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Case for SPFL place strengthened by Brora Rangers' shock victory over Hearts in Scottish Cup

By Alasdair Fraser

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Brora Rangers hope that Tuesday night’s earth-shattering victory over Hearts can propel the club to national league status.

An incredible show of spirit, grit and defiance enabled the Sutherland part-timers to pull off one of the greatest shocks in Scottish Cup history.

Hearts, 16 points clear at the Championship summit, should by rights have rolled into the village and made light work of it.

The Edinburgh giants were at full pelt in their season while Brora had managed just one competitive game in early January, five training sessions and a bounce match against Buckie Thistle.

The Cattachs, though, set about confounding expectations with depths of desire, energy, courage and organisation.

Brora manager Steven MacKay celebrates at the full time whistle. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Brora manager Steven MacKay celebrates at the full time whistle. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Wonderful finishes from Jordan MacRae and Martin Maclean, either side of a Christophe Berra reply, sparked wild scenes of celebration.

A socially-distanced gathering on the wee hill outside the ground watched in disbelief as undoubtedly the greatest result in the club’s 142-year history unfolded.

Amid joy at full-time, manager Steven Mackay and goalscorers Jordan MacRae and Martin Maclean showed a touch of class in dedicating the victory to Sheena Manson, the club’s tea lady and volunteer of half a century’s service, who passed away last month.

Underlying the emotion, though, was a spike of grievance. Brora were denied a play-off opportunity by the SPFL last March, despite promotion and relegation being awarded elsewhere. A 14-10-10-10 reconstruction vote also went against the Highland champions and Lowland Kelty Hearts.

Meetings next week will consider a plan to create a 12-10-10-16 format embracing Old Firm colts teams and four non-league additions.

Manager Steven Mackay – a Ross County youth graduate – said: “Over the last few years, we’ve produced very credible results nationally.

“We’ve beaten Stranraer, East Fife and gone to Morton and drawn. We lost 3–1 to Hibs in the League Cup at Easter Road, but gave a great account of ourselves. It is frustrating we still haven’t got the nod.

“A result of this magnitude will have people sitting up and taking notice, and perhaps showing us and our league a little more respect.”

Chairman William Powrie echoed those sentiments while scorer MacRae made it clear the appetite was shared by players, adding: “The cup win sends a wee message to the authorities – we’re ready for the step up.”

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