Fraserburgh captain Ryan Christie insists he is ready for the biggest game of his career.
The Broch central defender, who can also play in midfield, has a title winner’s medal and cup winner’s medals to show from his time with the Highland League club but he believes all his big-game experience will pale into significance on Sunday when the men from Buchan welcome Rangers to Bellslea Park in the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Christie, nicknamed Boomer, knows the world will be watching.
He said: “I think it’s the biggest game in the club’s history. Rangers are one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“A lot of people across the world will be watching the game. Mikey Steven, our ex-player, sent a text to me saying it’s live in Australia, so he’ll be tuning in as well. It doesn’t help.
“You don’t realise how big this game is. If Rangers had appointed a full-time manager before the game then it would have been even bigger but Graeme Murty has got it until the end of the season. It’s things like that (a worldwide audience) that you don’t need to be told – it gives you a bit of nerves.” The 32-year-old has savoured some big Scottish Cup ties but he knows none come close to matching Sunday’s noon encounter.
He said: “Falkirk is probably the biggest cup game I’ve played in. We’ve been in a few cup finals and I was part of the team which won the league in 2002. We had a game here against Deveronvale and there were 2,500 people watching and then we went to Cove on a Wednesday night backed by an unbelievable amount of supporters buses to win the league.
“There are a few big games in there, but it’s probably the cup finals and the Falkirk game.
“Winning the league has been my biggest achievement here. We had a squad of about 14 or 15 who were involved every week of the season. That’s unheard of nowadays. We change the team every single week.
“Squad rotations are key to getting the best out of everybody in the team. Back then to have 14 guys fit for the whole season was quite unheard of. To win the league against all the odds was a great achievement.”
Preparing for the opposition has proved difficult due to the influx of new players at Ibrox in January.
While the Gers were at their training camp in Florida it has been business as usual at the Broch where, Christie jokes, the preparations for the big game have been slightly different.
He said: “I won’t tell you my preparations, everybody will just laugh. Kebab shops, chip shops and Chinese takeaways.
“It’s been the exact same as normal. This week I’m working as normal, we trained on Monday and Wednesday and we’ve got a meeting with the manager to go through a few things like tactics and formations.
“On Saturday we’re coming in for a light session to get everyone on their toes and hopefully calm the nerves that will probably be there.”
As for the David-and-Goliath meeting, Christie knows Broch are huge underdogs but he intends to enjoy the occasion to the full.
He added: “Rangers are going to be playing against guys who are sparkies and plumbers. Our preparations will be the same. We’ve enjoyed this week with the media attention but we’ll prepare properly and efficiently and enjoy the game on Sunday.
“We’re under no illusions.
“It’s a huge ask for us to get anything from the tie.
“The expectations are that we’re going to lose convincingly, so we’ve got to make sure we’ve prepared properly and that we give it everything we’ve got.”