Keith Smith: Scottish Football Grounds Vol. Two

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Photographer Keith Smith set out to picture all Scotland’s 42 league grounds, with his first book focusing in general on the north east.

He continues his travels, and although Aberdeen feature again, his follow up publication, Volume Two, reveals a new gallery of grounds visited, taking his quest to 20 venues so far.

McDiarmid Park, St Johnstone
McDiarmid Park: Home to St Johnstone FC since 1989. Capacity 10,696. Copyright: Keith Smith
McDiarmid Park, Perth(St Johnstone)
McDiarmid Park is named after local farmer Bruce McDiarmid who donated 16 acres of land for a new stadium to be built. Copyright: Keith Smith
McDiarmid Park Perth
The stadium opened for the start of the 1989/90 season and was the first new stadium to be built after the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989. Copyright: Keith Smith
McDiarmid Park, Perth
Copyright: Keith Smith
McDiarmid Park (St Johnstone)
The floodlights at McDiarmid Park were relocated from St Johnstone’s previous home, Muirton Park. Copyright: Keith Smith

Says Smith: “I love the variety of stadia, the often ramshackle appearance of older grounds. And even though photographing people doesn’t really interest me, there’s something about people’s behaviour at a match that makes great images.”

East End Park, Dunfermline
East End Park. Home to Dunfermline Athletic since 1885. Capacity 11,480. Copyright: Keith Smith

He can also identify with why it’s often the case that followers of football have a similarly keen interest in the music scene.

“I think for many working class males of my age, football and music was often the biggest two interests, so I think the two go naturally together. 

“I’m a bit of a geek about both, and both cultures attract their share of geeks!”

East End Park, Dunfermline
Dunfermline enjoyed their most successful spell in the 1960s, winning the Scottish Cup twice and regularly experiencing European football. Copyright: Keith Smith

This time round his travels continue in the east of Scotland, where Dunfermline Athletic feature prominently. Rich with a history stretching back to 1885, they are two times Scottish Cup winners.

East End Park, Dunfermline Athletic FC
Copyright: Keith Smith

“I love the variety of stadia, the often ramshackle appearance of older grounds. And even though photographing people doesn’t really interest me, there’s something about people’s behaviour at a match that makes great images.”

Keith Smith
East End Park, Dunfermline Athletic
Copyright: Keith Smith

Contrast that to comparative new boys, Kelty Hearts. Nicknamed The Maroon Machine and only founded in 1975, Kelty joined the SFA in 2017 and consecutive promotions in 2021 then 2022 has seen them up into League One with five games to spare.

New Central Park, Kelty Hearts
New Central Park: Home to Kelty Hearts. Capcity 2,181. Copyright: Keith Smith
Kelty Hearts
Kelty Hearts are one of Scottish football’s recent success stories. Only founded in 1975, Kelty joined the SFA in 2017. Copyright: Keith Smith
New Central Park, Kelty Hearts
Copyright: Keith Smith
New Central Park Kelty Hearts
Copyright: Keith Smith
New Central Park, Kelty Hearts
Copyright: Keith Smith
Bayview Stadium, Methil (East Fife)
Bayview Stadium: Home to East Fife FC since 1998. Capacity 1,980. Copyright: Keith Smith
Bayview Stadium, Methil (East Fife)
Copyright: Keith Smith
Bayview Stadium, East Fife
Copyright: Keith Smith
Bayview Stadium, Methil (East Fife FC)
As its name suggests, Bayview is adjacent to the sea. Copyright: Keith Smith

Smith’s ventures also took him to St Johnstone, East Fife and Raith Rovers among others.

There’s a place for a Cove Rangers match played earlier in the season, as well as that night game at Pittodrie, with Celtic the visitors.

Explains Smith: “Although I’m very much still capturing grounds away from match day (other people do that way better than me), I like the idea of recognising that fans are back in, and that things have moved on from when I started.”

