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When Football Rocked in Scotland

Popular music and football are brothers in arms (to quote Dire Straits) and for those of a certain generation the two were always the natural highs that got them through their teenage years (and still provide solace in difficult 21st century moments). @AlexHTheMAX counts down five Rock/Pop/football crossovers from Scottish football history.

1. Clydebank: Wet Wet Wet

No "Sweet Little Mystery" as Wet Wet Wet's association with Clydebank was a home town one

In the first deal of its kind in the UK, West of Scotland super group 'Wet Wet Wet' ploughed some of their cash gained from hits in the 1980s into their home town club, Clydebank. In 1993 they became principal shirt sponsors of the then Scottish First Division club.

Although the idea to promote Clydebank FC at Wet Wet Wet gigs (with the club receiving a cut of the cash from concert shirt sales) never materialised, the two year shirt sponsor deal coincided with the return of Davy Cooper to the club. He started his playing career with before the subsequent move to Rangers that rubber stamped "Coop" as one of the finest Scottish players of his generation.

Cooper made around 40 appearances in the famous Wets Clydebank shirt as he wound down his career (1993-95) following a move from Motherwell.

The white, red and black home kit was based on the Bankies traditional colours from their inclusion in the Scottish League in the 1960s, while the away kit is now something of a retro fave (both manafactured by the company MatchWinner). The sight of lead singer Marti Pellow and the band at New Kilbowie Park (stadium dismantled in the late 1990s) in Bankies kits was a boon to the club that had largely been a Sweet Little Mystery (sorry) to football fans outside Scotland.

The 2000s saw the Bankies fall out of the Scottish League following an ill-fated merger with Airdrie, but they have since reinvented themselves as a community club, similar to Wimbledon in England. They now play in the Scottish Pyramid in the West of Scotland Football League, so a return to SPFL football is definitely a possibility in the future.

For Clydebank FC still Love is all around (sorry again).

2. Rick Wakeman and Meadowbank Thistle

Meadowbank Thistle boss Terry Christie with Rick Wakeman in the early 1980s

When Meadowbank Thistle became Scotland's newest league team in season 1974/5 they became something of a street cool favourite with DJ, champion of punk and Liverpool fan John Peel.

The late, great Radio 1 alternative music nighthawk famously visited a couple of Meadowbank games on trips to Edinburgh but, on the other side of the music spectrum, prog rock hero Rick Wakeman was maybe even more into the capital club. The club also had local fans that pioneered one of the first football club fanzines in the UK in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which was as likely to feature local gig reviews as news of Meadowbank's adventures in the old Scottish Second Division.

Terry Christie was the dutiful Meadowbank manager throughout the 1980s, combining part-time club management with his job as a school teacher. He met Wakeman on a few occasions at games referring to the former YES keyboard wizard as "knowledgeable" and "aware of all the players."

Christie commented: "One time I wanted to talk about rock music with Rick after a game but he was more interested in our new signing's performance in midfield."

Meadowbank Thistle were moved out of Edinburgh in 1995 by their board, and away from the shadow of Hibs and Hearts, before being rebadged as Livingston FC in a new stadium in the West Lothian town.

Despite the patronage of a superstar DJ and a Rock legend in the 1980s, it would be true to say the move to Livingston has been the best thing that's ever happened to the club which previously played at Edinburgh's Commonwealth stadium.

3. Rod of the Rangers?

John Greig and Rod Stewart promote Greig's testimonial in 1978

Rod Stewart's love for Celtic was spawned in the early 1970s when he was offered a chance to train with the team after a chance meeting with Celtic greats Jimmy 'Jinky ' Johnstone and Harry Hood following a Glasgow gig.

The great Jock Stein laughed at Rod's shoes before the training session at Parkhead, but a bond was formed as Stewart charmed the Celtic manager with stories of growing up in London with a Scottish father who was a Hibs fan.

Stewart later said he was "in awe" of Stein that day and almost immediately became a Hoops fan but he also wore the colours of that other Glasgow team in the 1970s.

Rod turned up in Ayrshire as a late addition to a charity match circa 1974 to play for Scotland in a "legends" match v England former players (Gordon Banks also featured). However, Rod ended up wearing a Rangers kit as an administrative error at the SFA meant no Scotland kits appeared at the game, forcing Rangers players involved on the day to make a call to Ibrox for emergency replacements in the shape of Gers home strips.

Rod also helped promote Rangers legendary captain John Greig's testimonial in 1978, but the star's support for Celtic seems as strong now as it was after that 1970s meeting with Jock Stein. Although the former Faces front man's support of Boris Johnson has seen some modern Celtic fans give the rockin' "Sir Rod" a cooler reception than he maybe enjoyed at Parkhead pre-2020s.

4. Scotland shirts Rock

Mick Jagger

Playing a gig in Scotland, want to get the locals on your side? Then wear a Scotland national team shirt. Many music stars have done it but the top three for this writer are as follows:

  • AC DC doing their Glasgow encore in full Scotland kits around the time of the Argentina World Cup when the nation believed the trophy could come home with tartan ribbons on it.


  • Mick Jagger (Glasgow 1983) never looked better than in the Scotland Umbro top of the time.
  • Lead singer Phil Lynott pulled off the ultimate rock/fitba' look with Thin Lizzy in Glasgow in 1979.
Thin Lizzy

5. Elton John: "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues."

When Radio Forth DJ Steve Jack asked Elton John about his football allegiance to Watford in an interview after an Edinburgh Playhouse gig in the mid-to-late 1970s, the Rocket Man also name dropped "Cowdenbeath" as a team he looked out for in Scottish football as he "liked the name."

Cue a vain attempt by the Fife club to charm Elton with a delivery of the natty Admiral Cowden home shirt of the day.

Sadly for Scottish Football, Elton was fully focused on Watford, and what a job he did as chairman, taking them from Division 4 to Division 1 in England with the help of manager Graham Taylor, before 
seeing them in an FA Cup final v Everton in 1984 at Wembley.

Elton John in his Watford Chairman days

By Alex Horsburgh, written for @TFHB.

©The Football History Boys, 2022
(All pictures borrowed and not owned in any form by TFHB)

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