It was always going to be tough, but then again, a 3rd Round draw against Stranraer sounded like a huge ask for players and supporters alike. The win at Stair Park made another win against SPFL League 1 opponents seem a far less daunting task, but no less of a challenge. A challenge which the lads rose to admirably.
It seems entirely fitting when discussing a journey in our Kilmarnock Edition Reprint to take a look back at this Tweet by fellow Ayrshire club, Girvan FC, from last September.
Yup, we hear you, Girvan, we hear you.
Take a look back at that match report and replace Brora with Kilmarnock, and Girvan with Brora, and we won’t be too far away for the match report for our 5th Round tie.
It was to be the last home tie of this season’s Scottish Cup campaign for us, but it really didn’t seem to do us much harm, and our travelling support grew in numbers as the competition progressed.
In the original Kilmarnock Edition article we took the chance to quote our National Bard with
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men, Gang aft agley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain, For promis’d joy!
The outcome of Saturday’s match would suggest that in hindsight it applied to neither side. Steve Clarke spoke in a pre-match press conference about affording Brora respect, and for a good part of the opening half it appeared that we had earned that respect and were afforded it by the Premiership players. Whilst it would be ridiculous to argue that Clarke’s scheme went agley, equally we’d say that the plan laid out by Tokes had few flaws. Whilst we may not be sitting today enjoying promised joy, there is no hint of grief an’ pain after a performance that was a credit to every member of the Brora squad and our Club in general.
Our match report takes care of the credit the players deserve for their efforts on the pitch, but once again we’d like to spend some time looking at the backing the Club had from the exuberant support that roared the team on for the full 90 minutes of this historic game.
Whilst we headed southwards on the Friday, an early start for most of the Brora based supporters meant a fair bustle of activity at the gates of Dudgeon Park before 7am. The Red and White Army was well and truly mobilised, four coaches rolled out of The Electric City with further stops at Evelix, Tore, Inverness and Stirling to pick up reinforcements and a further bus leaving from Inverness. Biblical phrases such as ‘Exodus’ spring to mind.
Six and a half hours later, with the numbers swollen by those now resident in the Central Belt, Liverpool, Ludlow, Watford and London it was time to sample the pre-match hospitality.
Some last minute interviews and photo calls with the Press, a quick tune up of the pipes for Danny, drum soundcheck for Sol and Liam and our travelling heroes were ready to enter Rugby Park.
Time for more wise words from our Burns collection?
Contented wi’ little, and cantie wi’ mair, Whene’er I forgather wi’ Sorrow and Care, I gie them a skelp, as they’re creeping alang, Wi’ a cog o’ gude swats and an auld Scottish sang.
It is fair to say all connected with our Club were definitely ‘cantie’ by 3pm on Saturday afternoon, and whilst there was little sign of sorrows or cares, the Chadwick Stand was soon ringing with songs.
For those who are used to views like this on a Saturday afternoon the real sense of occasion really hit home on exiting the stairs and watching the Cattachs run on to the Rugby Park pitch. The William Hill Scottish Cup, 5th Round, Kilmarnock v Brora Rangers. A chance of a place in the quarter final. A chance of glory to surpass all that had come before.
Indeed, for some it almost seemed too much!
The sense of occasion was not for us alone. Back in August Kilmarnock hosted Hamilton Accies in their opening home game of their current league campaign; attendance - 3706. Next to visit Rugby Park were Dundee; attendance 3452. Fellow Highlanders, Ross County, travelled down at the end of September; attendance - 3337.
The official attendance for our meeting was 4278.
The home support must have been gladdened to see the Chadwick Stand looking healthier than it has at other times this season. 413 foot soldiers marched into the traditional away end. We have much to be proud about throughout our 2017-18 Scottish Cup run, but this is 413 additional reasons to feel the future is bright at Brora Rangers Football Club.
We must also spare a thought for those unable to be there, it was unusual to attend a match without the gents that organised the Supporters Club buses for this and practically every other away game. The names of Rossy and Badden go together like Laurel and Hardy, Corbett and Barker, Richard and Judy in this little corner of Scotland we call home. Likewise, ‘Big Carl’, whose name is usually first to appear on the bus list, and not due to alphabetical supremacy. Catriona, Tony, Baker, you missed an incredible day; but you were missed.
There will be others who were forced to let other committments leave them with the radio, texts from friends and our Supporters Club Facebook page keep them as up to date with proceedings as much as possible. We will try to sum up their thoughts by this poster on Facebook who we will only identify as ‘Ben’.
Unfortunately I had to be overseas today as work just recently had to come first (not often that happens)
The incredible journey we have all been on as BRFC Supporters had another milestone today, the positive energy and connection from the You the fans has been incredible, absolutely humbling.
The Board, Committee and, most importantly the players and management, have sweated blood for our village & county and deserved what you all gave them today. A huge support.
Incredibly proud to be in your number and be a BRFC Supporter
Ross and all the players, staff etc, thank you for representing us, the fans, in the manner you have.
Proud, just proud
Whilst the ultimate result boiled down to 90 minutes of highly entertaining football and 4 unanswered goals, it was 90 minutes of singing, chanting, cheers and groans. 90 minutes of hoping against hope as the Brora Rangers gave another highly creditable performance against higher league opposition.
It was a performance which saw the opposition fans, yet again, hang back to applaud both our team and our supporters.
If you are left with any doubt about the affinity between players and supporters in our Club, the photo at the head of this report is the Brora squad joing the support in the Chadwick Stand to celebrate the role both have played in this incredible journey.
When we first sat down to pen the original Kilmarnock Edition article we looked to the works of Robert Burns for inspiration. We were confident that many of you would be celebrating on Saturday regardless of the scoreline. Confident enough that we already knew we’d be rounding off today’s article with another misquote of his work.
In honest Dugga’s ingle-neuk, Here maun I sit and think; Sick o’ the warld and warld’s folk, And sick, damned sick o’ drink!
Fear not, Reds. The hangover will pass. The memories of this Cup campaign are here forever.