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Blether with Brown: Steve’s version of events suggests a bit of jiggery-pokery took place

Blether with Brown: Steve’s version of events suggests a bit of jiggery-pokery took place

The Brechin City dressing-room photo in BwB on February 2 caught the attention of Steve Petrie.

“I saw that picture of Brechin, which included a lad called Ronnie Miller,” said Steve, a former team-mate of mine late in my football career at Douglas Amateurs AFC.

“I wonder if it was the same lad from Fife who was down on trial at Leeds United a couple of times.

“I’m sure he eventually signed for Manchester United, then on to Hibernian.

“Maybe some of your readers can reveal details of his career.

“He was a real hot shot and, along with Derek Johnstone and a guy called Steve Hancock, were capped for Scotland U/15 Schoolboys.

“They were also courted by many senior clubs, with more scouts at some of the games than spectators.”

Steve, who was tracked by English clubs such as Leeds United and Leicester City as a teenager before joining Jim McLean’s Dundee United, continued on another theme.

Suggesting that jiggery-pokery might have taken place, Steve went on: “This might prove controversial but, in a previous issue, one of your readers told about playing in the same Linlathen Secondary football team as Johnstone.

“However, his account of some of the things he wrote about are slightly different from mine and some of my former team-mates at St John’s High School.

“My version of events is that we were beaten 6-3 by Linlathen in the U/15 Dundee United Cup Final at Tannadice.

“Fair enough!

“Kenny Clark ran the St John’s team and he, obviously, wanted to bounce back from that defeat when we met Linlathen soon after in a league decider.

“He asked several of the players their thoughts and it was reckoned the only way to get a result was to make five or six changes.

“This meant bringing in some of that year’s very talented U/14 side, which had just won the Scottish Cup.

“In came Mel Holden, Frank Esposito, goalkeeper Alan Smith, and he pushed Pat Peoples up to centre-forward. Kenny knew Pat was capable of rumbling them up.

“St John’s HS headmaster Brother Bede knew the importance of the game and decided to let most of the second year and third year pupils who wanted to see game attend as the game was played during school time.

“Consequently, you had 50 or 60 ‘Johnnie’ fans on one line and the same from hosts Linlathen on the other.”

Tactics were not very evident in football around that time but Steve recalls: “The game started with DJ up front. He scored a goal, then retreated back to centre-half,

“We equalised but DJ moved up front and scored again, before returning to the back line. It was obviously a tactic adopted by the Linlathen team manager.

“We then made it 2-2.

“Derek was sent up to the front line once more and Linlathen scored again.

“It may not have been Johnstone who scored that one but he was a real handful for any defence.

“As you can imagine, there was much banter coming from the ‘fans’ on the two opposite lines — more akin to an Old Firm derby.

“They were screaming both teams on.

“This is the point, in my opinion, where it all went pear-shaped.

“We needed just one point to win the league title, while Linlathen were required to win.

“Late in game, we were awarded a penalty.

“The supporters on our line went berserk, knowing a goal would allow very little time for Linlathen to score.

“Anyway, as in school games, the home team supplied the referee, which was their team coach.

“Before the penalty-kick could be taken, he abandoned the game.

“Our view was that he knew a goal then would beat his side, so he abandoned game before the penalty was taken,

“All the St John’s guys were screaming ‘fix’, and Kenny Clark was furious.

“We definitely thought we were done out of a trophy!”

Steve also had a spell in Rhodesia playing for Callies (Salisbury), which was made up of and run mainly by Scots.

Later in his career, he played for several Dundee minor clubs such as Fairfield, Douglas Amateurs and Broughty Ex-Servicemen.

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This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.