Edinburgh Accies forward Callum Reid will go into tomorrow’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Aberdeen Grammar FP at Raeburn Place nursing a dream – and with an ambition rekindled.
Despite representing Scotland under-20s on eight occasions, the No. 8 has never played at Murrayfield, and Accies are now just two games away from the showpiece match there. As he bids to make hay in the game, Reid takes inspiration from Edinburgh Rugby’s decision this week to sign Damien Hoyland from Melrose, viewing it as a sign that opportunities exist for young Scots at the top of the club game to catch the eye of regional bosses.
Reid, 21, still feels he has every chance of making it, revealing that he felt he was being lined up for a pro debut when injury struck last year.
“I was played in a Border sevens tournament at the end of last season and although I felt my wrist sore afterwards I continued to play in a tournament in France and for the Warriors in the Glasgow City Sevens,” he said.
“It was only when Glasgow invited me to train and indicated that I might get an opportunity to face Harlequins and Exeter in pre-season friendlies that I had the injury thoroughly checked out.
“The medics found that I’d been playing with a fractured scaphoid which required an operation. That set me back until the beginning of October, but it is good to know that Glasgow haven’t forgotten me. Every Monday evening I am invited to go through and train as part of the set-up and (coach) Gregor Townsend also keeps in touch.
“I dream of becoming a professional rugby player and seeing Damien Hoyland get a contract is a big boost. I’ve known Damien a while and a couple of years ago he was left out of the under-20s, but through his performances in the Premiership has worked his way back.
“That shows players are being monitored and I just want to go out and help Accies get some success and maybe convince the pro coaches I am worth an opportunity.”
The Accies journey has been a rollercoaster this season, with the British and Irish Cup a learning curve. “Despite the fact we took a few beatings it was a very worthwhile experience playing London Scottish, London Welsh and Pontypridd,” he said. “I’d never gone away with Accies, whom I joined from Trinity Academy School as part of their expanded youth set-up and the trips helped us get to know each other better.”
The Premiership has also seen Accies have ups and downs and, regardless of the result, Callum is hoping never to experience anything like the conditions which greeted him last time out. “Our previous match at Gala saw one player withdrawn from hypothermia and the rest us try to keep warm with short sprints to the touchline and back when play stopped,” he said. “As for our matches against tomorrow’s opponents we’ve beaten them home and away in the league but there is no danger of getting complacent.
“To play on Murrayfield has been an aim for some time and it is funny to think I have been around with the Scotland under-20s (including South Africa), but not up the road to Murrayfield.”
Meanwhile, Accies coach Jonny Else is able to give a debut to Tongan international hooker Aleki Lutui on release from Edinburgh, while Jack Marples, an Australian winger on a gap year, gets his chance on the wing.