Stirling's students came up against Elgin City in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
Judy Murray and Olympian Duncan Scott joined hundreds of fans in cheering on University of Stirling footballers as they took on Elgin City in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Four hundred spectators turned out for the crucial tie, as the student team competed in the third round of the national cup competition for the first time ever.
Judy – the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie, who were brought up in nearby Dunblane – attended the match with her father and former professional footballer, Roy Erskine.
Duncan Scott – who returned from this year’s Commonwealth Games with six medals – and fellow Gold Coast medallist Craig McLean were among several University swimmers watching on from the stands at a floodlit Forthbank Stadium.
Stirling had hoped to become the first ever university team to qualify for the fourth round. However, despite a fantastic reception from the well-voiced home support – and a brave performance from coach Chris Geddes’ side – Elgin won the match 4-0.
Judy Murray watched the Scottish Cup match with her father Roy Erskine.
Speaking after the game, Geddes praised the support from staff, students and the wider Stirling community.
He said: “For me personally, I have been involved with the University for eight seasons now – playing and now coaching – and I have never seen anything like this at a home game before.
“I would have loved to have been playing today – the crowd was much bigger than I expected and to see that many people was excellent. Judy Murray is obviously big news in this area - so it was great for her to come along and support us.
“The fans were outstanding and we could hear them - it was really good for the boys."
Olympian Duncan Scott (top left) and fellow swimmer Craig McLean (top right) were among those at the match.
Stirling – who compete in the Scottish Lowland Football League – were dealt an early blow after their striker Aidan Ferris had a shot blocked. The resulting counter attack resulted in Elgin’s Rabin Omar slotting home after going one-on-one with Stirling goalkeeper John Allan on nine minutes. Elgin added a second through Brian Cameron five minutes later.
Despite a bright start to the second half, which saw the students create a number of good chances, Stirling were unable to keep Elgin out – and they added two more goals, from Kerr Hay on 58 minutes and Owen Loveland on 80.
Reflecting on the match, Geddes said: “Sadly we didn’t get the result for the fans that we were looking for – but I’m pretty sure they went away quite pleased at the way the boys played.
“If you take out the four goals conceded – and look at the time between those goals – we actually played pretty well. We created quite a few opportunities but struggled to test their keeper. Elgin were clinical today – and took their chances – but I think we competed really well – and did the fans proud.
“From our point of view, it was a great chance for our players to test themselves against professionals. Elgin were very professional – and well done to them."
The match was the University's first ever third round Scottish Cup game.
Stirling overcame two Highland League sides – Keith and then Deveronvale – in the first two rounds of the competition.
The University of Stirling has six football teams – both senior and amateur sides – and the students benefit from world-class on-campus facilities, including seven grass and two artificial pitches, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre.
The dedicated coaches are supported by strength and conditioning experts, physiotherapists, and sports scientists, while several players have the opportunity to combine their studies with high performance football through a scholarship programme.