Stark's Park (Raith Rovers)
Stark’s Park: Home to Raith Rovers since 1891. Capacity 9000. Copyright: Keith Smith
Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy (Raith Rovers)
Stark’s Park is situated in Kirkcaldy, Fife. It is located next to the railway line between Aberdeen & Edinburgh. Copyright: Keith Smith
Stark's Park (Raith Rovers)
Stark’s Park has had an artificial pitch since 2018. Fans refer to the ground as the San Starko, in reference to the famous San Siro stadium in Milan. Copyright: Keith Smith
Stark's Park (Raith Rovers)
Copyright: Keith Smith
Stark's Park (Raith Rovers)
Copyright: Keith Smith

Born and brought up in Norwich, Smith still supports the Canaries. A first idol was Kevin Reeves, sold for £1m to Manchester City, and his first game, November 1978, was Norwich against Spurs, with Martin Peters (for Norwich) and Tottenham’s Argentinian stars Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa all on show.

Fast forward 40 plus years and football fan Smith is still out there, compiling his photo essay on Scotland’s grounds, with Glasgow and the western side of Scotland still to come.

Ainslie Park, Edinburgh. Home to Spartans FC
Ainslie Park. Home to Spartans FC since 2008. Capacity 3,534. Copyright: Keith Smith

“New Year 2021 I decided I wanted to visit and shoot every league ground in Scotland,” said Smith.

“I’m not really sure where the idea came from, it just seemed to resonate. The chairman of Elgin City invited me in to see the changing rooms and boardroom, which was amazing.”

His father was an early influence on his love of photography. “I’ve had cameras since I was a kid. My dad always had cameras,” said Smith. “All the images at Cove Rangers were shot with a Nikon 55 – 200mm lens. For everything else I used a Sigma 10-20mm.”

Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead
Balmoor Stadium: Home to Peterhead FC since 1997. Capacity 3100. Copyright: Keith Smith
Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead.
Despite an official capacity of 3100, in 2013, 4855 spectators crammed in to watch Peterhead take on Glasgow Rangers in a league match. Copyright: Keith Smith
Balmoor (Peterhead)
Copyright: Keith Smith
Balmoral Stadium, Aberdeen. Cove Rangers vs East Fife.
Balmoral Stadium: Home to Cove Rangers since 2018. Capacity 2602. Copyright: Keith Smith
Pittodrie.
Pittodrie Stadium: Home to Aberdeen FC since 1903. Capacity 22,199. Copyright: Keith Smith

“I think for many working class males of my age, football and music was often the biggest two interests, so I think the two go naturally together.”

Keith Smith
Pittodrie Stadium , Aberdeen.
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. “I took these photos at a night match against Celtic FC, just after a COVID lockdown had been lifted. I wanted to capture something of the atmosphere of a game under floodlights. and also some of the ongoing COVID precautions.” Copyright: Keith Smith
Pittodrie, Aberdeen vs Celtic
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. “Aberdeen FC are currently looking to move away from Pittodrie and build a new stadium, with two sites being explored. Whilst I understand the economic and practical arguments for this, it will be a huge shame to leave so much history behind.” Copyright: Keith Smith
Aberdeen vs Celtic 09/02/22 Pittodrie Stadium.
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. Pittodrie Stadium. Copyright: Keith Smith
Pittodrie Aberdeen vs Celtic
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. Copyright: Keith Smith
Pittodrie. Aberdeen vs Celtic
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. Copyright: Keith Smith
Pittodrie
Aberdeen 2-3 Celtic. 09/02/22. Copyright: Keith Smith

Smith has this advice for any aspiring photographers:

“There is a theory that photographers should focus on one subject and become known for that” he said, and clearly disagrees. 

“Experiment and try not to stick to one genre.”

Scottish Football Grounds Vol. Two is available to buy directly from Keith, either through his Instagram or Facebook page. A selection of prints are available directly through Lower Block.

You can take at look at Scottish Football Grounds Vol. One here.

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