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The Road to Hampden Blog – Third Round

Sunday, 04 December 2016


At the weekend the William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round continued with Beith and Greenock Morton playing their rearranged match to decide who would face Falkirk in the next round.

Student Ronnie Charters was there to take in the match and sample the magic of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

The Road to Hampden Blog – Third Round

They say you see some crazy sights in cup competitions, none more so than in the Scottish Cup.

But if you were to tell any of my university lecturers that I turned up early for something, they would say that is one of the craziest sights you are likely to see.

But alas that tendency is dispelled rather quickly if football is on the agenda.

That being said however my trip to the small Ayrshire town of Beith takes the biscuit in terms of punctuality.

Thinking it was a 12:30 kick-off I arrived in Beith at noon, looking to take in some of the sights and sounds.

After a walk around the streets and a top quality bag of chips from Fryer Tuck’s Chip Shop I headed down to Bellsdale Park, where the stage was set for a blockbuster afternoon in the Scottish Cup.

In the walk down to the stadium I began to sense just how big an occasion this game was for the town.

 


After walking by a convenience store that had a sign on the door saying ‘Closed for the Beith Game’, it dawned on me that this little town in the corner of Ayrshire was gripped with cup fever.

As I made my final ascent toward the stadium, the home supporters in their black and white attire made their presence felt in and around Bellsdale Park.

If I never hear ‘C’mon the Mighty’ again I won’t complain, but the home support certainly did their job in creating a cauldron of noise as the players emerged from the tunnel.

Submerged amongst the Beith Juniors faithful for the game, I fell in love with the sights and sounds a junior ground can produce.

I must also applaud the 1000 or so travelling Morton fans who made the 40 mile round trip and were certainly not letting the bitter chill in the air dampen their spirits.

In the early stages to everyone’s amazement it was Beith who came out the traps absolutely flying.

John Millar’s side deployed a game of high octane pressing, pace and power that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Premier League never mind a junior side, and if it wasn’t for the reflexes of the Morton keeper, we may well have had a fairytale story on our hands.

Chance after chance fell to ‘The Mighty’ in the opening minutes enough to make Morton manager Jim Duffy a little edgy.

But it wasn’t until the 11th minute that the Ton showed their first real touch of class, all thanks to the left foot of Ross Forbes.

In the blink of an eye, Forbes steered the ball around the wall and low into the Beith net, setting the tone for what was to follow.

At the break Beith were three down and as the whistle sounded an elderly gentlemen standing next to me rightly said, “Oh dear, is it only half-time, this could be nine or ten!”

I must admit you’ll see no better sight in any cup competition than when the half-time whistle is blown in a game and straight away thirty small kids run onto the pitch to try and score into the Beith goal.

The magic of the cup personified, the smallest supporters wanting to score for their local team and the Scottish Cup.

Anyway, nostalgia over and back to the game.

Sadly for the Beith fans the second half was practically a mirror of the first. With John Millar’s words still ringing in the players ears they showed a glimmer of resilience in the first five minutes of the second half (by resilience I mean not to concede a goal).

I spoke to a friend who is a Morton fan before the game and he said one thing, ‘Beware of Tam O’Ware’.

That statement jolted back to me like a shockwave as O’Ware added number four to the Morton tally with a stunning 25-yard strike to the bottom left corner.

Celtic loanee Jamie Linsday added number five just before the eightieth minute when O’Ware bulleted a header to make it a resounding 6-0 win for the Ton.

Being a journalism student who is supposed to be covering the game as a neutral, I was urging the Beith players forward in the dying minutes to give the deserving home fans something to cheer about.

But alas it wasn’t to be.

To sign off I leave you with the quote of the day from one of the ladies in the canteen who, when I was leaving the ground to make the trip back to Glasgow, obviously looking cold and tired, shouted to me:

“It’s alright son, you’ve got the X Factor to look forward to tonight!”

I will say this; Beith Juniors have certainly made one new supporter.


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