Arniston Rangers’ 53-year-old manager Jock Landells had to sign himself up as a player after his squad was stretched to the limit for their Scottish Junior Cup replay against Neilston last weekend.
A mixture of injury problems and work commitments led Landells to combining himself as a player-manager for the day, while fellow coaches Ritchie McCall, 46, and Andy Ritchie, 42, were also listed as substitutes alongside injured midfielder Kevin Moffat.
Thankfully for former Bonnyrigg Rose stalwart Landells, who barked instructions from his usual trackside berth in the Gorebridge side’s full-kit with shinguards to boot, he wasn’t required to make a cameo appearance as his side booked a last-32 place for the first time since season 2011-12 with a 2-1 victory at Foresters Park in the third-round tie.
The tie was moved to South Division Tranent’s home park, with Arniston’s Newbyres Park having failed to beat the weather three weeks on the trot.
“I think we had the oldest bench in football at the weekend,” joked Landells. “We were down to the bare bones and we only had one regular player on the bench in Kevin Moffat, who was actually carrying an injury and hasn’t played for the last three months.
“I phoned around a few ex-players to see if they could play, but they couldn’t make it, so it came to the crunch on Thursday night that I decided to sign myself incase we got two or three injuries, hoping not to go on obviously.
“I didn’t do the warm-up, but I had the whole kit on and the shingards – the whole shebang.”
First-half goals from Lumbert Kataleza and Kieran Somerville secured the win to set up a January 16 date away to Kilwinning Rangers, with Landells full of praise for his players,
“We got a wee bit tired in the second half, but fair play to the players, they dug in. To get to the last 32 with the 12-13 players I’ve worked with in the last four weeks is absolutely fantastic, I can’t praise them enough. I’m glad to get it played now and to get the result we were looking for is even more pleasing.”