ON Saturday, Melrose take the road to Murrayfield to go for glory in the Scottish Cup for the sixth time in the club’s history.
And, having played in five, plus another one with Gala in 1999, player/coach John Dalziel knows more than most what winning the national competition means to the players.
This year is different, however. For the legendary back row man will hang up his playing boots after the game and concentrate on his new head coaching role at the club, and one more victory would cap off his outstanding career beautifully.
He told The Southern: “This is our fifth final over the last six years which is a proud achievement, but cup finals are always about the winners.”
Indeed, supporters would have to go back to 2008 to relive memories of the last time Melrose managed to win the competition and 1997 before that. Having played Ayr in their last two finals, however, Dalziel and his men are looking to make it third time lucky on Saturday.
“As this will be our third cup final against Ayr, we will be doing everything possible to make it a successful one,” he added.
“Although it is nice to be involved in finals, we know that winning is everything and we want to be the ones going up the steps at the end to collect the trophy, not standing watching others.”
Teams are not being named until later today but Dalziel will almost certainly be in the mix.
He said: “We are fortunate not to be carrying any injuries and are able to select a settled squad. There is genuine competition for a few places still to be decided and we have a lot of players who have been here before, so we want to draw on that experience to get the right performance.
“It’s a big day for the club and the players are desperate to end the season on a high.”
Melrose president John Reed added: “Ayr have been almost unstoppable in this season’s campaign and our recent Cup Final history against them does not make good reading.
“However, another day and another battle, any result is possible. With a big Melrose support in the stands and a monumental effort on the field, the black and yellow colours might prevail.”
The final kicks off at 4pm, while supporters’ transport to Murrayfield will leave the Greenyards at 1pm.