The Scottish Cup returns this weekend with all top tier teams entering the fourth round stage. The latest fixtures in the world’s oldest national trophy sees a couple cracking ties containing sides from all steps of the Scottish footballing ladder.
But perhaps none are as exciting as Broxburn Athletic, currently of the East of Scotland Football League, being drawn away to St Mirren of the SPFL Premiership. ‘The Brox’ are certainly making their mark in their first ever Scottish Cup campaign.
The lowest ranked side left in the competition are preparing for what has been described as the biggest game in the club’s history by many and midfielder Nico Gibson feels inclined to agree.
“I’ve only been at the club for just over a year so I don’t know too much of the history, but from what I have been told it sure seems to be,” began the former Aberdeen youth.
“This is the first time that the club’s entered the Scottish Cup after gaining our licence in the summer, so to reach the fourth round against a Premiership team means you can’t get much bigger in my opinion.”
Brian McNaughton’s side have already won five of six matches in this season’s competition, including preliminary rounds, most notably dispatching of League 2’s Cowdenbeath 3-0 in their second round replay.
It would be quite the shock if they got the better of top tier St Mirren and whilst the fans, who have sold out their allocation in Paisley, can only dream of doing so, it’s something which Gibson insists he and his teammates aren’t giving a lot of thought.
“It’s not something we have spoken about as a group but I do feel that we all have a belief that we can cause an upset.” It’s been a heck of a journey for the West Lothian outfit to reach this stage and there’s nothing wrong with a bit of ambition after all.
However, Saints haven’t lost a Scottish Cup tie to non-league opposition since 1923 and Saturday sees them go up against Broxburn in the first ever competitive meeting between the two sides.
And should he and his teammates claim one of the biggest scalps in the competition’s recent history, boyhood Hearts fan Gibson admits it would be a dream to play the Jambos at Tynecastle.
“It would have to be Hearts at Tynecastle or Aberdeen at Pittodrie,” joked the former Edinburgh City man when asked who they’d like to face in a potential fifth round affair. “Anyone else, I’d be happy to take them on at the Albyn!” he claimed.
And the Scottish media are running out of superlatives for the immense support that ‘The Burn’ have received in this competition this season. The 27-year-old admits it’s been a huge factor in the team’s success.
“We have had a good backing from the fans in this Scottish Cup run and all the players really appreciate their efforts in supporting us. It will be incredible to see so many of them in the sell out stand,”
The 1600 strong Broxburn supporters could be in for a treat in Paisley on Saturday. “If you’ve seen the highlights of the winning goal against Inverurie (Loco Works), it gets you excited as to what the celebrations could be this Saturday!” concluded Gibson.
If you’re one for the underdog, let’s hope the travelling fans are rewarded with a replay or better as their side face a team five divisions above them. The magic of the Scottish Cup, you can’t beat it.