junior football

Pie 131: The Bathgate Thistle Pie

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Hi folks, I’m finding myself starting to get a bit behind with these again, it’s the way of the junior football season. You go November to February with hardly a fixture to seek and then the clocks change and all of a sudden you are left with a veritable smorgasboard of fixtures to go to at the business end of the season.

I was having a look at the numbers behind the site and was staggered to learn that these here gospels of pie have reached 125(!) countries across the globe. It’s mad for me to think that somebody could be sitting and reading this with their feet up on the beach in St. Lucia, at base camp of Mount Everest in Nepal or whilst munching an arepa at a bar in Venezuela. The world is getting ever smaller and I’d love to think that somewhere somebody has read one of these stories and took it upon themselves to book a flight and head to Scotland all in search of the mythical scotch pie they have so often read about. It sounds mad, but is also the kind of thing I’d decide to do, and if I would then I know someone else out there would too.

That’s never going to happen though if I stop feeding their inspiration so let’s move on to a new pie review from Bathgate Thistle who have their scotch pies provided by a former two-time World Scotch Pie Champions in Boghall Butchers so no pressure here lads.

Without much further ado let’s rate some pie!

Where: Creamery Park, Bathgate Thistle 1-2 Dundee Downfield, East Premier League

Price: £1.50. Slowly creeping more and more into the pricing structures of a junior Scotch Pie, compared with some of the £2+ aboominations you get at senior grounds though it’s still decent.

Presentation: Standard presentational practices here, except it was doubled! That’s right, not just one, but two medium-sized white napkins, more than sufficient to hold the pastry and mop your lip afterwards.

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Meatiness: This was a well filled pastry with a little layer of air on top to allow the meat to breathe in its pastry tomb. The texture was just right, easy on the bite and with a little give to it. Minimal risk of spillage unless you started getting reckless. The taste was predominantly meaty and savoury with a light pepper kick that was pleasant and finished with a little linger. You can understand why this pie has seen success in the past, everything done very well from a meaty perspective.

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Pastry: The pastry was solid and held well throughout consumption. The base was firm and the top golden, there was a little bit of boil out but I’m OK with that and often believe it adds an extra wee note of flavour to your pastry. I’ve found that when I don’t have a lot to say about the pastry that tends to be a good sign.

Brown Sauce: A squeeze of Asda’s own brand was plenty for this pastry.

Overall: A Scotch Pie Hall of Famer and I can see why as all in all this was just a very good scotch pie, perhaps a little by the numbers, but ultimately you’d be super harsh to try to criticise it.

Gravy Factor: The kind of gravy that you’d be happy to give to everyone from your mates to your gran, nothing controversial, just a solid, well-executed scotch pie.

So a good bit of pie there from Bathgate Thistle. I now have just the two pie reviews and two editions of the International Soccer Scran series to get through over the coming couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for more updates. I also feel like there’s something to be done for the World Cup but haven’t fully formed an idea on that yet.

So 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. 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’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries. 

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Pie 130: The Girvan “Sausage Roll” Pie

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Aye alright I know this isn’t a pie, but it is a meat filled pastry, and given the successful tasting experience that was Pie 129: The Girvan Scotch Pie it would have been remiss of me not to give this a bash whilst I was in the area.

More on that in a minute but speaking of things that aren’t quite pies it would be equally remiss of me not to mention the launching of a new venture from your intrepid pie eater. For nearly five years I have travelled the country and beyond tasting a wide variety of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and bridies, casting judgement on what I believe to be a good meat filled pastry. I have also for a large part of that time been a frequent visitor (including a few months as an inhabitant) to Spain where they and their Latin American cousins share my passion for a good pastry.

So what does this all mean? Well I am happy to announce a new venture: Empanadas Escoces. My attempt to bring the best of hispanic pastries to Glasgow and who knows maybe beyond. I have no idea how this will go. It could be a disaster. It could be a runaway success. Either way I’m going to give it a bash and see what happens. I’ll no doubt post the odd update on here but if you want to keep up to date with everything as it happens then you can follow @empanadassco on Twitter & Instagram whilst you can also find news on Facebook by searching Empanadas Escoces. If this site has taught me anything over the last few years it’s that you never know until you have a go.

Empanadas Escoces

With that public service announcement out the way, let’s get back to the reason why you all came here in the first place. Without much further ado, let’s rate some sausage roll!

