Sean Campbell is dreaming of helping Wick Academy make Scottish Cup history by reaching the fourth round for the first time.
The Scorries defeated Benburb 2-0 at Harmsworth Park on Saturday to reach round three of the national tournament for the fourth time in their history.
Everyone connected with the Caithness club is eagerly awaiting the draw at 4pm on Monday.
Campbell, who netted the opener against Benburb, is hoping for a winnable tie to give Wick the opportunity to get into the fourth round alongside Scotland’s Premiership clubs.
The 25-year-old winger said: “The boys are delighted to be through, it’s a good achievement for us and we’d fancy our chances against any team at Harmsworth Park.
“It’s a long journey for some of them to come up and play us, we’ll see what the draw gives us.
“The dream at the end of the day is to reach the fourth round. There would be nothing better than playing one of the Premiership club.
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) October 22, 2022
“For the club financially, it would also be massive. It’s more than just the footballing side for the boys, there are lots of implications if we could get through.”
Reflecting on victory over Benburb, Campbell added: “We made hard work of it, we seemed to give the ball away far too easily, which isn’t like us.
“But we got there in the end and we’re in the hat for the third round which is the main thing.”
Wick refuse to wilt
That Saturday’s tie went ahead was testament to the drainage improvements Wick have carried out in recent years with the pitch at Harmsworth Park standing up to a deluge.
Early on Benburb, who play in the West of Scotland League First Division, threatened.
Aaron Black found the net with a header but was flagged offside and home goalkeeper Graeme Williamson saved when Declan McDonald was through one-on-one.
On 27 minutes, Wick took the lead with Ross Allan’s superb diagonal pass from the left finding Campbell on the right side of the box to blast home from 12 yards.
In response, McDonald dragged a shot wide from the right side of the area when Black was better placed in the middle.
On the stroke of half-time, Scorries winger Mark Macadie hit the right post from 18 yards following a magnificent 50-yard charge from Jack Halliday.
In the second period Wick had to absorb plenty of pressure, but grit and determination are two commodities they’re not short of and they came to the fore as the Breedon Highland League outfit shut out their opponents.
Black and Lewis Lovering had the best chances to equalise, but both were denied by good saves from Williamson.
In the 83rd minute, sub Gordon MacNab – on his return from a knee injury – slotted into the top right corner to seal victory after Halliday headed an attempted Benburb clearance into his path.
The visitors finished with 10 men when McDonald was sent off late on by referee Calum Haswell for an apparent off the ball kick at Sean Munro.
Result pleases boss
Wick player-manager Gary Manson said: “It’s a cup tie and I said to the boys to do whatever it takes to be in the next round and that’s exactly what they did.
“They threw their bodies in front of the ball, defended manfully and got their rewards.
“I can’t say I’m delighted with the performance, but there’s different ways to win games.
“It wasn’t a game for the purists, the weather was miserable and the game didn’t brighten my mood – apart from the result!
“I’m sure all the players and the whole of Caithness will be tuning in to watch the draw.
“You want to prolong these journeys and we’re one game away now from potentially facing a Premiership team.
“The supporters come out in numbers and this gives them something to look forward to.”
Benburb coach Martin Campbell added: “What cost us was not taking our chances.
“If we’re going to pass up the chances, we did we don’t deserve to go through.”