Pitchside

Stranraer captain plays just hours after rescue mission at Glasgow helicopter disaster scene

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A rather nondescript Scottish Cup fourth-round tie took on much deeper significance on Saturday when Stranraer captain Frank McKeown took to the field to lead his side.

That is because only hours earlier, the defender, who is a firefighter in his day job, had been attending the awful scene at The Clutha pub in Glasgow after a police helicopter crashed into the structure’s roof.

At least eight people died in the tragic accident although a final death toll is yet to be confirmed with police still holding out some hope that survivors will be found in the wreckage of the pub, which was struck by a Eurocopter EC135 T2 on Friday night.

McKeown was one of more than 100 firefighters who raced down to the scene of the disaster and helped conduct a rescue effort.

Incredibly, after a “traumatic” night, and little more than an hour’s sleep, McKeown had no intention of surrendering his captaincy duties for the cup clash between Stranraer and Clyde.

"Obviously it was a bit of different build-up to a game," McKeown told the BBC.

"There was no danger that I was going to not play. I wanted, obviously, to help the boys out and get through to the last 16 of the cup.”

On a day when a minute’s silence was conducted before all Scottish Cup games, McKeown did admit his thoughts wandered to the victims of the tragedy that he helped minimise.

"I took a wee moment to reflect on last night to be honest," he said. "Obviously, thoughts go out to friends and relatives and stuff. I suppose it does put things into perspective - it's only a game of football, you know.

"I feel okay just now. Busy last night and an hour's sleep, which is not like me because I like my sleep. It took me a wee while to get into the game but I was glad I played. Basically just a bit of adrenaline and stuff got me through the game thankfully."

Stranraer drew the game 1-1 - but there's no doubt that McKeown proved himself to be a winner.

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