Friday, April 25, 2008

Stadia Tour 9: New Douglas Park

Well with the football season reaching an end (for Livingston fans at least) with only one game remaining of our season this Saturday, I thought I'd better break off from serious posting to get down to completing my tour around this season's Irn Bru Scottish First Division stadia and what better climax for that tour than the home of newly promoted champions Hamilton Academical at New Douglas Park. Livingston came a calling on 23rd February, sadly as with the season before for one of the trips here I was again back home in Northern Ireland, so this is the only away ground I failed to see at least twice this seaason.


Hamilton is just off the M74 at junction 5 and New Douglas Park is situated near the town centre close to numerous retails outlets, and close to the railway station. One of the retail outlets is actually built on the site of Douglas Park the former home of the team that was formed in 1874 by former pupils of Hamilton Academy.

The Ground

Last week saw the last game on the Field Turf artifical surface at NDP, as this is going to be replaced by grass for their elevation to the SPL during the close season. There were two elevated stands the Main Stand is to the West and with the other stand behind the northern goal. To the east is the new temporary construction, variously called by fans a gazebo, bus shelter during its construction. This construction brought the seated capacity of NDP up to the magic of figure of 6,000 easing their progression into top flight football once more.

There are a series of steps up to the two existing stands but clampons are not necessarily required to reach your seat. The result is that every fan has an elevated view over the playing area. The new stand will not have the same views however, being more or less at pitch level at the front. Behind the southern goal there are always a few fans either stood in the Homebase car park or on the mound below this leaning against the wall of their foundations.

The Atmosphere

Even dispite being league leaders Hamilton's support has not increased considerably. In recent past financial difficulties had seen them plummet as low as Division 3. However, there is a very vocal group of younger fans who sit close to the away fans who are positioned in the North stand behind the goal. Every time I have been to NDP there has been a lot of banter going back and forth between us and this group. I hope they remain there for the SPL season/s ahead and do their best to banter with the bigger teams support.

The Programme

Academia may sould like a weighty tome but the Accies programme at £1.50 is the cheapest in the league and sadly you get what you pat for. Of the 28 pages 13 contain adverts. It is mostly black and white throughout. This season at least our team details had been proof read for the second game, last season we were reading about new signings from the last weeks or month who had been with up for half a season.

Pie and Bovril

As commented above your walk down the steps once more at the front of the stand to get to the servaries.


Admission £15
Programme £1.50
Mince Pie and Bovril £TBC
Total £TBC

League Table of Cost
Morton £17.90
Stirling £18.10
Queen of the South £18.60
Partick Thistle £19.90
Clyde £20.60
Dunfermline £21.50
Dundee £21.60
St. Johnstone £21.90

Match Report

Hamilton went through the whole season only conceding 3 goals at home in the league. Fortunately for us Livi fans we were the only set our fans to see our team score on each occasion we played the Accies this season home and away.

However, unlike the previous two games against Hamilton this year our team did not really get into it until it was too late. The first goal originated from a sloppy pass at the half way line and before we knew it we were one down within 10 minutes of the start.

The second, early in the second half, was comedic if not so heartbreaking a cross in from the left was initially saved by keeper Colin Stewart, only to richochet of the incoming left back Craig James back off the keeper's legs and into the net. Stewart was awarded with an own goal for his efforts. A third from McLaughlin put the game more or less beyond hope as would be case later when they returned to Almondvale. Only once Robert Snodgrass got one back in the 79th minute did the Livingston team look like acheiving anything in front of goal but it was too little too late by that stage.

Final Score Partick Thistle 3 Livingston 1 (Hamilton: Stevenson 7, Stewart (o.g.) 49, McLaughlin 64; Livingston: Snodgrass 70)

As a result Hamailton remained top and Livingston remained 7th, their eventual league positions as it turned out.

Well that's the tour ended for this season, next year look out for the only certainty so far Victoria Park, Dingwall home of Ross County and whatever falls out of the Gretna situation. But I'll do one final Stadium report shortly for this season on Almondvale home to the team I support Livingston.

Previous Stadia Dens Park, East End Park, Cappielow, Broadwood, McDiarmid Park, Palmerstone, Forthbank, Firhill

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