Where: Hamilton Park, Girvan 0-5 Pollok, West Superleague Premier Division

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Oh by the way, this is Ronnie, he’s one of the regular home and away crew when going to Pollok games. There you go son you are now pie famous. Anyway…

Price: £1.20. Exactly the same as a pie. It’s funny but sometimes the price of a sausage roll (or any other non pie pastry for that matter) can vary greatly when compared to the prince of pastries so it was good to see a consistent price point here.

Presentation: With a sausage roll the napkin has an added significance as instead of being used to place your pastry on it is almost an automatic reflex to wrap said roll in its soft white paper duvet. In this instance the size of the napkin was more than sufficient.

Meatiness: On first looks, as I hope this picture illustrates, this was a massive roll. This, perhaps surprisingly, had me a little concerned as usually big appearances mean that the meat to pastry ratio can be way off, and in some cases downright unacceptable. I am happy to report though that on this occasion the meat content just about made the grade. A puff pastry case will always struggle to compete with a hot water crust when it comes to meat content percentages but with this pastry I felt I was getting a decent sized banger for my buck. The sausage meat had a nice texture with the levels of fat just right to add moistness whilst the meat itself was very tasty. One thing I did notice as I made my way through was the presence of a yellow smear on top of the sausage meat. My only conclusion is that it had to be mustard and if it was it certainly didn’t distract my taste buds during the eating experience.

Pastry: Whilst there was lots of pastry (perhaps a little too much) there was no doubting the quality of the bake. The layers evenly split and flaky whilst the colour on the outside was golden and even. One of the common fall down points for a sausage roll can be the pastry slipping off and you being left with a limp sausage dangling from your fist shorn of its pastry sheath. In this case there was no risk of that happening.

Brown Sauce: Logistically, for me anyway, condiments on a sausage roll just don’t make sense. They slide off, have nowhere to realistically gather and in general are just a bit of a mess.

Overall: Excellent if slightly too plentiful pastry wrapped around some well-flavoured sausage meat. What was that yellow substance though?

Gravy Factor: A Bangin’ Banger.

Well I think it’s safe to say that Girvan has gone on the list of “good football eat locations” with a more than solid scotch pie and sausage roll offering. Well played. Moving on and for fans of the pie reviews this weekend I took a trip to Bathgate Thistle who’s pies are supplied by a former 2x winner of the World Scotch Pie Championship so that will be going on the site soon whilst my International Soccer Scran Series will next take us to Nuremberg. So plenty to look forward to but 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. 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. He’s now taken this passion further in the form of Empanadas Escoces a venture inspired by the taste of Spanish pies and a desire to bring them to Scottish Shores.

 

Pie 74: The Greenock Pie – A Meat Filled Tribute

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Hello and welcome to Meat Filled Pastries the home of pies, pies and a little bit of football chat. Usually I would have a light-hearted pre-amble about something that has irked me about the recent weeks football activities but today will be slightly different.

A year ago to the week one of my closest friends passed away after a 2 year battle with bowel cancer, last week I was asked to say a few words about him as a tribute and for once I struggled. Not because I didn’t miss him, because I do sometimes without even knowing it. No the reason I struggled, me, the man who once a week writes a 1000 word diatribe based around pies, is that for all the words I write and say they don’t really mean anything, not really. I’m glad it spreads a little happiness and I’ll continue to do for as long as its fun but it’s not going to change the world. Might change a few pie suppliers, but not the world. So here it is, inspired by the eloquent and heartfelt sentiments of his friends and family I do my best to truly articulate what my friend meant to me, a meat filled tribute if you will:

Smit was a wonderful man and friend. For all the time I knew him he never once changed who he was or how he acted for anyone and that’s because he didn’t have to. Every day eulogies appear where someone is dubbed as the kindest or the nicest or the most well liked person and I’m sure in their own way they are but in Smit there was a man who nobody could say a bad word about. He would always be there for some hijinks or there to call you an idiot, something I had much experience of but most importantly he was always there. Even through the traumas of chemotherapy, of endless doctors appointments and hospital stays I never one felt that he wanted you to be anything other than normal with him. To live life to the end with that strength is something that I can only aspire too.

Smit died aged just 28 an age at which no person should pass away. When something like that happens its hard not to evaluate your own sense of worth and the decisions you make, it’s just human nature, the sudden realisation that life is fleeting and then invincibility of youth is a cruel façade that can be so quickly and unfairly taken away. The words of Meat Filled Pastries may not have been here was it not for the likes of ‘The Grambler’ and ‘Rubbertoe Mankini’ some of Stewart’s finest creations and the choices I make now are not made with more than a thought to what he would do if he was standing there beside me. I’ve become a little braver and I’d like to think a little wiser but these changes pale in comparison against what my friend had to go through.  I will always remember, I will never forget.

