Thanks to the SRU for permission to reproduce this article from the Scotland v England programme.  Hillfoots are honoured that Jamie is so proud of his roots and having started his journey to Murrayfield at Hillfoots RFC!  The whole team will be legends after such a masterful performance in regaining the Calcutta Cup, not least Jamie who made such an impact!  


Jamie Bhatti – Taking His Chances


Nothing’s really changed except I play rugby and I’m on the TV sometimes. I’ve never been approached in public or anything like that. It’s just my job.  It’s fair to say that Jimmy Bhatti has his feet firmly on the ground. Despite going from BT premiership side Melrose to Glasgow Warriors and the Scotland team in the space of 2 months, life as he knows it remains much the same.

While the loosehead prop isn’t yet getting asked for autographs in the street, he’s certainly enjoying the direction his career has taken.
“I signed my pro contract, have played the majority of games for Glasgow then got involved with Scotland and played in the autumn tests and neither NatWest 6 Nations.  It’s all come around quite fast and all at once.  But I love it.”
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The 25-year-old hasn’t been shy in maximising the opportunities that have come his way. When several of Scotland’s props, including Al Dickinson, Allan Dell and Gordon Reid were ruled out of the autumn tests, the door opened for Bhatti to make his mark. He wore the Scotland jersey for the first time in the opening November fixture against Samoa, coming off the bench, and went on to play in the New Zealand and Australia games that followed.
“It was a really special day,” he said, of his debut.  “I’ve always said that any cap is brilliant, but you never forget your first cap. Getting the opportunity to play for your country is everything I’d worked for.”
The road that led to that began at Hillfoot’s Minis, where Bhatti started his youth rugby before moving on to Stirling County where he came through the age grades of Midi and Colts and then the senior side.
“I was primary 3 when I first went to Hillfoots rugby club in Tillicoultry,” he said.  “Some boys in my class asked me to go along and that was it. I turned up and I’ve been playing rugby ever since.”
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Bhatti then moved to play for Melrose and was named as part of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy ahead of the 2016-17 season. He says it was a valuable experience, helping him to take the next steps into a professional career.
“Having that transition of going from club level to the Academy setup for a year was important because even when I was in the Academy I was integrated into the pro-team (Glasgow Warriors) quite a lot.  During the 2016 Autumn tests when the props were away I was in training with Glasgow and I played several games with them.  I don’t think I could have performed as well if I hadn’t been at the Academy.”
Bhatti made his Warriors debut against Canada ‘A’ in Stirling and his competitive debut came later that year against the Scarlets. He went on to sign a full-time contract with the team for the 2017-18 season and hasn’t looked back since.  He says that the one thing has changed since going professional is his training regime.
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“When I was at Melrose you could train Tuesday, Thursday, play on a Saturday and you’d be fine”, he said.  “At the Scotland camp or at Glasgow Warriors your training hard and the physicality and intensity of the games is a lot higher. You need to take care of yourself and the small things count, like stretching and taking fish oils.”
While he is loving every moment of playing rugby for Glasgow and Scotland, there was a time when it looked like it might never happen. By the age of 17 but he was working in an abattoir in Bridge of Allan as well as putting in shifts as a doorman at nightclubs in Falkirk and Stirling. At one stage, he applied to join the police, but didn’t get past the interview stage. How hard was it to hold onto the dream of playing professional rugby?
“It was tough sometimes and I thought had passed me by,” he said.  “When I went to Melrose that was kind of my last-ditch effort to try and get into it. I thought I’m going to go to Melrose, I’m going to try and if nothing ever comes of it I’ll find myself a job somewhere else, but luckily it’s happened for me.”
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Some of his opportunities have come through other players being injured and he says that it is a harsh but inevitable aspect of professional rugby.
“People get injured, and other people get their opportunities and make the most of it,” he said.  “At Glasgow, Ollie Keeble got injured and Alex Allen had an injury and the start of the season as well say I was the only loose head prop that was fit and I took my opportunity and I’ve played the majority of games this season for Glasgow. It’s a horrible thing but it is part and parcel of the game.”
With five caps under his belt, including two so far in this year’s NatWest 6 Nations, Bhatti says that he is continually looking to improve and despite often being referred to as being ‘young for a prop’, he believes that experience is more important than age.
“Playing a lot and gaining experience is what’s helped me personally,” he said.  “When you’re playing and training a lot you pick up the small things in terms of technique and that includes what the props I’m playing against doing.”
Bhatti ‘s proud of his roots and after the autumn tests he went back to Hillfoot’s minis to talk to the kids and encourage them to keep on trying to find success in whatever it is they enjoy, no matter what setbacks they encounter.
“It was good to go back, and there are still boys there that I was in the minis with who are playing for the 1st XV now,” he said.  “It’s good for the club to be able to say they’ve had someone that came through and gone on to play for their country.  I’d always said that when I got my Scotland jersey I’d give it back to the club where I first picked up the ball and it meant a lot to me to do that.”
This article appeared in the Scotland v England Programme – Reproduced with permission of Scottish Rugby.
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Thanks to John Reid, who posted this great picture on Facebook!
Winners of the Crieff P7 Tournament, about 2003.  Jamie Bhatti back left, Grant Carmichael next to him, Rainer Kennedy front second left, Corey Reid holding the trophy and Lewis Coutts front second right – let us know who the others are!

