Fraserburgh chairman hopes hard work pays off and sun shines on his battling players

He has been with the club for 37 years – but Fraserburgh chairman Finlay Noble admits he has never been involved in a game that has required so much preparation.

And now after all the build-up and planning, he hopes his beloved Broch can put up a good show against Rangers.

The Highland League side welcome the Glasgow giants to Bellslea on Sunday in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

Noble has been a Fraserburgh fan all his life and first started helping out at the club in 1981.

But the 48-year-old admits the preparation for facing the Gers has been like nothing he has ever experienced.

He said: “The work in preparation for this game has been almost full-time every night.

“The directors have all stepped up because of the enormity of the game and we’ve all taken on a role.

“Sky are coming, it’s Rangers we’re playing, it’s a competitive game in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

“So it’s important for both clubs and it’s by far the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in. The match tickets are one thing. We’ve printed match tickets before but these have got to be perforated and have a hallmark for security reasons.

“For testimonial games they haven’t been very complex tickets. That was one thing, we had to make sure the tickets were right.

“There are road closures, there’s fencing going up around the perimeter of the ground so that nobody can sneak in, there’s cordons and police as well.

“We’ve never experienced that before and we’ve had meetings with the police and Aberdeenshire Council.

“It’s a learning curve, I’m 48 and I’m still learning and it’s great to be involved in it.”

He added: “It’s our cup final. Rangers, Celtic, and Aberdeen get cup finals by playing at Hampden in May in the sun. If they win the game they get a trophy.

“But clubs like ours are never going to win a trophy, so you want to get as far as you can and hopefully get a decent game – and we’ve managed it.

“So hopefully it’s a good game.

“You watch the FA Cup on TV and there is always a shock now and again. But there are very rarely proper shocks in Scottish football.

“The likelihood is that there won’t be a shock in this game – but you just never know.

“We’ve all seen games where a team has 70 or 80% of possession but it doesn’t work for them.

“With our own crowd behind us at home it won’t suit Rangers, but their quality will probably show through.

“But you just never know.

“We played Falkirk two seasons ago (in the third round) and we equalised with 20 minutes to go and it was a meaningful goal (they were eventually beaten 4-1).

“If somebody was to score a meaningful goal, like taking the lead or equalising, a goal that gets the crowd jumping about – that will live in memories.

“Even if we lose, if you are 5-0 down and you score you get a ripple of applause, and it’s good. But if you score to go in front or equalise, it is a great moment in somebody’s life, so hopefully that happens.”

The game will be broadcast live on TV. Fraserburgh are the first Highland League side to be shown on Sky.

Noble said: “It’s crazy to think about it. I was watching TV one night and on the right- hand side of the screen was a promotion for Fraserburgh v Rangers – and it still doesn’t sink in.

“The exposure this game will bring for the club and the town is fantastic and may never be seen again in our lifetime.

“I’ve got mates abroad in Houston and Australia who can see Sky Sports and they’re delighted.

“They are going to get up early in the morning in Houston and switch on the TV and watch their hometown team playing Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

“It doesn’t get any better than that.”

One of the most important things for Noble in the lead-up to the game was making sure it was played at Bellslea.

It is estimated it will cost the club around £15,000 to have the game at home.

Noble said: “It would have been easy to move it somewhere else.

“But the police, Aberdeenshire Council, Rangers and the SFA have all been very supportive of our decision to keep it here.

“It’s going to cost a bit of money to keep it here but we’re prepared to do it and the Sky money will help with that.

“It’s to give the folk in the Broch the chance to see us play a team like Rangers at our own ground.

“But more importantly Mark Cowie and his players got us to this stage and for us to move it is wrong because they deserve to play that game here.

“We came out first and it would have been fine if Rangers had come out first and we could have just jumped on a bus and enjoyed ourselves.

“But we were the home team, so they deserve the right to play at Bellslea against Rangers.”