East Kilbride beating Celtic would be ‘world’s biggest shock’

Billy Ogilvie is relishing the William Hill Scottish Cup Clash against Celtic.

Billy Ogilvie is relishing the William Hill Scottish Cup Clash against Celtic.

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Many sportsmen utilise visualisation techniques to help them prepare for major events. Essentially, it involves them concentrating on images (either recalled or imagined) of them succeeding in their chosen field, which is designed to build both calmness and confidence ahead of the big day.

East Kilbride manager Billy Ogilvie won’t be bothering himself with any of that, though. The one concession the Glasgow cab driver has made ahead of the Lowland League side’s William Hill Scottish Cup tie against Celtic on Sunday has been to forego his shift the previous night.

He is not, however, downplaying the importance of the occasion, for himself or the Lanarkshire club. A Shawlands boy, he is entirely aware that should East Kilbride follow in the footsteps of Clyde and Morton (who have both performed giant-killing acts on Celtic in the last 10 years) then their achievement would be recorded across the globe.

“We are underneath the level of these teams so, if we do anything of that magnitude, then forget Scottish football – it would be the biggest shock in world football, without a question of a doubt,” he said

“Don’t get me wrong, we are a team coming up but, given where we are at the moment and after such a short time in existence, you can’t even think about winning. If we did I’d have to retire – or go into hiding!”

Since the possibility of meeting Ronny Deila’s side first arose when the fifth-round draw was made last month, Ogilvie has struggled to put it to the back of his mind.

“You can’t stop thinking about it,” he said. “The Lothian Thistle Hutcheson Vale game in the last round was the equivalent of the Premier League play-off final at Wembley because of the massive prize. There was relief after that win. We all went to the chairman’s bar afterwards and I just felt drained. I could have drunk his bar dry and walked home afterwards.”

Ogilvie will turn to the grape for guidance again on the eve of the most high-profile game of his career.

“I’ll not be working on Saturday because I’d be a danger to the public,” he grinned. “I’ll have a quiet night in the house, drink a couple of glasses of wine and try and get my head down. I won’t be thinking about going to work.

“I was at the [League Cup semi-final] at Hampden and saw Ross County come up with their plans which worked but, I mean, I’ve thought about parking my taxi in front of the goal – in fact I nearly went to Central Station to get 12 of them and just put them all around the 18-yard box!

“Success for us will be the players performing to their capablities and we’ll take any kind of result.

“To be defensive you need qualities like unselfish running, closing down and working as two banks of units. Those are qualities in themselves.

“Celtic have scored eight against against Hamilton, four against Dundee United, so they’ve certainly breached better teams than us but we need to be brave on the ball, work through the units, and put them on the back foot.

“But the pressure is off. The club and the town will go down to Airdrie and we’ll watch our lads putting on a superb show and they’ll do themselves and the club proud and their families proud.”

Ogilvie also takes pride from the fact that Scotland manager Gordon Strachan, a spectator at K Park in the previous round, called to offer his congratulations.

“The national team manager was at our game and he phoned me a week past on Sunday,” he said. “He phoned the Lothian Thistle manager too because he absolutely loved the experience.

“He told me he sees a thousand games a year and there’s people diving and people squaring up to people but, with us, he said he saw two extremely committed sides with so much at stake for both – and both teams were playing football. I told Gordon: ‘I’m not saying we are rejects but we have a lot of boys who lost their way in football.’

“For them, East Kilbride is a second chance and they want to grasp it. He asked me what he can do to help us and, before you know it, we are in a half-hour conversation about this and that. But it was great that he enjoyed our football. It was a great compliment and it says a lot about him that he went out of his way to call both managers. I asked him if wanted to come to our technical area on Sunday but he said: ‘No you’ll be all right’.”

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