Tom Purdie is Operations Manager for the Scottish football club Hamilton Academicals, and as he makes clear in his introduction to this book came from a background in the Lanarkshire town of Shotts in which football was a central part of the social life of the community. And while the three year old Tom might have been so bored on his first visit to a football match that he spent the time picking weeds from the cracks in the terracing, he has since engaged with the game considerably more deeply.
Just how deeply is clear from the contents of "The Scottish Junior Cup 1946-1975". This is a cup that has been played for since 1886 and is one of football's oldest trophies, now involving over 160 teams each year, mainly drawn from small towns and villages across Scotland. There have been times when the competition has been hugely popular. The 1951 Scottish Junior Cup Final was held at Hampden Park on 19 May 1951, and was attended by an enormous number of spectators: 77,650 in all.
Much of the book comprises individual short chapters about each of the Junior Cup Finals over the 40 year period from 1946 to 1975. The 1951 chapter gives the all important final score; the team lists; the results of the semi finals and of the other games played en route to Hampden; and a background description of the competition that year, and of the programme for the final. The 1951 chapter concludes with information about the key Scottish headlines of the year; the most popular radio programmes; and the most popular films in Scottish cinemas; and with images of the programmes for the final and one of the semi finals for the competition. Many chapters also include photographs of teams, players or games. The result is a real trip down memory lane for anyone involved in Scottish football over the period covered.
The book assumes that readers will know what Scottish Junior Football is. While this will doubtless be true of most of the book's readers, for others it is helpful to know that in Scottish football, "Junior" does not relate to the age of the players. Rather it reflects the fact that the teams involved tend to come from smaller settlements and are not part of the "Senior" football scene in Scotland, which comprises the Scottish Premier League, the Scottish Football League, and three Senior geographical leagues.