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Bonnyrigg v Cowdenbeath history in pics | @AlexHTheMAX

Scottish Lowland League Champions Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic FC (based near Edinburgh and formed in 1881) play Cowdenbeath FC on May 7 and 14 (the tie over two Legs then pens if an aggregate draw), for the right to be the new team in Scottish League 2 in season 2022/3.  

Cowdenbeath (also formed 1881) are attempting a third great escape from the 5th tier Lowland League as team 42 in the SPFL after beating East Kilbride then Cove Rangers, all in the last five years, to preserve a Scottish League status that started in 1905.

@AlexHTheMAX gives us a pictorial history of Bonnyrigg and Cowdenbeath ahead of the historic matches at New Dundas Park and Central Park.

007 himself Sean Connery (above) played for Bonnyrigg between 1951 and 1953, and then turned down a contract at Manchester United in favour of an acting career. He's also listed under his real first name of T. Connery (Thomas) in this list of players released by Rose in 1953. (below).

Looks like Mr Bond was a bustling 'Outside Right' (o.r.).

Spot the ball as Bonnyrigg (hoops) play Whitburn in the 1966 Scottish Junior Cup final at Hampden.

 A 6-1 win for the Midlothian reds at the national stadium after a 1-1 draw the previous Saturday. 20,000 were at the first game with 10,000 at the replay as Rose won the trophy for the first time.

New Dundas Park, home to the First Leg of the pyramid play off final on May 7, with Cowdenbeath the visitors this time.

It's a testimony to how far Bonnyrigg have come when you learn they lost 8-1 to Hibs (above) at neutral Tynecastle in the Scottish Cup in 2017 as the non leaguers gave up home advantage for a more generous attendance v the Edinburgh big boys.

Cowdenbeath's Central Park (above) in 1960 with pit winding gear behind the stand representing the town's mining roots. The ground was opened in 1917, twelve years after the club were given a place in the Scottish League. The old wooden stand looking proud in this picture was partly demolished after a fire in the 1990s.

Bonnyrigg celebrate their Lowland League title this season and now they're 180 minutes from a first crack at Scottish League status (below).

Cowdenbeath v Albion Rovers on April 30th, 2022 (above). A 1-0 defeat in their final regular season league game this campaign could well be the Fife club's last official SPFL fixture for some time with Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic to come in a vital play off. (pic by David Wardle photography)

Horse Trotting, Stock Car Racing (still a feature at Central Park) and, briefly, Speedway have taken place on the oval track around the Central Park pitch over the years. A programme here from one of 6 Speedway meetings that took place at the Cowdenbeath ground in 1965 (below).

Cowdenbeath v Rangers in a League Cup Quarter-Final 2nd Leg tie in September 1949 (above). Cowden had won the 1st Leg 2-3 at Ibrox, to become the first team from outside the top league in Scotland to beat Rangers domestically, but Rangers won the match pictured here 1-3 for a 5-4 aggregate.

This second match here pulled in Central Park's highest ever attendance of just over 25,000 and the fixture was actually played on a Tuesday afternoon! (floodlights not installed until 1968)

Cowdenbeath last played in the top league in Scottish football in season 1970/1 but only lasted one season after promotion.

They were relegated with 17 points in last place but reached a League Cup Semi-Final that season (beaten 2-0 by Rangers at Hampden) and claimed a 2-2 draw at Hibs (match programme pictured above) in their first away league game of 1971. 

How times have changed for the club with the self mocking nickname "The Blue Brazil."

Once upon a time Cowdenbeath could only play Civil Service Strollers in the Scottish Cup (this programme from 1981 above) but the Strollers knocked Cowden out of the tournament this season and will be a regular fixture for the Fifers should they go down to the Lowland League.

Celtic and Rangers B teams, Edinburgh and Stirling's University sides plus former league clubs Berwick Rangers, Gretna and East Stirlingshire are also awaiting Cowdenbeath should they drop to tier 5, with other want to be league sides in the Scottish Pyramid, who play in the geographical area between Dundee and the Scottish borders in the east of Scotland and central belt, looking to progress at the Fifers expense.

Controversial Lowland League additions Celtic B and Rangers B cannot be promoted by the way.

Central Park by drone in 2017/18. The historic 2nd Leg of Cowdenbeath v Bonnyrigg is here on May 14.

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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