As the 2016-17 Scottish Cup reaches its climax, it is time to reflect on some of the moments from this year’s competition. From dramatic goals, cup runs and even draws, these are the moments that make the Scottish Cup memorable, unique and most importantly, Unrivalled.
The Knight of Forres
Everybody loves a derby. Everybody loves it when your team scores a last minute equaliser. Everybody loves it when a goalkeeper scores a goal. For Forres Mechanics, these three moments met in an unexpected collision as Forres Mechanics’ keeper Stuart Knight nodded in against Lossiemouth in the last minute to set up a First Round replay.
Chaos ensued – on and off the pitch – amongst the players and fans of the Mighty Cans; this was a goal to be savoured. In the subsequent replay Forres romped to a 4-0 victory, booking a Second Round tie against Cumbernauld Colts. Knight’s header saw him duly crowned Goal of the Round winner, an award he received pre-match at Broadwood.
One thing became clear from Forres Mechanics’ 2016-17 Scottish Cup campaign; they loved a replay. They took Colts back to Forres after a 2-2 draw, winning 4-0 in the replay, before an admirable 2-2 draw with Stenhousemuir meant a Third Round midweek trip down to Stenny. Sadly for Forres this was where their Scottish Cup journey would end.
Winters is coming
Robbie Winters is a man who has more Scottish Cup stories associated with him than the average player. Arguably the most notable of which was his appearance in the 2000 Scottish Cup Final for Aberdeen as an emergency goalkeeper.
Now plying his trade for East Kilbride at the tender age of 41 (and 324 days), Winters became one of the oldest Scottish Cup goalscorers with a brace against Vale of Leithen in a 9-1 First Round romp.
The Rock and the Rose
Having secured passage through the Preliminary Round with an incredible score of 14-0 against Burntisland Shipyard, the Bonnyrigg Rose story saw them beat Turriff United over two games in the First Round, send Cove Rangers tumbling out in the Second, before being drawn against Championship side Dumbarton in the Third. There, a spirited defensive performance saw the Rose earn a creditable 0-0 draw at New Dundas Park.
For most neutrals this was already an admirable feat. However, Bonnyrigg Rose’s story didn’t stop there – an 86th minute winner from Adam Nelson in their replay in Dumbarton saw them set up a tantalising Edinburgh derby against holders, Hibernian.
Due to the overwhelming demand – from both sets of fans – and the relative size of New Dundas Park, Tynecastle became Bonnyrigg’s home for the day. The fairy-tale story ended there, however, with a score that most Hibs fans could only ever dream of at Tynecastle; it finished 8-1 to the Hibees. Despite the scoreline, however, it was a Scottish Cup campaign to remember for Bonnyrigg Rose and their fans.
Scottish Cup draws usually make the headlines for the fixtures they produce. On this season’s Fifth Round draw, however, a media room in the Excelsior Stadium would play host to a few minutes of live television that would reach around the globe. A leopard print and fur-coat bedecked Sir Rod Stewart was the special guest for the draw, alongside the managerial mind that ended Hibs’ 114 wait for Scottish Cup glory, Alan Stubbs.
It was Sir Rod that grabbed the headlines that day as his draw style matched his flamboyant dress sense.
The prospect of a potential Edinburgh derby was overlooked as gifs, videos and screenshots of Sir Rod circulated social media at breakneck speed. Also overlooked was Scottish FA President Alan McRae’s offer of a handshake – though Sir Rod did make amends for this later on with a tweet of his own.
Having secured a Fifth Round place with a replay win against Raith Rovers, Hearts were rewarded with a tie against their old rivals – and current Scottish Cup holders – Hibernian. The prospect of knocking out their Edinburgh rivals was mouthwatering one for both teams; with Hibs in the Championship, the Scottish Cup was the only way an Edinburgh Derby could materialise in the 2016-17 season.
Hibs returned to Tynecastle in confident mood, though the chances of a second 8-1 victory in Gorgie were perhaps too much for even the most optimistic Hibee to hope for. The match was not a memorable one, with Ian Cathro and Neil Lennon’s men playing out the last Edinburgh derby in front of Tynecastle’s Main Stand as a stalemate.
It was the replay at Easter Road that resulted in scenes of joy for the men in green. A convincing 3-1 victory would see a packed Easter Road belting out a chorus of ‘Sunshine On Leith’ at full time. For a competition that had for so long caused Hibs fans so much pain, their love affair with the Scottish Cup was in full swing.
A defensively sound Aberdeen had ensured consecutive 1-0 victories over fellow Premiership sides Ross County and Partick Thistle to book their place in the Scottish Cup Semi-Finals against Hibs.
Many inside Hampden had not even taken their seats when Adam Rooney capitalised on some lax defending from Hibs to burst through on goal and fire past the stunned Ofir Marciano. The time on the clock? A mere 12 seconds.
Ryan Christie would double the Dons’ lead before half-time with a cheeky free kick, before substitute Grant Holt pulled one back for the Hibees. A sensational second half equaliser from Dylan McGeouch levelled the scores before a Jonny Hayes deflection sent the Dons fans into raptures as they sealed their first Scottish Cup final since 2000.
In recent years the Scottish Cup has become synonymous with late drama; James Vincent scored the winner for Inverness Caley Thistle on 86 minutes in 2015, David Gray wrote himself into Hibs legend with a 92nd minute winner in 2016 and 2017’s Scottish Cup Final was no different.
Aberdeen were creating chances and their defence were battling back everything Celtic threw at them, not to mention the woodwork, which had played its part in repelling the Hoops attack as well.
With the rain hammering down, and storms forecast, the stage was set for an epic end to the match – and most people in the stadium thought they were in for extra time, perhaps even penalties.
That was until Tom Rogic, with 92 minutes on the clock skilfully wove his way through the Aberdeen defence. As he readied himself to take a shot, a bolt of lightning lit up the sky above Hamdpen – the weather reflecting the dramatic occasion within the stadium.
Rogic fired the ball past Joe Lewis from a tight angle, securing Celtic the 2016-17 Scottish Cup, an unbeaten domestic season and a historic treble. The green and white end of Hampden erupted into euphoria.
Scottish Cup finals, eh?