Playing their part in cup history

Berwick vs Celtic, Shielfield Park, Berwick. Andy McLean of Berwick jumps above Georgios Samaras of Celtic.
Berwick vs Celtic, Shielfield Park, Berwick. Andy McLean of Berwick jumps above Georgios Samaras of Celtic.

One made the trip across the border from Innerleithen, the other journeyed from Hawick.

Their destination – Berwick. But Steven Notman and Andy McLean were not visiting the former garrison town to see its historical sites.

Berwick vs Celtic, Shielfield Park, Berwick. Steven Notman tussles with Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic.

Berwick vs Celtic, Shielfield Park, Berwick. Steven Notman tussles with Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic.

They were there to make their own piece of history by being two Border boys in the same side, playing against none other than Glasgow Celtic in the Scottish Cup. And that they did at Shielfield Park on Sunday as Steven and Andy both pulled on the black and gold shirt of Berwick Rangers to do battle with the green and white hoops of the Parkhead side in the fourth round of the competition.

What’s more the pair of Borderers both excelled, giving excellent accounts of themselves in what was the biggest game of their playing days by far.

The Wee Gers might not have pulled off a giant-killing act as they fell 2-0, but they sure gave Celtic a run for their money before a sell-out crowd.

Former Hibs signing Steven, son of former Gala Fairydean and Vale of Leithen star Alan Notman, a top-quality player in his days, impressed in all that he did. Talking of what was a day to remember, Steven told TheSouthern: “I was very nervous before the game started, especially in the dressing room waiting for the team to be read out.

“This was indeed an emotional time as some guys were left out of the side and this must have hurt. I was chuffed when I knew I was playing, and the game turned out to be a fantastic experience.

“I thought we played very well. We didn’t create much, but neither did Celtic, although they had more possession than us.

“I felt we could well have got a penalty early on in the game, but then Celtic might have been awarded a penalty later on, so I suppose that made things even.

“Andy McLean had a great game for us, but all the team played well.

“Seeing the ground full was just amazing. There was a great atmosphere and the Celtic supporters were brilliant and sung all through the match.

“This was my biggest-ever day in football and I will never forget it.”

Although looking at fault with Celtic’s opening goal, 21-year-old McLean of Hawick was nevertheless outstanding in the Berwick defence.

Andy, whose dad Dave played for Hawick Royal Albert for several seasons, said: “I have supported Celtic since I was a little boy, and I am a big fan, so it was real weird walking down the tunnel at Shielfield and running on to the pitch with players I had watched so many times on television.

“It was even weirder playing against them though.

“With the crowd and the Sky TV cameras there I was both excited and nervous before the match started. But once the referee’s whistle went I blanked everything out and concentrated on the game.

“I was gutted when I made a mistake that led to Celtic scoring. However, it had happened so I just had to lift my head and get on with it. Although we didn’t get a result, I thought we did really well to hold a team that is topping the premier league, and is full of internationalists and top players, the way we did. And it was a great experience playing against Celtic.”

Steven and Andy may have been on the losing side, but on Sunday afternoon the two Borderers emerged winners in their own right.