Fourteen of the Highland League’s 16 sides get their 2020-21 Scottish Cup campaigns under way this weekend in the second preliminary round.
Ahead of those ties, we’ve looked back at five Scottish Cup upsets caused by Highland League sides in the last 10 years.
Nairn County 3-2 Clyde – second round – 6/10/2012
After an action-packed 3-3 draw at Broadwood, then-Third Division side Clyde travelled north to face Nairn at Station Park.
It was to be a memorable day for the Wee County as they twice came from behind to triumph in an action-packed encounter.
It was the visitors who made the perfect start after only six minutes when Stefan McCluskey headed home a John Sweeney corner.
But Nairn levelled midway through the first period with Robbie Duncanson surging forward before setting up Conor Gethins, who calmly finished from 12 yards.
Four minutes before half-time, Sweeney put the Bully Wee back in front from the penalty spot after Martin Macdonald was penalised for barging Stuart McColm just inside the area. Sweeney sent goalkeeper Callum Donaldson the wrong way from 12 yards.
After the break, Donaldson made a terrific double save to deny Pat Scullion and McCluskey and almost immediately Nairn equalised, with John Cameron bursting into the box before firing home.
With nine minutes remaining, referee Gavin Ross awarded Clyde a second penalty when Sean Fitzharris hit the turf after a Sean Webb challenge, but on this occasion Donaldson dived to his left to parry away Sweeney’s effort.
As extra-time loomed, Nairn found a winner with Duncanson beating two players before crossing for the unmarked Andrew Neill to tap home.
Highlights of the Scottish Cup game between Highland League Nairn and then-Third Division Clyde can be seen here.
Afterward, Keeper Donaldson said: “The lads have done brilliantly scoring three good goals and we really could have scored more, but I was pleased that I was able to do my bit to help the cause.”
Fraserburgh 2-1 Montrose – third round – 2/11/2013
In difficult conditions at Bellslea, Fraserburgh prevailed against then-League Two outfit Montrose.
Playing into a stiff wind in the first half, Kris Hunter’s Broch side had to soak up plenty of Gable Endies pressure – goalkeeper Paul Leask made a good stop to deny Garry Wood, while Paul Watson’s drive flashed narrowly wide.
However, Fraserburgh did also threaten with Scott Barbour’s lay-off teeing up Graham Johnston on the edge of the box, and only a flying save from Stuart McKenzie stopping the striker’s effort finding the net.
But it was the SPFL side who took the lead on 37 minutes when Ross McCord drove a low shot beyond Leask from 18 yards.
Fraserburgh rallied after the interval and equalised with 17 minutes left courtesy of a moment of magic from Johnston. He gathered a Peter Bruce pass on the edge of the area and rifled a left-footed shot into the top right corner, giving McKenzie no chance.
In the final minute, Bruce was the provider again, his time slipping in sub Grant Noble and he sent a shot beyond McKenzie to win the tie.
Boss Hunter said: “We did well playing against the elements in the first half, but I always felt that at 1-0 down we had chance, with the wind at our backs, playing down the slope as we like to in the second half.”
Formartine United 4-0 Annan Athletic – third round – 3/12/2016
Kris Hunter was again involved in this Scottish Cup upset, this time as manager of Formartine United, who blew away League Two Annan Athletic with their second half showing at North Lodge Park.
After a tight first period, the Pitmedden side made the breakthrough on 56 minutes when Jamie Masson crossed from the left wing and Conor Gethins forced home a header at the back post, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Blair Currie to claw the ball away.
Soon after it was 2-0 with Gethins’ free-kick from 25 yards taking a deflection off the wall and finding the net.
With 20 minutes remaining, Scott Barbour put the tie beyond doubt when he scored after Currie had parried Masson’s shot.
Then Gethins completed his hat-trick with a composed finish from 10 yards after good set-up work from Graeme Rodger.
Hunter said: “It’s a great result for the club and one that we more than deserved.
“It’s great for the Highland League to still have a team in the competition and this is the first time Formartine have been in the fourth round. It’s an honour for me to have got them there.”
Airdrieonians 2-3 Cove Rangers – third round – 18/11/2017
These two sides are now both in League One, but three seasons ago Cove were still a Highland League team, while Airdrie were in the third tier.
But when they met at the Excelsior Stadium, it was the Aberdeen side who prevailed.
John Sheran’s men fell behind shortly after the half hour mark when Jordan MacGregor arrowed a shot beyond Stuart McKenzie from 25 yards.
However, the Cove response was almost immediate with Scott Ross’ pass finding Harry Milne in the box and he fired into the roof of the net.
Airdrie regained the initiative in the second half when Jake Hastie scored with a low, angled drive, while – at the other end – Jamie Masson went close to an equaliser, but his curling shot hit the crossbar.
But Cove did hit the Diamonds with a double salvo late on. With four minutes remaining Ross headed home Ryan Strachan’s free-kick and, with a minute left, Masson’s inswinging corner was powerfully headed into the net by Milne.
Milne said: “I’m happy to get the goals, the win is good for the boys.
“It’s a cracking win against a team a few divisions above us. We deserved it.”
East Fife 0-1 Brora Rangers – fourth round – 20/1/2018
Having defeated League One Stranraer away from home to set-up a tie with East Fife Brora Rangers took another third tier scalp in the Scottish Cup.
Ross Tokely’s Cattachs had already had a Scott Graham effort cleared off the line before they scored on 12 minutes.
Gavin Morrison’s corner from the left found Colin Williamson and his header from six yards found the net.
Graham flashed a header wide as Brora looked for a second, while, at the other end, Williamson blocked from Chris Duggan and Pat Slattery fired over.
In the second period, Duggan should have scored after latching onto Steven Mackay’s short back-pass and rounding goalkeeper Joe Malin, but he could only find the side-netting.
Kevin Smith hit the woodwork with a free-kick, but Brora held on to progress to round five.
Tokely said: “We have made history and that is terrific.
“It means a lot to everyone at the club and to the chairman as we could make a bit of money.”