You may have heard that I’m leaving for three weeks in Scotland on March 16. As we get closer to my departure I’ll provide more details of my planned hi-jinx, but today I’d like to share the football portion of the program with you because I am very- VERY- excited about it!
All of my trips to Scotland are built around going to see Ross County and Scotland play as many times as possible, and if possible, to put a few more matches in the mix as well. That said, it doesn’t always work out the way I’d like it to. This time, however, the football gods have chosen to smile upon me and I will be going to at least five matches over the three weeks.
Ross County F.C. v. Inverness Caledonian Thistle F.C.
(Caledonian Stadium, Inverness)
This will be my second trip to “the Dump” as it is called by County supporters, but my first for the Highland Derby. In fact, it will be my first Highland Derby!! As with several matches on this trip I’ll be able to walk to the stadium from my B&B and that’s super nice. Even nicer, County are currently in 6th place and Caley Thistle are currently in last place, so if that holds there should be a bit of spice in this one with County hoping to stay in the top half of the table and Caley Thistle hoping to avoid automatic relegation.
Arbroath F.C. v. Montrose F.C.
(Gayfield Park, Arbroath)
I’m making a one day stop in Arbroath to see the abbey (Declaration of Arbroath and all that…) and to attend the “Angus Derby.” Both clubs are currently playing in League Two (the fourth and lowest division of “league football” in Scotland) with Arbroath currently in second place and chasing a spot in the promotion playoffs, while Montrose are out of the playoff picture at present in 6th place. This match will also be my first visit to Arbroath’s Gayfield Park which is, as you can see from the picture above, very close to the ocean!
Scotland v. Slovenia
(Hampden Park, Glasgow)
This will not be my first trip to Hampden or my first World Cup Qualifying match, but it will be my first night match at the national stadium and I expect that will provide for a heightened atmosphere surrounding the match. Scotland are ahead of only Malta in Group F, but only four points behind second place Slovenia and a chance to qualify from the group. That’s probably not going to happen, but at least they’ll still be playing for something when I see them rather than just “playing out the string.”
Ross County F.C. v. Partick Thistle F.C.
(Firhill Stadium, Glasgow)
For years I’ve been staying in the same B&B in Glasgow’s West End, just a few blocks from Firhill, but never has everything come together to see County play there while I’m staying there. This time, however, the stars have aligned and I’ll be making the short walk to the city’s Maryhill neighborhood. Even better, this should be a match with some meaning to it- County are currently only a single point ahead of Thistle in the Premiership and that point is the difference between staying in the top six or falling into the bottom six.
Ross County F.C. v. Dundee F.C.
(Victoria Park, Dingwall)
This is the “bonus match” of the trip. It was originally scheduled for April 5 and I’d planned to go to it until I realized it was a night match (another first) and that it would be out too late to get back to Glasgow- I fly out on April 6. Then, as luck would have it, the match was moved to the 4th and I now have all day on the 5th to get back to Glasgow. So, a trip to Victoria Park, the chance to pick up some end-of-season discounted swag, and a nice way to end my football-filled three weeks in Scotland! Get in, County!!