GREGOR BUCHANAN was in the heart of the Brockville Bounce as Falkirk annihilated Hearts in the Scottish Cup.
Seventeen years later, the Bairns die-hard is praying lightning does strike twice.
Buchanan is living the dream as captain of his boyhood heroes after joining the League One outfit from Morton last summer, spearheading their bid to return to the Championship.
However, he can still recall being a fresh-faced kid on the terraces with his mates roaring on the likes of Owen Coyle, John Hughes, and his current co-manager Lee Miller.
Of those fond memories, Falkirk’s stunning 4-0 cup win against the Jambos in 2003 stands out as the Collin Samuel-inspired hosts battered the capital club at an electric Brockville.
“I was there that day, I would have been 13,” he smiled. “I was in the Hope St end – right in the singing section – and it was a crazy day in terms of the scoreline.
“We were 4-0 up at half-time and it was some day for the club – a mad state of affairs!
“When the club eventually won the league, Brockville was bouncing on the final day – but up to that point, the Hearts game that was the best day I had ever experienced at Brockville.
“The great thing about it was no-one really saw it coming because it was a good Hearts team at the time. So to be four-up at the break was surreal . . . I’ll take it on Saturday, though!
“I just used to go to the games with pals. Because Brockville was in the centre of town it was easy to get to from everywhere. It was a walk along the road for myself and it was cheap as chips as well! Perfect.
“[Collin] Samuel took the plaudits that day with the hat-trick but I always looked up to the likes of Lee Miller. I know he’s the gaffer here now – so I would say that – but he was one of the young ones coming through at the time and that’s what you wanted to achieve.”
Brockville may be long gone but Buchanan hopes some of that magic rubs off on the Falkirk Stadium, insisting the Bairns – in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten run under Miller and David McCracken – have nothing to fear from the Premiership’s bottom club.
“When the draw is made it’s one of those where you need to fancy your chances,” he continued.
“Over the last couple of weeks they have made some really good signings and, of course, you start to think ‘yeah, we are going to be up against a very good side.’
“But it’s a game we’re looking forward to, we’re 13 games unbeaten and want to keep that momentum going.
“The gaffers are Falkirk men, they know the club, and they have been hammering it home to us how important getting back to winning ways is for everyone at the club and the fanbase we have.
“That winning mentality has been strong from the two of them – and the boys in the dressing room we have jumped on it.”
And with McCracken in the dugout, Buchanan has a prime example of just how far a Scottish Cup adventure can go.
He skippered the Bairns in the 2015 final against Inverness as they succumbed to a heart-rending 2-1 defeat against Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
“When both David and Lee came in, [club ambassador] Alex Totten came in and had a wee chat with us,” revealed Buchanan. “He stressed to us David [McCracken] had captained this club in a cup final and what that means to Falkirk.
“Everyone in the dressing room knows how good he was to have captained a team to the cup final.
“It was disappointing not to win it on the day, but you have got to have a lot of respect for him for getting there.
“Generally, Falkirk has done well over the past ten years – they have had good runs – and that’s something we’d like to do.”