1990 was a good year for Winton Rovers.

KILBIRNIE LADESIDE 1 – WINTON ROVERS 1
Winton Rovers win 4-2 on penalties   |   Winton Rovers Spot On To Lift The Cunninghame Cup
Winton won a dramatic penalty shootout at Valefield on Sunday (13 May 1990) to clinch the Cunninghame District Cup after an enthralling final.  Few among the seven hundred crowd could deny Winton their moment of glory.  They were the better team throughout and survived a serious blow when midfielder Lex Lindsay was stretchered off with a broken leg midway through the second half.
     
The match kicked off in glorious sunshine and the shirt-sleeved crowd did not have long to wait for goalmouth action.  Kevin Hughes had the ball in the net from a Kenny Moyes flick-on in the opening minute but the flag was already up for offside.  In the third minute, Gary Murgitroyd had to look lively to smother the ball at Colin Johnstone’s feet after Alan Rennie had broken down the right and crossed low into the Winton box.  The keeper was hurt in saving and limped his way through the rest of the match.
      A Winton goal was not long delayed, however, as in only six minutes the visitors - playing the final on Kilbirnie’s home ground - moved in front.
  Neil Armour’s strong challenge floored Andy McGhee who required treatment.  Play resumed with a free-kick and when the ball came over Colin Johnstone handled to allow Derek Frye to put Winton in front from the spot.  It took Ladeside seventeen minutes to test Gary Murgitroyd again, the goalkeeper making an excellent stop when he tipped a Billy Muir thirty-five yarder over for a corner.
      Ladeside and Muir came close again in thirty-five minutes when the junior international winger scraped the crossbar with a free-kick after a foul by Stuart Beattie on John Barrett.
  With just two minutes to go until the break, Ladeside drew level with a controversial goal.  Russell was lying in a heap. yards offside, when Ladeside attacked down the left.  Gary Murgitroyd saved bravely at John Barrett's feet but the ball broke to the supporting Billy Muir who netted from fifteen yards.  Winton claimed that Russell was offside but the referee - correctly in my opinion -- took the view that as he was prostrate and injured on the ground, he was neither interfering with play nor seeking to gain an advantage.  This was good refereeing by Mr Stevenson.

     
Winton again went on to the attack from the start of the second-half and Beattie headed narrowly over.
  In forty-seven minutes, Derek Frye joined the crime count after he kicked the ball away but two minutes later Winton’s strong start almost brought another goal.  Andy McGhee’s low cross was prodded goal-wards by Kevin Hughes but Tony Bryden produced a brilliant one-handed reflex save to deny the former Ladeside striker.  There were then three bookings in as many minutes as Mr Stevenson clamped down on things.  John Barrett was yellow-carded on the intervention of a linesman, then Neil Armour and Kenny Moyes were booked in separate incidents.
In sixty-five minutes, Winton’s Lex Lindsay was booked but two minutes later his season ended when he was left with a broken leg as he and Adam Russell challenged for a 50-50 ball in midfield.
  The former Kilmarnock and Stranraer man was carried off and taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital with Jim Paul coming on as substitute.  With nine minutes left, Kevin Hughes was once more inches from glory his stab at a Moyes back-header flashing inches over.
      So, penalties it was to settle the destination of the new Cunninghame District Council Cup trophy.
  Derek Frye went first for Winton but Tony Bryden saved his shot.  Neil McLaughlin put Ladeside ahead but Hugh Houston immediately levelled for Winton.  Muir missed for Kilbirnie then, after Kevin Hughes had sent Bryden the wrong way, Billy McLarty blazed his kick wide.  Dick Malcolmson then put Winton 3-1 ahead before Colin Johnstone scored for Ladeside.  This left Gordon Murray to beat Bryden with a shot which the keeper got a hand to but could not stop and the Cup was Winton’s 4-2 on penalties.
      Jubilant Winton boss Willie Kean said “I am delighted for my players.
  They worked hard for this, created more chances than Ladeside and did not let the loss of Lex Lindsay upset them.”  Kean said of the challenge in which Lindsay was injured “It was one of these things in football, a simple 50-50 ball, and no blame attaches to Adam Russell.”

