K - Day

Brora Rangers big day has arrived - The William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round.

Having given our Chairman the headline spot yesterday, this morning our website editor is grabbing control for a last minute post before heading up to Dudgeon Park to catch the Killie Express.

It is the 10th February, 2018. It is the William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round. And Brora Rangers prepare to meet Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

I’m almost on my way out the door to watch my team play a Scottish Premiership club in the 5th Round of the Cup. Somebody pinch me!

I consider myself more fortunate than many … it isn’t unusual for football fans to have a ‘big’ team and a ‘wee’ team. In that respect I’m no different, however, Brora Rangers are my big team. I have wee teams, clubs for which I hold great affection and have fond memories. Dunfermline Athletic during the Jim Leishman years, Dundee Utd under Jim McLean - they have a connection to places I lived and worked, they entertained me on an odd Saturday afternoon and they evoke memories of important periods of my life.

But Brora Rangers are my big team.

I met Jim Leishman a couple of times, I’m pretty sure he won’t remember. Jim McLean ranted at me for a couple of minutes in Reform Street many years ago, I certainly won’t be alone in finding myself on the wrong end of his wrath, and again, he won’t remember.

Douglas Norris gave me a right ear bashing a few seasons ago, I bet he hasn’t forgotten. I meet Sandy Matheson at least once a week where conversation usually turns to the prevailing weather and the condition of the pitch. Rossy Mackay should probably have the title of Supporters Liason Officer like they have in bigger clubs, he certainly was like a one man welcoming committee when I first darkened the doorstep of Dudgeon Park. I could go on, and on, and on. I could mention the players who stop for a chat in Tescos, I could mention the players who take time out to present our younger fans with CDs, I could single out the acts of generosity I’ve witnessed from fellow Brora fans.

I could, but I’m trying to get out the door, remember?

What I’m really trying to express is the pride that I feel this morning. I’ve checked the Oxford English Dictionary, and pride is definitely the word I want to use.

A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

OK, I’ll single out another of the Red Army who made me feel a part of the Brora Rangers family at the same time as Rossy Mackay … Andy Maclennan. Andy has a collection of Brora Rangers memorabelia which he regularly sends me cuttings from, with a yet as unfulfilled promise to make space on the website for.

Brora Rangers big day has arrived - The William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round.

Photos like this. Our Qualifying Cup triumph. Long before my time.

I’ve tasted similar at Grant Street Park with our 2013-14 North of Scotland Cup win against Nairn. The League winning match at Kynoch Park in the same season was an occasion never to be forgotten, and the whole Pyramid Playoff with both Edinburgh City and Montrose were weekends where the heart swelled and tears pricked the eyes. Our performance against Queen of the South and the reception the squad received from the home fans will always be hard to beat.

But I suspect this weekend is going to outdo everything. It will be my Qualifying Cup game, my Dundee away game.

I’ve given up on trying to keep up with our Twitter account. The ‘Retweet’ and ‘Like’ count is astronomical, the amount of well wishers getting in touch is overwhelming. The media attention, whilst somewhat expected, has been impossible to entirely prepare for. Without a doubt, pride is definitely the emotion that is utmost as I prepare to join the Red Army in Kilmarnock this afternoon.

The reaction within the village is electrifying … I get it every day in my day job. And that is hugely important in this area, the repercussions of the publicity my football club is bringing to the area will reach far beyond what the Board, Committee, Ross and his coaching team and the squad set out to do this season.

The reaction on our Brora Rangers Supporters Club Facebook page has been fantastic. A few days ago I highlighted a meme with the Grim Reaper knocking on dressing room doors, and hinted we had more digital artwork to show. Cue Andy again …

Brora Rangers big day has arrived - The William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round.

For those not making the trip to Rugby Park (I get the impression that might be as many as half a dozen of our followers) we’ll make that the picture for the Match Thread on the Supporters Facebook page.

Being recognised from within is all well and good. Our achievement in reaching today’s match goes far beyond that though.

Pride

A feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

I spoke in the Kilmarnock Edition of the achievements of Kilmarnock since Steve Clarke arrived, so his comments yesterday in a pre-match press conference show exactly the respect the lads have earned outside the Highland League.

“The message is to respect your opponent, always respect your opponents the same,”

“Brora Rangers deserve to be in this round of the cup. They have had some great results to get here and we give them every respect.”

“We showed Celtic the respect they deserved. We will show Brora Rangers the same respect and if the players go in with the same confidence and the same ability and we play to a similar level, hopefully we can get a good result.”

To cap it all, this then came through on Twitter.

Brora Rangers big day has arrived - The William Hill Scottish Cup 5th Round.

Now that’s not only a measure of how I, or most Brora fans, view the achievement of reaching this stage of the competition, that’s a measure of being widely admired.

I need to go, I’ve a bus to catch, friends to meet, new friends to make, and maybe, just maybe, a Quarter Final to look forward to.

Last one out, turn off the lights

Published on Saturday February 10, 2018

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