St Rochs at long last have ground for celebration

AN icon of Junior football has passed into folklore after famous old Glasgow outfit St Roch's decided to rename their ground.

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St Rock's club treasurer Frank Brady proudly holds up the team's new strip to commemorate James McGrory at the club. Picture: Mark Gibson
St Rock's club treasurer Frank Brady proudly holds up the team's new strip to commemorate James McGrory at the club. Picture: Mark Gibson

Provanmill Park, which has been their base ever since moving there from Millburn Park in 1935, is now to be known as James McGrory Park (after consultation with the family) in commemoration of the Candy Rock's most famous son, whose 550 goals for Celtic remains a British record to this day.

Prolific striker Jimmy was born and raised in the Garngad and his illustrious footballing career began as a 16-year-old with St Roch's, who he helped win the Scottish Junior Cup for the only time in their 93-year existence by netting one of the goals in a 2-1 win over Kilwinning Rangers in 1922.

Not long afterwards he signed for Celtic where he was to astonishingly remain as player and then manager until 1965 barring an eight-year stint in charge of Kilmarnock.

Hoping this momentous change of name will inspire the current St Roch's players to recreate the winning ways of years gone by are father and son management duo John and Johnny Fallon, who have been ringing the changes ever since taking up the reins towards the end of last season.

The former Bellshill Athletic midfielder Johnny said: "We knew right from taking charge that the closing months of the season were going to be a write-off.

"But there was nothing we could do other than to grin and bear a few hefty beatings while making plans in the background.

"Those ideas were immediately underway following St Roch's final game when we released fully 12 players.

"Since then, we have patiently worked away at bringing in a mix of signing targets from the amateur and juvenile ranks as well as a hardcore of experienced Juniors.

"I suppose it's fair to say progress has been slow but significant.

"Former Blantyre Vics striker Craig Frye was one of the first to come on board along with his brother David, who previously played with Bellshill and we then managed to sign up George Fletcher from St Anthony's.

"And just this week we have fixed up the former Petershill striker Max Asante, who has been around the Junior scene for some time.

"We anticipate him providing some much-needed power and physicality to our forward line.

"Talks are ongoing with several other names including the ex-Arthurlie goalkeeper Kieron Cannon and our hope is to parade more new faces in our friendly games against Rob Roy (tonight) and Lanark United (Saturday)."

Fallon did not hold back from praising St Roch's club officials for improving the James McGrory Park playing surface and surroundings.

He said: "Hopefully their hard work will pay off in helping us to entice players to come here.

"There's no doubt St Roch's are currently giving off a far better image and not just because the park is now named after the great Jimmy McGrory, whose recognition in this manner is long overdue."

On the transfer front, Rob Roy midfielder Stevie Meechan has joined last season's beaten Scottish Junior Cup finalists Linlithgow Rose.

While Beith have fixed up Glasgow Perthshire frontman Paul Craig and midfielder Stuart McDonald from Cumnock, who have themselves snapped up Shotts striker Steven McGuire.

LAST NIGHT

Friendlies: St Anthony's 0 Albion Rovers XI 8.

Clydesdale Cup. Semi-final: Forth 1 Lesmahagow 4.

TONIGHT (Various kick-offs): Friendlies: Port Glasgow v Winton Rovers, Queen's Park v Blantyre Vics, Dalry v Clydebank, Hurlford v Girvan, Ardeer v Auchinleck, Neilston v Petershill, Largs v Troon, Rob Roy v St Roch's, Maryhill v Beith, Drumchapel Amats v Pollok, Kilwinning v Ayr United XI, Kilbirnie v Hurlford Amats, Irvine Vics v Johnstone Burgh, East Kilbride v Clyde U19s, Vale of Leven v St Pat's FPs.

Football

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