The William Hill Scottish Cup meant everything to Scott Chaplain as the starry-eyed youngster who became a giantkiller.
So the Scottish FA West Region Player and Coach Development Manager – who was this week also appointed Scotland Futsal National Team Coach – was only too happy to help show off the oldest trophy in association football to the kids at John Paul Academy in Glasgow.
Ahead of the Scottish Cup Tour’s final stop at the St Enoch Centre, Chaplain looked back fondly to 2014 – when he was a midfielder in the Albion Rovers side who knocked out neighbours Motherwell before coming within 12 minutes of pulling off one of the greatest shocks in the history of the competition.
The school was packed out with kids wanting their picture taken with the Scottish Cup, Scott. What did it mean to you growing up?
It meant a lot. I remember going along to watch the team I supported and there was a completely different feel to the games. Then you work your way through the ranks as a young player, dreaming of being involved in games like that. I’m lucky enough to have been involved in a couple of memorable ones.
Talk us through that run with Rovers.
We weren’t having the best of times in League Two that year but the Scottish Cup always brings that bit extra out of you. It was a great experience to beat Motherwell. Although we scored late on I think it would be unfair to say we didn’t deserve it on the day and Stuart McCall was complimentary afterwards. It’s funny, because it’s not even the best Albion Rovers team I played in but we had a good team spirit and worked hard for each other. I remember teeing Gary Phillips up and he scored with a great strike. There was a lot of attention on us after that – especially in the build-up to playing Rangers in the next round – and it was fun to be involved in.
What are your recollections of the two games against Rangers?
Frustration. To be leading at Ibrox with 12 minutes to go, only for Rangers to equalise with a controversial goal, and not win was hard to take. Again, though, it was a great occasion to be involved in. It wasn’t to be in the replay but we walked away with a lot of great memories. There are only so many clubs and players that go all the way and win the Scottish Cup, so for smaller clubs and their supporters moments like that stay with you forever.
As part of your role at the Scottish FA you helped co-ordinate this visit to John Paul Academy for the latest stop in the Scottish Cup Tour. What was the response like from students?
It was packed out. The kids were all desperate to get their picture taken with the trophy. The tour itself is also a great idea because it gives them a chance to learn a bit more about the history of the competition. One of the wee boys is a Stirling Albion fan and he was disappointed to learn that they’d never won it before. His response was ‘we’ll do it next year’.
The Scottish Cup Tour makes the final stop of a nationwide tour today (Saturday) at the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow (9.30am-5pm).
Along the way it’s visited schools and shopping centres, allowing supporters – young and old – the chance to get up close and personal and learn a bit more about the oldest trophy in association football.