GORDON Strachan is set to give Spartans a timely boost today ahead of their crunch Scottish Cup clash.
The Scotland manager – who is a patron of the Pilton-based club’s community academy – will make a motivational phone call to Spartans boss Dougie Samuel before the visit of Berwick Rangers.
A place in the last eight of the cup is at stake in this afternoon’s meeting at Ainslie Park.
Lowland League side Spartans saw off League One outfit Morton in the previous round and are confident of another giant-killing.
Strachan, who grew up in Muirhouse, took in the 2-1 victory over Morton, but the former Celtic manager is unable to attend this afternoon’s last-16 tie.
But the 57-year-old is still set to find the time to pass on a few words of wisdom in a conversation with Samuel in the build-up to kick-off.
Spartans chairman Craig Graham said: “We are very happy that Gordon is a huge supporter of what we do at Spartans and we were delighted and honoured he was able to attend the Morton match.
“He isn’t able to get to the game today, but I spoke to him on Thursday and he has already passed on his best wishes for the tie.
“He also said he would phone Dougie this morning and I’m sure he’ll have a few more words of encouragement for the boys.”
Having missed out on a potential glamour tie against the bigger clubs left in the competition, Spartans have done their best to attract as big a crowd as possible to Ainslie Park as they bid to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.
A total of 900 free tickets have been given out to local primary schools, the club’s own youth section and participants in their community programme.
Meanwhile, the occasion will be like a home game for Berwick boss and Hearts legend Colin Cameron – because he works at Spartans four days a week.
Cameron’s part-time status as boss of the Wee Rangers allows him to coach for the Edusport Academy, a project which sees students from France arrive in Scotland to learn English while honing their football skills.
Their Edinburgh academy is based at Spartans, where Cameron works from the modest surroundings of the referee’s room, while Samuel is based in the manager’s office, just one flight of stairs up.
Their respect for each other is palpable, however their detailed chats about football when they bump into each other in the corridor have been put on hold until after today’s intriguing tie.
Cameron said: “Before the draw was made, we would bang our heads together about our games at the weekend – what went right, what went wrong.
“Let’s just say we’ve not been doing that in as much detail lately ahead of the cup tie.”