TWO Tartan Army footsoldiers living in Bournemouth are on a footballing odyssey which is going to take them all the way to the Scottish Cup final at Hampden next May. Football daft pals Ian Wright and Willie Johnston (no relation to those of Arsenal and Rangers fame) will be at Station Park for Satruday’s replay with Clyde. Nairn players and fans caught up with them at Prestonpans when Nairn beat Preston Athletic and Ian and Willie were at Broadwood on Saturday to watch the six goal thriller with Clyde. The pair were inspired by the Scottish football sell-out Saturday campaign and decided to do their bit to support the game which faces uncertain times after Rangers’ fall from grace. Both men’s families are originally from Glasgow and they began their journey watching Preston beat Fort William at An Aird earlier this month. They undertook the 900-mile mile round trip to Prestonpans by car where they saw Nairn win comfortably 2-0 at Pennypit Park through goals from Robbie Duncanson and Conor Gethins. Then they went to Broadwood now they face a flight to Inverness for Saturday’s replay at Station Park.
“We love our football and love following Scotland,” said Ian, “and having heard of the plight the game is in after Rangers’ difficulties and their demotion to the Third Division we felt we just wanted to show our support for the game in Scotland. “We came up with this madcap idea that we would go on the road to Hampden and started off at Fort William where Preston won 3-1 on August 4. “That took us to Prestonpans on Saturday and wherever Nairn are playing in the next round we will be there to follow them.”
The pair got their photos taken with a number of the Nairn County stars on Saturday after the game including latest signing former St Mirren star Junior Mendez who was side-lined through injury. Willie said there were only two ties to choose from in the preliminary round. Fort William v Preston Athletic or Keith v St Cuthbert Wanderers.
“Fort William was the obvious choice for me because I have climbed Ben Nevis and that’s where I got married. We thoroughly enjoyed our day on Saturday and had a great time. But the drive was exhausting and if Nairn get a home draw in the next round we’ll fly up to Inverness. If we have to drive somewhere nearer the Borders would be nice! “I attended my 50th Scotland game in Florida when Scotland lost to the US but we need to support the game at all levels and this Scottish Cup journey is already taking us to grounds we have never even heard of. It’s the beauty of the cup and we will be looking to see who Nairn pull out of the hat on Monday.” Their verdict on Saturday’s match: “Nairn were deserved winners,” said Ian. “They were down to 10 men after just 25 minutes but always looked in control and never looked like losing.”