One of the most clichéd stories in football is when a part-time club face one of the ‘big boys’ in a cup tie and the press delight in reminding everyone of the other jobs the players do.
There’s always a plumber, usually a postman.
It’s the romance of the game of course, and one such player who knows all about it is Stirling Albion goalkeeper, Mark Peat.
When not between the sticks for the Third Division club, Mark makes a living at the Greggs factory in Cambuslang, making him the other of the great cliché’s, the baker.
And the 30-year-old knows more than most about football romance. A few weeks ago he kept goal in front of more than 49,000 fans at Ibrox when Stirling Albion faced Rangers on league duty.
Despite being on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat, Mark admits it was a dream come true, especially as a he grew up a Rangers fanatic.
He said: “It was amazing, just incredible. With Rangers having their 140 year celebrations as well it meant there was a full house.
“Obviously we wanted to come back with the points but playing at Ibrox is a big thing. My family were there watching me. It was a perfect day, apart from the result of course.”
Mark has already tasted victory over the Ibrox giants, coming on as a half-time sub and making some crucial stops in Albion’s famous 1-0 win in October.
He admits: “That was really unexpected. I had lost my place in the team but the other goalie got injured just before half-time. I was able to come on and make a couple of saves. It was unbelievable to beat them as we were the first, and so far the only team to do it in this division.”
In many ways Mark is the typical lower league footballer. Since starting his career at Aberdeen he has found himself at places such as Arbroath, Albion Rovers, Montrose, East Stirling, Berwick and Stirling Albion. He has even spent time in the junior game with Beith.
As well as playing Rangers twice, he was in goal when Berwick lost a Scottish Cup tie against Celtic in 2011 and has played for Aberdeen in the SPL.
He admits he has led a nomadic existence and said: “A lot of the time it works out you only get a one-year contract or the club changes managers a lot and they don’t fancy you. Other times you just get a better offer. You might only be part-time but you still want to go as far as you can.
“The Rangers game at Ibrox is one of my highlights but the other was making my debut for Aberdeen against Hearts in 2002, although we lost 3-2 as they scored two late goals.
“I had been doing pretty well at Aberdeen. I had been on the bench and played a few games but then Ebbe Skovdahl left and Steve Patterson came in and I hurt my back within the first week.
“When I got back the manager told me I wasn’t getting a new contract. It was when Sky pulled out and a lot of clubs were cutting their cloths accordingly.”
Mark soon found another club in the shape of Arbroath, and it is perhaps there, over two spells, and at Aberdeen he found himself most at home.
He explained: “I loved it in Aberdeen. It was a great city and a great bunch of guys.
“Arbroath the second time we actually had a really good squad and everyone got on. I made some really good mates there. My assistant manager at Stirling, Mark McCulloch was there and I’m actually going to his wedding next week.
“We came close to promotion but played Berwick on the last day of the season and they beat us 1-0 to go up. Arbroath then won the league the season I left!”
It was while in the north east Mark got some first hand experience of one of Scottish football’s lesser known rivalries. He moved from Gayfield to Montrose in 2007and in a surreal moment years later, he was accosted by an Arbroath-supporting work experience teenager at Greggs for his act of treachery.
He laughs: “It was unbelievable up there, it was like Rangers and Celtic. I was getting threats on Bebo and was warned not to go back to Arbroath. I had guys calling me a traitor.
“It was a good move for me though because Montrose were spending a bit of money at the time.”
It has been a long road for Mark, who admits he wishes he had been able to make a living out of the game he loves.
He had offers to go full-time when he left Aberdeen, but for various reasons it just never happened for him.
Despite that, he is happy juggling his football career with Greggs. He said: “It’s a good place and fits in well with the football. My bosses can be very accommodating.”