League and the level of coverage being afforded to the women’s game in England is something that Scotland has to find a way of grabbing on to. I continue to remain more hopeful, as opposed to expectant though.

One of the things that sometime’s leaves a little to be desired at women’s games is the catering so I was pleasantly surprised to see a fully stocked hut to make my dinner selection from. Having already had the Penicuik Athletic Pie some years ago I scanned the whiteboard before choosing myself a bridie and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie.

WherePenicuik Park, Hibernian Ladies 5-0 Stirling University, Scottish Women’s Cup 3rd Round

Price: At £1.50 this was very reasonably priced in the context of the non-league surroundings.

Presentation: This pie was handed to me wrapped in a double layer of circle-dimpled kitchen roll, more substantial than the standard white napkin which, of course, means that it was more than capable of doing the job required.

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Meatiness: I was ready to wax lyrically about this bridie, my natural inclination at present is to promote anything Scottish women’s football related to act as a counter to the many questions and observations that I have on a near game by game basis but, if I’m being honest, this bridie filling was just OK.

It was a little shy on quantity and what was there was needing a little extra crack of salt and pepper. It did the job but left me pining for something more.

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Pastry: The pastry was golden, aided by a brush of egg glaze before baking with the end result having the look more of an empanada than a bridie. It was really well baked on the outside and there was some flaking but as I peered inside, using the floodlights to guide me, I noticed there was a pretty raw looking layer of pastry. This will have hindered the balance, naturally dulling all the favours that it surrounded, and again whilst it was fine, it wasn’t one that was going to live long in the memory.

Brown Sauce: It probably could have done with a wee squirt of something but the bridie, in my opinion, is not a naturally condiment receptacle so none was used here.

Overall: It was all fine but the filling needed some added punch and to be more generous whilst the pastry was golden but also not quite right underneath.

Gravy Factor: Meh.

I don’t want this review to undermine the fantastic effort made by ‘Cuikie to host this midweek tie. They fully embraced the responsibility and also saw it as an opportunity to not only support women’s football but to also ensure that should Hibernian need a temporary home again then they would be first in line.

Next up is a special trip south of the border where I review the Workington AFC Steak Pie. However until next time, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 177: The St. Johnstone Steak & Chorizo Pie

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Look, I know. You’re reading that heading and screaming at me to avoid the pre-amble this week. You want to know more about this delectable sounding double meat masterpiece. Patience my friends, the words will be flowing shortly but for now I need to do another little bit of self-promotion. I mean, what’s the point of having your own website if you can’t do that?

So what is it? Well, I have a new podcast project via Leading the Line. Episode One dropped this Tuesday where I interviewed women’s football journalist and co-author of “The Making of the Women’s World Cup” Kieran Theivam.

The pod has been set up with two aims in mind. One, to promote women’s football, particularly in Scotland, interviewing those within the game and those that pass comment on it and two, use the pod to help people promote their own projects and passions, giving a platform to those who are fulfilling a long held creative football based dream or project.

There are already four pods in the bag at the time of writing and I’m hoping over time to see it grow and make things more interactive. The link to subscribe on iTunes is here and you can also access it via all the usual podcast channels including Soundcloud where it’s hosted. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, find the time to drop a wee five star review saying so. At some point I’m sure I’ll find a way to get a pie themed interview in there too.

Shilling done let’s get into the meat of this week’s footballing matters as we head to Perth where St. Johnstone took on Ross County in the Betfred Cup Group Stages. So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: McDiarmid Park, St. Johnstone 1-2 Ross County, Betfred Cup Group Stage

Price: This pie was the match day special and was billed at a slightly higher price point than the standard scotch and steak pies on offer. At £2.80 this was one of the more extravagantly priced pastries to be entered into the annuls of Meat Filled Pastries but as I was soon to discover, sometimes, you get what you pay for.

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Presentation: The pie was housed in a large tin foil case with a substantially sized white napkin present to prevent the palm from any potential burn. That said it was still absolutely roasting!

Meatiness: Oh my. This was a delight. I’m not sure where to start! First the gravy, fluid but still thick, wrapping itself around a melange of steak and toothsome chorizo cubes, with the flavours of meat marrying with undertones of paprika from the seasoning within this widely known Spanish sausage. The chorizo used wasn’t cooking chorizo though but instead the air dried ready to eat version. Not that was a bad thing, in fact it was somewhat of a masterstroke as it added wonderful texture in amongst the tender steak and luscious gravy occasionally popping with a little burst of chorizo flavour.

