280 days separate the first kick of a ball to the final whistle of the William Hill Scottish Cup, a long journey which transcends all corners of the country. That journey started for ten teams this weekend in the first preliminary round of the competition, with one of these matches a particularly historic occasion.

For the first time this season the champions of the Scottish Amateur Cup had participated in the William Hill Scottish Cup, and it was Harestanes that carried the amateur torch into the famous competition for the first time against Girvan.

One slight regret that Harestanes may have had going into the game was that they were unable to stage the match at their own pitch, as it was deemed unsuitable to stage a Scottish Cup match. They made the six-mile trip to Duncansfield, the home of junior side Kilsyth Rangers, to stage the biggest game in the club's 34-year history.

The rain threatened to spoil the day before the game began, however as kick-off neared the weather gods smiled down on Harestanes' adopted home and allowed the game, barring a trickle of rain at the beginning of the second-half, to be played in glorious sunshine.

Harestanes kicked off in front of a crowd of around 300 hopeful fans. They were treated to a cagey opening with neither team gaining a clear upper hand. Both keepers were forced to make saves early on but none that were going to make the highlight reel.

It took until the 34th minute for either team to create a clear goal scoring opportunity, one which Girvan striker Rob Paterson duly finished; a cross from midway inside the opposition's half found Paterson, who stepped across the front of his marker and put his header back across the keeper towards the near post. The goal was greeted with a sigh from the primarily Harestanes crowd, who would have been right to feel that their side had enjoyed the better opportunities to score up to that point.

An hour into the match Girvan doubled their advantage, a tap-in from Mark Dyer which gave the side from Stagecoach West of Scotland Ayrshire District League breathing space. From this point onwards the game opened up, with shots flowing after one another at both ends of the pitch. Harestanes had a shot that hit the bar only for Girvan to attack at the other end of the pitch, hammering the woodwork twice themselves in a frantic goalmouth scramble.

Girvan created some clear chances to take their lead to three but a mixture of strong goalkeeping and wasteful finishing preventing them from doing so until the final moments with a goal Craig Reid. It was a strike that didn’t necessarily reflect the game, highlighting the major differentiating factor between the sides being Girvan’s clinical nature in front of goal.

Having safely negotiated this tricky opening tie, Girvan travel to Lothian Thistle HV in the Second Preliminary Round, hoping to claim another away victory that would take them one step closer to Hampden on the 21st May next year.

Dan Hudson