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Western League Champions
Glenafton enjoyed great success in Season 1958-59, winning the South Section League and then thrashing Irvine Meadow, the North Section winners by 3-0 in the Western League Championship decider at Recreation Park, Stevenston. The Meadow were defeated 3-1 at the same park in the Western League Cup final, with Danny bagging one of the goals. He also scored in the 2-1 victory over Ardeer Thistle in the final of the the Vernon Trophy at Meadow Park. The Glens reached two other finals but lost out 3-1 to Largs Thistle in the Ayrshire Cup final at Stevenston and 2-1 to Kilwinning Rangers in the Irvine & District Cup Final at Meadow Park. It is worth noting that the League Decider and all four cup finals the Glens competed in were played at North Ayrshire venues against North Ayrshire sides. During this period the Glesn played 6 games in 10 days!
Danny finished the season as 3rd top goalscorer with 23 goals, behind Roy Douglas (31) and Billy Moffat (55) - the latter two scoring the all important goals in the Championship decider.
Danny's return to Glenafton, as club captain in Season 1958-59, proved to be a springboard for the club which saw them close the 1950's as Western League Champions and go on to dominate that League in the early 60's, a truly golden period in the history of Glenafton Athletic.
Glenafton Athletic 1958-59:
Back Row: Western League Flag, Billy Scott, Charlie Healy, Tom Graham, Lachlan Rogerson
Middle Row: Haddow Nisbet, Billy Clapperton, Sammy Boyd, John McNaught, Sandy Selkirk, Robert Pateron, John McKenzie, Bert Murray, Jim Sloan, Wullie Edwards Front Row: Billy McLeish, Billy Moffat (Westen League Cup), Roy Douglas, Danny McCulloch (Vernon Trophy) John Wallace
This was to be the last season at Connel Park, where the pitch based in the heart of the miners rows had served Glenafton Athletic since it was formed in 1930 and other teams such as New Cumnock United and Lanemark long before that time. Danny hit 4 goals in the opening home league victory over Nithsdale Wanderers (8-0) and scored the first goal in the last home game of the season against Annbank (2-0), with John McNaught having the honour of scoring the last goal at Connel Park.
8 goals in one game
Danny equalled the club scoring record when he hit eight (although some say it was 9) in a 10-1 league victory over Maybole at Connel Park, only a few weeks after he had scored a hat-trick against the same side on their own turf. A Danny hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Kello Rovers in the 3rd Round of the West of Scotland Cup helped the club progress to the semi-final of the competition where they lost out 2-0 to Cambuslang Rangers at Stevenston. The season ended on a high when a Danny double at Cumnock saw off Ardeer Thistle (2-1) in the final of the Irvine District Cup . Needless to say Danny finished at top goalscorer with 54 goals ahead of Billy Moffat (30) and Eddie Brennan (18)
A new home at Loch Park
Saturday 13th August, 1960
Glenafton moved from the old football park at Connel Park which had served them since 1930, Their new home was the purpose built Loch Park at the heart of the village of New Cumnock, close to where the Afton Water meets with the River Nith.
Left: Here Danny looks on as Mrs Davie Black, wife of the Building Fund President cuts the ceremonial ribbon before the first competitive match at Loch Park.
1st Goal at Loch Park
The customary opening game of the season was a league match against Cumnock Juniors and to celebrate the first competitive match at Loch Park, Scotland star Ian St. John 'kicked-off'. Danny had the honour of scoring the first Glens goal at their new home and added another for good measure along with Eddie Brennan to secure a 3-2 victory
Back: Davie Black, Jimmy McKnight, John Milligan, Billy Moffat, John McKenzie,Sandy Selkirk, John McNaught, John Japp, Jim Sloan, Wullie Edwards
Front Row: Haddow Nesbit, Elijah Porte, Eddie Brennan, Roy Douglas, Danny McCulloch, John Wallace.
South Section Winners
The Glens won the South Section League title in a canter but Irvine Meadow proved too strong in the Western League Championship Decider winning 5-1.
A promising run in the Scottish Junior Cup , beginning with a first round 6-1 tanking of the Talbot, in which Danny hit 4 goals, ended in a 2-1 defeat to Dunbar United in a 6th Round replay at Shotts. It was the first time the club had reached this round since 1936-37, when they lost out to eventual winners Arthurlie at Barrhead. Dunbar too would go on to lift the Scottish Junior Cup.
Glenafton Ath. F.C.
League South Section
As well as the 4 goals against Talbot in the Junior Cup, Danny hit four in a 5-2 victory at Royal Albert in the West of Scotland Cup, six in a 12-1 league win away at Kello Rovers and hat-trick in a 7-0 defeat of Craigmark at Loch Park. He finished top goalcorer with 46 goals (100 in two seasons) ahead of Billy Moffat (23) and Eddie Brennan (18)
Scottish Junior Cup Quarter Final
Saturday 24th March 1962
This is Danny scoring the winning goal at Newlandsfield in the Glens 2-1 victory over Pollok in the 6th Round of the Scottish Junior Cup. The home-side had taken the lead only for Eddie Brennan to equalise before Danny slotted home the decisive goal to send the 3,000 Glens supporters in the 8,000 crowd down the road happy. Danny's goal was described as the most important in the club's history as it ensured their place in the Scottish Junior Cup semi-final for the first time.