1st XV players head out to The Devonvale Hall for the 1975 Club Dance

Back to History of the Club


1974 – another great year for hair, fashion & rugby

Back to History of the Club



A 1st XV player & his partner arrive for a 1973 fixture

The Club’s second full season was regarded as a time “to find our feet” in the Midlands District League, with the majority of fixtures now being against 1st & 2nd XVs.

The Office Bearers for this season read as follows:-

President – J Murray, Chairman – Rev D Phillips, Sec/Treasurer – T Scott, Match Sec – D Phaup, General Committee – M Cousins, C Stalker, J Mackie, R McDonald, W McMurray, D Prentice, Selection Committee – D Phillips, T Scott, C Stalker, F Mason, Fund Raising Committee – J Mackie, M Cousins, R Cameron, K Graham, E Caldwell, 1st Team Captain – F Mason, Vice Captain – R Dewar, 2nd Team Captain – G Marshall, Club Coach – R Dewar.

The playing strength was increased with the arrival of J Tate, W McLean, A Grinly, A Lyons, D Watt & C Heggie.

The second game of the season proved to be one of the best & hardest games.  Hillfoots met Glenrothes at Tillicoultry in the first ever league game & the home side were slightly unlucky to go down after an exciting match by 12 points to 16.  In general this was a good season, although only one league game was won, Hillfoots beating Waid by 21 points to 13.  The team generaly did well in non league games, passing the 40 point mark on five occasions.  It was however agreed that having inspected the Midlands League oppostion at close hand, a major effort would be needed in order to win that league the following season.

