Cumbernauld Colts FC hope to end a momentous year in style as their senior team take on Stirling Albion in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup tonight, with the prospect of a home tie against Inverness CT on the horizon for the victors.
The 24th of October marked an historic day for everyone associated with Cumbernauld Colts FC, with the club’s recently formed senior team participating in the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup for the first time. An impressive 2-0 home victory over seasoned Cup campaigners Auchinlek Talbot saw the team write yet another chapter in the club’s remarkable history, booking their place in the third round of the competition to set up an away tie against Scottish League Two side Stirling Albion.
This latest Cup victory was the icing on the cake for a triumphant Cumbernauld Colts, who have enjoyed a hugely successful 2015. This will go down in history as the year the club took its first step in to the world of senior professional football: being awarded full membership of the Scottish FA and having their senior team admitted to the SLFL (Lowland League) for the 2015/16 campaign.
It is a huge achievement, and is made all the more poignant if you consider the incredible journey the club has embarked on since its foundation in 1969, competing solely at youth level, through to present day with more than 500 players competing at all levels of the Scottish game.
Arthur Stackpool, 1998s Coach and Club Media Officer, is understandably immensely proud of reaching this milestone. “This was a remarkable achievement considering we hadn’t even thought about this step as recently as February this year" he said. "The current senior squad has only been playing together since July, so from the outset it has always been about establishing ourselves in the League. Everything else has been a bonus! We still have to “pinch” ourselves every time we see our name on Sky Sports or the BBC!”
Hardly surprising then, that the senior team have been the recipients of much media attention lately. However, plaudits must also go to the coaches and staff who constantly work to create a solid infrastructure at Cumbernauld to allow for player development. Great strides have been made across the board in 2015. In particular, both children’s training academies are going great guns, with new small sided game sections being created all the time. In fact, focus has already turned to the next intake of youngsters in Easter 2016.
The U20's development team, that was established to work in conjunction with the senior squad, have also enjoyed a particular measure of success in recent times. The boys have been competing well against other Lowland League development sides, and have progressed into the last 16 of the Scottish FA Youth Cup.
For the next few days however, the spot light will be firmly focussed on the Colts senior team once more. The eagerly anticipated Cup tie against Stirling was scheduled to be played at the Forthbank stadium on Saturday past; however, the abysmal Scottish weather had its say, with the game being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Weather permitting, the game has been rescheduled for this evening, with a 19.45 kick off. Stirling Albion have been Tweeting regular updates about the state of the Forthbank pitch since Saturday and their ground staff have pulled out all the stops to ensure the fixture goes ahead as planned.
The rain has done little to dampen players and fans enthusiasm for the big occasion. The romance of the Scottish Cup has prevailed. Arthur Stackpool for one is relishing the challenge, saying, “It will be a huge occasion and will do much to enhance the club’s profile. Auchinleck Talbot provided us with a different challenge to our first round tie against Glasgow University in that we were very much the underdogs. The big crowd provided us with a great atmosphere and coupled with another fine performance made for another memorable day in our history. Our away game to Stirling Albion sees us having to step up yet another level. Being realistic you have got to think it might be a step too far, all things considered.
"That said, it will be 11 vs 11 on the day and I’m sure that if we play to our potential, Stirling Albion will know they have a tough game ahead. We are also unbeaten away from home!”
He has a point; form would suggest that Colts should be going in to this tie with a great deal of confidence. They currently sit fifth out of 15 in the Lowland League and remain unbeaten in their last nine games in all competitions.
Whatever tonight’s outcome, no-one can deny that this has been a truly unforgettable year for Cumbernauld Colts, and I, for one, can’t wait to read the next chapter of their story.