Keenan reckons Cove tie is Formartine’s biggest match in their history to date

Formartine United club historian and committee member, Colin Keenan

Formartine United club historian and committee member Colin Keenan believes Friday night’s eagerly-awaited Scottish Cup fourth-round home tie against rivals Cove Rangers is the biggest game in the Pitmedden club’s history.

The 70-year-old senior lecturer, who was also head of post-graduate social work at Aberdeen University for many years, said: “I’ve been involved in football all my life.

“It’s been a passion of mine and I’ve been with Formartine for 12 years, since their days in the junior ranks when Dave Cormie was the manager. This weekend’s game against Cove is by far the club’s biggest.

“We did reach the fourth round last season when we went down 4-0 at Partick Thistle, but this time the tie is against another Highland League club, so the guaranteed outcome is that at least one team from the Highland League will be in the draw for the fifth round, the round of the last 16, which would be an amazing achievement for either Cove Rangers or, hopefully, ourselves.

“Cove had a bit of an ‘Indian sign’ on us over the years but over the last year or so we’ve got nearer and nearer to them, culminating in our Aberdeenshire Cup triumph in November when we beat them 1-0 in the final at Peterhead. For me, that was a turning point.

“Prior to that game, Cove had been very good at stopping us from playing, stealing a goal then shutting up shop.

“At Balmoor Stadium it was us who stole a goal just before half-time and managed to shut up shop in the second half

“We had never had the confidence or the capacity to play like that before and that has to be down to our new management team.”

Keenan, who moved from Oldmeldrum to Pitmedden last year, went on to add: “Our hope would be that Cove Rangers have peaked, although it is probably the strongest side I can remember.

“The first game we played at home in the Highland League was against Cove and they beat us 2-0 that day.

“I would imagine that their main priority this season would be the league but I can’t see any player at this level not fancying a Scottish Cup fifth-round tie, and maybe going on to match Elgin City’s amazing achievement of reaching the quarter-finals in 1968 when they only lost 2-1 at Morton.

“The fact that the game is going to be played on Friday will hopefully help us attract a really big crowd. It’s certainly a very attractive cup tie for all football fans and whatever the outcome there will be a bit of history attached to it.

“It could go to a replay.”