A year down the line and the focus of Stewart’s friends and family are firmly focused on raising the profile of bowel cancer and The Kick Bowel Cancer’s Backside Fund has raised nearly £15,000 to date. If you want to donate then you can do so at the following link, https://www.justgiving.com/Geraldine-Smith3/, you don’t have to but if you do it will be greatly appreciated.

The Grambler  is still going strong left in the capable hands of Stewart’s father Kevin, who continues to produce the betting tips that will win one day win you millions and all it asks in return is you push a little of those winnings towards the funds way. Below is a link to those testimonies I described earlier, if you’ve got this far you might as well read a little further:

http://www.thegrambler.com/2014/08/week-4-tribute-to-our-founder.html

The next fund-raising event is scheduled for Sunday 7th September and below I’ve attached all the information you need to know for a fun filled family day out!

fit fun day

Thank you for bearing with me through all that if it’s not your cup of tea I understand but it would be remiss of me not to use my mild infamy to promote something close to my heart. But for now let’s have a change of pace and why many of you are, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Ravenscraig Stadium, Greenock v Pollok, West of Scotland Superleague, First Division

A Tipsy Pie...
A Tipsy Pie…

Price: £1. One single golden nugget has to depart from your paw to be rewarded with a meat and pastry snack. That my friend, in today’s world of £59.7m Angle Di Marias and £16m Danny Welbecks , is an absolute bargain.

Presentation: Being a scotch pie this rode bare back in my hand with just a medium-sized white blanket playfully wrapped around it.

THE PIE

Pie day is Cheat Day!
Pie day is Cheat Day!

Meatiness: This was a traditional scotch pie but if I’m being honest it was all rather disappointing. There was definitely a meaty centre derived from the most aged of mutton but it lacked any real flavour. There was no peppery hit and neither was there a savoury note to the meat inside. It was moist but didn’t feel lubricated with the wafer thin film of grease that a good scotch pie should leave on your lips as you consume it. This was certainly an instance where I was thankful for a healthy dollop of HP to add some much needed spice and zing.

Pastry: The pastry was OK, it was a hot water crust and a little crispy but also managed to be a little too soft on the sides at the same time. There was no hole in top to let the heat escape although to be fair I am yet to be convinced those pies that give a sneak peek of the meat inside do so for no other reason than aesthetic appeal. There is nothing more frustrating than a pie that you can’t get enthused about when you spend a good chunk of your time reviewing them but the pastry on this pie did little to lift my apathy.

Overall: I ate it, but it’s not devastating to think that it could be another wee while before I have another one.

Gravy Factor: A little below bog standard Bisto. Disappointing.

The next helping of pie will be from an as yet undetermined location so keep your eye out by following me @MFPTasty.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 73: The Arthurlie ‘Steak’ Pie

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Hello and first of all my humblest apologies as it has been a couple of weeks since my last pie story and I can assure you that it’s not for a lack of football in the time since my last entry.  visited both Beith and Airdrieonians but on each occasion was disappointed to find that new pies were not to be found whilst my own team have been in the midst of a raft of home games that’s not due to end for a couple of weeks yet.

In Beith the steak pie I desired was not on offer and my meat filled misery was compounded further when I was told that they hadn’t made any of their  wonderful Chicken & Haggis offerings, something that I am pretty sure disappointed every single member of the Bellsdale Park crowd. Last week I went to Airdrie to take in my first ever Women’s Champions League between FC Union Nove Zamsky of Slovakia and WFC Kharkiv of Ukraine. It was a freebie on a Monday afternoon so I went with my pie expectations set more to hope than expectation although it was still a shame that they weren’t able to furnish my mush with a pie especially considering a wind was blowing that made it feel more like Lapland than Lanarkshire.

But have no fear as here we have Pie 73, The Arthurlie Steak Pie, so without much further ado, because let’s be honest it’s been two weeks, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Dunterlie Park, Arthurlie v Pollok, Sectional League Cup Section 5. Entry: £5

That slope is not an optical illusion it really does exist
That slope is not an optical illusion it really does exist

Price: Priced at £1.50 this was a fairly priced offering falling well below the average of £2 found in senior Scottish football last season for luxury pastries.

