Across The Borders
Vale of Leithen and Selkirk play on Saturday for the right to a Scottish Cup clash at Cowdenbeath. Three Scottish Cup replays on Saturday feature four non-league sides - Buckie, Nairn, Vale of Leithen and Selkirk. The final two teams in that list play for the right for a trip to Cowdenbeath in the next round as the Fifers once again welcome border opposition for an SFA Cup tie. It has been mixed fortunes for the Blue Brazil against non-league opposition based in the Borders in the post war era of the Scottish game. In 1960, a Cowdenbeath side who had lost to Hearts in the semi -final of the League Cup just a few months earlier went to Eyemouth to contest what, on paper, looked like a guaranteed away win. The fishing port side played on what was basically a public park pitch and locals used fish boxes as turnstiles to collect the gate money. This game turned out to be one of the most embarrassing in Cowden's history as they went down to a 3-0 defeat with the only consolation for them being that Eyemouth went onto reach the Quarter finals of the cup that season, a performance that would not be matched by a non-league team for eight years until Elgin City made the last eight in 1968 as a Highland League club. In 1975/6 season Selkirk visited central Park for a 2nd Round tie and only lost 2-0. One of their outstanding players that day was their giant centre-half Ken Rutherford who was signed by Cowdenbeath just a few days after the game, he went onto serve Cowden in their first team for two years. The First Round of the 1978 Scottish Cup saw Cowden visit Netherdale for a game against Gala Fairydean. A routine 3-1 victory for the visitors would be avenged four years later when Gala beat their Fife visitors 3-2 in the Second Round. The Scottish Cup of Season 1980/1 saw Hawick Royal Albert hold Cowden to a 2-2 draw in the borders before the Central Parkers won the replay in the Kingdom by three goals to nil. It was discovered after the game that 'Beath had fielded an ineligible player but the result stood and the then Second Division side were let off with a fine, surely the only time you could claim that when the SFA came down in favour of the big team on that particular occasion the 'big' team was Cowdenbeath! When the Amateurs of Selkirk were crushed 20-0 by Stirling Albion in a never-to-be-forgotten First Round tie in season 1984/5 it was actually Cowdenbeath who put the Binos out in the next round by two goals to one before they themselves were beaten by St Mirren at Central Park by four goals to nil. Cowdenbeath will be playing at Livingston in the First Division on Saturday as Vale of Leithen and Selkirk scrap for the right for a big day out against an SFL side and with a Ramsdens Cup semi final against Partick Thistle coming up after the trip to Livi the Fifers might feel this is their season to break new ground in national cup competitions. Cowden's Ramsdens tie on Sunday 14th October will be their first national cup semi final since they lost to Rangers in the 1970 League Cup semi final and some might say the Blue Brazil will never have a better chance to reach their first Scottish Cup Quarter Final since 1931 this term. However, as past results show Cowden should be wary of whichever particular Border raider ends up at Central Park in a few weeks time. Vale of Leithen v Selkirk kicks off at 2.30pm on Saturday.
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