BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Dennis Wyness hopes to write one final Scottish football fairytale as the veteran striker attempts to roll back the years for Buckie Thistle this afternoon.
The 38-year-old is synonymous with one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history, playing the full match as Inverness Caledonian Thistle went Ballistic against Celtic in 2000.
He scored the winning goal when the Caley Jags repeated the feat three years later, dumping the Hoops with a 1-0 triumph at the Caledonian Stadium.
Wyness also racked up a couple of often-overlooked successes as an underdog with Hearts, netting in a 2-1 win against Basel in Switzerland and featuring in Bordeaux as the Jambos secured a 1-0 Uefa Cup win.
However, he could arguably achieve his most remarkable victory this afternoon when tiny Thistle, currently eighth in the Highland League, attempt to defeat League One side Stranraer.
Wyness told Capital City Press: “The wins over Celtic were a while ago now, but they are always great memories to look back on. Hopefully we can produce another shock against Stranraer.
“It’s nice to be linked with those results and it would be terrific to claim another scalp, particularly for the younger lads in the dressing room.
“Even now, I still look forward to these occasions. They are massive games and proof for us that, i a cup competition, anything can happen over 90 minutes.
“We know how tough the game will be, they are a couple of divisions above us and they will be the favourites, with a lot of experience, but if they have an off-day then it could be a special afternoon.”
This week represented exactly 11 years since Wyness played his part in Hearts’ triumph over Basel, with current Jambos head coach Robbie Neilson scoring an 89th-minute winner.
While a long way from continental competition, there are certain parallels the experienced forward can draw.
“Stranraer is almost as far away from Buckie as those European trips were,” he joked. “I didn’t realise it was 11 years since that win, it’s funny that cropped up ahead of this game.
“I had some great nights in Europe and that was a great win.
“Basel were not quite the team they are now, but it was still a tough venue and somewhere that not many British teams have won. Bordeaux was a great night as well.
“Sadly they weren’t enough to get out of the group, but they were cracking nights.”
Wyness has endured a stop-start campaign due to injury problems and selection issues, however it is understood he will start against Stranraer at Stair Park today.
The former Aberdeen and Elgin man was dubbed “the fittest player at the club” by boss Graeme Stewart and, as an experience head in a youthful dressing room, Wyness hopes to spearhead a stunning result.
He added: “I am looking forward to it and I just hope we do ourselves justice. We are hopeful we can’t spring an upset.
“We have young, hungry side and, although we have been a bit inconsistent, we will be right up for it. The boys were terrific in the last round against Edinburgh City and the motivation takes care of itself.”
Meanwhile, Stranraer have been dealt a blow after on-loan Falkirk defender Liam Dick was denied permission to feature against Buckie Thistle by his parent club, who are unwilling to allow the player to become cup-tied.
David McGurn, however, has been given the green light to start the clash.