19 May 2023

Inaugural Best of Banff and Buchan Award bestowed on Broch record scorer Brian Third

A Fraserburgh footballer who still holds a record for away goals scored has had his historic achievement formally recognised by local councillors.

Brian Third – who netted six times in the former Scottish Second Division away to Stranraer some 50 years ago – received the inaugural Best of Banff & Buchan Awards at a ceremony in the town’s Faithlie Centre.

Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan Area Committee gathered in person and virtually to celebrate the 77-year-old’s impressive achievement along with some of his friends.

Full-back Brian’s senior footballing career took him from Fraserburgh to Deveronvale before he joined Elgin with whom he won the Highland League and a Qualifying Cup medal. After a return stint at Deveronvale, it was then onto Peterhead where the club saw his real potential and made him a centre forward.

Cllr Doreen Mair, chair of the Area Committee, explained: “That’s when Brian’s career really took off, scoring seven goals in his first two games - against Fraserburgh unfortunately - and after scoring many more goals he was transferred to Montrose on deadline day in March 1971. 

“He had scored around 200 goals in four seasons at Peterhead - the Haaland of his day I think you will agree – and after three years at Montrose, St Mirren paid £15,000 for him. Having been there for a year, a certain Alex Ferguson was appointed manager in October 1974 and Brian’s goals helped Fergie’s St Mirren win promotion that season to the old first division.

“A little bird tells me that after a wee meeting with Fergie, Brian may have been one of the first recipients of the infamous hairdryer treatment!”

Sadly, a back injury prematurely ended Brian’s professional playing career a year later.

But now, even at the age of 77, his passion for the game has not diminished, and he’s back playing with the local Walking Footballers at Fraserburgh Links and still banging in the goals every Monday and Friday come rain or shine.

This dedicated band of older lads has a wealth of football experience, from ex-Highland League champions, players and managers to enthusiastic amateurs.

Although it started off as ‘walking footballers’ the rulebook was soon sent for an early bath and there can often be a bit of running involved! 

Co-organiser and ex-Fraserburgh FC player Martin Buchan explains: “Walking football is not only good for physical health but for the mental health of those taking part. Brian still has the goalscoring knack and has not lost any of his enthusiasm. He is deadly in front of goal! These guys are a great example of how keeping fit in later years really adds to the quality of lives.”

Brian and the others were filmed for a BBC Scotland documentary which aired as part of the first episode of “A View from the Terrace” back in October last year. 

Cllr Mair continued: “Many constituents have asked that Brian be recognised not only for his incredible goal-scoring record which has lasted for over 50 years, but also for his continuing enthusiasm for the game and support for the Walking Footballers. Brian has never received any award or accolade of any kind for this feat but this is being remedied today.

“It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the Banff and Buchan Committee and the people of Fraserburgh to award Brian with our Pride of Banff & Buchan Award. As the first recipient of this outstanding achievement award could not have gone to a more deserving person.”

Admitting he was not one for speeches, Brian thanked councillors for the acknowledgement of his record and said he was “very proud to have received this award from Banff and Buchan”.

Cllr Ann Bell, who nominated Brian for the first ever Best of Banff and Buchan Achievement Award, said: “Although I have known Brian for most of my life I didn’t actually know of his incredible goal scoring record which has never been broken in 50 years. After Billy Watson highlighted to me Brian’s incredible career and as his achievement had never been recognised in any way, I felt it only right that he be nominated for an award.

“I was absolutely delighted to see the nomination unanimously supported by the committee and today Brian received his well-deserved Best of Banff and Buchan Achievement Award.

“In conversation he informed me that the day before he scored the goals, he had been working all day and on the morning of the game he’d had to leave at 5am to get to the match. Then once he’d scored all his goals he then had to face the long journey home – finally making it back at 2am. Now that’s a dedicated fitba player!”