1972/73 Season

2 Sept – Stirling Co. 3rd XV 13 – 42 Won

6 Sep – Glenrothes 1st XV 16 – 12 Lost (League game)

9 Sept – Strathmore 1st XV 27 – 6 Lost (League game)

16 Sept – Madras 2nd XV cancelled

23 Sept – NCR 1st XV 17 – 19 Won

30 Sept – Stirling Uni 1st XV 12 – 52 Won

7 Oct – Perthshire 3rd XV 3- 64 Won

21 Oct – Waid 1st XV 13 – 21 Won (League game)

25 Nov – United Services 1st XV 0 – 42 Lost (League game)

30 Dec – Dundee HSFP 2nd XV12 – 26 Won

6 Jan – Kirkaldy 4th XV 3 – 26 Won

13 Jan – Harris 2nd XV 9 – 22 Won

27 Jan – Clydebank 1st XV 16 – 42 Won

3 Feb – Stirling Co. 2nd XV 7 – 9 Won

24 Feb – Morgan 6 – 12 Won

3 Mar – RAF Leuchars 1st XV 0 – 45 Won

Back to History of the Club


In 1972, men like this played rugby – but only when the grass was mowed

Due to the great effort of Match Secretary Derek Phaup, the 1st XV started the season with an almost full fixture list while that of the 2nd XV still had several gaps to be filled.  Most of the 1st XV fixtures at this time were against 3rd & 4th XV’s with a sprinkling of 2nd XV’s.  The playing strength had been further augmented by the arrival of G Izatt, J Keenan, R McDonald, J Mackie, D Ebbage, M Cousins, V Szultka, I Ward & R Harman.
The 1st XV now contained a better blend of youth & experience, the backs playing very good attacking rugby, whilst the forwards did well, often against heavier & more experienced opposition.  Bob Dewar arrived on the scene in October, followed by D Skilling who made his debut in the Howe of Fife floodlit game, (possibly the last time this fixture was played).
Training took place at Falkirk under the eagle eyes of Ian Scott, Morgan Phillips & Billy Lyons who Captained the 1st XV.  For those keen to train twice a week Doug Skilling’s ‘Keep Fit’ class was also available on Thursdays.  The social side of the game at this time centered upon the Wollpack Inn & special mention should be made of the host at the time, Kenny Graham who gave a great deal of help through advice, encouragement & donations.
This season was used in an endeavour to find the appropriate level of fixtures for the Club.  Although most of the opposition proved to be rather easy meat, we did come a cropper on one or two occasions, notably against Dundee High School FPs.  However, having to some degree proved ourselves worthy opponents, stronger fixrures for the following season were easier to come by & it was decided to take the plunge into the Midlands District Union League.
1971/72 Season
1st XV
2 Sept – Perthshire XV 3 – 3 Drawn
11 Sept – Strathmore 2nd XV 0 – 26 Won
18 Sept – Cumbernauld XV 13 – 24 Won
23 Sept – Grangemouth 3rd XV 14 – 26 Won
9 Oct – Dalziel 3rd XV 8 – 7 Lost
16 Oct – Dundee HSFP 3rd XV 38 – 12 Lost
23 Oct – Victoria Drive 4 – 44 Won
6 Nov – St Andrews Uni 3rd XV 6 – 30 Won
13 Nov – Lenzie 4th XV 10 – 28 Won
27 Nov – United Services 2nd XV 7 – 14 Won
8 Dec – Howe of Fife XV 8 – 10 Won
2nd XV
23 Sept – Stirling Co 2nd XV 76 – 4 Lost
2 Oct – Dunfermline 5th XV 13 – 8 Lost
16 Oct – Grangemouth 4th XV 14 – 6 Lost
6 Nov – Stirling Uni 2nd XV ? – ? Lost
13 Nov – Stirling Co 5th XV 13 – 18 Won   **First victory for the 2nd XV**
27 Nov – Alloa 3rd XV 40 – 0 Lost
11 Dec – Bearsden 20 – 6 Lost


1971 – A great season for rugby & hair styles

Although fixtures were not easy to come by so late in the 1970/71 season, Derek Phaup who was to fulfill the role of Fixture Secretary during the early years of the Club, managed to obtain several games for the month of March.  Following the first game against Alloa 4th XV, the next week Hillfoots played Strathmore 2nd XV drawing 3 – 3 (Mike Hodge was the scorer).  The Club’s playing strength has already been bolstered by by the arrival not only of Mike Hodge but also Alistair McIntyre, Fraser Mason, Gordon Marshall & Jim Wyllie, all of whom were to play prominent parts in the future of the Club.