Right : Danny (3rd from left) looks on as captain John McKenzie reads on Good Luck telegrams recieved prior to the game with Pollok.
Far Right: Danny receives treatment from Glens trainer Haddow Nesbit in the Connel Park days. The week before the Pollok game Danny and Haddow's daughter Jean were married.
Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final
Friday 30th March 1962
This is the Glens team line up for the pre-match photo at Rugby Park (old scoreboard in the background) before facing Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in the semi-final of the Scottish Junior Cup. Despite their best efforts the Glens lost out 1-0 and the Rabs went on to lift the cup beating Renfrew 1-0 in the Hampden final replay after a 1-1 draw.
Back row : Robert Reynolds, Willie McLean, Roger Niven, Billy Moffat, John McKenzie. Front row: Jackie Conway, Eddie Brennan, Robert Paterson, Danny McCulloch, John Wallace.
Western League Champions
The Glens put the disappointment of Scottish Cup Semi-Final defeat behind them and went on to win the South Section league title in emphatic fashion. Danny scored both goals as the Glens beat Irvine Meadow in the Western League Championship decider at Townhead Park Cumnock, where some weeks earlier Sammy Boyle had scored the only goal of the game to beat Ardeer Thistle in the final of the Ayrshire Cup. In the last game of a gruelling season the Glens lost out 2-0 to Saltcoats Vics in the Vernon Trophy Final replay at Recreation Park, Stevenston.
Danny scored the Glens first goal of the season in the 2-1 opening day league victory at Cumnock and hit a double in the following game against Muirkirk (7-1) and then and a hat-trick in the game after that in a 6-0 defeat of Whitletts. Although Glens won their next game at Nithsdale Wanderes 10-1, it was Billy Moffat that hit the 4 goals - Danny having to settle for only! He did hit 4 agianst the hapless Maybole (8-0) and agsint Craigmark (11-1). Once again he finished top goalscorer with 53 goals (out of the 203 goals the Glens scored that season) ahead of Billy Moffat (38) , Jackie Conway (16) and J. Ritchie (16).
Scottish Junior Cup Semi-Final
Saturday 27th April, 1963
The Glens faced Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic in the Semi-Final at Firhill Park, Glasgow not once but on three occasions over a nine-day period. The first game on April 27th ended in a 1-1 draw with Nodder Kirkpatrick scoring for the Glens. In the first replay , Danny scored in the 30th minute to cancel out Rose's opener. Billy Paton put the Glens ahead in extra-time but a last minute own goal by Willie McLean forced a second replay. On Monday 6th May, Danny opened the scoring with a header in the first minute but Paterson equalised befroe the break. On the hour mark Danny set up Charlie Gemmel (a replacement for the injured Nodder) to put the Glens ahead again, only for Paterson to equalise ten minutes later. With four minutes of extra-time remaining Danny slid in to score the winner and put the Glens into the final for the first time.
Above : Glenafton team that lined up at Firhill for the first match.
Back row : George Caldwell, Willie McLean, Roger Niven, Billy Moffat, John McKenzie, Willie Murray.
Front row: John Maley, Eddie Brennan, Richard Kikrpatrick, Danny McCulloch, Billy Paton.
Right Top: Danny (far left) hits the equaliser in the first replay as Nodder (third from right) looks on
Right Bottom: Danny slides home the winner in the second replay and the post mortem in the Rose ranks, including the legendart Pat Stanton, begins.
Scottish Junior Cup Final
Saturday 18th May, 1963
In an all Ayrshire final at Hampden Park, Glasgow on 18th May 1963, it was the experienced Irvine Meadow, competing in their fourth Junior Cup final that held to their nerve to win the 'Holy Grail' for the second time in the club's history. The Glens of course were no strangers to the Meadow and as reigning Western League Champions had often got the better of their North Ayrshire rivals in recent seasons . Centre-forward Nodder Kirkpatrick hadn't recovered from his semi-final injury and Bobby Black took his place in front of Charlie Gemmel. However, it was captain Billy Moffat that blasted the Glens ahead after only seven minutes and from then on the Glens created a host of chances but failed to add to their tally and were punished when Paterson equalised for the Meadow before the break. Moffat missed a penalty midway through the second half and with two minutes to go McIntyre sealed it for the Meadow.
Images of Danny's face and that of Meadow goalkeeper Ian Prentice adorned the Cup Final programme, along with that of the Scottish Junior Cup. Sadly, on this occasion the goalie came out on top.
SCOTTISH JUNIOR CUP
GLENAFTON ATH. F.C.
Western League Champions
The healing of the Hampden heart-ache began with the Glens winning through to the final of the Western League Cup where they mowed the Meadow by three goals to nil at Stevenston with goals from Bobby Black and a double from Billy Paton.