Presentation: It was naked! Well not naked it had its roasting hot tin foil underwear on caressing the pastry skin of this meat filled morsel. What I mean by naked is that there was no napkin, no medium-sized wafer of tissued comfort, no piece of kitchen roll or tiny square of white paper to dab my lips with and mop my brow, nothing! Now using my years of pie eating experience I think there was a napkin shortage as there were definitely a small mound present behind Dunterlie’s pie counter but they seemed to be getting dished out to the select few. Maybe I should have made my presence known as Chief-Pie-Officer of Meat Filled Pastries but really should I have had to? Anyway with the lack of a napkin and the aforementioned roasting hot tin foil sleeve in hand I carried out a spot of impromptu juggling before taking my first bite.

THE PIE

NAE NAPKIN!
NAE NAPKIN!

Meatiness: Being a steak pie this had to be nothing less than luxurious and I think it made a fairly good fist of it. The meat inside was tender and was chunked into a variety of different sizes, some that slipped straight down the throat and some that required a good chew. There was no hint of pepper or anything out of the ordinary flavour wise but that didn’t stop it from being well seasoned and tasty. There was a lot of gravy in this pie, something I am a big fan of, but something I would have been an even bigger fan of if I had had a napkin. You see as I took a bite, not knowing the size of the steak my teeth had munched down on, bits of meat fell out of there pastry cave and into the shiny silver lagoon below. This resulted in a lot of finger picking and due to a lack of napkin a lot of finger licking. Thankfully this pie was consumed prior to kick off otherwise I almost certainly would have missed something. It’s not really a complaint to be fair as I’m forever eating things with my fingers that I shouldn’t, roast dinners, curries, soup (OK not soup) but when I do I always make sure I have something to wipe my greasy paws on after I finish, it would have been good to have a napkin with this pie as tasty as it was.

Pastry: A puff pastry top with well fired sides. The top was just cooked enough to provide crispness whilst also allowing the soft under layers to mix with the gravy. The sides were well baked at the top and bottom but seemed a little doughy in the middle although due to its crispness I was able to employ the break-off and scoop technique by breaking off part of the crust to use as an edible spoon to scoop up the meat and gravy residue. This pastry had a function far beyond tantalising the taste buds.

Overall: A tasty steak pie, but woe betide the good folk of Barrhead if they run out of napkins again.

Gravy Factor: Messy Gravy. More pastry spoon than silver spoon.

The next helping of pie will be from an as yet undetermined location so keep your eye out by following me @MFPTasty.

However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 72: The Blantyre Victoria Pie

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Have you ever tried to eat a pie in 28 degree heat? Yeah me neither, until now that is.

For the unaware amongst you a heat wave hit the west coast of Scotland that left many reaching for the Factor 50 and as the Commonwealth Games rolled into town I had enough time to nip to Castle Park, home of Blantyre Victoria, for a pre-season friendly before getting home just in time to see a bunch of dancing teacakes look on in horror as SuBo fluffed her lines.

It could have been worse though, for all we know wee Susie could have looked out at the psychedelic nonsense going on before her and thought she had died and gone to Tunnock’s heaven, diving head first into an unsuspecting volunteer trying to first tear the wrapper off the marshmallowy behemoth before consuming it whole. This of course leads to the all important decision of whether or not to lay out the empty foil flat on the ground or to roll it up into a tiny ball before flicking it into the distance in no particular direction. The poor lassie.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there. The point I was aiming when I started out here was that a roasting hot day is not ideal pie eating conditions, but as always I found a way to bring a new pie review to you.

So after finding a shady spot to cool myself down, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Castle Park, Blantyre Victoria v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly. Entry: £3. Programme: None.

Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!
Storming the Castle Park walls to get some pie!

Price: There was no menu adorning the pie stall window, and in haste to get out the sun I forgot to ask how much I had to part with for my pastry. However using some simple algebra deducting the price of multiple cans of fizzy pop from the pie purchases of those around me I can confirm this pie can be yours for a solitary British pound. Bargain!

Presentation: It was white. It was medium-sized. It was a napkin. And that’s all I have to say about that.

THE PIE

Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!
Stick a flake in it and call it Pi-ce Cream!

Meatiness: This pie was perfectly pleasant. Nothing outstanding but a tasty meaty treat nonetheless. The meat was relatively well packed although did fall apart a little the more I bit into it. It was moist without being greasy and although the peppery linger didn’t last long on the palate it was still present after I’d finished. It was the kind of pie that is hard to get really enthused about but at the same time leaves you with nothing bad to say either.