SEASON 1970/71

1st XV

6 March – Alloa 4th XV (H) 11 – 18 Won

13 March – Strathmore 2nd XV (H) 3 -3 Draw

20 March – Strathmore 1st/2nd XV (A) 40 – 3 Lost

3 April – Kelvinside Colts (A) 55 – 5 Lost

2nd XV

3 April – Stirling County 2nd/3rd XV (H) 19 – 3 Lost

Back to History of the Club

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Falkirk, Grangemouth Stags and Hillfoots RFCs are delighted to announce that next season their youth sides will be joining in partnership and playing together as Kelpies Rugby in the regional leagues

The Chairperson for this exciting development, Craig Bolan said “All three Clubs have been finding it difficult to field full youth teams at all ages on a regular basis due to the competing demands of school work and other interests.  This exciting partnership will mean that Kelpies Rugby will firstly have large enough squads to regularly field full teams that will train and play together.  Secondly, we will be able to combine resources – especially coaching to provide a strong development pathway from S1 all the way through the youth setup to U18 rugby and ultimately into adult rugby.  There is no doubt that we are stronger together.”

This exciting opportunity is available to all boys and girls in the Forth Valley, with Kelpies Rugby being able to field teams at S1, S2, U16 and U18 as well as offering a pathway for girls rugby from U15s through to U18s.  The partnership will permit the Kelpies Rugby teams to play with full squads and allow the boys and girls to experiment with different positions and have fun on the pitch, while providing a clear pathway from junior rugby through to the adult game where we can develop our young players to be the stars of the future.

Combining each Club’s resources in terms of coaching expertise and facilities can only be to the advantage of the kids who will benefit from not only the enhanced coaching available, but also excellent facilities such as Grangemouth Stag’s indoor training pitch which will be of great benefit in the winter and will keep the kids playing and training all season long.

If you are a youth rugby player and would like to take part in this exciting opportunity to have fun and develop your game of rugby, please email [email protected] for more information.


The end of the season does not mean the end of fun @hillfootsrfc!

Since I last emailed, we have had a number of events, not least our annual Dinner Dance – a massive thank you to Euan and Derek for organising yet another fantastic evening. 

We have also supported both the Alloa Half Marathon and Rotary Club Nebbit Hill Walk – both have required a number of volunteers to assist and are a key source of income to the Club – a huge thank you to those volunteers.

Like many Clubs, our activities are successful only due to the time, effort and dedication of our volunteers and with more events coming up over the summer, we need everyone to lend a hand at the following events:

  • Set up for the Touch Tournament from 10-12am and then dismantling it from about 5-7 pm on Saturday 9 June.
  • Set up for the Tilly Gala from 11-12:30 and then manning our burger stall from 13-16:00, on Sunday 17 June. 

These events bring in a significant amount of income that the Club needs to fund our plans for the seasons ahead – without everyone chipping in we cannot take the Club onward and upward!

Paddy ☘


Charity Touch Tournament in aid of Prostate Scotland

We’re hosting a touch rugby tournament on Saturday 9th June to raise money for Prostate Scotland. It will be normal touch rugby rules with the added rule that each team must have at least one female player playing at all times. Every team will get plenty of games throughout the afternoon and there will be live music and a Shorts n Shades party in the evening.  

Why are we doing it? 

Most of us know, or will know, someone affected by prostate cancer or other prostate problems. We’re delighted to be hosting this tournament to raise funds for Prostate Scotland and to raise awareness of the conditions. All profits will be donated to Prostate Scotland. It will also be a cracking day of rugby with friends old and new! 

If you’d like further information, check out the website, or please email Gavin at [email protected] or Derek at [email protected]

In celebration of Scotland’s spectacular 25-13 victory in this year’s NatWest 6 NationsScottish Rugby are taking the Calcutta Cup on tour, and we’re excited to announce that it will be making an appearance at our Prostate Scotland Touch Tournament this Saturday!

As if the prospect of a sunny afternoon in the park wasn’t enough, come down between 1pm and 2.30pm to see the famous trophy…you might even be lucky enough to get your hands on it!


