With Pollok’s 2011/12 Emirates Scottish Junior Cup campaign about to begin we turn the clock back to the last time ‘Lok lifted the trophy. The website team caught up with one of the heroes that day, CRAIG CRANMER, to talk about all things Pollok.
What brought you to Pollok?
I was brought to Pollok by Jim George who I had known since he coached my under-10 team at Duntocher Boys Club. He had been my manager for a brief spell at Dumbarton and he knew I had been out of the game for over a year when I was studying. He offered me training facilities and we agreed to see how it went before deciding whether to sign me. Thankfully it worked for both of us and started a great spell with the club.
What are your favourite memories of playing for Pollok?
I have so many great memories from my time at the club it is difficult to say. Obviously winning the Scottish cup was a highlight but winning the league a few times and the derbies with Arthurlie were great as well.
How close to kick off did the ‘97 cup winning team find out Jim O’Donnell was switching from our usual 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2?
To be very honest I cannot remember thinking too much about the formation as I was just delighted to be playing on the day. We had so many great players who could play in a number of positions you just never know what Jim O’Donnell and Brian would choose for that particular game. So just delighted to be playing!
Any funny stories to tell from your time at Pollok?
Far too many to mention and most not for repeating. I do remember playing away Cumnock in the Scottish Cup on year and Jim O’Donnell made us get off the bus and walk the last ½ a mile through the town. As Jim was an ex Auchinleck player the locals thought we were being arrogant and went wild hurling abuse launching about anything they could find at us. We eventually made it into the ground and from memory the game was a pretty competitive game with Dougie Fontana in the thick of everything that was going on as usual. We won 5-1 in the end and made it home intact.
Who was / were the best player(s) you played with at Pollok and were there any particular opposition players who gave you a tough time?
This is a really tough question that I really can’t answer as we had so many great players in my time at the club. In the early days I really enjoyed playing with Gordon Mills as he was such a talented goal-scorer and could always be relied upon to make the most of my punts up the park. John Paisley was another fantastic player who had such a great touch, scored goals and worked so hard for the team. The thing about the Pollok teams I played in was we were decent enough players but if other teams tried to be physical with us we could do that too. I wouldn’t even try to pick a best player from the Scottish Cup winning team as it was full of big characters with a lots of grit and determination. This certainly pulled us through many games even when we were having an off day. As for toughest opponents, any small, quick guy always gave me a headache and Sean Bainbridge who played at Maryhill for a while was one of them.
How much did you enjoy the derby matches against Arthurlie?
Loved the derby games and the atmosphere with the big crowd. Both sets of players and fans were charged up which always ensured we had a competitive game. Over the piece we did well against them and beating them was especially sweet.
And finally, what are you doing now?
For the past 3 years I have been living in Princeton, New Jersey USA with my wife Hazel and 2 kids. When the Scotch Whisky company I work for, William Grant & Sons, asked me to come over to look after our North American Operations we took the chance. Things are working out well although I have to say the standard of “soccer” is poor but thankfully we get most of the Premiership games here on TV.