THIS week brought the 50th anniversary of Decimalisation Day on Monday February 15 1971 when we said goodbye to the much loved thruppeny bit and half crown.

Oddly this major change for the nation also coincided with a major change for Cowdenbeath FC, then at the foot of the top flight – in this new decimal era the Miners were to be unbeaten in their first three matches and picked up 5 points. Before that they had only accrued 8 points from 23 games!

Club historian and secretary David Allan came up with some interesting facts about this historic time.

He said: “Manager Andy Matthew had decided it was maybe now time to freshen up the side.

“Jim McArthur and Colin McCullie were called up from the reserves for the home match v Clyde. McCullie of course had scored a hat-trick at Shawfield earlier in the season when Cowden had defeated the Bully Wee 3-1.

“McCullie combined well with Billy Mullen up front whilst Kinnell and Cairns were commanding at the back. In the 23rd minute though Clyde took the lead when Beattie met a ball from a throw in and slotted it past an unsighted McArthur. McArthur thereafter saved well from Dom Sullivan and McFarlane.

“The second half though saw Cowden take the play to Clyde and Wallace made a couple of good stops from Taylor and McCullie. Billy Bostock then burst through but he hit his shot into the side net. Allan Kennedy though had also returned to the Cowden line-up taking the inside left berth in place of Robin Thomson.

“In the 73rd minute, he equalised with a looping, swerving drive. Kennedy then almost won the game with a smartly taken free kick which rattled the post. Archie Robertson became increasingly animated as the game went on and the Clyde boss was given a warning by the referee. Following the match Andy Matthew commented, ‘Don’t write us off yet. There is still a long way to go’”.

Added David: “The next Saturday brought a trip to Fir Park, Motherwell. It was handyman Billy Bostock that was to be Cowden’s hero.

“The first half was a fairly quiet affair. Billy Mullen limped off after 33 minutes but soon returned to the fray. A minute later, Keith MacRae held a McCullie drive.

“Cowden eventually hit the front in the 47th minute. A cross by Davie Cairns looked harmless but it evaded three defenders and there was Billy Bostock lying handy to shoot past MacRae. Motherwell though struck back on the hour when big Tom Forsyth half hit a shot and the ball bounced into the net. Jim McArthur was left helpless mainly because Dixie Deans had him in a bear hug at the time!

“In 64 minutes, though it was Billy B again. Davie Ross crossed and Bostock ever so coolly side-footed the ball into the net. Cowden clinched a 3-1 victory with two minutes left. Bobby Watson pulled down Davie Ross and up strode Andy Kinnell to take the spot kick. MacRae saved his first effort but Andy made no mistake from the rebound. After the match, the players joyously sang Happy Birthday to Jim McArthur in the dressing room bath!

“Cowden then travelled to Muirton to face third placed St Johnstone. Cowden fans had not yet accepted that relegation was inevitable and thus a remarkable 1-0 win was greeted with great gusto. Saints’ boss Willie Ormond was livid after the game,

‘We played rubbish out there, no bite, and not enough effort. I don’t know whether some players thought the job was just too easy but they know better now! I don’t though want to detract from Cowdenbeath’s performance. Their defence was magnificent and in the end they deserved the points’, said the Scotland manager to be

“Saints had enjoyed five straight victories leading up to this game and Jock Stein’s Celtic had failed to win at Muirton. John Connolly and Henry Hall were terrorising opposition defences at the time.

“The breakthrough goal came in 53 minutes. Saints failed to clear a Jim Taylor throw and Davie Ross nipped in to score at the second attempt. Jim McArthur, who had just turned 19 a week earlier, was a standout in goal and played despite his father’s death the day before the match. The Cowden side wore black armbands out of respect for Jim’s father. Andy Kinnell and Davie Ross were stars as well and they both were to end up playing with St Johnstone later in their careers.

“Saints got the slow handclap once they went behind and then tragedy struck for Billy Mullen with no-one around him. There was a loud crack and he fell to the ground. Andy Matthew came onto the pitch with the trainer after Billy called over to him, ‘Hey boss, somebody’s just fired a slug at me’. It was thought he had been shot in the leg and the police were called. However, it was later discovered his leg had effectively been broken in a challenge with Joe Wark, of Motherwell, the week before and the crack had been the moment when the bone finally gave way.

“Billy was just back from a cartilage op and Davie Marshall, our other big centre, was already out with a broken leg. Charlie Barnes came on as substitute in what was to be his only first team match for Cowden before he emigrated down under.

“Andy Matthew looked on the humorous side, ‘With Billy and Davie Marshall out of action we don’t have anyone big and strong to play upfront. What I’ll need to do now will be to tape a couple of my smaller players together and play them at centre v Celtic’!”