The Annual General Meeting

Finally, we plan to hold our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 14 June 2018 at 7pm.  If you would like to volunteer to join the Committee, raise any issues or questions for the current Committee – please speak to Derek Paterson on 07736466398.  


Child Protection and PVG

As the Club’s Child Protection Officer, I would like to make a fresh start on everyone’s PVG status.  To that end can I ask everyone who is interested in assisting the Junior or Youth Sections to see me at the Touch Tournament this Saturday, touch on Tuesday (12th) and AGM on Thursday (14th), or the Tilly Gala 16th to get a new form from me and complete it for next season.  Many thanks,



Future of the Youth Side

Things are looking positive, but more to follow next week and on social media!



This weekend’s Action:


  • Hillfoots RFC Charity Touch Tournament in aid of Prostate Scotland, kick off at 1pm.  Please help set up from 10am if you can (you may even get a free beer token!).




What a Super Saturday!

What a fantastic Saturday we had last weekend!  The 1st XV travelled down the road to Dundee and put on a great show against Morgan Academy FP RFC who could not compete against the ‘Foots fast pace and well executed drills.  It’s all to play for this weekend!  The table shows that we retain our slender lead over Blairgowrie by a point and I am sure that the team will be focussed on finishing the season in style with a bonus point win, loads of tries and more great rugby.  We would love to see you all down in the Park to support the team and see in the season in style!  The Bar will be open and we have live music to kick the evening off in style!
The Rams had a cracking result at home against our friendly rivals Bannockburn – great to see the mix of wise old heads and aspiring young players! Hopefully this season’s ‘developmental league’ will put in a good position to have some regular rugby next season and develop the depth to our sides that we need to progress ever further!

While not a win, the Youth had a fantastic game of rugby against Blairgowrie at Falkirk on Sunday.  It was real end to end rugby with the visitors ultimately coming away with a win 38 to 31.

Finally – our raffle for some great prizes has been launched on the website where you can electronically enter the raffle, or wait and get a paper ticket tomorrow.  The prizes are outstanding!  A unique Scotland shirt signed by some of the touring All Blacks from last year’s Autumn International; a Scotland shirt signed by the Calcutta Cup winning Squad; and a fantastic bottle of whisky kindly donated by Russell Sharp.  You have got to be in it to win it!
Paddy ☘️🏉

The Hillfoots Raffle!

This is your chance to get your hands on some special rugby memorabilia! 

It ranges from a unique Scotland Rugby Shirt signed by some of the New Zealand Touring side from last year’s Autumn Internationals, a Scotland rugby shirt signed by the Calcutta Cup winning side and for the whisky drinkers one of the last remaining bottles of whisky from the Rosebank Distillery in Falkirk.  All you have to do is see one of the members of the Club with paper tickets or sign up using Go-Cardless using this link and we will enter you in the raffle.

The one ticket gives you the chance of winning one of the three prizes!

Back in November, Eddie Inglis and I were honoured to have been invited to the President’s Suite for the Scotland v New Zealand match.  We had a fantastic day meeting more or less every possible former Scottish international – not least the indomitable Doddie Weir who launched his charity that evening.  For those that do not know, the players from both sides eat in a different room from us mere mortals and then come in briefly for the Captain’s speeches, presentation of first caps and a quick beer if they are lucky!  I had planned ahead and had bought a Scotland shirt and went around as many All Blacks as I could find to ask them to sign the shirt that we are now raffling – the signatures were scribbled on my hand, back and any surface that I could find for them to lean on!  I do not think I am exaggerating by saying it is unique!  You can clearly see, Kieran Reid under the thistle, Steve Hansen and Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea, Sam Kane, Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Whitelock to name but a few!

 For only £10 you have the chance of winning this unique shirt!
Click here to enter!