Pastry: It came out clean from the pastry, itself a cause for celebration, although I was deliberately gentle to ensure so. The sides were baked just enough to hold but did require a little juggling to ensure the filling stayed within and the top was smooth and golden. Tin foil cases and pies with moist fillings aren’t always a match made in heaven but credit the Saints and Yorke’s their suppliers as this held together adequately.

Brown Sauce: It would have been highly disappointing had I seen anyone splashing this pastry. Definitely not needed.

Overall: Tasty gravy, well textured proteins and good pastry made for a fiesta of flavours.

Gravy Factor: Super Salsa!

I’m glad I took my detour home to Glasgow via Perth as this was a wonderful treat. As a little bonus, and to round off a smashing match day feed, I had some pudding in the form of an Empire Biscuit. It was just the ticket although controversially adorned with a cherry as opposed to a jelly. So as well as your pie thoughts, let me know what goes on top of your dream Empire Biscuit?

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That’s it for this week so until next time, remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.

Pie 176: The Dunipace Pie

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Hello and welcome to the latest munchings from Meat Filled Pastries as we head east to Denny and Westfield Park, the recently renovated home of former West Region Juniors and current East of Scotland side, Dunipace. This week I want to take a slight detour from my new themed pieces to announce an exciting partnership between Meat Filled Pastries and BSC Glasgow.

The Glasgow club, based in Alloa, have been putting in the hard graft over the last month or so in an attempt to grow their presence not only online but also in the stands. One of their initiatives saw them raffling off the opportunity to sponsor one of the sides players or staff for just a fiver. This was a no brainer, and more in hope than expectation, I signed up and waited for the announcement to be made. A couple of weeks later, on a Friday afternoon train to Edinburgh as I escaped the chaos that only TRNSMT can bring, my email notifications blew up with the news that I had been drawn out and that for the 2019/20 season I would be sponsoring centre back sensation, Ross Smith. A bet involving him scoring 20,000 goals and free pies has already been made and of course I’ll be making my way down to the Rec at some point I’m sure.

The day of the announcement my Twitter feed was full with BSC Glasgow related content and references and it is perhaps no surprise to see that since then they have moved on to raffling off shirt sponsorship and I’m sure there will be even more ideas to come over the course of the season.

For now though, let’s get back to pie business with this scotch pie from Day 2 of the Westfield Tournament, so without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Westfield Park, Dunipace 1-0 Scone Thistle, Pre-Season Tournament Friendly

Price: I forgot to ask. This pie also doubled as my breakfast as a result of the Sunday noon kick off so I wasn’t operating at full capacity. I do know that it was £3 for a can of juice and my pie so using my pie based algorithms from years of consumption I’m going to say that this pastry can be yours for a slightly top heavy £2.

Presentation: Classically presented on a medium to large sized white napkin.

Meatiness: This was a generously filled pastry. The filling was well textured, not too firm and not too loose, meaning that a fairly low risk bite could be had. There was a very gentle pepper undertone that some would maybe like to see appear more prominently but overall I thought the filling made for a tasty meaty mouthful.

Pastry: Well formed and golden this pastry did the required job of safely holding the pie within. The edges were super crispy though which meant a little bit of gentle nibbling around the edge was required to ensure a safe and spill free bite but certainly more than adequate.

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Brown Sauce: As can be seen from the picture above they had gone condimental at Westfield Park including the Sophie’s Choice of picking between Daddies and HP. In the end, with the pressure of choosing too much to take, I went for the closest option and adorned my pie with a spiral of HP.

Overall: Neatly constructed with a good tasting filling supplemented by a swathe of sauce options.

Gravy Factor: A tasty way to start the day.

After a couple of so-so offerings it’s good to have something a bit better to get my teeth into. This would be my first of two games on that Sunday as just an hour after full time in Denny I would be sitting in the stands of McDiarmid Park to see St. Johnstone take on Ross County in the Betfred Cup and this one was something a little bit different.

However, that’s it for this week, so until next time remember to support your local side, big up women’s football and of course, 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. Editor of Leading the Line, A member of the Scottish Women’s Football Media Team and a contributor to various football websites, podcasts and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert, hosting “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.