IT all started sitting in front of a camera discussing the unpredictable nature of Scottish football, so perhaps it’s of little surprise to Si Ferry to now be leading a club into a Scottish Cup third round tie against Alloa Athletic.

Open Goal Broomhill FC take on the League One club in Friday night cup action this evening with a record crowd expected at Broadwood Stadium as momentum continues to build at the Lowland League club.

For Ferry – who first worked as a coach under Jim McInally at Peterhead – it’s just the latest landmark in an incredible journey from podcast host to manager at the same organisation.

But it’s no less than the 34-year-old expected when he signed on to lead the ambitious collaboration between Broomhill FC and Open Goal – even if they’ve had their fair share of doubters along the way.

“That’s the thing – people were very sceptical about it at the start,” said Ferry of the project. “A lot of eyebrows were being raised but when you see we’re getting 1600 people along, that can only be a good thing. I think it’s shone a light on Lowland League football – not just our own players, I think the whole league is getting exposure. The first highlights video that we put out from our game against Spartans got something like 64,000 views online, so it is not just our own players that are getting seen.

“Fundamentally we are a community club. The amount of ballboys and ballgirls that we’ve got now that were just fans at the start, now we’re getting bigger crowds and they know the boys…you can hear them shouting the boys’ names from the crowd! Which is great because I never really expected it. At first people would call it a vanity project and say it was all about us, but the biggest buzz I have got is that the crowd are now resonating with the players. That’s what I wanted when I started this so I think it has went really well in that sense.

“I think the documentary has shined a light on Lowland League football as well and really shown how serious we’re taking it – how much we want the club to improve and for standards to rise. On that side of things it has been a real success.”

Open Goal Broomhill have already overcome tough tests in the form of Brora Rangers and Buckie Thistle to reach the third round of the Scottish Cup but Ferry admits it’ll take another mammoth performance to progress to the fourth round and a possible glamour draw against Premiership opposition. Regardless of the outside expectations, Ferry is hopeful his side could cause an upset and sting the Wasps if they catch Brian Rice’s men on an off-day.

“I’ve got so much belief in my boys,” said Ferry ahead of the hotly-anticipated cup clash. “I know when we are at it that we are more than a match for anybody. But you can’t take away from the fact that Alloa are a really good team. We need them to have a wee bit of an off-day and we need to really be at it. If that happens I’m confident we can give them a right good game. 

“We’re really looking forward to it. It’s great for the boys. The way that ticket sales are going, it looks like we are going to get our biggest crowd of the season. The boys thoroughly deserve that.

“I couldn’t have asked for two tougher ties than we got in the first and the second round – with Brora Rangers at home and then Buckie Thistle up there – but every player to a man was outstanding over the course of the two games. They deserve a crack at a big tie.

“I have massive respect for Alloa’s manager; I’ve always liked how his teams play football. They have got good players and I know some of the boys so I’m really looking forward to seeing them test themselves against a right good team and a right good manager.”

Alloa head to Cumbernauld as heavy favourites but Ferry is adamant he boasts a squad packed with just as much ability as their opponents who play at a level two divisions higher. And the former Celtic and Dundee midfielder has put in the work off the pitch to ensure Open Goal Broomhill are as well prepared as possible for a huge night under the lights with anticipation growing.

He added: “We know how Alloa like to play but the thing about Brian Rice is that he can change it up between two systems – so we have prepared as best we can to face both of them.

“It’s just about giving the boys belief. I tell the boys all the time: ‘listen, I coached League One players last year. There is absolutely no difference in terms of ability’. I see us train two nights a week and on a Saturday and when we are at our best we’re just as good as these guys.

“The reason that we’re here is a different reason, it’s not down to our ability. It has been tough for the boys – they are under a lot of pressure, there is a lot of scrutiny that comes with playing for us. It is a new team we have put together and I couldn’t speak highly enough of them.”