'I played in 1996 semi-final just after getting back from Ibiza holiday' - Colin McKendrick's fond Clydesdale Cup memories as he helps restore tournament after three-year absence

After helping fix the Clydesdale Cup’s return after a three-year break due to Covid, Clydesdale Sports Council liason officer Colin McKendrick has fondly recalled playing in the pre-season football tourney featuring Lanark United, Carluke Rovers, Lesmahagow Juniors and Forth Wanderers.

Colin McKendrick (right), pictured with Scots football legend Gordon Smith, is delighted Clydesdale Cup is back
Colin McKendrick (right), pictured with Scots football legend Gordon Smith, is delighted Clydesdale Cup is back

McKendrick, 44, said preparation wasn't exactly ideal for his first taste of the cup back in the summer of 1996 as a raw 18-year-old Carluke Rovers midfielder.

"Myself and one of my better friends who also played in central midfield – Graham Wright – had not long returned from Ibiza and we were straight into the Clydesdale Cup at Moor Park against Lanark,” he explained.

"I was up against Craig Stark in the middle of the park. It’s fond memories.

"It was really competitive, I played well and we lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

"Stuart Miller was the manager of Carluke and it was the days of Clara Kay – legendary club secretary – and I’m pretty sure Sandy Robertson and Colin Slater were playing for Lanark in that game as well.

"But Carluke gave as good as we got and I have a few cut-outs from the paper of my name getting mentioned favourably and photos. My gran used to keep them for me.”

After just one season at Rovers, McKendrick’s participation in the Clydesdale Cup continued during a subsequent five-year spell with Forth Wanderers.

Going back to the present day, Carluke Rovers will host Lanark United in the first Clydesdale Cup semi-final, kick-off 7.30pm on Tuesday, July 19.

The second semi-final will see Forth host Lesmahagow on Wednesday, July 20, with kick-off at 7pm.

The final will be staged at either Forth or Lesmahagow from 7pm on Monday, July 25.

McKendrick’s original intention had been to change the Clydesdale Cup format by having the four teams play each other home and away in a round robin mini league, but this was ditched due to problems with fixture congestion.

"To have it back in the old format is certainly good,” McKendrick said. “And all four clubs are certainly up for it.”