It’s the stuff of sporting legend – a feat that put Star Hearts in the record books – when they lifted amateur football’s greatest prize.
And, 40 years on from the team’s triumph of winning the Scottish Amateur Cup, a gathering of surviving team mates from that celebrated 1975 side came together to mark the anniversary of one Fife’s greatest sporting achievements.
The hair may be shorter and the trouser width narrower but the memories are just as vivid, as club founder Dave Leitch brought together not just members of the cup winning team, but also members of the much respected 1967-68 side that achieved an unprecedented clean sweep of all seven domestic trophies in the one season.
“It was great to see the old faces and quite a few that I’d not seen since the last time we gathered together a decade ago,” Dave told the Gazette.
“Winning the cup in 1975 was a fine achievement, especially as we avenged the club’s defeat to rivals Knockentiber.
“However, a mention must also go to the 1967-68 side that won everything domestically in the one season. That was very special indeed,” he added.
And special it was, with the team winning 16 games in just four weeks to secure the league title in spectacular fashion.
But, inevitably, it was the anniversary of that famous cup triumph, achieved just two weeks after neighbours Glenrothes Juniors had won the Scottish Junior Cup –, a victory that meant Fife held both the amateur and junior cups at the same time –that was at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Star, and their Glaswegian opponents Morrison YMCA, were not the first to contest a trophy at Hampden Park that day – Celtic had already beaten Airdrieonians 3-1.
“The pitch had held up pretty well, which is more than can be said for a few fans who had found themselves still in the ground after the first match,” laughed Star’s trainer, Shane Fenton.
“I remember being very nervous. There was such a relief when the final whistle went. It was an incredible achievement to emerge as winners after 10 rounds and out of 549 teams.”
A blue-light police escort back from the the Kincardine Bridge brought the cup winners back to a seemingly deserted Markinch.
“Until, that was, the bus pulled up outside the Bethune Arms – now the Town House – where hundreds of fans and wellwishers had gathered to to cheer the team home,” remembers Dave.
Just yards from that home coming in 1975, though no less memorable, the Star Hearts legends of the past gathered to celebrate a little bit of Fife sporting history, 40 years on.