Brown Sauce: That’s right we have a new section folks. It’s something I have toyed with in the past but my early season experiences have shown that the sauce itself is a stand alone feature of any pie whether it be good or bad. So how was the brown sauce at Castle Park? In a word: tangy, adding a sparkle of flavour that this pie was maybe slightly lacking. However be careful as too much and you could end up looking like your sucking an invisible milkshake through an equally invisible straw. It provided some added lubrication with a distinct tart tang.

Pastry: The pastry was soft and crumbly, the edges weren’t particularly crisp so there was no brown sauce dunking on this pie but it did mean that if you were in a rush you could eat this pie in a flash. This pastry would be a favourite with the pie eating sprinters but may disappoint those who are in it for the long haul.

Overall: New section about Brown Sauce aside this was a pretty standard pie, but for a pound you can’t really grumble.

Gravy Factor: Bog Standard Bisto.

All things going well my next review will be from Beith, home of one of the best pies of last season the luxury Chicken and Haggis Pie and one of the worst the Scotch Pie. Hopefully the Steak Pie on offer is closer to the former as opposed to the latter. In other news I will be the Scottish correspondent for The Football Pink this season, a link to which can be found on the left hand side of the page, starting with an SPL review that I plan to get done this week. Give the site a visit and order a copy should you get the chance.

However until next time, go forth and eat pie!

Pie 71: The Wishaw Juniors Pie

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Today’s entry into the Meat Filled Hall of Fame is a return to junior football one of the key inspirations for this journey of pie. Those who follow my adventures will have been now been able to piece together my allegiances at junior level and this season, mainly thanks to a pretty woeful one previously, a whole new world of pie has been opened up to me as my team face life in a new division. But before, a hopefully triumphant, league campaign gets underway there is a few friendlies to get out-of-the-way first.

I always find it really interest going to friendlies, not so much for the football which is usually pretty mundane, especially when you have no affiliation to any one team, but for the reactions of the crowd, because for every fan who see’s a friendly for what it is; a chance to warm up for the season, try new things and see new players there is another one who still treats it as the same kind of life and death scenario that a relegation six pointer in February would be. Personally I err on the side of the former. I mean just because Dundee beat Manchester City 2-0 it doesn’t automatically equate to Paul Hartley being the odds on favourite to be the next Chelsea or Barcelona manager nor does it mean that Manuel Pellegrini will be popping up in Falkirk or Hamilton anytime soon because he can’t hack it at the highest level any longer, football just doesn’t work that way.

The other thing that’s nice about friendlies, especially for a man who loves his football, is that there is pretty much a fixture within reach every couple of days and at this time in the season more than ever you find yourself at places that you wouldn’t normally be.

So without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

THE SURROUNDINGS

Where: Beltane Park, Wishaw v Pollok, Pre-Season Friendly: Entry Fee £3, Programme: None

Or as the natives call it Wishae'
Or as the natives call it Wishae’

Before continuing I just wanted to take time to thank the folk at Wishaw for their hospitality, they are clearly a club who are trying to set themselves up for a bright future after a previously nomadic existence and their generosity on Saturday did not go unappreciated. Good luck for the new season in a new division folks!

Price: At £1.20 this is priced at the same level as your average junior scotch pie from the 2013/14 season showing certain Scottish footballing associations that just because a new season is upon us and your team is on the rise there is still no need to fleece your fans.

Presentation: A simple presentation style found at many grounds of a medium-sized white napkin, certainly nothing to be sniffed at and on review of my one bite expose a napkin that now seems a little larger, although I wasn’t going to get my set square and measuring tape out to see if that indeed was the case.

THE PIE

The first junior pie of the new season
The first junior pie of the new season!

Meatiness: I hope the picture above does this pie justice in showing how incredibly well filled it was for a scotch pie, this might sound daft, which I know a lot of this usually does, but I could actually feel the weight of a slightly heavier pie in the hand as I made my way pack to my standing spot. As I bit down the meat held really well and was incredibly moist, not with grease but with lovely muttony juices. It was a little cold in the middle but I was pre-warned of this and it was only once I reached the very centre did I notice and in this occasion it didn’t have any real effect on the overall flavour. The other lovely thing that this pie brought me was the return of the long peppery linger that slowly built as I ate and lasted for such a time that it was worth remembering for this review. After the generosity of the club I was worried I was going to have the fudge this a bit to play nice, but I can honestly say this was a very tasty meat filling indeed.

