This was certainly not a thriller!

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The Benchman assesses some criminal lead-losing an author and an opportunistic football spies ... and not a novel in sight.

WHODUNNIT?: That must be fairly unique in football. A stand named after a crime writer. The McDermid Stand where we were sitting on Saturday is named after crime writer Val McDermid. The way we lost the lead might have been seen as criminal by many of the away support. Val McDermid’s dad was a scout for Rovers.

WHAT GAME WERE YOU AT?: The journalists were given their press passes at the ticket window as usual. November 10, 2012 Raith Rovers v Hamilton. Many asked if it was indeed Hamilton they were being asked to watch.

MYSTERY PIC: Last week The Scotland No.6 was John Clark of Celtic pictured during a Scotland v Brazil game at Hampden Park. The Brazilian who was arguing his case was none other than Pele. 
This week, name these two teams, the venue and the four players involved.

THE HOUSE OF YOUR DREAMS: Did you notice the wee boy looking out of his bedroom window at Stark’s Park? It was a room with a view all right. He could see most of the game – for free. It reminded you of the house we all wanted to buy - the one that looked onto old Brockville Park.

THOSE WERE THE DAYS: Last Saturday there were less than 2,000 at a Raith Rovers v Falkirk game at Stark’s Park. How times change. Allowing for the usual excuses like computer games, wall-to-wall Sky TV, different social habits and the like, surely something is wrong with the game in Scotland? Look at the attendances for this fixture at Stark’s Park in the 1950s: 1950 - 10,000; 1951 - 12,000; 1953 - 7,000; 1954 - 10,000; 1958 - 14,000. Fewer fans went to away games and there weren’t many people with cars. Why are we watching this slow and painful decline of our national game? Prices. Product.

TEASER: Last week The ex-Bairn who scored for Cowdenbeath was Mark Ramsay, who has been at Central Park since 2007. This week, tell me, which ex-Bairn is linked to Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle?

OLDEST FALKIRK PLAYER?: Some have been asking about the oldest surviving Bairn in recent days. There are two contenders. One played for Falkirk during the war and I met him a few years ago. The other ex-player I met a few weeks ago is in a care home in Glasgow and he played in season 1948/49 and remembered Kenny Dawson and Archie Aikman and the like. Further research is being under taken.


HAYMARKET MEMORIAL: The Senior Bairns once again represented Falkirk F.C. at the annual Remembrance Day ceremony at the site of the Haymarket War Memorial and laid a wreath. Players from Hearts, Hibs, Raith, Falkirk and other clubs were all involved in McCrae’s Battalion and several of Falkirk’s first team enlisted in the 16th Royal Scots. Many Falkirk supporters also signed up for the regiment. Once the tram works have been completed, it is hoped that the memorial will be returned to its rightful place.

BENCHMARKS

Match rating:8

Team rating: 7

Opposition: 7

Referee: McKendrick 7

Best Bairn: Darren Dods