The seven cities in Scotland have all seen top tier football clubs in recent years. All except one, Stirling.
Aberdeen have the Dons. Dundee has seen both Dundee and United in recent years. Edinburgh has both Hearts and Hibs. Glasgow has had the Old Firm and Partick Thistle. Caley Thistle were in the top flight as Inverness’ representative in recent years. And Perth has St Johnstone.
Stirling isn’t a small place. Perhaps more famous for Blair Dummond Safari Park, Stirling Castle or the Wallace Monument, it’s fair to say it’s underachieved in footballing terms.
So, how have Stirling not kicked on?
With only one club operating in the SPFL, Stirling Albion, the Binos were founded in 1945. This came as a result of the dissolving of King’s Park, the previous tenants of Forthbank Park. Albion moved into Forthbank Stadium, where they still play today, in 1993.
The club’s highest league position came way back in 1958-59, finishing 12th in the top flight. A top flight which saw Airdrieonians (5th) finish higher than Celtic (6th), Third Lanark and Albion’s League Two counterparts Clyde.
That season saw Rangers and Hearts vying for the league title on the last day. The Gers had a two point lead over the Jambos. 2-1 defeats for both clubs (Rangers at home to Aberdeen and Hearts away to Celtic) saw Rangers lift their 31st league title.
Stirling haven’t sealed promotion to the top tier since winning the second tier title in 1964-65. It’s been more than 50 years since a Stirling Albion team last won promotion to play amongst Scottish football’s elite.
Part-time to Premiership in the future?
It must be remembered that Albion are less than a century old, so they’re of course not going to rise to the top straight away. The last thing they want to do is emulate a side like Gretna. Whilst they remain a part-time team in League Two, the talk of the Premiership is potentially decades away.
Here’s hoping, for Scotland’s sake, it happens one day.