The South Section league was wrapped up with a PL24 W21 D1 L2 record and Beith Juniors were defeated in a seven goal thriller at Stevenston in the Western League Championship decider, with a double from Ian Harris and singles each from Billy Paton and Willie McLean - the Junior Cup Runners-up were still Champions!
Danny opened his goal scoring account for the season in the opening day 5-2 league victory over Cumnock at Loch Park, the fourth season in a row he had scored in this fixture. As well as his Scottish Junior Cup goals against Bonnyrigg Rose in the semi-final he also scored two in the 1st Round (H, Kirrie Thistle, 6-1) one in the 2nd Round (A, Forth 4-0), one in the 3rd Round (A, Irvine Vics, 6-1), one in the 5th round (A, Pollok 1-0) and a double in the 5-0 thrashing of Cumnock Juniors in the quarter-final at Loch Park - with Billy Paton hitting a 'wonderous' hat-trick. Danny finished top goal scorer with 31 goals ahead of Billy Paton (28) and Nodder Kirkpatrick (21).
Danny and Billy Paton represented Scotland Juniors against a Glasgow Junior Select side, in a game in which both players scored.
Far left: Billy and Danny
Left: Scotland Team with Danny 2nd from right front row, and Billy to his right.
Western League Champions
The Glens romped to the South Section title with an impressive PL22 W 19 D1 L2 F110 A39 Pts39 record. A Nodder Kirkpatrick hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Betih Juniors at Townhead Park clinched the Western League Championship for the third season in a row - the first team to do so other than Ardeer Recreation five-in-a-row during the War Years in a much reduced league set-up. Danny scored a double in the 4-2 win over Ardeer Thistle to put the Glens through to the final of the Irvine & District Cup Final. Nodder hit a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Craigmark in the final and also scored in the replay whiched ended in a 1-1 draw. He scored again in the 2nd Replay but the Dalmellington side ran out 5-2 winners.
Danny improved on his goal tally of the previous season hitting 39 goals in the season including another 4 in an 8-0 home league win over Maybole and a hat-trick in an 8-1 league win over Lugar at Loch Park. However, it was Nodder Kirkpatrick that topped the goalscoring charts with a club record of an astonishing 65 goals in one season
Both Danny and Nodder hit doubles in the opening day 4-3 league win over Cumnock Juniors at Loch Park. Danny scored League hat-tricks against Muirkirk (H, 5-0) and Hurlford (A, 7-3) with Billy Watson hittin four in that game. The Glens went on to score over 80 gaols in their league campaign but lost out in the South Section to Kello Rovers, who in turn lost to Beith in the Western League decider. Danny bagged a brace in the 2-1 win at Ashfield in the Scottish Junior Cup 1st Round and hit a hat-trick in the 10-0 victory over East Kilbride in the 3rd Round replay, although once again he was pipped by Watson who scored 4 goals. Danny struck twice in the 5-1 win away at Lochore in the 4th Round but the Glens run came to an end with a 1-0 home defeat to Bellshill in the 5th Round. He scored all four goals in the victory at Lugar in the 2nd Round of the Western League Cup, but this run ended at the semi-final stage against Saltcaots Vics. For the first time since Season 1957-58 the Glens finished the season with no honours, although club captain Billy Moffat captained Scotland to a 3-2 victory over Ireland, with Moffat scoring one of the goals.
Danny topped the goalscoring charts for the sixth and last time with the Glens with 35 goals ahead of Nodder Kirkpatrick (27) and Billy Watson (18) taking his total with the club to over 300 goals in 10 seasons
22nd October 1965
Danny and his family moved to Dreghorn and he signed for nearby North Ayrshire side Kilwinning Rangers. He was soon back at Loch Park when the Glens were drawn at home to the Buffs in the 1st Round of the Ayrshire Cup. Although Danny tested Glens goalkeeper John Watson it was Donachie, Killen and a Madden penalty kick that scored the goals for the Buffs in a comfortable 3-0 win. The teams that day were Glens: Watson; Wilson, McGinn; Brennan, Neil, McMillan; McGowan, Swift, Cullen, Pitt and John McCulloch. Kilwinning Galloway; Smith, Keirs; Madden, Burnie, Watt; Donnachie, Danny McCulloch, Rollo, Dunne and Killen.
Both Glens and Kilwinning went on to win their respective South and North Section titles. The Buffs had the upper hand again and beat the Glens 4-1 in the Western League Decider at Cumnock. Danny didn't play for the Buffs that day and the ubiquitous 'Newman' scored the Glens goal. The Glens had more success at Cumnock in the final of the Western League Cup where goals from Robert McGowan, McMeekin and Nodder Kirkpatrick gave them a 3-2 victory. These three players finished as the top three goalscorers with a combined total of 24 goals. The Western League Cup was to be the Glens last trophy until the end of season 1979/80 - the era of the Glen Sixties legends and that of Danny McCulloch had drawn to a close.
The Final Curtain
Danny did return to the Glens but only made a few more appearances. My incomplete records show the names of McCulloch and Brennan on the scoresheet in a 2-1 league win over Craigmark at Loch Park. Two Glenafton greats still scoring goals for the team they loved and served so well.