One of Bonnyrigg Rose’s more peculiar claims to fame is the fact they can count Sean Connery among their former players, with the rather modest description of “an actor of some repute” accompanying his profile on their official website.
Make no mistake, the club that boasts a youthful James Bond as an alumni left Dumbarton shaken and stirred at New Dundas Park yesterday.
The Sons can credit their presence in tomorrow’s fourth round draw to Alan Martin, who made several splendid saves to deny the rampant Juniors, with Wayne McIntosh, Kerr Young and Keiran McGachie coming agonisingly close to finding the net.
The tie will be decided in a replay a week on Tuesday but it should have been done and dusted in front of 1,552 fans, after a true community effort – 30 volunteers reporting to the stadium at 7am to remove covers from the pitch – ensured the match beat the big freeze.
“It is a credit to the players that they competed, and were the better team, again a Championship team for 90 minutes,” said Rose boss Robbie Horn.
“A lot of people will say ‘well, that’s our chance gone’, but we’ll go to Dumbarton with belief, in the knowledge we can cause them problems.
“Not only are we proud of the performance, but of the way the community spirit shone through in making sure the game was on. You don’t see that in senior football.”
Even the chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, Stewart Regan, was enraptured by the prospect of a giant-killing in the capital, taking his place alongside the likes of Ian Murray, Colin Nish and Gary Naysmith on the terracing.
At the end of a week dominated by talk of the SFA’s “Project Brave” scheme, the governing body’s top official certainly witnessed a courageous display from Bonnyrigg.
The hosts dominated the early exchanges, with former Motherwell youngster McGachie tormenting the Sons’ back-line with pace, strength and a surprisingly deft touch in attack. However it was defender Young who proved Rose’s unlikely goal threat, heading an Adam Nelson cross over the bar before forcing a fine save from Martin with a stinging 25-yard drive.
Maurading Rose left-back Ruaridh Donaldson then fizzed a fine drive narrowly over the bar as the East Super League champions turned the screw.
Rose stopper Michael Andrews was forced to smother a couple of Donald McCallum efforts, however it did little to disguise the fact Dumbarton were abject in the opening 45 minutes.
The barely fared any better after the break as, again, Bonnyrigg were in the ascendancy. Only a magnificent instinctive save from Martin denied them an opener when he parried a point-blank McIntosh header.
Little wonder, then, that the overriding emotion in the Sons’ camp was relief at escaping this Midlothian bear-pit still in the competition.
“That’s the positive,” said Dumbarton manager Steven Aitken. “We are still in the hat. I’ve said to the boys in there, you have your goalkeeper to thank for that.”