Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay dedicated his side’s stunning Scottish Cup triumph over Hearts to late Cattachs stalwart Sheena Manson.
The Highland League champions produced one of the greatest shocks in the history of the competition by defeating the Jambos, who have been the losing finalists in each of the last two seasons.
Brora had taken an early lead through Jordan MacRae before being pegged back by Christophe Berra’s equaliser midway through the second half, however Martin Maclean came up with the game’s decisive goal on 74 minutes.
Prior to the game the Cattachs held a minute’s silence for Manson, who died in February at the age of 89 after serving the club in numerous voluntary roles behind the scenes over a period spanning more than 50 years.
Mackay says the monumental victory over the Championship leaders was a fitting tribute.
He said: “It’s difficult to put it into words.
“I’m just incredibly proud of every single player, and everyone that’s connected with the club. It’s just a monumental night for everyone involved with Brora Rangers.
“I spoke about it before the game, and you just never know in football. If you go in with the right attitude and belief sometimes results can go your way. That’s what has happened tonight.
“It’s just an unbelievable achievement for the whole team and the whole club.
“There are guys like John Young, who has been a long suffering fan, kitman, chairman – everything under the sun.
“It’s guys like John and Sandy the groundsman that results like these should be dedicated to.
“We had Sheena Manson, a club servant who passed a few weeks ago and we did a minute’s silence for her before the game.
“I’d like to dedicate that result to Sheena because she was the heart and soul of the club for 40 or 50 years – and she is sorely missed.”
— Steven Mackay (@cuptie_mackay10) March 23, 2021
Mackay hailed the character of his side to dig out the victory after being pegged back, in Brora’s first game since January 11.
“One of the biggest characteristics in our locker is our resilience and our ability to dig deep when things are against us.
“In the team talk at the start I specifically said they never cease to amaze me. When the odds are against them they just produce performances and results.
“It’s just an incredible night.”
Hearts started brightly but Brora were rewarded for their stubborn resistance when they took a stunning lead with their first attack on 11 minutes.
Andy Macrae was the provider with a delightful slide rule pass which carved open the visitors’ defence, setting up namesake Jordan to thump high past Ross Stewart from 20 yards.
Hearts ramped up the pressure as the game wore on, with Berra’s header from a corner forcing one of a number of outstanding saves from goalkeeper Joe Malin.
The Jambos’ persistence finally paid off on 70 minutes, with Berra scrambling home a scrappy equaliser following a Gary Mackay-Steven corner.
Brora had the final say 16 minutes from time however, with Hearts goalkeeper Ross Stewart failing to cut out Bjorn Wagenaar’s free-kick from the right, which landed for Maclean to sweep high into the net with a rasping finish from a tight angle.
— Dale Gillespie (@13DaleyG7) March 23, 2021
After falling victim to one of the competition’s biggest upsets in history, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson said: “It’s not acceptable at this football club. We have a lot of work, fight and hunger to show to get over this. We need to do it.
“We need to win on Saturday and win the league. We will remind them about this regularly to make sure standards are better and this does not happen again.”