SCOTT Chaplain knows all about the magic and romance of the Scottish Cup. He also knows how it feels when reality brings you crashing back to earth, sometimes in the most brutal fashion.

Now leading a dual existence within the SFA as both a West Region football development officer and the new head coach of Scotland’s national futsal team, Chaplain was out at John Paul Academy in Glasgow yesterday – one of the schools where the association uses Cashback money from the proceeds of crime to help get children into playing football – using the oldest trophy in world football to inspire another generation of kids. The trophy tour now rolls on to Glasgow’s St Enoch centre, where it will spend all day today. But as quarter final weekend of the 2017-18 version comes into view it seemed only right to quiz him about the day his plucky little Albion Rovers side came within a late disputed Bilel Mohsni header of creating one of the biggest shocks in the history of this competition.

Ally McCoist’s side weren’t the greatest Rangers team to grace the last eight of Scotland’s glamour cup competition, but they still went through League One without losing a single match that season and their tie against James Ward’s League Two Albion outfit still appeared the ultimate home banker. But Rovers had already overcome their Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell that year and the script went out of the again window when Albion’s Ciaran Donnelly opened the scoring, a lead that held until the 78th minute, when the Ibrox side’s unpredictable big Frenchman forced the ball home from close range after what appeared to be a collision with visiting goalkeeper Neil Parry. Chaplain had been part of Gordon Dalziel’s Ayr United squad which reached the League Cup final and Scottish Cup semi-final back in 2002 but his hopes of further cup glory had been and gone, Rangers winning 2-0 in the replay.

“The Scottish Cup has a tradition which goes back years and I think that appeal is still prevalent,” said Chaplain. “I’ve had good experiences in it - we beat Motherwell in a Lanarkshire derby which was a great result for us at the time and then it was Rangers, 1-0 up with ten minutes to go, away from home, which was a bizarre experience.

“To win would have been off the charts,” he added. “Normally when you get an early goal like that you kind of rile a team like Rangers – but we managed to be quite comfortable within the game. During the game you don’t think about the magnitude of it all. But afterwards you are just sitting in the dressing room, absolutely gutted you have only managed to draw in a Scottish Cup quarter final at Ibrox!

“Because it was the goalkeeper that was involved, that is the only reason why everyone was so mystified about the decision. You could have the debate, if it were two defenders going up for a header or whatever it might have been different, but because of the goalkeeper and the nature of it, normally those decisions are given. The referee could justify the decision because there wasn’t a huge amount of contact. It wasn’t a stonewaller but because there was contact we felt it should have been given in our favour.”

Chaplain, who had a day job as a Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games co-ordinator for badminton back then, is a man with many strings to his bow. Having played futsal for the Scotland team for a year or so later on in his career he was delighted to accept the chance to take charge of the team when the post became vacant. He senses that the indoor, shorter form of the sport with a continuous clock and a smaller, heavier ball could see huge growth as a refuge from the inclement Scottish winters.

“It was only later on in my career that I really played futsal but I wish I had played more of it earlier on,” he said. “It is becoming more popular and I think people are starting to realise there are benefits to it. It is a format of the game that young players should be exposed to.”

Meanwhile, the SFA have appointed recruitment consultancy Livingston James to aid in their search for a new chief executive, which has been vacant since Stewart Regan’s departure earlier this month.