Stevie Carter, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion’s multi-tasking secretary, was born and raised in Brora. The blog mentioned as much a few days ago.
It’s a village in the far north of Scotland, half way to Iceland, population 1,200. On Saturday the Highland League side made the long journey to East Fife, Scottish Cup fourth round, and on the Fifers’ 3G pitch won 1-0.
“A great day with Brora doing all the singing,” Stevie reports. “The game was no better quality than Northern League second division, but it was all about the result.”
The Cattachs – as, inexplicably Brora are known – are at Kilmarnock in the last 16, still haven’t conceded a goal in this year’s competition, inevitably stir memories of that other great will-ye-no’-come-back romance when Gretna reached the Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park, just 14 years after being in the Northern League.
It was 2006, Gretna just promoted from the third tier. A small gesture to Brooks Mileson, club chairman and our long-term sponsor, the Northern League bouight 110 Hampden tickets and filled two executive coaches. An executive coach is a bus with netties.
Departure was delayed, however, because there was no sign of Lee Stewart, then Esh Winning’s secretary and now the most ubiquitous of ground hoppers. Finally he was found, asleep on the back seat. “I wondered why we weren’t going,” he said.
Brooks, who lived near Gretna, had begun the day mucking out his pigs and been interviewed by the radio while so doing. It meant he had to wear his best jeans for Hampden. “The others have pig muck on them,” he said (or words closely to that effect.)
Soon, happy as a pig in clarts, he was queuing for a noonday fish supper, declining to join the tartan blazer brigade. “I don’t care for them and I don’t care for their uniform,” he said.
Gretna supporters wore floppy white coas with a rosette and the number 9 on the back, a nod to star striker Kenny Deuchar who was also a junior doctor.Whatever hapened to him? Probably a consultant by now.
Hearts, second in the premier division, led after 37 minutes. Ryan McGuffie equalised when a penalty rebounded back to him. The match went to extra-time, then penalties. Gretna lost, but had qualified for Europe.
At the time they were one of six Scottish League clubs whose home grounds were south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. Still there are six. Readers are invited to name them. Since it’s the week of Burns Night, an answer – and maybe another Scottish edition – tomorrow.