A match that was taken to the edge will now take place in front of a hedge
THE grass had been cut in distinctive wavy patterns, and the rather fetching new strips had been delivered. All Brechin City required was a team to play against tomorrow.
Confirmation that this would be Rangers, or indeed The Rangers, came at just after 9pm last last night. As the nation prepared to be entranced by an Olympics opening ceremony, Brechin played another kind of waiting game. They wanted to know whether what has been described as the biggest game in the club’s history would be staged or not.
It will be. A game that was taken to the edge will now take place in front of a hedge, as well as about 4,000 supporters. The principal emotion has to be one of relief for those officials at the Angus club who have worked so hard to put in place what is required to cope with hosting a match guaranteed to attract worldwide interest.
As Brechin City chairman Ken Ferguson said earlier this week, he knew it was a big match when a reporter from the Wall Street Journal turned up at Glebe Park. The piece duly filed by William Lyons to that newspaper noted that “the smallest city in Britain to have a professional football team is primed to kick off its campaign with a Ramsdens Cup tie at home against one of the oldest and most decorated institutions in world football, Glasgow Rangers”.
This, though, remained in doubt until late yesterday evening. As a torch took light in London a few good folk at Brechin were burning some more midnight oil to put in place the final pieces of a frantic process to be ready for the visit of a huge travelling support.
Dundee, the team they had originally been meant to play, would have been a big enough challenge. However, even a visit from their north-east neighbours is unlikely to have led to ‘sold out’ notices being pinned up at Glebe Park, where another sign above a door in the old main stand advises visitors to “watch yer heid”.
It is a wonderful place to watch football, and Rangers have not visited on competitive duty since a League Cup quarter final clash in 1981, when they ran out 4-0 winners. Remarkably, they will arrive tomorrow as a Third Division club, the poor relations to their Second Division hosts.
There were 7,000 inside the ground for the League Cup clash. Farm hands from Fettercairn to Friockheim downed tools and headed to Glebe Park. The ground boasts an area known as the Ghostie End, since behind it lies a cemetery. There have, however, been times when it has been referred to as the ‘Deid End’. Brechin’s crowds rarely break the 500 barrier.
It will be different this weekend, however. Few could begrudge Brechin their good fortune. They have been left frustrated before. The nearest the club have come to such exposure was in 1985, when their Scottish Cup tie with Hearts was due to be televised on Sportscene. Alas, with the cameras already in position, the cameramen went on strike, and no footage of their creditable 1-1 draw exists. Happily, it will be a case of lights, cameras, action in Angus at 3.05pm tomorrow.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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