Another addition to the Archive is the story of Tayport’s Midlands Amateur FA’s Gray Trophy win in 1978.
Tayport had emerged from the generally disappointing days of the 1960s to become a consistently well placed top division side during the 1970s. Nevertheless, it was very much a case of always the bridesmaid, never the bride, as clubs such as Broughty United and Auchterhouse collected much of the silverware during that decade.
This was never more the case than in the Gray Trophy, the competition for top division sides. It seemed Tayport would always fall at the final hurdle, being losing finalists in 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976 and losing semi-finalists in 1977.
Tayport reached the final again in 1978 against an all-conquering Auchterhouse side on their way that season to a third successive Midlands championship, a fourth successive North of Tay Cup win and a third successive Bremner Cup win.
Tayport’s preparation for the Gray Trophy final could hardly have been worse. Six days previously Tayport travelled to Auchterhouse where a win would have given the club a chance of a first ever Division One Championship. On what would be a disastrous Thursday evening, Tayport crashed to their heaviest league defeat for four seasons, losing 6-1.
Team Manager Bobby Waddell, a member of Dundee FC’s title winning squad in 1961/62, shuffled his side for the final, bringing in Bobby McMahon, Ian Brown and Ken Smith to his starting line-up to the exclusion of Doug Henderson, Ron Fleming and Gordon Hughes. After a 6-1 humbling and four successive Gray Trophy Final defeats, hopes, somewhat understandably, were not high for that Wednesday evening at the NCR Factory Grounds at West Kingsway.
In a superb performance however, Tayport swept their opponents aside, winning 5-0, the highlight of which was a second half hat-trick by substitute Gordon Hughes after Doug Paterson and an own goal had given Tayport a 2-0 interval lead.
Gray Trophy 1st Round – Saturday 18 March 1978
Tayport 3-1 Invergowrie (1-0) Scorers:- Doug Paterson 2, Gordon Hughes
Team:- Bobby Nicol; Bobby McMahon (Ron Fleming), Ian Mathers, Mike Clerihew, Ian Brown; Peter Wilson, Doug Paterson, Jim Downie; George Ritchie, Ian Howe (Peter Spink), Gordon Hughes.
2nd Round – Saturday 15th April 1978
Tayport 4-1 Grove Academy (4-0) Scorers:- Ian Howe 3, Ron Fleming
Team:- Bobby Nicol; Ian Brown (Bobby McMahon), Mike Clerihew, Ron Fleming, Doug Henderson; Keith Ritchie, Peter Wilson (Gordon Hughes), Jim Downie; George Ritchie, Ian Howe, Kenny Smith.
Semi Final – Saturday 22nd April 1978
Carnoustie 2-4 Tayport (1-2) Scorers:- Peter Wilson, Ian Howe, Ron Fleming, Kenny Smith
Team:- Bobby Nicol, Ian Brown, Ian Mathers, Ron Fleming, Doug Henderson; Keith Ritchie, Peter Wilson, Mike Clerihew, (Jim Downie); George Ritchie, Ian Howe (Gordon Hughes), Kenny Smith.
Midlands League Match – Thursday 25th May
Auchterhouse 6-1 Tayport (3-0) Scorer Ian Howe
Team:- Bobby Nicol; Ian Mathers, Mike Clerihew, Peter Wilson, Doug Henderson; Doug Paterson, Ron Fleming, Jim Downie; George Ritchie, Ian Howe, Gordon Hughes; Subs – Bobby McMahon, Ian Brown
Final – Wednesday 31st May 1978
At NCR Gounds, West Kingsway, Dundee
Tayport 5-0 Auchterhouse (2-0) Scorers:- Paterson, own goal, Gordon Hughes 3.
Team:- Bobby Nicol; Bobby McMahon, Ian Mathers, Mike Clerihew, Ian Brown; Doug Paterson, Peter Wilson (Ron Fleming), Jim Downie; George Ritchie (Gordon Hughes), Ian Howe, Kenny Smith.