SUPERFAN friends will be cheering on Bonnyrigg Rose today – after flying a combined 17,000 miles to make the game.
The pals jetted in from the Dominican Republic, Australia and the US to watch their heroes try to upset holders Hibs in the Scottish Cup fourth round tie.
Win, lose or draw, the group are set to have a top day out as part of a sell-out 13,000 crowd at Tynecastle.
“My wife and son think I’m bonkers,” admitted retired joiner George Bell, 63. “But it’ll never happen again and it’s a once in a lifetime game.”
George set off on his mammoth 24-hour trek on Monday leaving wife Yvonne, also 63, and son Steven, 42, behind in the beach resort of Cabarete, Dominican Republic.
“I flew to Frankfurt, then back to Manchester and then got the train up to Edinburgh - I must’ve done over 5000 miles in the end,” he said.
“I started going to watch Bonnyrigg games when I was eight or nine with my dad,” said George.
He was at Hampden Park in 1961 to see Rose lift the cup - and again in 1978, captained by best friend Rab Devlin.
“I watched highlights of us beat Dumbarton in the last round online with a beer on my balcony,” added George.
“This is a massive game for us and it’s beyond our wildest dreams really. I just had to be here for this one.
“The car park at the ground is absolutely full, I’m guessing because they’re selling stuff in the club shop - there’s a real buzz about the place.
“There’s been a few amazed faces on mates who didn’t know I was coming. Everyone’s at fever pitch and we’ll be having a few drinks.
“I’m not superstitious and I’m very calm at games but I’ll be nervous for the boys, just wanting them to do their best.” Pal Jake Turnbull flew in from Perth, Australia, via Doha – swapping a sweltering 41 degrees for not-so-balmy Bonnyrigg.
“It’s my sister’s 60th and the girls are having a party while the boys go to the game,” said Jake, 58, whose wife Alison, 60, also made the trip.
“My wife actually got me the tickets for Christmas so I’ve got a couple of mates to fill in at work and here I am,” added Jake, who runs a transport business Down Under.
“The last game I went to was the first game of the season two years ago against Musselburgh – I’m hoping for a 1-0 win.” Stephen Dunleavy was still jet-lagged yesterday after making a mad dash across the Atlantic from his Connecticut home to arrive 24 hours before kick-off.
“I still follow Rose’s results on Facebook and the internet,” said Stephen, 53, who emigrated when he was 16.
“I’m just really proud of the town where I was born and raised and wanted to be here,” said the church caretaker.
“I’ve got a little bit of both nerves and excitement – I’m running the emotional gauntlet, as they say. I’d be happy with a draw.”