Since the Scottish Challenge Cup (known initially as the Irn-Bru Cup and now the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup due to sponsorship) was opened up to nations beyond Scotland, I’ve been enjoying the competition very much.
With a couple of invited representatives from Wales – and The New Saints FC being involved from the beginning – there have been plenty of memories created along the way.
Not just the games themselves but the travel, the overnight stays and representing the club at the draws in Scotland have all been great experiences that I have enjoyed very much indeed.
Of course, it’s all about the rubber hitting the road and the groundhopper in me always wants an away draw at a ground that I’ve never been to before. Both wishes were granted in 2019, when TNS FC drew Stenhousemuir FC , with the game taking place at Ochilview Park in September.
It wasn’t the result that the club wanted, exiting the competition at the first hurdle this time round, following a penalty shoot-out. When Ryan Brobbel equalised in the 86th minute, I thought we would then go on to win, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
Still, I loved the overall experience and it was another ground on my list that otherwise I may never visit. Hopefully there will be more in the future.
The day before the game was also interesting. We travelled by train to Scotland and changing at Edinburgh, I got on the wrong train (not entirely my own fault), and ended up home alone in Falkirk.
Thankfully though, we were all reunited, and continued our journey to the hotel where we stayed the night. All’s well that end’s well.
The video below is a behind-the-scenes one from Ochilview Park itself.