Spartans midfielder Jack Beesley hopes that, should he score in tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup third-round clash at St Mirren, the Sky Sports News team will have the decency to credit him with the goal this time around.
Beesley was part of an Edinburgh University squad that were beaten 5-1 by Cowdenbeath – Beesley scoring the Uni’s only goal – at Central Park in a second-round tie almost ten years ago.
But it wasn’t the margin of defeat that rattled Beesley’s cage the most. As he returned to the visitors’ dressing-room rather content with his contribution, he was hit by the sucker punch that his second-half wonder strike had somehow been awarded to team-mate James Hair.
A YouTube video of a Sky Sports commentator can clearly be heard saying: ‘Edinburgh University scored next, what a goal ... James Hair’, a misjudgement that continues to throw up all sort of torment for Beesley when in the company of his former team-mates.
“I’ve been trying to get over that one for ten years,” the 30-year-old laughed. “I haven’t seen the video for a while but James and I are still good pals. In fact, the guys from that team are still pretty close so it has been a bit of a running joke for quite some time.
“I did score a hat-trick against East Kilbride a couple of years ago so I suppose that made up for it. I also scored the winner against Morton in the later rounds that year but no-one mentions those goals, funnily enough!”
Beesley appreciates the enormity of the task facing Spartans if they are to progress to the fourth round at the expense of the Championship’s bottom club. Their opponents prop up Scottish football’s second tier without a win to their name in the league so far but Spartans’ current longest-serving player believes the Paisley outfit will view this weekend as the ideal opportunity to kick-start their season.
“They’re perhaps not having the greatest of seasons but they’re still three divisions higher than us,” Beesley said.
“We are looking at it as a freebie but that doesn’t mean we’re not going there to not try and win the game.
“There’s no pressure on us as St Mirren are massive favourites. We’re probably going into the match as the biggest underdogs of the whole round but we want to go and give a good account ourselves.
“The big factor in these sort of games is how you start. When we played Stranraer earlier in the season (A 7-1 loss in the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup) we started really well, had a few chances but, as soon as they scored, it was almost a complete change in mindset. We want to stay in the game as long as we can and that showed when we knocked out Clyde and Morton two years ago.”
Those triumphs that Beesley alluded to saw Dougie Samuel’s men reach the fifth round of the Scottish Cup before going down 1-0 to Berwick Rangers at Shielfield after the first 90 minutes in the Capital had failed to produce a winner. Bewick would subsequently go on to lose 4-0 to Hibs in a money-spinning quarter-final tie at Easter Road.
“That run when we reached the fifth round gave the club and the whole north of Edinburgh a real buzz,” Beesley recalls. “But I think if we were to win tomorrow it would top the lot. Two years ago when we had that run, we were in great form in the league, whereas this season, we’re 13 points off the top, struggling for consistency so I think a win over St Mirren would raise a lot of eyebrows.
“We’re coming off the back of a good win over East Kilbride. It was more pleasing to turn in a good performance as we haven’t done that very often this season.
“But, from a personal point of view, I’ve not really got going yet as I’ve had a few recurring injuries. It’s kind of been like three weeks fit, two weeks not and so on. I’ve not had the chance to find any rhythm so it’s been a kind of non-event which has been frustrating.
“I didn’t start last week but I’m hoping to play tomorrow. I played 90 minutes against Preston last Tuesday but Dougie changed things up tactically for the East Kilbride game last weekend. But, if it’s the same guys that started last Saturday ,then I don’t think I could have any complaints.”