      The teams were:
Kilbirnie Ladeside – Bryden, Johnstone, Russell, Fontana, Armour, Rennie, McLaughlin, N McLaughlin, Barrett, Monaghan and Muir with substitutes McLarty and Henighan.
Winton Rovers - Murgitroyd, Simpson, Murray, Houston, Beattie, Lindsay, McGhee, Malcolmson, Moyes, Hughes and Frye with substitutes Paul and Drennan.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 May 1990

ROVERS REVAMP
Businessman announces 10000 plan to upgrade Winton Park facilities
Exclusive by Ian King
Ardrossan businessman Pat Breen has taken the wraps off a major new programme to revamp Winton Park.  The thirty-four-year-old building boss this week announced an improvements package costing nearly 10000 that will make exciting reading for fans of Ardrossan Winton Rovers.  It will mean
 
• the re-opening of the club’s grandstand built in 1957 which was recently declared unsafe
 
• creating a new all-weather, floodlit training area within the stadium
 
• constructing a new running track around the playing surface
 
• floodlighting for the Winton Park pitch itself
 
• a boundary wall around the pitch
      For Pat, the blueprint for the future of Winton Park. has marked a lifelong association with the club where his father is president.  Pat, shown below left,  told the Herald “I have been involved with Winton Rovers for as long as I can remember.  I just felt it was time to do something because of the state the park was in.  Also, after gaining promotion, Winton have begun to raise the standards on the park.  They need to be matched off it.”  The development plans could not have come at a better time for newly-promoted Winton who celebrated their return to Division One by clinching the Cunninghame District Council Cup on Sunday (13 May 1990).
 
      That victory over Kilbirnie Ladeside, at the Garnock Valley side’s Valefield ground, has given fresh impetus to the club’s resurgence.  Rovers’ secretary Sam Morrison, shown above right, said “We are absolutely delighted about Pat’s scheme.  When the ideas were put in front of the committee, their approval was unanimous.  Now the twenty-strong local workforce of the Breen company have added the Winton Park. project to a busy schedule – and they hoe to have the bulk of the work completed for the beginning of the new season in August.  It is hoped that a top senior club may mark the opening of the new look Winton Park. by playing in a floodlit friendly.
      Pat, however, was also quick to point out the advantages that the new training facility could have for both Rovers and the local community.
  “Already, there has been a lot of interest in using the new red ash pitch when it is completed.” he said.  “A number of local teams are hoping to take advantage and really the aim is to get the maximum use of the area.  Training facilities for footballers are lacking in this area.”  The cash injection into the Winton Park. club is set to take the form of a five-year interest-free loan deal but for Rovers’ backer Pat, the move could mean some family strife!  His father, also Pat, will head the fourteen Winton committee members who will invest their time and effort in a host of tasks from painting to fitting floodlights to help rejuvenate the ground.
      “Improvements like this could mean the edge in attracting a player to what will be an attractive ground.” said Sam Morrison.
  “It means a lot to us that a businessman like Pat Breen to come in with support like this.”  For Winton, the recruitment from the senior ranks of former Rangers centre-half Stuart Beattie, ex Stranraer player Hugh Houston and Lex Lindsay from Kilmarnock have meant the first steps to rebuilding former glories on the park.  Now, as the club battles to hold on to their Cup-winning stars, they have been handed the opportunity to return their Winton Park home to its former status as one of the best stadiums in Ayrshire.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 18 May 1990

CUNNINGHAME DISTRICT COUNCIL RECEPTION

Cunninghame District Council recently held a reception in honour of the District's junior football teams at Cunninghame House.  Winton Rovers brought along the District Cup which they won last season and Convener Jck Carson and Councillor David Dickie took the chance to show off the Cup on the steps of Cunninghame House watched by representatives of the other clubs and, front row left to right, Councillor Peter McNamara, Ayrshire Region vice-president Tony da Prato of Winton Rovers, Winton Rovers treasurer Donald Reid in the centre and Councillor David Munn at the right.
                Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 3 August 1990

