On Saturday we return to Recreation Park for the first time since September 1987 when we played in the Alloa Sevens.


This Scottish Supporters Football League event inspired the song “Who Put The Ball In The Hearts B Net ?”.


 But, who did put the ball in the Hearts B net ?


 At last the truth can be told………….


On 27th September 1987 we were invited to play in the Alloa Sevens which was in aid of Drew Paterson an Alloa Athletic player who had suffered a serious head injury and was unlikely to play again.


As Alloa had a team in the Scottish Supporters League it was decided that the League would hold a fund raising event and sixteen teams took part in the Alloa Sevens.


We had a squad of thirteen with us, plus Keith McAllister in a supporting role, but we were only allowed to use nine players so we had to leave out The Crosshill Goal Machine, Alan “Dixie” Dickson, much to his disgust, and the management duo of Mickey Higgins and Iain Campbell.


The players who were chosen were:- Gordon Hunter, Martin Harvey, Stephen Fox, Neil McAllister, David Nisbet, Stephen McGilp, Stephen Stormonth, Rab Graham and Alan Raeburn.


Each game would last seven and a half minutes each way over the full pitch and we were drawn against Partick Thistle (Cross) in our first game.


Despite the large pitch there were no goals in our game against Cross although we played some good football which impressed the other teams watching who knew little about us as we’d just joined the SSFL.


Into penalties and Stormy, Stevie and Nisby scored before Gordon “Beany” Hunter saved a Partick effort and we were through to the next round 3-2.


Our next opponents were Raith Rovers who were far from popular with the crowd, mainly because they were immaculately turned out and looked, and acted, like a football team.


It was going to be a stiff test for our lads and we held our own for a good part of the game, and again impressed the spectators, but unfortunately lost out 2-0 although Martin did  hit the woodwork twice. Raith’s goals came from a debatable penalty and a miles offside effort so we were especially unlucky to lose.


The football wasn’t over for us though as there was a Consolation Cup for the teams knocked out in the first couple of rounds.


It was decided that the four people left out of the initial squad would play so Neil, Davie, Stormy and Rab all stood down so they could watch and learn.


The first game saw us in action against the famous Hearts B and The Crosshill Goal Machine was unleashed on the unsuspecting Edinburgh side.


The old saying, “cometh the hour, cometh the man with the outrageous collection of tracksuits” came to fruition as The Machine did the business and superbly rounded the helpless Hearts goalie before prodding the ball home for the only goal of the game.


Our good friends St.Johnstone were next up in the Semi Final and, in another high scoring game (0-0), that man McGilp scored in the sudden death penalty shoot out to put us into the Final against Partick Thistle (Cross).


Thistle had no answer to the relentless surges of our young bucks, and Machine, and it was a surprise that only one goal was scored. However, it was a cracker with Stevie finishing off a great move with a tremendous chip over the keeper for probably the best goal of the day.


The Consolation Cup was ours but unfortunately there was no tangible reward and we only had the pride of winning a competition so early in our history (note to self: maybe time to buy a Consolation Cup and get the team back together for a photo).


After the Sevens, which raised over £220 for Drew Paterson, we headed to the local pool hall for an after tourney drink along with some of the teams who took part. Even in the early days we looked at the social side of the football as being as big a part of things as the actual games.


An enjoyable time was spent there, with the schoolies being fed drinks under the table, before we headed up the road with everybody in good spirits.


Even Dixie, who had had a strop early in the day, was enjoying himself and this was the first of many away days in our first season where we bonded as a team and had a great time on and off the park.


As the minibus headed back to Glasgow the air was filled with the song, “Who put the ball in the Hearts B net ?”.


As we now all know, the answer to the question is of course, “Machine, Machine. Who put the ball in the Hearts B net ? Crosshill Goal Machine” !!!


(Adapted from Keith McAllister’s article in The Web Number 43)


More photos can be found in the PHOTO GALLERY


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