Falkirk legend McGivern looks back on Jim Duffy and Saltcoats debacle

Duffy was in charge of this squad in 1989Duffy was in charge of this squad in 1989
Duffy was in charge of this squad in 1989

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Legendary Falkirk striker Sammy McGivern has attempted to dispell the club myth that manager Jim Duffy departed the Bairns over a players’ fracas in Saltcoats.

The then youngest football manager in Britain left Brockville following the infamous players’ night out, citing he had “too much respect for the game to have anything to do with players who tarnish it”.

However McGivern, who was present on the night, has told the Walking Down Hope Street podcast that Duffy’s departure had less to do with the now infamous night and more to do with a poor start to that season and a fall-out after missing promotion the season earlier.

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He said: “There had been a bit of a fall-out after the game against Forfar when we hadn’t got promotion. It was all borne out of frustration but it wasn’t nice and it was dealt with.

The striker discussed his time at Brockville.The striker discussed his time at Brockville.
The striker discussed his time at Brockville.

“We didn’t have a good start to The Following season which culminated in Jim moving on, but in my opinion it has absolutely nothing to do with what people called the Saltcoats debacle - that has been blown out of proportion massively.

“The players were in no way to blame. We weren’t Legends or well-known, but people in Saltcoats decided to pick a fight with people who they were told were footballers and ok there were three lifted and that doesn’t sound good but it was stupid guys in Saltcoats who picked a fight with the wrong guys on the wrong night.

“It was a horrible situation for us but if someone is picking a fight with you do you walk away and let them hit you on the back or do you stand your ground and stand up for yourself. the boys who were with us that night we are all capable of standing up for themselves.

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“Jim wanted to deal with the players in the way that he saw fit but the directors thought otherwise and they dealt with the situation.

Sam McGivern joined from Kilmarnock.Sam McGivern joined from Kilmarnock.
Sam McGivern joined from Kilmarnock.

“I’m not proud of it but I’m not accepting at all that it is the reason that Jim Duffy left Falkirk.”

Duffy went on from that infamous episode to have a long career in management and is currently in charge at Dumbarton.

However his first ever team-talk also lives long in the memory of McGivern, who details more in the Walking Down Hope Street podcast.

He also reminisces about his start in the game at Kilmarnock and time with Simon Stainrod and Jim Jefferies at Brockville.

Follow the podcast on Facebook or on Twitter.