Spartans midfielder Ian McFarland has faced Fraserburgh at Ainslie Park in the Scottish Cup before, but will be hoping for a more straightforward afternoon when the Highland League side arrive for tomorrow’s third-round tie.
“Subo” played and scored in an epic 4-4 second-round draw with the same opponents, albeit in an Edinburgh City shirt, when they faced The Broch just more than four years ago.
City, under then manager John Green, took the lead through Peter Stenhouse, only for the visitors to race into a 3-1 lead despite missing a penalty.
Darryl Devlin pulled one back only for Fraserburgh to go 4-2 up. Seemingly out, McFarland planted a header to reduce the deficit once more before a dramatic Gordon Donaldson equaliser.
A win for either tomorrow would see them pitched in with the big boys for the fourth-round draw, and McFarland is hoping such a comeback won’t be required this time around if Spartans are to progress.
“It’s one of those games you’ll look back on and remember when you finish playing,” he said. “It was a big game with a big crowd and we took the lead but then found ourselves two goals down. I scored to make it 4-3 and then Goggsy got the equaliser, which was rare enough!
“Unfortunately we lost the replay 2-0 and it was a comfortable 2-0 to be honest. Obviously it was great to comeback and get ourselves in the position to go to a replay, but they were much better than us up there.
“We were pretty evenly matched at the time – City were mid-table in the East of Scotland league and they were about mid-table in the Highland League so no-one was really favourites.
“It’s the same now – we’re third in the Lowland League and they’re second in the Highland League so it should be quite a tight game.”
Not only would a win give Spartans the chance of a big-name opponent in the next round once again, it would stop a run of successive defeats.
A controversial 1-0 loss to Lowland League title rivals East Kilbride a fortnight ago was followed up with a late 2-1 defeat by Edusport Academy that saw Dougie Samuel’s men exit the South Challenge Cup.
The second result in particular is one McFarland is keen to put right. “The East Kilbride game was disappointing but it was close and we’re still pushing them in the league,” he assessed. “Last week though, we didn’t play well at all and got what we deserved.
“That’s one competition gone but we’ve got the chance to put ourselves in the next round with the big teams, which are the type of games you want.
“The club has done well in the cup before but maybe fallen off in the league, but we have to try and do both this year. We’ve got guys who have gone up before so hopefully that can help us keep challenging and get a cup run too.”