DEREK Adams may be getting his first taste of the Emirates FA Cup against Carlisle United on Saturday, but he knows exactly how special a cup run can be for a football club.
When Adams took over the reins at Argyle over the summer break, one of the stand-out features of his footballing cv was his success in cup competitions in Scotland. Four years after lifting the Scottish Challenge Cup with Ross County, Derek led the Staggies to the 2010 Scottish Cup final, beating the very best opposition along the way.
“We were a First Division club at the time,” said Adams, “and we were able to beat Hibernian, who were a Premier League club, over two games.
“Then we went to Hampden [Park] and we were able to beat Celtic 2-0. It was an unbelievable day. Robbie Keane was playing that day – they had a very good outfit. But we out-passed them, we out-played them on the day and we had more shots on target than them.
“As a First Division club, I didn’t have a player on my books on more than £650 per week, and Celtic had multi-millionaires in their side.”
That headline-making cup run remains a very clear and fond memory to the Pilgrims’ boss, and Adams knows exactly how it feels to energise not just a football club, but the area and community it is a part of, by success in cup competitions.
“It was a terrific occasion for us,” said Derek. “It was a magnificent number of months where the whole town and the Highlands got behind us, and we ended up taking 20,000 fans to Hampden, with a population of 6,000. We emptied the Highlands.
“I’ll always remember when we went out of Dingwall on the Friday night before the cup final, there was a placard stuck just outside Dingwall that said: ‘would the last person out, put the lights off please’. It was that kind of occasion; it’s something that will live with myself, and with many people, for years to come.
“We left on the Friday night, and we were asked to go to a school, as the bus was leaving, just to say bye to the kids at Dingwall High School, so we duly did that. We didn’t realise that there was going to be thousands of people in the streets as we turned the corner.
“Everybody lined the streets for us leaving to go to the Scottish Cup final. That’s what you get with a cup competition. The FA Cup is exactly the same, where people really want you to do well.”