Living in Tayport, one often gets the impression that you are neither here nor there. In Fife, that is. A far flung outpost of the Kingdom, Tayport has long been considered by other Fifers as being part of Dundee, yet Dundonians are quick to point out that, as we don’t speak Dundonese, we’re definitely Fifers.
Over the years, football in Tayport has perhaps mirrored those impressions. For sixty years or so, pre-World War II, Tayport teams at different times played competitively both north and south of the river. Post-war, until 1981 however, when Tayport entered their Second XI in the East Fife AFA, Tayport teams didn’t feature in any Fife based league competitions.
In 1990 Tayport made the decision to join the Scottish Junior FA. For geographic and economic reasons, joining the Tayside Junior Association was Tayport’s choice. It was a decision not too popular with some clubs north of the Tay nor with the Fife JFA but the move was sanctioned nevertheless, by the powers that be.
It was a decision that wouldn’t be forgotten by the Fife JFA. Some years later when Tayport, by then a well-established Junior club, applied to take part in the Fife and Lothians Cup in preference to the Tayside and North Region Cup, we were denied the opportunity. Ironically, in 2020 Tayport would be the sole remaining Junior club in Fife.
Post-World War II, Tayport FC, as an amateur club, played annually in the North of Tay Amateur Cup but in 1970 an application to play in the Fife Amateur Cup instead, was accepted. Tayport gave the other Fifers notice that the club was on an upward spiral by twice reaching the final, in 1976 and 1980, only to lose on both occasions.
Fife Amateur Cup 1975/76
Round 1 bye
Round 2 Argos United [Kirkcaldy] 2-2 Tayport
Richard Callander; Frank Leslie, Ian Mathers, Graham McLaren (Doug Henderson), Ron Fleming; George Taylor, Jim Scott, Stuart Davie; Ian Howe (Keith Ritchie), Graeme Dandie, Gordon Hughes.
Scorers – Dandie, Ritchie
Replay – Tayport 4-0 Argos United
Callander; Taylor, Mathers, McLaren, Leslie; Doug Henderson, Davie, Dave Henderson; K.Ritchie, Dandie, Hughes (Fleming)
Scorers – Dandie (3), og.
Round 3 Tayport 6-0 Methilhill Strollers
Callander; Taylor, Mathers, McLaren, Fleming (Doug Henderson); Lindsay Ancell, Scott, Dave Henderson; K.Ritchie, Dandie, Howe (Hughes)
Scorers – Ritchie (2), Howe, Scott, Dandie (p), og.
Quarter Final Pitlessie 0-4 Tayport
Callander; Taylor, Mathers, Bertie Thoms, Fleming; K. Ritchie, Scott, Dave Henderson; Howe (George Ritchie), Dandie, Hughes; Gordon Gray
Scorers – K.Ritchie (2), Dandie, Hughes
Semi Final Tayport 5-3 Marion United [Kirkcaldy] at Thornton
Callander; Thoms, Mathers, McLaren, Fleming; Mick Allan (G.Ritchie), Scott, Dave Henderson; Stewart Ritchie, K. Ritchie, Hughes (Dandie)
Scorers – Hughes (2), Henderson, S. Ritchie, Scott
Final Tayport 2-4 Star Hearts at King George V Park, Leven
Callander; Taylor, Mathers, McLaren (S.Ritchie), Fleming; Allan (Gray), Scott, Dave Henderson; K.Ritchie, Howe, Hughes
Scorer – Howe (2)
Fife Amateur Cup 1979/80
Round 1 Wemyss Club Athletic 1-1 Tayport
Ian Lyall; Doug Henderson, Ian Mathers, Bobby Wilson, Rab Downie; Alan Hart (Ian Howe), Stuart Davie (Peter Wilson), Ian Brown; Willie Lawson, Kenny Smith, Gordon Hughes
Scorer – Howe
Tayport 3-2 Wemyss Club Athletic
Lyall; P.Wilson, Mathers, B.Wilson, Henderson; Hart, Davie, Jim Downie; Howe, Smith, Hughes. Subs – Brown, R. Downie
Scorers – Hart, Smith, Howe
Round 2 Tayport 2-0 Strathmiglo United
Lyall; P.Wilson, Mathers, B.Wilson, Henderson; Hart, Davie (R.Downie), J.Downie; Howe, Smith (Raymond White), Hughes
Scorers – Howe, Hughes
Round 3 Star Hearts 0-1 Tayport
Lyall; P.Wilson, Mathers, B.Wilson, Henderson; Hart (Davie), J.Downie (R.Downie), Peter Cuthill; Howe, White, Hughes.
Scorer – White
Quarter Final Ballingry Rovers 2-3 Tayport
Lyall; Hart, Mathers, B.Wilson, R.Downie; Alex Reid, J.Downie, Cuthill; Howe, White (Smith), Hughes. P.Wilson
Scorers – White, Reid, Hughes
Semi Final Eastbank FC 1-2 Tayport at Leven
Lyall; P.Wilson, Mathers, B Wilson, Henderson (R.Downie); Reid (Hart), Brown, Cuthill; Howe, White, Hughes
Scorers – B.Wilson, Brown
Final Windygates 2-1 Tayport (aet) 1-1 (after 90mins) at Central Park, Cowdenbeath FC
Lyall; Hart, Mathers, B.Wilson, Henderson; Reid, J.Downie, Cuthill, Howe, White (Brown) Hughes. R Downie
Scorer – Reid
A disappointing end to a good run. The run however, will probably be best remembered for the quarter final tie at Ballingry
The tie had originally been scheduled for Saturday 5th April but Tayport were due to be in Belgium on that date to compete in the Jacques Vandebosch International Trophy. However Ballingry Rovers and the EFAFA kindly agreed to bring the tie forward to Thursday evening 3rd April, with an early evening kick-off as the clocks hadn’t long been brought forward.
With Ballingry unbeaten and having a great season and Tayport leaving early the following morning for a lengthy coach journey to the continent, few gave Tayport much of a chance but they pulled off a magnificent win in a five goal thriller.
Tayport would reach the final of the International event after wins over French side FC Barantin (4-0) and Belgium’s Angleur FC (3-0) but their exertions caught up with them in the final, losing 2-1 to Yugoslavs RKN Split.