We were also fortunate to have had the opportunity to send our Club Development Officer Barry Munro to experience Murrayfield and the Captain’s Run prior to the Calcutta game!  Barry was royally hosted by the SRU and Al Kellock who took the lucky few around the stadium on a grand tour.  The highlight was having the opportunity to get autographs from the team, so Barry has kindly given us this shirt to auction off too!  While not as unique as the All Black’s shirt – it will be a reminder of that special day when Scotland fought and won the Calcutta Cup back!  Most rugby internationals seem incapable of writing legibly, but I am reliably informed that it is Greig Laidlaw’s signature under the thistle and Finn Russell’s opposite that!  The rest you will have to decipher!

 For only £10 you have the chance of winning this fantastic memento of a great Calcutta Cup win!

Click here to enter! 

Last but by no means least we have a treat for whisky connoisseurs!  Sadly the Rosebank Distillery at Camelon, founded in 1798 stopped distilling in 1993 before being sold off and developed as houses.  Thanks to Russell Sharp, who has graciously given the Club a bottle of 12 year old Single Malt from the distillery.  It was described in its heyday as a ‘light and distinctive’ malt whose flavour was well-balanced – many considered it to be the finest Lowland malt and Jim Murray (of the Complete Book of Whisky fame) believes it should rank in the top five of all Scottish Malts!  If you Google it you will see that the Whisky Exchange is selling a bottle for £375 and the Whisky Barrel is selling a bottle for £1999.96!

For only £10 you have the chance of winning this historic bottle of whisky!


Hillfoots Rams 46 – Bannockburn RFC – 17

The Rams welcomed old rivals Bannockburn RFC to Tillicoultry on Saturday hoping to get revenge for a narrow defeat imposed by the visitors earlier in the season.  The Rams started the match well and soon had the Bannockburn defence under pressure and were rewarded when David Cree scored a try after some great play. Jack McClymont increased the Rams lead when he finished off another fine move.  As to be expected, Bannockburn started to win some ball of their own and started to make gains into the Rams territory. The home defence held and in fact scored again when scrum half, Lewis Coutts took a quick tap penalty and outpaced the visitors defence to touch down under the posts. Gregor Manson added the conversion.  Bannockburn responded with some more forays into the Hillfoots half and were successful when they scored a converted try of their own. The Rams responded with a try scored by David Davidson to take them into the break with a 22- 7 lead.

The second half got under way in much the same fashion as the first and it was not long before Jack McClymont another try which was converted by Manson.  For the next twenty minutes it was the visitors who dominated play and got themselves back into the match when they scored two tries.
As the match entered the final quarter it was a try from Gavin Spowage that took the steam out of the Bannockburn fightback.  As the clock wore down to no side the Rams secured a good win when Manson converted a fine try scored by David Simpson. Mitch McEwan added the icing to the cake when he crashed over in the last play of the game.


Easter Rugby Camp @ Hillfoots RFC


This weekend’s Action:


  • The 1st XV are at home to Carnoustie RFC with a 3pm kickoff, in our last league game of the season.  With only 1 point between us and 1,000 points scored this season and Blairgowrie chasing us all the way to the end, here’s hoping to lost more points to see the season out in style!


  • It’s Easter Sunday!  If you need to run off your Easter eggs, come down to the Park at 1000 for a fun game of Tag rugby – all ages from 5 to 75 can play!
  • All players home for training/joint touch depending on numbers.

Tillicoultry Primary School Taster Sessions

Well done to Barry for leading a taster session in Tilly Primary – the kids loved their lunchtime run around – hopefully we can get a few more enticed to play the game in the Park on Sundays! 


Easter Rugby Camp @ Hillfoots RFC

Touch rugby: from Youth to Cast-ups touch rugby
Come along from 7pm until 830pm every Tuesday and Thursday(until 8) at Alva Academy astro-turf for some great touch!  We welcome everyone from S1 up to the oldest and boldest Cast-tups player!  Remember no metal studs are permitted.


Dates for the Diary:

Next week – everyone is training at home!