Advertisement

Stranraer head to Ibrox in Scottish Cup

Ibrox Park, Glasgow Credit: PA

The fact that their fans have a podcast titled ‘It’s No Easy’ tells you a lot about the rollercoaster supporters of Scotland’s third oldest club have faced over the last decade.

With one of the tightest budgets and smallest squads in SPFL League One, Stephen Farrell’s men face a huge battle to haul themselves from the bottom of the table. As they enter their 150th year, relegation is a prospect no-one at Stair Park wants to consider.

In recent weeks, the battling side have shown what the manager calls “green shoots” of promise, halting a run of six straight league defeats with strong displays to pick up points in draws with Dumbarton and Clyde.

Tonight, though, to coin a footballing cliche almost as old as this club itself, “league form goes out of the window” as the Blues prepare to step out at Ibrox in front of a crowd up to a hundred times bigger than their usual home attendance.

Sorry, this content isn't available on your device.

A magnificent performance back in November saw them knock Championship side Dunfermline out of the cup to book a fourth round berth.

Afterwards, local lad James Hilton - a talisman for fans this season - gave a smile when asked who he’d like to draw in the next round. “Celtic, away” he said, without missing a beat. Instead, it was the other half of the Old Firm which came out of the hat.

James Hilton Credit: ITV Border

The lad nicknamed “Jinky” will step out tonight against Rangers as his side look to provide a bit of cup magic for the dedicated Stranraer fans.

“Growing up, you want to go and play in those stadiums and show what you can do. That’s why you play football” the young midfielder says. He’s the top scorer for Sranraer this season and although he knows there’s a vast gulf between the teams on paper, he’s ready to test himself. “Every team has its spell in any game and we just have to do everything we can do something and maybe nick a goal. Or maybe even two!” he quips with a broad grin.

In a moment, he’s captured the spirit of his side, this great old club and indeed its committed fans. Underdogs? Yes. But underdogs ready to battle with a smile on their faces.