Brora Rangers’ Dale Gillespie and Fraserburgh’s Bryan Hay are determined to grasp their chance to lift the GPH Builders Merchants Highland League Cup.
The Cattachs and the Broch face off in tomorrow’s final at Harlaw Park, Inverurie.
Frost covers have been down for a number of days to protect the pitch and it’s hoped the clash will go ahead despite the recent cold snap.
Stalwarts Gillespie and Hay have contrasting records in the Highland League Cup.
The Brora captain has won it three times – in 2011 with Nairn County and with his current club in 2016 and 2022.
Meanwhile, the Fraserburgh defender has been on the losing side in finals in 2009, 2011 and 2018.
Both men are 34 and something else they have in common is a desire to make the most of this opportunity. Having reached the latter stages of their career neither player knows how many more finals they will feature in.
‘Finals don’t come around all the time’
Hay said: “It’s something I’ve been wanting to win for a while, when you’re in finals before you always think you’ll get another chance.
“But finals don’t come around all the time and sometimes I’ve wondered if this competition might elude me.
“There’s a determination to try to do it and it would mean a lot to us if we could win this cup.
“But we’ve found it difficult in the past and we know it will be an extremely tough test against Brora.
“You don’t know how many more opportunities you might get to win something.
“We won the league a couple of seasons ago and we’ve been successful in the Aberdeenshire competitions and you think it will happen every season.
“But it doesn’t happen like that. I’m getting towards the twilight of my career and I don’t know how many finals I’ve got left so you really want to grasp these opportunities.”
Gillespie said: “I’ve been very lucky to have won this competition three times and hopefully I can do it again.
“It’s hard to believe the first time when I was at Nairn was 12-and-a-half years ago.
“They didn’t really turn up on the day and we won 4-0, unfortunately though I don’t think it will be like that on Sunday.
“It’s a very difficult competition to win and I’ve been very fortunate to have done it three times and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to try to do it again.
“You don’t how many opportunities you might have to win things and I’m desperate to win it.
“You should treat every final as if it’s your last one, but as I’ve got older that has definitely been the case.”
Brora have won silverware in nine of the last 10 seasons and Gillespie is keen to continue delivering trophies.
The Cattachs midfielder said: “With the squad we’ve got at Brora and throughout my time I think the target has been to win at least one trophy a season whether it’s a cup or the league.
“Most seasons we’ve done that and it’s vital that we win trophies.
“With the squad we’ve got it would be an underachievement if we didn’t win something.”
— Highland League Weekly (@HighlandLW) November 29, 2023
Fraserburgh are trying to win the Highland League Cup for the third time after triumphs in 1959 and 2006.
Hay added: “It would go down in Broch history if we could win it this time.
“Not just for the players, but for all the folk behind the scenes who run the club and put so much work in.
“It would be massive for them to see us lift a trophy and that’s another incentive for us.
“We don’t really need added motivation, but there are a few people this would mean a lot to, who unfortunately can’t be at the game.
“Seeing us winning would give them a lift so hopefully we can do it for them.”