 Pastry: The pastry was flaky but held just enough to support the ample mince inside. I was able to break off the top of the crust to dip into the safety of an HP sauce puddle without everything crumbling round about me. Perhaps if I was being hyper critical the sides were a little soft and it became a two hand consumption job by the end but that would be the most minor of grumbles.

Overall: After last weeks professional scotch pie disappointment it was great to feel the comforting bosom of a junior scotch pie to nestle into with its ample meat and long peppery linger.

Gravy Factor: Standard Bearing Gravy. A pleasing pie that has set a true benchmark for the season ahead.

So the first junior pie of the season is in the books and the second one is on its way from Castle Park, the home of Blantyre Victoria. Navigating my way round the south-east of Glasgow should be interesting now the Commonwealth Games are here but I love my football and I love me a pie.

So until next time go forth and eat pie!

Remember to follow Meat Filled Pastries on twitter @MFPTasty and for any enquiries or feedback, and a thank you to those who have already, you can email meatfilledpastries@hotmail.com.

Pie 68: The Camelon Pie

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Collin Samuel, Hands Aff!
Collin Samuel, Hands Aff!

Hello and welcome to this penultimate presentation of my pastry passion, pies! The World Cup is here and as such the end of the regular football season is nigh and whilst their professional counterparts have been on holiday for a couple of weeks junior footballers are winding up their seasons. Todays review comes from the East of Scotland Super League side Camelon. One of the quirks of going to a game of football pretty much anywhere is sometimes you see the occasional familiar face that you haven’t been expecting. Junior football has been littered with ex=pro’s over the years but the foreign contingent whilst a little harder to find are still relevant. For example former St. Mirren, Hamilton and Hearts winger Jose Quitongo played for as many junior clubs as he did senior and the Angolan is now manager of Ayrshire district side Muirkirk whilst former Swedish international Robert Prytz lit up the junior game in the late 90’s playing for Pollok despite being closer to collecting his bus pass than starting his first day of school.

These are just two examples of which I know there are many more which brings us nicely to the subject of today’s pre-pie diatribe, former Trinidad & Tobago international Collin Samuel currently leading the line at Sauchie Juniors. He was in surprisingly good shape although it would not be preposterous to suggest that he enjoys a little bit more of the good life than he would have done so as a pro. I always wonder how players of his ilk end up playing where they do. Is it a case of diminishing powers? A desire to just play for the love of the game or the love of a good party preventing them from reaching their full potential? It’s perhaps a case of picking one of these three but whatever the reason it always brings much joy and chatter to the terraces when a splash of international colour is present at a junior game in Scotland.

But for now, and without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!

Where: Carmuirs Park, Camelon v Sauchie, East of Scotland Cup Semi Final

Price: At £1.40 it follows a trend of East of Scotland based pies being slightly more expensive than their western contemporaries, not excessively so and still far cheaper than top end senior Scottish pies but certainly worth a mention.

Presentation: A small white napkin that wasn’t quite big enough to have the whole pie sit on top of it.

Meatiness: The filling was pretty underwhelming if I’m being honest. It was well filled and formed but lacked the real punch of flavour a good scotch pie should. After each bite there was no real linger of flavour and, for my palate anyway, there was no peppery heat to help elevate its meaty status. Actually as I got towards the centre of the pie it was a bit cold, perhaps a side effect to the rather large crowd that had gathered at the game a point that was further illustrated to me as I watched the man behind the counter shuttling another two boxes of pies from the back. The lack of heat will have no doubt played a part in the flavour being a little lacking in this particular meat filled pastry.

Pastry: The pastry was nothing spectacular and although the top of the casing appeared loose it clung on without flipping over as I took each bite. It held the meat inside sufficiently and provide a change in texture but aside from these primary functions there isn’t much else to be said here.

Overall: A pretty average effort, disappointing that it was cold and I was certainly thankful for the bottle of HP on the counter to add some much need depth of flavour. The cold centre makes me wonder if this was microwaved before being finished in the oven but that is pure speculation on my part. Overall though, I’ve had better.

Gravy Factor: Lukewarm Bisto.

So not a stand out offering from Camelon but another pie none the less, the last pie of the season will be coming from Fir Park as I take a break from the Men’s World Cup in Brazil to follow Scotland Women on their journey to Canada 2015 as they take on group favourites Sweden in World Cup Qualifying.

Until next time though, go forth and eat pie!