Ayrshire is a happy hunting ground for Gavin Morrison.
A goal on his Caley Thistle debut, an unbeaten record against Kilmarnock. There are plenty of reasons for the Brora Rangers man to be optimistic of a colossal Scottish Cup upset on Saturday.
The Cattachs’ first foray into the fifth round has landed them a plumb tie against Killie and, in Morrison, the two-time Highland League champions have someone who knows what it takes to win at Rugby Park.
His last appearance at Kilmarnock came in a 6-3 Caley Thistle win in November 2011 and in five games against Steve Clarke’s side Morrison has never come out on the losing side.
But a memorable day back in 2010 started his impressive run against Ayrshire clubs as he netted on his debut in a 7-0 win against Ayr United, with Inverness – including his future boss – already crowned Championship title winners.
Morrison said: “It was a pretty special day. I wasn’t even supposed to be playing but Lee Cox had been up all night with a bug. Terry Butcher hauled me in and said I’d be starting and, with them winning the league on the Tuesday night, the boys were flying.
“I took a free kick near the end and Ross Tokely was behind me, shouting to tell me to put it round the wall. I managed to get it just under the wall and to this day, Ross still claims an assist.
“I’ve heard I’ve not lost in five against Killie, which I’ll be reminding the boys about on the bus down. To get to six would be pretty special. In one game I had to mark Alexei Eremenko for the last half-hour when he was at his best but, on the whole, I quite like Rugby Park.”
The odds are stacked against Brora making the quarter-final draw but they have dumped out higher opposition in the last two rounds. East Fife and Stranraer were found wanting against Tokely’s players and they will fancy their chances of adding a Premiership scalp to that list.
Tokely cuts a animated figure on the sidelines and Morrison has a special perspective on his manager, having played alongside him with Inverness and now working under him at Dudgeon Park. He said: “He’s kept a lot of his characteristics – he still shouts and moans a lot. But he loves the game. He joins in training and still tries to shoot from long range, even though he never scores.
“You can hear first-hand from him about being the underdog and upsetting teams, because he’s done it. It’s good advice because it drills that underdog mentality into us.”