BRECHIN City stand on the brink of a historical first, after the team’s heroics at Dumfries last Tuesday evening. Not in the club’s 105 year history has it had the opportunity to compete in the quarter-final of the Scottish FA Cup and the team is now just 90 minutes away from gaining such an opportunity.
Of course first Brechin City must overcome either East Stirlingshire or Highland League Champions Buckie Thistle, who meet tonight (Wednesday) at Ochilview Park, Larbert. No easy task.
However, Jim Weir reflected on “one of his proudest moments in the game” after watching his players outplay their full-time opponents for large parts of the game.
“We had no failures throughout the team and I am very, very proud of my players and the way they went about their business. Craig Nelson had one excellent save to make in the second half and the back four were magnificent. We have been pleased in the way we have been defending over the piece and our two full-backs did well. Davie White was very, very steady and Ewan Moyes probably had his best game since he came to the club.
“The midfield worked their socks off. We could have gone there and played with one up front and tried and tried to create two or three chances. However, we have a lot of believe in our players and in this squad as a whole. However, we decided to stick with our formation. Craig Malloy has been an incredible signing for this club, Kevin Byers has shown what he is capable of in recent weeks and we have good ability from Neil Janczyk and Mark Docherty. David McKenna and Rory McAllister “Little and Large” seem to have really gelled in the last couple of games too.
“I am proud of the fact we created so many goal scoring opportunities. However, I am also proud of the fact that my players reacted in the correct manner and celebrated with one another and didn’t go over the top.
“We are on the brink of a great opportunity for this club. However, both East Stirling and Jim McInally and Buckie Thistle and Greg Carroll will be feeling exactly the same and whoever we come up against, we will do what we always do. Look at the opposition on more than one occasion, give them the utmost respect and prepare in the right manner.
“I would underline the fact however that we have important league games to take care of, long before February 5 and the players are only too well aware of the busy schedule we have before then.
“We have set a high bar now and its a standard we must do our utmost to retain for the rest of the season.”
Before over confidence grows and grows, it may be worth noting that the last meeting of Buckie Thistle and Brechin City ended in a win for the Highlanders, albeit in a pre-season friendly in 1999, in what was Dick Campbell’s first game in charge at Glebe Park. Brechin’s only success against the Highland Champions was in the Chivas Regal tournament in the early eighties.
City have met East Stirlingshire twice before in the Scottish Cup. The first time was in the 1972-73 season, when City recorded a 2-1 victory at Firs Park, after a drawn game at Glebe Park. The clubs also met in the 1979-80 season and it took three games to decide the final outcome of the tie.
Richard Campbell gave Brechin the lead in the first game when his eighth minute strike from 25 yards beat ‘Shire’ goalkeeper Charlie Kelly. However, the visitors levelled when long-serving defender Gordon Simpson scored in the last minute. In the replay at Glebe Park, city again had an early lead when a Jim Donald, Charlie Elvin move was finished off by Ian ‘Patsy’ Paterson. Charlie Elvin hit the post twice and Davie Watt once, before Davie McCaig levelled for East Stirling. “The Shire” were also denied in extra time, when McCaig hit the post.
The third and final meeting between the sides took place on Boxing Day 1979 at neutral Muirton Park. It was a 78th minute goal from Ian Campbell which took Brechin through to the next round, where they defeated Montrose 4-3 at Links Park after a 1-1 game at Glebe Park. Before City finally bowed out 3-1 at Love Street, against Premier League side St Mirren.
Buckie Thistle and Brechin City have never met in the Scottish Cup. Although in season 1953-54, Buckie beat Brechin home and away in the two-legged Dewar Shield, a competition for the various winners of the Scottish Association’s Cup competitions.
With the prospect of a 109 mile journey to Buckie, perhaps City fans would relish keeping Buckie as a lovely and testing pre-season venue.