Auchinleck Talbot striker Bryan Boylan says he’s dreamed of scoring the winner and knocking Hearts out of the Scottish Cup – and he says the whole town is behind the team for their big day.
The Juniors side knocked out Hamilton Accies to reach the fourth round of this season’s Scottish Cup and their reward is a home tie against the team that’s currently third in the Scottish Premiership.
The ground is more used to West of Scotland League matches than hosting the stars of the Tynecastle club but the team are determined to rise to the occasion for Saturday’s game.
Striker Bryan Boylan has the tough task of unnerving Hearts back line and trying to put the ball past Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon and he admits that’s a moment he’s been dreaming about since the draw was made.
“Well, I think if you were to say no you would be lying,” Boylan told STV. “I’ve certainly put a lot of thought into it.
“Whether it would be the winning goal or even just to score a goal, the feeling to get that would be absolutely brilliant for me. We’ll see what happens.”
The forward knows his team are huge underdogs and realises the size of the occasion but he says the unexpected could happen and that the team will have the full backing of town when they take to the pitch.
“The nerves are starting to kick in,” he said. “It’s going to be one of the biggest games I’ve played in, in my footballing career. I’m really looking forward to it and it’ll be a great occasion.
“It’s going to be a hard ask for us, but stranger things have happened. We just need to go and give it our all and you never know what can happen on the day.
“Auchinleck and Hearts have obviously got a wee bit of history together and they’ve played up there a couple of times before.
“We know what to expect but for the community of Auchinleck it’s absolutely brilliant. They all pull together, it’s just like a big family, and everybody’s really looking forward to it.”
Junior level sides have only been permitted to enter the Scottish Cup since 2007 and Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan, who has been in charge since 2003, has now guided the team past the third round of the Scottish Cup on three occasions. Each time the team has been drawn to play Hearts but with this game at Beechwood Park, he admits it’s extra special.
He said: “There’s a bit of excitement, certainly. I know I’m excited about it. Having Hearts coming down to Beechwood, you would never have thought it, actually.
“So I’m really looking forward to it and I’m sure the players are as well.
“You can certainly feel [the buzz around the place]. In fact I think a lot of them think we gave Hearts too many tickets. They could have sold a lot more down at our bit. The excitement is certainly generating.
“We’re looking to put on a good performance. To try and stay in the game. We’ll be depending on team spirit and a bit of character, I would imagine.
“I think we’ll need that on the day. That’ll stand us in good stead, hopefully.”