Ukrainian refugees discover a Scottish footballing tradition: a pie and Bovril – Steve Cardownie
With preparations for the new season now well underway, I decided to make my way to Tynecastle Park last Saturday to take in the Hearts-Bonnyrigg Rose game.
I was accompanied by three Ukrainians who have sought refuge from the war with Russia in Edinburgh.
Given that we all qualified for the concessionary rates of a fiver a ticket, it was extremely good value (as was my season ticket) and it afforded me the chance to see some of our new signings in action, albeit in a non-competitive fixture.
Keen to introduce Andriy, 76, Ilya, 17, and Yura, 14, to the football scene in our city, I duly met them outside a Rose Street hostelry where I explained that the game was a friendly and that they should not expect too much.
I had already taken Yura to the Hearts-Hibs game at Tynecastle at the tail end of last season so I had to prepare him for what was to be a more genteel atmosphere against Bonnyrigg.
We took our seats in the main stand and waited for the teams to emerge from the tunnel. Andriy was impressed by the stadium and was soon on his feet recording the event to send the footage back home to his family in Kharkiv.
Come half-time, I purchased some hot dogs for the boys but decided to introduce Andriy to the culinary delights of a pie and a Bovril.
I informed him that although you could now buy all kinds of different snacks from the kiosks – including curries and veggie options – a pie and a Bovril was standard football game sustenance when “I wore a younger man’s clothes” (courtesy of Billy Joel again!).
I decided against attempting to explain to him that in the west of Scotland you could also count on individuals making their way through the crowd with a tray slung over their shoulders loudly proclaiming that you could “get yer macaroon bars here!”
All in all, an enjoyable day out and after an entirely predictable Jambos’ victory, we ended up back at Rose Street with Andriy asking which shops stocked Bovril!