You’d be forgiven for thinking that St Johnstone – famously the only professional league club in Britain with a ‘J’ in their name – are Perth’s only football team. But cast your eyes further down the Scottish football pyramid and you’ll find another Perth side, and another letter ‘J’. This is Jeanfield Swifts, and they’ve been ruffling a few feathers since making the leap across from junior football three years ago.
The Swifts have consistently held their own at this level and last season, when the league was abandoned due to Covid, they were sitting second in the East of Scotland Premier Division, five points off the top with three games in hand. Promotion from this division would mean a place in the Lowland League, just one level below League Two. With the current season just four matches old it’s early days yet, but this performance against Whitehill Welfare provided a hint that another strong season could be on the cards.
Since 2006, Swifts have played here at the Riverside Stadium – which, as you may have guessed, is located just by the river. With just one small covered area of terracing it’s certainly basic, but it’s a definite upgrade on the crumbling, vandalised and occasionally on-fire Simpson Park which they previously called home. A decent crowd of 140 came through the solitary entry gate on this warm July evening and – as long as they were supporting the home team – it turned out they were in for a treat.
It took under two minutes for Swifts to open the scoring, and just six minutes later it was 2-0. Swifts looked faster, sharper and considerably younger than their visitors, and it was little surprise to see the score end up at 4-0. Particularly impressive was Connor McLaren, a former St Johnstone player, who grabbed three of Swifts’ four goals. Goal of the night, though, was scored by Jamie Reid who curled a genuine screamer into the opposite top corner from out on the right wing.
Swifts will surely face far tougher opponents than Whitehill this season, but at a time when simply being able to go to a football match feels like a result, who could turn their nose up at a 4-0 win?
Jeanfield Swifts 4 Whitehill Welfare 0
East of Scotland Premier Division
Wednesday 28 July 2021