A year ago Dyce Women had not yet played their first match – now they are set to face SWPL side Dundee United in the third round of the Scottish Cup.
This time last year the newly-formed side were putting on the last of their trials to put together a team ahead of a first match in the restructured fifth-tier SWFL North.
It was a whirlwind start to life and the excitement has rarely stopped as Dyce are set to host top-flight outfit Dundee United at Ian Mair Park on Sunday.
Dyce are one of only two fifth-tier teams left in the competition. They progressed to the the third round after beating then-SWF Championship side Edinburgh City, who have since disbanded.
Head coach Scott Duncan described that match as “their biggest yet” and now admits the upcoming Dundee United clash has now taken on that title.
He said: “I said to the girls after the Edinburgh game that whoever we played in the cup next was now going to be our biggest game yet – you don’t want to be repeating yourself, but you want to keep looking ahead to what the next challenge will be.
“We’re very much excited for it. It has been all we’ve spoken about in the group chat.
“The girls have been asking: ‘can we work on this?’ and ‘can we do that?’ because they want to be as prepared as they can – as do I and my assistant. We’ve trained extra this week.
“This time last year I didn’t even have a team and had our last trials on the 7th which will be a year to the day when this game is played.
“It has been some 12 months for us. To go from not having a team to preparing for a game like this, it has been great.”
Dyce ready for Scottish Cup contest with SWPL outfit
Although four divisions separate the two sides, Dyce captain Emily Gallacher believes 12 months of hard work has given her side the belief they can take a scalp.
The midfielder, who previously played in the SWPL with Forfar Farmington, said: “This will be the biggest game that Dyce has ever had.
“It is going to be a challenge, but we’re more than up for it.
“We have had such a good run in the cup – including going down to Edinburgh and causing an upset – and in our league we have shown how much we have developed in such a short space of time.
“We do have the balance of having belief in what we can do, but we also know it’s the cup and anything can happen.”
It is a sentiment shared by the Dyce head coach, as Duncan added: “At this stage, it was always going to be a challenge whoever we got, but we have to think we can cause an upset.
“We have to take the game as far as we can and take the opportunities we create. We’ve been working on set-plays and counter-attacks – stuff we know we’re good at.
“We’re really proud to still be in the competition – it has given us a real boost.
“We want to show how strong women’s football is here in the north of Scotland. Hopefully, we can go out and do that justice on Sunday.”
The Dyce captain believes the cup clash is a good opportunity for her side to test themselves against opposition from the SWPL.
And the highest level is somewhere Gallacher believes Dyce could aim for one day.
Gallacher said: “It is a chance to see what we could potentially aspire to be like in the future, after we have got a couple more years of playing together under our belt.
“Whether we get the result or not, it will be such a good experience for us all.
“It’s good to have a home game. All our previous games have been away so, we will welcome them up here to Dyce and show them this side of things and what we are all about.”
Westdyke are also in Scottish Cup action as they host SWPL 2 side Stirling University in the third round at Lawsondale in Westhill.