Irn Bru Cup
|23.03.19 | 4:30pm|
|Caledonian Stadium, Inverness|
This Saturday sees Connah's Quay Nomads aim to make history by becoming the first ever non-Scottish team to win the Scottish Challenge Cup.
A journey which started back in early September with a victory over Falkirk culminates on Saturday afternoon as The Nomads take on Ross County at Inverness' Caledonian Stadium.
The Nomads' journey to the final
As mentioned, The Nomads' journey to the final started back in early September with a 1-0 victory over Falkirk thanks to a Michael Wilde header early in the second half. This secured a home tie against Irish side, Coleraine which brought a great night at a rainy Deeside Stadium - with a vocal travelling support Coleraine were a big, physical side, but goals from George Horan and Andy Owens gave The Nomads the 2-0 victory on the night.
As a result, The Nomads were drawn in the biggest stadium the club has ever competed in, Hampden Park where we faced Queen's Park and despite dominating the game for the majority, including hitting the woodwork twice and having two goal-line saves from the Queen's Park goalkeeper. The Nomads' weren't to be denied in the Scottish national stadium however as late goals from George Horan and Michael Wilde turned the scoreline on it's head and saw The Nomads progress 2-1 at full time.
As a result, The Nomads met high-flying Edinburgh City in the semi final at Deeside Stadium in a game which brought out a record attendance for the club and again The Nomads had to come from behind to progress. Josh Walker fired the visitors ahead in just the second minute of play, but Michael Wilde soon equalised before the game was forced to a dramatic penalty shootout. John Danby was the hero of the hour saving two penalties on the night and booking The Nomads' place in the final.
Ross County's route to Inverness
Ross County started out their path to the final with a second round thumping of Raith Rovers - Brian Graham got four of the Staggies' five on the night with all five goals coming before half time. Montrose were next in line for County and they were easily disposed of thanks to a 3-1 victory which saw County have 20 shots, 10 of which were on target to Montrose's two and one respectively.
The quarter final threw up Motherwell's reserve team for Ross and it was a hectic six minutes that decided proceedings in this one - Ross Stewart netted in the 51st and 56th minute to sandwich an Adam Livingstone goal and a Christian Mbulu red card for Motherwell. The victory secured a semi final match with East Fife and County booked booked their place in the final with a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Daniel Armstrong and Declan McManus.
Ahead of the game, Nomads boss Andy Morrison said; "It's been a fantastic journey to get to Inverness and play in the Irn Bru Cup Final.
In beating Falkirk, Coleraine, Queen's Park and Edinburgh City, the players have shown that they can hold their own and find a way to win no matter who the opposition are.
I think it's fair to say that we've ruffled a few feathers on the way and personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. Wherever you go you must leave an impression - ideally the right impression, but you must be able to make sure people know you've been in town and if that means upsetting a few then so be it.
We always show respect to the opposition and conduct ourselves in the right manner, but we don't go into a game to make friends! We are there to win a game of football and if in winning, we make friends, then that is a bonus."
Morrison concluded by saying "In my experience people say nice things about you when they have beaten you, hence why we rarely get any plaudits."
The game kicks off at Caledonian Stadium at 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon and for those of you who can't make the game, it will be live on BT Sport, S4C and BBC Alba as well as having our usual fantastic live coverage on our social media channels accompanied by photos and videos throughout the day.