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Ross County fan Norman Beaton, from Applecross, reflects on 75 years of supporting the Staggies after attending his first match in 1948

By Andrew Henderson

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One Ross County fan was invited to the club’s match against Motherwell to mark 75 years of support for the Dingwall outfit.

Norman Beaton, from Applecross, has been following the Staggies since 1948.

Regularly attending matches throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Beaton would then travel all over the world through his time in the Navy.

Returning to Victoria Park most weeks over the last few years, though, there will not be many people who are as tenured following their clubs as the Applecross resident.

“I went along first when I went to school at Dingwall Academy in 1948,” Beaton recalled.

“There was nothing there back then, just the ground and a small stand. It was standing room, and you could wander around anywhere you wanted.

Norman Beaton at Ross County's stadium. Picture: James Mackenzie
Norman Beaton at Ross County's stadium. Picture: James Mackenzie

“It always was a nice, family club, and they have made huge improvements. The ground is superb now with four stands, it’s a tremendous difference.

“The club reaches out to everybody. It’s only a small club, but it’s very well run, so it’s excellent. They’re very friendly and helpful.

“I like football, and I used to play in my school days. I have always supported Ross County, and they were the first club I really saw playing football.

“Where I’m from on the west coast, there isn’t really any football, so it was different. It’s nice to go, and I still see people that I’ve known there for years.

“I used to go abroad a lot to my daughter out in Australia, and even over there I would look for the Ross County result.

“I remember being really chuffed one time in Hobart because there was Ross County with a ‘C’ beside them – they were champions. Even when you’re abroad you think about it.”

Travelling overseas has given Beaton the chance to attend matches and watch some of the best players in history play, but he has always returned to his love for the Staggies.

“With the navy, I went to Germany and I saw Scotland play Brazil at the World Cup in 1974,” Beaton continued.

“I went to a Sweden-Hungary game when I was in Stockholm one time too, but when you’re away like that you don’t know when you’re going to be in port.

“I’ve always followed County though. There have always been good players, but they were particularly good in the Highland League in the 1960s.

“We had a player/manager and we were winning games by seven or eight goals at a time. That was in the Highland League, but they have done very well in the Premiership.

“That was when I went to see them most, but then in the last four or five years I’ve been going to home games regularly again.

The group who attended the Staggies' stadium on Saturday: Tony Jackson, Norman Beaton, Ann Fletcher and Arlie Fletcher. Picture: James Mackenzie
The group who attended the Staggies' stadium on Saturday: Tony Jackson, Norman Beaton, Ann Fletcher and Arlie Fletcher. Picture: James Mackenzie

“Every team has their day, but you see them on Saturday and two weeks ago they beat Rangers – there’s no comparison.

“It’s like anything else: the good days are the good days, and the bad days you would rather forget. I’m quite philosophical about things at my age. I’ve seen it all, and I’ll take what I get.”

In similarly philosophical fashion, Beaton downplayed the accomplishment of following his team for 75 years.

In fact, it was Beaton’s friend Tony Jackson who told him he was being invited to the club for their match against Motherwell last Saturday by chief executive Steven Ferguson.

“Tony and I have been going to games together for years now,” Beaton added.

“I went up to see him, and he had the leaflet with the information that we were being invited to a corporate event by Steven Ferguson.

“I don’t usually go in for that sort of thing, but it was very nice – apart from the result! I’m quite used to bad results at Ross County.

“It wasn’t too different from a usual match apart from the lunch. We are normally in the east stand, but we were in the west stand, and it was all well done.

“Steven Ferguson came to see us, as well as most of the people in the Maclean Suite, so we had a few words with him. He’s a very nice man.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves, it was a super day.”

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