Photograph curtesy of Jim Baird The origins of organised football in Penicuik can be traced back to 1882, when several clubs operated in the area. Penicuik Athletic were formed in 1888 at a meeting in the Royal Hotel in Penicuik and established a pitch at Hays Park at the back of the Royal Hotel adjacent to Hays Garage. Somerfields Supermarket and car park, the main road and Penicuik Health Centre now stand on the site. In the late 19th century football was increasing in popularity throughout Scotland and in 1893 the East of Scotland League was formed and Penicuik Athletic were a senior club. Numerous newspaper reports of the early matches still survive. In 1904, the club adopted junior status as at that time junior football was still amateur unlike today when it is semi-professional. The club name was changed to Penicuik Juniors. A high point came in 1910 when the Juniors reached the semi-final of the Scottish Junior Cup only to lose narrowly to Kilwinning Rangers. Three of Penicuik's players were "capped" for the Scottish Junior International team that year. The 1930s saw the club revert to the East of Scotland League and Scottish Cup ties were played in Penicuik against Heart of Midlothian and St. Mirren. Penicuik Athletic were members of the East of Scotland league from season 1930/31. They were League Champions for season 1931/32 and King Cup winners (see photograph) in season 1935/36. In the early 1950s the Athletic established a new pitch at Eastfield Park on ground previously owned by the Shotts Iron Company, operators of the tragic Mauricewood Pit. The new ground was opened with a match against a strong Hibernian side which the Athletic lost 5 – 0. Penicuik Athletic rejoined the Juniors and for the next 25 years one man, Dick Walker, became largely responsible for keeping the club going through some great times and some very lean times. He put heart and soul together with countless hours of effort and energy into the club as committee member and honorary secretary and ranks among the great unsung heroes in Junior Football history. He was quite simply, Mr. Penicuik Athletic. In 1966 the Athletic reached the semi-final of the Scottish Junior Cup only to lose by the narrowest of margins to local rivals Bonnyrigg Rose. Inspired by their progress the Athletic went one better in 1969 reaching the final of the Scottish Junior Cup which was played at Hampden Park (CLICK HERE) for more info and photos of the Final. Yet again the Athletic were to lose by the narrowest of margins, this time in a replay against Blantyre Victoria. In another coincidence, three Penicuik players were selected for the Scottish Junior team. The 1970s saw probably the most successful period in the clubs history when a social club was built at the ground. Many local trophies were won and the team was considered as one of the leading teams in the East of Scotland. However the biggest prize of all, the Scottish Junior Cup still eluded the Athletic despite the club’s best efforts. The club’s fortunes fell into decline both on and off the park in the 1980s and the Social Club was forced to close in 1986 with mounting debts. The park had been used as security for various loans and the creditors put the park up for sale to clear the debts. The team continued to play despite the off-field problems and were showing signs of revival when a near fatal blow was delivered as the ground was sold on to be developed into a supermarket which stands on Eastfield Park today. Throughout the 1990s several initiatives were embarked on to secure a new pitch but for a variety of reasons were unsuccessful. The last and ultimately successful project to establish a pitch which met the criteria laid down by the Scottish Junior Football Association grew out of an initiative by three local Midlothian Councillors, Russell Imrie, David Fletcher and Adam Montgomery to improve recreational facilities in Penicuik. Penicuik Athletic were accepted back into the re-organised East Region (with the introduction of the Super League) and took their place in the second division in season 2002-3. The long awaited first game was played at Armadale in the 1st Round of the League Cup on Thursday 6th August 2002, resulting in a 5 – 1 defeat. Over 500 spectators turned up at the new pitch in Penicuik Park on Saturday 8th August to witness a no scoring draw in a league match against Harthill Royal. Re-entry into the Scottish Junior Cup saw a win against Blackburn before defeat in the next round against an experienced Renfrew Juniors. Penicuik just missed out by a point on promotion to the first division after a 1 – 0 defeat in their final league match against West Calder which was controversially switched to be played on a Thursday night. Season 2003 – 4 saw promotion again narrowly missed with another third placed finish. However, the club won its first trophy, the Supplementary Cup when a late Brian Hancock goal secured victory over Whitburn Juniors in the final played at Eastfield Park in Blackburn. Promotion to the 1st Division was secured in season 2004 - 5 when Penicuik won the second division title, their second success since re-starting. As a result, Penicuik Athletic were awarded Midlothian Council’s Senior Team Award in their annual Greatest Achievement in Sport awards. In season 2005 – 6 Penicuik finished as runners up to Camelon Juniors in the 1st Division, narrowly missing out on promotion to the East Super League. Second place gave Penicuik entry into the new Premier League of the East Region. Eight of the teams in the new league were based on the other side of the Forth with the longest trip requiring a visit to Montrose Roselea. Penicuik were beaten finalists in the pre-season League Cup going down by the odd goal to Musselburgh Athletic. Season 2006 - 7 The Athletic found the going tough in the new Premier League and narrowly escaped one of the three relegation slots back to the District League. Relegation was avoided by beating Scottish Junior Cup finalists Kelty Hearts in the last league match of the season in front of over 500 fans. Penicuik lost in the final of the Brown Cup to Bonnyrigg Rose after defeating Scottish Junior Cup finalists Linlithgow Rose in an earlier round.   Season 2007/08 saw Penicuik improve their position in the Premier League by finishing in sixth place in the twelve team league. Irvine Meadow came to Penicuik in the first round of the Scottish Junior Cup and won by four goals to three while the club did not progress beyond the third round stage in any of the local cup competitions. At the end of the season, Willie McGinlay who had been team manager since the team started playing again in 2002, stood down for business and personal reasons. Stuart “Snowie” McKean, who had a distinguished junior playing career with Armadale Thistle and Bonnyrigg Rose and had been Willie.s assistant took over as the new manager. Season 2008/09 saw a further improvement in the league position with Penicuik finishing in fourth place. Penicuik’s best performance in the local cup competitions was reaching the semi final of the St. Michael’s Cup only to lose out at home to Linlithgow Rose in a penalty shoot out.   Season 2009/10 Penicuik had a poor start to the new season. Failure to qualify from the sectional league cup was followed by a first round knock out in the Scottish Junior cup. A run of only one win in seven league matches before an enforced break for bad weather saw Penicuik drop into second bottom spot in the Premier League. Team manager, Stuart (Snowy) McKean stepped down and was replaced by former player Brian Ryrie and current player Craig Meikle, chosen from a strong list of applicants. Despite losing their first match in charge, sufficient points were gained from the remaining league fixtures to claim seventh spot in the league, finishing clear of the three relegation spots. There were second round exits in both the East of Scotland and Fife & Lothians Cup. The St. Michael's and Brown Cups went uncontested because of the length of the break for the bad weather.          A brief history of Penicuik Athletic by Club President, John Fraser   Website designed and maintained by Website4u