Aaron Ramsey and the romantic Rangers first start that will see him join 6 Scottish football A-listers


It could be quite a culture shock for Aaron Ramsey if he steps out at Galabank for Rangers against Annan on Saturday.

The 2500-capacity stadium in Dumfriesshire is a world away from what the Welsh international is used.

Having moved to Glasgow on loan from Juventus, the 31-year-old has recently been used to the likes of the iconic San Siro in Serie A.

And having joined Arsenal as a youngster there was no shortage of glamor in the English Premier League or with Wales as he helped them reach the last four at Euro 2016.

But there is nothing like the charm of lower league grounds in Scottish football and particularly when it comes to the romance of the Scottish Cup.

Here, Record Sport Online looks at six other famous footballing names who experienced the delights of some of our traditional football grounds.

George Best – Somerset Park

The Manchester United legend will always be associated with his time at Old Trafford but the Northern Irishman’s time there ended when he was just 27.

His career then took him all over the globe from Los Angeles to Leith with a short stint at Easter Road.

George Best races past St Mirren’s Frank McDougall in November 1979

During his year in Edinburgh he famously missed a game against Ayr United in the Scottish Cup in favor of a night out with French rugby union player Jean-Pierre Rivas, in town for a Five Nations game, and Legend has it that the American popstar Debbie Harry, lead singer of Blondie, was also on the night out.

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But during Best’s time he featured in a 2-2 League Cup quarter final draw against the Honest Men to experience the old charm of Somerset Park.

Fabrizio Ravanelli – Broadwood

The Italian strike legend conjured up a magical hat-trick against Clyde in the League Cup after his shock move to Dundee during the Dens Park days under madcap Giovanni Di Stefano.

And the former Juventus man celebrated with his trademark move of pulling his shirt over his head. Who could ever have imagined seeing that in Cumbernauld?

But it ended on a sour note for the frontman who was axed along with 14 others after the Dark Blues went into administration.

Yet that treble remains his fondest memory from Scotland. He later said: “I have one photograph in my house in Italy. It’s from when I scored a hat-trick for Dundee against Clyde in the cup.

“It shows me celebrating one of my goals but that is all I have from my time in Scotland. That was the best memory.”

Claudio Caniggia – Gayfield Park

The Argentinian superstar was another who arrived on Tayside during those crazy days of big spending by the Dark Blues.

But the former striker’s time in Scotland had a happier ending than the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli and he earned a move to Rangers on the back of his success at Dens Park.

He won silverware during his time at Ibrox but having scored the goal that knocked Brazil out of the 1990 World Cup then a chilly midweek at Arbroath in January for a 2003 Scottish Cup tie would have been quite a shock. Caniggia also tasted Shielfield Park at Berwick during his time with the Light Blues when they were held to a goalless draw.

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Roy Keane – Broadwood

The Irish legend wanted to finish his career at Celtic but it wasn’t the start he wanted as Clyde stunned Gordon Strachan’s Hoops on his debut.

It is one of the most famous Scottish Cup upsets in history as former Old Firm rivals Graham Roberts and Joe Miller led the Bully Wee to victory in Cumbernauld.

Keane was reportedly close to joining Real Madrid before opting for Parkhead so you can imagine his shock but he recovered to win the League Cup and Scottish league title.

Freddie Ljungberg – Shielfield Park

The former Arsenal man made his Bhoys bow at lowly Berwick Rangers in a 2-0 Scottish Cup stroll.

Fredrik Ljungberg plays at Shielfield in 2011

Fellow Swede Daniel Majstorovic netted along with Scott Brown as Neil Lennon’s Celtic side made it into the next around.

Ljungberg had arrived on Boxing Day and was expected to make his debut in the Old Firm derby but he had to wait as he suffered from a virus and Shielfield Park was the start for his short-lived Hoops spell.

Jermain Defoe – Central Park

“I’ve heard more about this stadium than I did when I was on my way to the Nou Camp,” said Steven Gerrard ahead of his Rangers side’s Scottish Cup trip to Cowdenbeath.

“I can’t wait for the Stock Cars at ten to five, that’s when they start, isn’t it?”

For all he experienced in football, a race track around a ramshackle stadium in Fife was probably a new one for him.

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And the same for Jermain Defoe who played on a freezing night for a rearranged tie which the Light Blues won comfortably in the end.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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