Spilled dinner; the goldfish ate it; the computer spontaneously combusted. We have all heard them. Yet the less than studious Kevin Watt may just about have got away with his lack of preparation for Clyde's William Hill Scottish Cup tie with Brora Rangers given what followed his introduction on Saturday.
The test which had been set to the SPFL League 2 side was a challenging one. Jim Duffy, the Broadwood club's manager, had tasked his players to take to the internet in order to brush up on the Highland League club, who had won all nine of their league games so far this season, as well as lifting the North of Scotland Cup along the way. Their task on Saturday was also made harder given the sprinkling of senior professionals woven through the Brora team, with former Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County defender Grant Munro joining his former team- mates Ross Tokely and Richie Hart at Dudgeon Park last month.
But with the game balanced at 1-1, Watt's impact from the bench after 73 minutes was immediate and pivotal. Kieran McDonald ghosted through the Highlanders' defence and hit the byeline before skidding a low cross back to the six-yard line, where the 24-year-old substitute skilfully guided his shot into the net. It appeared his preparation had paid off. As it turned out, it had not.
"The gaffer had bits of information about Brora," explained Watt. "He was telling us to go online and look at highlights of the Highland League so we could see what they're like. A few boys did, a few didn't, but we knew they had experienced players who have played at really high levels.
"I didn't, no. I don't have time just now as I've just had a wee girl, so I'm up and down all the time at the moment. She's my first and has just turned one, but she's murder. I'm working all day with the accident management business with my father-in-law, then I'm going to training and coming in at night. At least I'll get a great sleep tonight."
He would not have been the only one. The SPFL club were forced to work tirelessly throughout the game with the victory still not looking secure as the match ebbed into injury time in the second half and the ball sprang from end to end.
Eighty eight minutes earlier, Duffy's men were caught cold by their opponents as they flew out of the blocks. Zander Sutherland's rasping drive from 25 yards was allowed to travel at pace unblocked before it squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Jamie Barclay.
Duffy intimated on Friday that Brora would be going in to the match as favourites, given their formidable record so far this season. It's little surprise then that this victory was celebrated with much vigour by the Clyde manager's knackered lot, who can now look forward to a potential money-spinning tie as Scottish football's big clubs enter the competition. However, the prospect of a glamour tie is not one which cuts much mustard with Watt.
"The farthest I've ever reached is the fourth round, I think it was against Kilmarnock," explained the former Airdrie United forward. "We just can't wait to see who we get. We want to progress, it's not a matter of hoping for a big team. This was our hardest game of the season."
Saturday's 420-mile round bus trip, which began at 7am, failed to bring about a place in the fourth round of the cup for Brora, but it was not a journey without its worth for Munro. The 33-year-old made his second appearance for his new club since leaving Ross County last month, and the former pro showed on Saturday just why Davie Kirkwood, the club's manager, sought to bring him in. The defensive pairing with Tokely understandably already looks a settled partnership; Watt's intervention and a goal from Stefan McCluskey two rare occasions that the home side managed to get sight of goal.
"This is only my second game but I'm enjoying it," said Munro. "Ross and I have played a few games at the top and hopefully we can pass our experience on and you never know, some of these boys might get picked up. It's a shame we couldn't go one step further. I thought we'd done enough to earn a replay to be honest. But the boys should be proud of their effort and for how close they came."