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Andy Macrae looking to keep golf plans shelved by helping Brora Rangers progress in Scottish Cup

Andy Macrae.
Andy Macrae.

Andy Macrae hopes he can leave his golf clubs in cold storage for a little longer as he looks to prolong Brora Rangers’ Scottish Cup run by defeating Stranraer today.

The Cattachs set up today’s third round tie courtesy of their memorable 2-1 victory over Hearts last Tuesday, in their first competitive match since they knocked out Camelon on January 11.

Steven Mackay’s men were massive underdogs for the tie against the Championship leaders, who had reached the final of the competition in the last two seasons.

That prompted Macrae to make primitive plans to play golf with friends today, which have been shelved courtesy of the unlikely triumph.

Steven Mackay.

With Brora also preparing for the pyramid play-offs after being declared Highland League champions after only three games earlier this week, Macrae hopes the games keep coming thick and fast.

Macrae said: “I didn’t think I would be playing football this Saturday – I had actually planned a round of golf with my mates, which I obviously had to cancel.

“If we win we will have two weeks until the next game, which will give us something to look forward to.

“If we get beat, there is no football until the play-offs, which will be three or four weeks’ time.

“It is vital we win, because it keeps our match fitness up, and going into the play-offs we will hopefully be in a better shape than Kelty Hearts.”

Despite the victory over the Jambos, Macrae feels the visit of today’s League Two opponents to Dudgeon Park will be equally as challenging.

The 22-year-old sees the game as an opportunity to further emphasise Brora’s case to play in the SPFL next season.

He added: “I think this game will be harder in a way. In the Hearts game, we just had to let them come at us, but in this game we are going to have to be up and down the pitch a lot more. It will be a competitive game.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we are favourites going into this. It’s probably not often when we get to the third or fourth round of the Scottish Cup you go into it as favourites as a Highland League side.

“It will be a tough game, they are sitting fifth in League Two.

“If we win it puts our name out there for people to say ‘look at Brora.’

“If we can beat Hearts, and beat a League Two team, they will think we should be in the football league. That’s what we want at the end of the day.

“We can cope with these teams. I think it’s small margins at times.

“I know it sounds stupid as there are three leagues’ difference between us and Hearts, but the only difference is they are full-time.

“I honestly think if you made any top Highland League side full-time for three years, they would be sitting at Championship level.”

Brora celebrate Jordan MacRae’s opener against Hearts.

Former Caley Thistle and Forres Mechanics player Macrae is determined to instil a fear factor for teams making the trip to Sutherland, and he added: “Nobody wants to take the trip up to Brora.

“We are obviously used to it, but people just don’t like coming up to Brora.

“I often find we are one step ahead of them before the game has kicked off.

“When I was at Forres and coming up to Brora, it was exactly the same. We were going up there to play against a good team and we knew what was coming.

“Everyone has experienced it before. It’s a tough place to go as an away team. As the home team, it’s great.

“We know how to see games out – we have got quite a lot of experience.

“The spine of our team are all experienced Highland League players, while the odd one has played at Scottish league level such as Dale Gillespie, Mark Nicolson and Joe Malin.”

Brora will have Orkney-based full-back John Pickles back in contention after he missed the victory over Hearts, however, winger Ali Sutherland is ineligible following his move from Rothes.