LARGS THISTLE 1 – ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 4
New Winton strike-force are big hit.
Dick Brock’s experimental offside trap failed as Winton successfully collected a further two points in their quest for Scarlett Cup glory.  Yet this match (on 18 August 1990) had started well for the Barrfields side with a goal in only the second minute.  A long Wilson throw caught Stuart Beattie flat-footed, the ball spun of his foot to land at the feet of Stephen Quigg and the Guthrie Golden Boot winner beat Gary Murgitroyd from close range to open his account for this season.  Winton then hit back and from a John Walker corner, Chris Dougal’s strong header was cleared off the line by George Wall.
      Two minutes later, however, Winton pulled level.
  Skipper Hugh Houston moved out of defence, beat two Largs men in midfield then sent a long pass over the heads of the Thistle defence as they raced out for Kevin Hughes to run on and stroke the ball around Robert Burns and into the empty net.  The Largs offside trap was again sprung for Winton’s second goal.  Chris Dougal was sent to clear by Gordon Murray’s crossfield pass and ran on to ignore further claims that he had controlled the ball with his arm.  He beat Burns easily to put Largs in arrears.
      The home side missed another good chance in thirty-three minutes.
  Gordon Murray put Gary Murgitroyd under pressure with a short pass-back which Roger intercepted and squared to Jim Boag.  With Murgitroyd stranded and the goal gaping, however, Boag shot wide.  Hugh Houston was yellow-carded for some back-chat to referee Coyne in thirty-four minutes and Winton’s problems continued with another short back-pass intercepted by Boag who was judged by the referee to have used his arm to control the ball.
Early in the second half, Kevin Hughes was booked again for dissent when he failed to beat the Largs offside trap.
  The yellow cards continued to rain down on Winton with Dougal and Malcolmson cautioned for bad tackles in quick succession.  On the hour mark, Frye replaced McFarlane and two minutes later, George Wall was again the Largs saviour as he got back to nick the ball of Walker’s toe walk as he bored in on goal.  Gunn of Largs was next to be cautioned after throwing the ball away when a foul was given against him.
      Stuart Beattie’s last gasp tackle denied Jim Boag at the expense of a corner.
  Gary Murgitroyd clutched the kick, released the ball quickly to Chris Dougal on half-way.  His wide pass sent Kevin Hughes free to chip the ball over Burns and into the net from thirty yards.  Largs where reduced to ten men for the last ten minutes when Gunn’s late tackle on Billy Mason saw him add a red card to his earlier yellow.
      With six minutes left, Winton made it 4-1 through substitute Charles Clarke who collected Derek Frye’s pass inside the full-back and ran forward to lift a left foot shot from the edge of the penalty area into the Largs net.

 

Winton Rovers striker Kevin Hughes, left, hit two goals with newcomer Chris Dougal also on the mark to sink Largs Thistle.
     
The teams were:

Largs Thistle – Burns, Allan, Wall, Gunn, Lynn, Rodger, Boag, S McCafferty, Quigg, Wilson and McLaughlin with substitutes McCafferty and Clancy.
Ardrossan Winton Rovers – Murgitroyd, McFarlane, Murray, Houston, Beattie, Strain, Walker, Mason, Hughes, Dougal and Malcolmson with substitutes Frye and Clarke.
                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 24 August 1990

ARDROSSAN WINTON ROVERS 0 – RANGERS 3
What A Blue Do! - Young Stars Shine as Rangers Set the Seal on Winton’s Big Night

