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Stewart McPherson tracks Down Vale players of the days gone by
Name Iain Paterson
Date of Birth 8 April 1964
Occupation Corporate Strategy Manager
Which years did you play for Deveronvale ?
1987 - 1988.
Who signed you for the Vale and what attracted you to sign for the club ?
Julius Morrison signed me. I was in College in Aberdeen and a fellow student arranged for me to attend a Monday evening training session with the Vale. I did ok at training and was invited to play for the club away to Fort William on the Saturday. We won 5-2 and I was so impressed with the whole set up of the club and the team spirit shown by the other players that I signed forms on the bus on the way home.
What are your fondest memories of playing for Vale ?
There was an amazing team spirit at the club and we relished the underdog tag we took into most matches. This spurred us on to several unexpected results against the top sides and we ended the season in the highest league position for many years. In Joe McCallan and Sandy McNaughton we had seasoned pros who coached the less experienced players on the pitch, we had an incredible keeper in Colin Clark and a prolific scorer in Neil Morrison.
The bus journeys around the Highlands were also great entertainment, especially the infamous renditions of "Princess Royal Park" to the tune of "Ilkley Moor Bah'that".
On a personal note, I readily remember each of the goals I scored for Vale and still recall the thrill of scoring in such a competitive league. The winner away to Nairn County might not sound like such a big deal when the club has just won the Highland League but it meant a lot to me when we were fighting for every point in the 1987/88 season.
I also remember hitting a 25 yarder into the top corner 30 seconds into a game at Cove (past Colin Clark who'd just moved there) only for the referee to disallow it because Gary Morrison was supposedly interfering with play in an offside position. Gary in an offside position raises no questions but Gary interfering with play is stretching the imagination just too far!
What is the most memorable game you played in for Vale ?
1987/88 was a pretty successful season for Vale compared to previous years and there are many matches which stick in the memory such as the home wins over Huntly and Buckie (both 1-0), the 3-2 win at Cove and the draws away to Caley and Ross County (we were 2-0 down after 13 minutes in Dingwall and should have won the game after a fabulous comeback).
For me though, the outstanding memory is when we went to Kynoch Park for a league match managerless, a few days after Julius Morrison left the club. The pitch had suffered from torrential rain, the referee actually declared the pitch unplayable but Keith were desperate to play and thought we were there for the beating. Their groundstaff, and even player manager Willie Garner, worked hard to drain the water from the pitch and get the game on. We then gave them a footballing lesson and came away with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 victory with Mike Campbell scoring the winner in the dying minutes.
Who were the characters in the team?
The team was full of sensible individuals like Gary Morrison, Colin Ewen, Nigel Montgomery and Chubber McDonald but the committee was full of some real dodgy characters!
Who were the best players you played with at the Vale ?
I've already mentioned some excellent players in my answers above and I would have to add to that list people like Mikie Campbell and his wizardry on the wing, Alan "Silky Skills" Duguid, anoter excellent keeper in Neil Clark, two hard as nails attacking full backs in Andy Beattie and Kevin Henderson and another exciting goalscorer in Niall McBeath. Not quite sure how I managed to get a game amongst that lot!
And who were the best players you played against ?
The Highland League is and was an incredibly competitive league and I could fill the page with a list of outstanding players so I'll name but a few. Iain Thain was an outstanding keeper for Keith while a midfield containing Mike Teasdale of Elgin and Ferries and Connolly from Ross County would be formidable. However the two players that I found it toughest playing against were Alan Hercher of Caley and Bruce Morrison of Buckie.
What have you done in a football sense since you left the Vale ?
Sadly, the work I secured in Glasgow prevented me from staying longer with Vale so I joined the junior side Cumbernauld United. I found the junior league a big let-down after the Highland League and, after suffering a series of injuries during my first season, I hung up my boots in a professional sense. The SFA, in its infinite wisdom, rejected my application to be reinstated as an amateur so I was limited to playing matches for the company.
What does a normal Saturday afternoon entail for you these days ?
I have a 9 year old son, Calum, who plays in a 7-a-side league on a Saturday morning and I help coach and manage his team. Afterwards, since I have season tickets for Celtic Park, I head along there when Celtic are at home. Alternatively, Calum and I play football for hours in the back garden where we are sometimes joined by my 6 year old daughter, Grace, who has a wicked right foot on her!