University of Stirling Men’s First Football Team made history on Saturday [November 26] – becoming the first university side to reach the last 32 of the Scottish Cup in more than 50 years.
The University triumphed 1-0 over their Scottish League Two opponents in a hard-fought encounter at Cliftonhill Stadium thanks to a 111th-minute winner from midfielder Euan McGill.
Manager Chris Geddes’ side – who are flying high in second position in the Lowland League at present – could now face a Scottish Premiership team in Monday’s draw.
Head Coach, University of Stirling Men's First Team
All the players have put in outstanding performances all season and are being rewarded for their efforts. I hope they get a good day out in the next round.
Geddes said: “I am absolutely delighted with this afternoon’s result – the players put in a phenomenal performance, their best of the season so far, and deserve all the plaudits they will receive on the back of this win.
“All the players have put in outstanding performances all season and are being rewarded for their efforts. I hope they get a good day out in the next round.”
Midfielder James Berry, who captains the team, said: “We played 120 minutes last weekend in the South Challenge Cup, 90 minutes midweek and another 120 minutes today. I think that says everything about the morale, the attitude and the work rate of our group of players – we are so together both on and off the pitch.
“To make history in the Scottish Cup is incredible and far eclipses everything I’ve achieved in the game to date.
“We can’t wait for the next round – a Premiership tie would be amazing!”
Cathy Gallagher, Executive Director of Sport at the University of Stirling, said: “The team have put in superb performances this season – reflected in their positions in the Lowland League and British Universities and Colleges Sport Premier North Division – but this has to be their biggest achievement yet and I send them all my warmest congratulations.
“I am thrilled for the players, their incredible coaching team led by Chris, and the supporters who turned out in great numbers, and from all corners of the University.
“The players and coaching staff exude excellence in everything they are doing this season – living up to Stirling’s reputation as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence. These players are not just meeting the standards, but setting them. I wish them all the best with the rest of the season.”
Club Captain, University of Stirling Men's First Team
To make history in the Scottish Cup is incredible and far eclipses everything I’ve achieved in the game to date. We can’t wait for the next round – a Premiership tie would be amazing!
David Bond, Head of Performance of Sport: “Congratulations to Chris and the players on a well-deserved win in the Scottish Cup; the latest success in a strong season to date. We look forward to seeing what they can achieve in the next round and wish them the very best of luck.”
The University had by far the best chances in the match – with midfielder Jason Jarvis and strikers Ben Maciver-Redwood and Cameron McKinley all denied excellent opportunities to get on the scoresheet.
As both sides struggled to break the deadlock, against the run of play, Albion Rovers were awarded a penalty for an off-the-ball clash in second half injury time and the students faced elimination; but Albion’s Charlie Reilly missed from 12 yards. The miss gave the students a new lease of life going into the additional 30 minutes, and they continued to create chances down the wings.
And it was a break down the right side that led to the goal; with James Russell sprinting away from his man and finding fellow substitute McGill for a tap in from six yards.
The University started their Scottish Cup campaign in September, beating Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale 3-0 at Forthbank, before overcoming Dunbar United 3-1 in their Second Round match, played at Dunbar.
The draw for the Fourth Round will take place on the evening of Monday 28 November, following the final match of the round between Ayr United and Pollok.
Earlier this year, Geddes was named Scottish Student Sport Coach of the Year after leading the team to back-to-back titles in the British and Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier North Division. He was also shortlisted as Coach of the Year at the BUCS Awards.