IT’S OFFICIAL – on Saturday, Steven Doris and Arbroath FC did what Barcelona and Lionel Messi tried to do and failed.
Not only did the Lichties manage to put one past Celtic at Parkhead, they also secured a famous draw which will bring Neil Lennon’s men to Gayfield on Wednesday (December 12) for a Scottish Cup fourth round replay.
And for the second time in just the space of a year, the Sky Sports cameras will descend on the Lichties’ home ground to broadcast the game live to potentially millions of football fans around the world.
As the full-time whistle neared at Parkhead on Saturday, Arbroath were trailing by a goal after an own goal by Alex Keddie.
But on 87 minutes, Steven Doris scored from a free kick which sent the 1,000-plus travelling fans and Lichties everywhere crazy.
And now, with the Scottish giants and conquerors of Barcelona being held to a replay, the Arbroath FC board have just another five days to prepare for their visit.
And even though chairman John Christison admitted the board has practically been working non-stop since full-time on Saturday. They are facing problems he says they would love to have every week.
He told the Arbroath Herald: “We have all been working hard since Sunday, and it has been non-stop.
“It is fantastic news about Sky wanting to cover the game – and you can’t beat the worldwide exposure that will give us when the match is broadcast live on TV.
“That is why we have to put all the effort in now to make sure we are ready for that.
“They have already been to survey the ground, so now we just have to keep our fingers crossed for the weather.”
The capacity of Gayfield for the game is being capped at 5,940, which is the same as when Rangers came to town in last season’s Scottish Cup fourth round.
Tickets go on sale today (Friday) with season ticket holders and shareholders given priority to purchase their entry to the game first.
They will then be made available on general sale tomorrow (Saturday) at the Lichties’ home league fixture against Stenhousemuir.
Mr Christison added: “It would be nice to sell out all of the tickets as soon as we possibly can.
“The capacity will stay at 5,940 although the tickets on sale will be slightly under that as Sky take up some room for setting up camera platforms.
“And they may even build a small studio at Gayfield for the game.”
Meanwhile Arbroath councillor Ewan Smith was delighted with the club’s achievements and says the replay will really put the town on the map.
He said: “A lot of people since Saturday have said how proud the result made them and there really is a great buzz about the place.
“With TV coverage we will really get an opportunity to show off the town and promote it to people watching.
“Everybody at the club and those behind the scenes deserve a lot of credit for getting it on a strong financial footing and they are so hard working.
“Wednesday’s replay could really put Arbroath on the map.”
n See pages 46 and 47 for a full match report of Saturday’s game at Parkhead, and turn to page 48 for Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin’s thoughts on Wednesday’s massive replay.