The Scottish Cup is over for Fraserburgh’s battling football team, the club falling in the fourth round of the Williams Hill sponsored competition.
The squad, who had travelled down to Stenhousemuir to play in the Cup, will have done themselves no harm in the eyes of Scottish football, however, their run in the competition capturing the imagination of even the neutral.
The last side from the Highland League to still have been playing, it was always going to be a tough ask when Stenhousemuir was drawn as their opponents, a side mid-table in the third tier of the country’s football.
Leaving the Broch at 8am on Saturday morning for their 3pm kick-off, the Burgh brought two supporters buses along with them to the game, the travelling fans creating an atmosphere of a home fixture despite being over 150 miles away from the Bellslea.
But the game would end in disappointment for the team, at least in the short-term, their efforts to find a goal in vain as Stenhousemuir found a way past Paul Leask just after the hour mark.
Two further goals, two minutes from time and in the final minute, respectively, fell the host’s way with the Burgh opened themselves up to find a way back into the game, club captain and central defender Russell McBride finding himself playing as a striker in the closing minutes of the game.
As the final whistle blew, however, both sets of supporters began to applaud the efforts of the travelling Highland League side, commending them on an incredible effort which, for 45 minutes, looked as if it would see them into the next round of the Scottish Cup.
It is understood that the side, in respect of the large contingent of travelling support they had, have made a contribution to the travelling cost of their fans.
Speaking shortly after the final whistle, Fraserburgh’s captain paid homage to the crowd, saying the fans had been “great.”
“The Scottish Cup, for us, is a fairy tale. The further you get, the better it is, and it’s good for the fans,” McBride added.
On the game itself, McBride commented: “I thought we played really well. I thought, in the first-half, we were probably the better team.
“Our manager went three at the back and put myself up-front to see if we could get something, and it maybe backfired a wee bit, but it’s the Scottish Cup, you’ve got to take a chance.”
The Burgh will now look back on a campaign, perhaps regardless of how the remainder of the season goes, as one of success and excitement, a true, community club having done themselves, and their league, proud in one of Scotland’s most prestigious competitions.