Entertainers John Morrow and Sandy Robertson called the tune as Rangers set the seal on a magnificent opening night for the new look Winton Park but - despite the scoreline - the real winners on Tuesday evening (9 October 1990) were Ardrossan Winton Rovers and the club’s hard-working committee who saw over 2500 fans pack into the renovated ground.  Ibrox coaches Davie Dodds and John McGregor took charge of a talented squad who turned in a skilled display under the new floodlights to eventually cruise to victory.  It was a night when four solid months of hard work on the 10000 rebuilding programme came to fruition off the field - and on the pitch, Winton almost provided their visitors with a shock in the early stages.  John Walker - Winton’s best outfield player on the night - found himself clear after a slip in the Gers’ defence after twelve minutes.  The striker steadied himself to drill a left-foot drive goal wards but ex-Dalry Thistle keeper Colin Scott reacted well to block with his legs.  From the resultant corner, Walker’s kick eluded everyone and Rangers midfielder, Neil Edwards, had to kick desperately off the line.
      The Ibrox men, however, had looked cool and composed with Robertson calling the shots in midfield - and it was from the playmaker’s left-wing cross that Rangers carved their first real opening.
  Gary McSwegan laid the ball back for John Spencer and his left-foot shot was blocked before he fired in a right-foot effort that was confidentially held by Gary Murgitroyd.  Spencer - such a hit in the European Cup against Maltese side Valletta - had no luck in front of goal against Winton.  He had a golden chance from a towering kick from Scott which was misjudged by Winton’s central defence.  The striker’s lob beat the advanced Murgitroyd and the crossbar but when Rangers did move ahead in the thirty-third minute, it was with a classic strike.  Young Irishman, John Morrow, picked up a pass from Gers’ skipper Scott Nisbet to drag the Winton defence away to the left and cut inside before hammering in a right-foot rocket from the edge of the box which soared past Murgitroyd.
      Three minutes from the interval, it was 0-2 when Edwards swung a cross from the right into the danger zone.
  Winton’s Chris Dougal - standing in at centre-half for former Ranger Stuart Beattie - could only head the ball into the path of McSwegan.  The deadly striker buried a right-foot shot well away from the despairing Murgitroyd.  Both sides used their full quota of substitutes with Robertson replaced by Irvine New Town player, Neil Murray, in midfield.  Winton battled hard to get back into the match and almost snatched a goal in the sixty-ninth minute.  Chris Strain’s long ball found Kevin Hughes bustling clear of his marker on the left of the box and he whipped in an angular shot which flew inches past Scott’s far post.  Rangers’ Australian forward, Craig Lewis, then saw a powerful left-foot effort stopped by Murgitroyd before the Ibrox men tied it all up with twelve minutes left.  Spencer’s clever pass spread-eagled a tiring Rovers’ defence and it was Martin who capped a good display on ‘home’ territory to rifle a left-foot drive beyond Murgitroyd. 
The Winton keeper still had time to prove his class with a stunning stop as he changed direction to touch away a deflected Chris Vinnicombe shot and almost on full-time, the keeper came to the rescue again with a great block from Neil Murray before he turned Spencer’s rebound on to the crossbar and over.
      Winton boss Willie Kean said after the match “At times, it was like chasing shadows.
  Their youngsters have so many good habits in the way they play the game.  They were different class.”  Gers’ coach Davie Dodds praised the Ardrossan effort.  “We would like to thank Winton, not only for giving us our hospitality but for giving us a good, clean competitive game, especially in the first half”, he said.  “Let’s hope the funds from tonight will keep the club going for a couple of years!”


      The teams were:
Ardrossan Winton Rovers - Murgitroyd, McFarlane, Malcolmson, Strain, Dougal, Clarke, Walker, McArthur, Hughes, Gray and McGhee with substitutes Paul, Armstrong and Frye.
Rangers - Scott, Dunn, Vinnicombe, McFadyen, Murray, Nisbet, Edwards, Robertson, McSwegan, Spencer and Morrow with substitutes Paterson, Martin, Lewis, Walker and Pressley.
The referee was Louis Thow of Ayr and the linesmen were Charlie McLaughlin of Fairlie and Tom Coulter of Ardrossan.
                
