It’s ten years to the day when Gretna, a tiny club from Dumfries and Galloway backed by a rich benefactor, made it all the way to the Scottish Cup final. The underdogs played out of their skins on the day, taking a heavily favoured Hearts side to penalties prior to their eventual loss.
It was viewed as a ‘fairytale’ drama, though many Scottish lower league supporters resented such a positive picture of their run, seeing as they spent well outwith their means, which resulted in the club folding in 2008. Regardless, it was a great tale and today we remember that team.
GK: Alan Main
Signed on a free from Livingston in 2004 after one season at the club, but was previously a Dundee United and St Johnstone stalwart, playing 152 times for United and 233 for St Johnstone. After the final he spent another season at Gretna, helping them to win promotion to the Premier League before moving back to St Johnstone for free in 2007. He played another 75 times for St Johnstone, and one game while on trial for Ayr before retiring in 2010. In 2014, he joined Forres Mechanics as a goalkeeping coach.
RB: Mark Birch (booked)
Started out his career at Stoke as a youngster, before being picked up by Northwich Victoria (79 appearances) in 1998. He was then bought by Carlisle in 2000 (played 109 times for the club) before moving to Gretna for free in 2003 (played 80 times). He was part of the squads that won the Third, Second and First division for Gretna. Once in the SPL, he was then sent out on loan three times by Gretna in 2007 and 2008, initially to Southport, followed by a return to Northwich Victoria for a brief spell in 2007, followed by a spell in Australia with the Newcastle Blue Stars in 2008. He then retired at the age of 31 when Gretna folded. He is currently back with Carlisle as a foundation phase coach.
CB: Derek Townsley
Played briefly for Gretna while they were still in English football before joining Queen of the South. He then spent two years at Motherwell and Hibernian, before moving to Oxford United in 2003. After joining Gretna a year later, he spent three years with the club before moving to Workington in 2007. Short stints at Newcastle Blue Star and Penrith Town followed, before being signed by Annan Athletic (who took Gretna’s vacated spot in the SFL). He retired in 2010 while assistant manager/player at Annan, and in 2015 took on the managerial job at Workington, replacing none other than former Gretna and Scottish Cup finalist teammate Gavin Skelton.
CB: Chris Innes
Started out his career at Blackburn United before playing at Stenhousemuir, Kilmarnock (75 appearances), St Mirren (on loan), Falkirk (on loan), and Dundee United (45 appearances) before joining Gretna in 2005. After the club folded he spent a season with each of Livingston, St Mirren and Inverness CT before a brief stint at Arbroath in 2012. He has been without a club since.
LB: Ryan McGuffie (Scored 76’)
Signed on a free from Newcastle United in 2002, McGuffie played 155 times for Gretna and scored 28 goals before the club folded. He then moved to Morton where he stayed for two seasons followed by a move to home-town club Queen of the South in 2010, where he stayed until 2014. After 102 appearances and 13 goals, McGuffie moved to semi-professional Australian side St Albans Saints in 2014, where he is now captain, aged 35.
MF: David Nicholls
Nicholls’s career began at Hamilton Accies in 1993, but moved to Cork City for a free. He then moved to Junior football with the midfielder playing 134 times for Clydebank between 1995 and 1999. A move to Falkirk in 1999 got his career back on track, before a move to Dunfermline in 2001. After a loan spell back at Falkirk in 2003,
The midfielder had spells with Hamilton, Cork City, Clydebank, Falkirk and Dunfermline before his signing for big-spending Gretna in 2005. Prior to the club’s season in the top flight he moved to Newcastle Blue Star, before returning to home-town club Bellshill Athletic, and finishing his career at East Stirlingshire where he remained on the staff as an assistant manager to Jim McInally. He is now assistant manager to McInally at Peterhead, which both men moved to in 2011 after departing East Stirlingshire.
MF: Steve Tosh (booked)
The archetypal ‘Journeyman’ throughout his career, Tosh played for Arbroath, St Johnstone, Raith Rovers, Livingston, Falkirk, and Aberdeen before signing for Gretna in 2005. Vastly experienced, he was signed by Queen of the South in January of 2007, before a brief loan at Livingston in 2010. His penultimate club before de facto retirement was newly crowned Highland League champions Cove Rangers, who he played for between 2010 and 2011. His most recent club was Rosehearty Thistle in 2014, who he scored for in a match against Peterhead United.
MF: John O’Neil
When O’Neil signed for Gretna in January 2006, he had already amassed extensive experience at Dundee United (88-94), St Johnstone (94-2000), Hibs (00-03), and Falkirk (03-06). On top of this he had also been capped by Scotland once in 2001, in an away friendly against Poland. He was already a two-time Scottish Cup runner up, and had won the First Division with St Johnstone in 1997. After the cup final he left Gretna at the start of the 2007/08 season, joining Cowdenbeath for whom he played for two years until 2009. He then joined East Stirlingshire, whom he played for twice. O’Neil now runs a haulage company in life outside of football.
MF: Gavin Skelton
Previously of Carlisle and Workington before joining Gretna in 2001, Skelton was a club stalwart by the time the 2006 cup final came around. Despite missing the crucial penalty in the final, Skelton remained at the club until its demise in 2008. After that he joined Kilmarnock for two seasons until 2010, followed by Hamilton Accies for a season before joining English non-league side Barrow. He then left Barrow for Workington in 2013, before leaving to take up a coaching role at Queen of the South under James Fowler. On the 18th April he was appointed caretaker manager of the Dumfries club after Fowler’s departure.
CF: James Grady
Early on in his career Grady played alongside teammate David Nicholls at Clydebank between 1994 and 1997, stints at Dundee, Ayr, Partick Thistle and Dundee United followed before he was signed by Gretna in 2005. He stayed with the club until it folded, playing for Hamilton and Morton afterwards. In 2009 he was briefly player/caretaker manager, before taking the permanent position on Halloween. He left the club at the end of the season after eight months in charge, and is now Player and Coach Development Officer for the SFA.
CF: Kenny Deuchar
A well-known name in the lower leagues of Scottish Football, Deuchar joined Gretna in 2004 after stints at Falkirk and East Fife. In Gretna’s only season in the SPL, two seasons after the cup final, he was loaned out to Northampton Town and St Johnstone, before leaving for Real Salt Lake when Gretna folded. He returned to Scotland in 2009 with a move to Hamilton Accies, before spells at St Johnstone, Falkirk and Livingston (with a loan to Stenhousmuir in 2012). He currently plays for Arbroath to whom he returned from retirement for in 2014. He is also a practising medical doctor.
DF: Jamie McQuilken (on for Deuchar 103)
Spent the early years of his career at Celtic, before stints at Dundee United, Hibernian, Falkirk, Aberdeen, and St Johnstone. In 2005 Gretna signing him after he left St Johnstone, before he left in 2007 to join Queen of the South. In 2009 it was announced that he was going to quit the club to start a new career in the Police, but in 2011 he began to play again, this time for Cambuslang Rangers.
FW: David Graham (on for Nicholls 55)
Played for Stenhousemuir and Stranraer before joining Gretna in 2005. After 68 appearances for the club and a brief loan to Hamilton, Graham made the move permanent in 2007. He then joined Dunfermline in 2009 where he played over 100 games for the club, before joining his most recent and last club, Morton in 2012 where he hung up his boots in 2013.