‘Do you want the serious, smouldering look?” asks Stephen Swift, before he is told to turn his shoulders for a profile shot. “Not too side on, you’ll see my big nose,” he jokes.

Swift is having his picture taken by the BSC Glasgow club photographer. Lining up for snaps, press, television and radio has been part of the territory for Swift since the 39-year-old manager of the Lowland League club guided them into the Scottish Cup fifth round.

The players’ lounge at New Tinto Park is rather busier than usual. The last time we were here a handful of parents and club officials were dotted around the tables. Today, three days before BSC are due to face Hibernian for a place in the quarter-finals, there is a green screen erected and jerseys are being pulled from kitbags and measured against chests. A steady stream of players enter the lounge, present themselves before the snapper and strike a pose.

Swift, pictured below, leaves then returns to the players’ lounge clutching a piece of paper. His assistant Fraser Wright, the former Kilmarnock and St Johnstone defender who won the cup with the latter in 2014, jokes “What’s that say on it? How to beat Hibernian?”


There is a different feel to last time, when Swift sat with his backroom team poring over training and set-piece drills. It is somewhat surreal.

Actor and comedian Sanjeev Kohli and his sister-in-law Linda are here. Sanjeev’s son Vinny plays for the 2008s at BSC. Kohli is the regular host at annual end-of-season dinners and will be in the crowd at Recreation Park in Alloa.

“I’ve heard a lot of teams are looking at BSC as a model for how to do things,” he says. “They’re doing it the right way. It’s about the football.”

Kenny Moyes, football agent, club advisor and brother of West Ham manager Davie, is also present. He has received a text from a friend who has placed a double on BSC and West Ham to win this weekend. West Ham play Man-chester City.

“He said ‘I’ll fly up in my private jet to meet you’ if it comes in,” laughs Moyes.

Reaching this stage of the cup might not quite be a lottery win for BSC but it is not far off. General manager George Fraser had previously said a big draw would be life-changing for the club. That was predicated on them pulling out a big Premier-ship team away. Neverthe-less, in spite of a home draw and notwith-standing the 3100 capacity at Recreation Park, the club stand to make in the region of £100,000.

“That could give us new floodlights if we can acquire some land,” says Fraser. “We won’t fritter it away whatever happens.”

Elsewhere, a debate is going on. There are two kits spread out across several tables and Moyes, Fraser, Swift, Wright, captain Ross McMillan and first-team coach Alex Miller are discussing the merits of each.

One kit is solid yellow: shirt, shorts and socks; the other is more in keeping with the club’s traditional colours with a blue trim and matching shorts. Moyes suggests the all-yellow kit will make the players look taller. Wright jokes that half the team could wear one kit and half could wear the other. You sense that these are the kind of distractions Swift could do without ahead of his biggest game as a manager.

Eventually, striker Thomas Orr is delegated to try both on. The word back from the dressing room is that the all-yellow kit is “an absolute shocker”.

Fraser says it is the players’ choice. “I’m not sending them out in something they’re not comfortable in” and so the traditional one is picked.

Finally, Swift turns his attention to that night’s session and beyond.

“We can talk about ‘what ifs’ but it’s all going to be about the shape,” he says to his backroom staff.


Inside the dressing room, Swift is repeating his rundown of the opposition as he did prior to the previous round’s encounter against East Kilbride, except now he is reading out the names of players with international experience, a striker with 15 goals for Hibs this season, a midfielder who has played in the Europa League. Without giving too much away, distance and shape are recurring themes.

Swift is happier now. He is out on the training pitch honing the formation and cajoling his players into the positions, some unfamiliar, that they will have to take up against Hibs. At one interval, Adam Strachan raises a laugh when he asks “What’s it like over there with the first team?” Strachan and a few others already know they will play no part this afternoon.

Back inside, Michael Park, the club’s media officer, is explaining the logistical nightmare he has been living since the draw was made.

“We thought we could do this without a ticketing service,” he says. “Big mistake. George and I must have sent out 300 envelopes, I’ve sent out media packs. I’ve got to deal with the media on Sunday, I’m doing the Tannoy, social media, then I’m sorting post-match interviews. I’m so excited I can’t sleep, I’m looking forward to sleeping again.”

He has worked in tandem with Fraser, who has had to become adept at giving interviews in jig time and had a crash course in big-time event management.

“Today we have been working on final allocation of complimentary tickets, making final arrangements for transport of fans, making sure everyone is going to be in the right place at the right time. I’ve got 200 flags sitting here ready to go,” he tells me 24 hours before kick-off.

“It’s not until you actually start putting tickets into envelopes, writing the envelopes, sticking a stamp on it, that you realise this is actually bigger than you thought. It’s incredibly time consuming when there is such a small team working on it.”

Fraser says it is the club’s “Andy Warhol moment” but also agrees that it might just be the opening couple of minutes of the allocated 15 for some at the club or even the club itself.

“There could be a hangover on Monday. But the gaffer will concentrate on the league and we still have a chance of winning it, starting with Stirling University next weekend. I would like to think that with the publicity and exposure we’ve had that people will get a benefit from it, whether that be the manager, whether that be players, whether that be people associated with the club, whether that be that the club itself gets more members. It could be the start of something big for us.”

Certainly it is unlikely that whatever happens today we will not have heard the last of the “two Tams”, Orr and Collins. The pair have scored 31 goals between them this season and are surely capable of playing at a higher level, indeed, Orr already has.

Midfielder Michael Anderson is 19 and capable of further development, while Declan Hughes, Robbie McNab and Jamie Hamilton are still young enough to make a career in senior football if that is what they want but, as Fraser observes, Swift has built such a good camaraderie at BSC that it is tempting to mull over what might happen if this team remain together.

Tempting, too, to speculate on how high Swift can fly himself if it doesn’t.