Ardrossan and Saltcoa
ts Herald, 12 October 1990


SWITCHED ON WINTON ROVERS
Mighty Glasgow Rangers made it a night to remember as the newly-renovated Winton Park was opened on Tuesday night (9 October 1990) and a crowd of over 2500 was the reward for the club’s committee and Ardrossan building boss, Pat Breen junior who masterminded the 10000 facelift which transformed the ground.  For Ardrossan Winton Rovers, the 0-3 defeat from the Ibrox side was incidental.  This was a night to celebrate the rebirth of a club which could so easily have gone to the wall on more than one occasion in the past decade.
      Much of the credit must go to Pat - son of the Winton president - but he was quick to point out the help he and his workforce received from the hard-working committee.
  “Their backing has been excellent” said Pat.  “We knew there was a lot of work needed to refurbish the Park and I knew what my workforce had to undertake but the committee took a lot of hard work upon themselves and they have been great.”  The joint effort of Pat Breen Limited and the Rovers’ volunteer workers rejuvenated a ground which had been running into disrepair.  Now the floodlit park boasts a new boundary wall, excellent terracing, a running track, improved changing and hospitality facilities and a highly popular floodlit training area.  Perhaps most important of all was that the club’s impressive new grandstand was reopened on Tuesday with sponsors and club guests enjoying a magnificent view of the big clash with Rangers. 
The official attendance on a night when fans queued in Winton Street for up to an hour before kick-off was 2391 but those with complimentary tickets took the actual mark to over 2500.
      After the glamour opening clash, Pat Breen senior reflected on a great night for Winton at the after-match reception.
  The Rovers’ president said “We must thank Rangers for sending such a strong side tonight.  The hard work preparing for tonight started way back in May and we are indebted to our visitors for making it such a success.  It was good to see our invited guests - the former players - here.  They have been called the old players but I like to call them the veterans.  They are always welcome at Winton Park.”  That group of former players was looked after for much of the night by Rovers’ stalwart Sam Morrison who resigned as club secretary recently.  Sam, happily, is to maintain his links with the club by continuing to use his considerable skills as a fundraiser.
      Rangers coach, Davie Dodds, thanked Winton for their hospitality and joked “I hope the funds from tonight keep the club going for a couple of years!”
  Club treasurer, Donald Reid, and Rovers’ manager, Willie Kean, might have something to say about that.
      Winton vice-president, Tom Reid, sprang a surprise on Pat Breen junior - the man behind the facelift - when he asked Davie Dodds to present Pat with a framed print of Ardrossan Harbour to mark his contribution to the club.
  “It is perhaps hard for people not from the area to realise just how much has been done to Winton Park.” said Tom.  “The way it is now - compared to what it was - is, as they say, chalk and cheese.”  After accepting the surprise presentation, Pat Breen junior said “None of this has been done for myself.  I took this job on for Winton Rovers and the community.  I hope that the local kids will use the facilities here and that the new Winton Park can help promote football in this neck of the woods.”
      Earlier in the week, Pat - Rovers’ assistant coach and a qualified Scottish Football Association (SFA) coach - had heard of a further boost to the club’s reputation.
  The SFA has now sanctioned Winton Park as a venue for their popular Playball courses which help foster football skills for children.
      The fans’ attention is honed on the glamour visitors on a night like Tuesday but behind the scenes a power of work was undertaken to make it all possible.
  The canteen ladies, led by Betty Adamson in Betty’s Bistro, catered superbly for the fans and dignitaries at the post-match reception.  Volunteer stewards played their part in controlling the biggest crowd Winton Park has seen in many years.  The club’s aims now turn elsewhere as Pat Breen junior outlined “There is still work to do but we have the facilities now.  It will take time but it is up to us to now match that on the park.”
      The refurbished ground was officially opened by Brian Wilson, Member of Parliament who said “Like all junior clubs, Winton Rovers have experienced their hard times and the ground had gone into decline.”
  He paid tribute to the efforts of Pat Breen senior and his committee and Pat Breen junior and his workforce for “the magnificent job which has been done in restoring the ground”.  Mr Wilson said that junior football “was part of the lifeblood of every Ayrshire community”.  “The refurbished ground will now help to guarantee Winton Park’ existence well into their second century” Mr Wilson went on.  The MP welcomed the fact that the wider community would be able to make use of the facilities.  Welcoming Rangers to Ardrossan, Mr Wilson praised the club’s willingness to support occasions such as this at all levels of Scottish football.  “They have not only sent a team, but a very strong team, to help make this a great occasion tonight.”





                 Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald, 12 October 1990