“My day as a Forres Mechanics FC mascot by Crawford Smith, aged 59 and a half.

Having just retired from working for Forestry and Land Scotland (previously Forestry Commission) on Friday, I travelled north to stay with friends in Inverness for a small retirement ‘do” and with every intention to travel ‘home’ the following day.

Saturday started with a taxi ride from Inverness to Forres (thanks Scotrail) so already the day had started unusually. Chris Innes, my former Boss and Robert McKendrick (Inverness Computer Centre) had already informed me that we were “doing corporate’ and …. NO TRAINERS (ironically, if I’d know what was to follow, they’d have come in right handy)

Now, I’ve been at Mosset Park many times, but never to corporate hospitality, so this was a whole new experience and one I was looking forward to immensely.

On arrival we were greeted by ‘Tosh’ who escorted us up the the lounge and introduced us to the bar staff who assured us they would attend to our every need (they didn’t disappoint!)

After a few drinks, we were served a great chicken dinner and then chocolate cake and Mieles ice cream, sumptuous, and it was about then that I was told I had ‘duties to perform’ but had no idea what that would be, and I thought, at best, I may be asked to award a Man of The Match or something.

Tosh appeared around 2pm and asked ‘Does he know yet, has he any idea?’
Chris ‘No, not yet…’

Tosh disappeared and returned with a coat hanger adorned with the famous Chocolate and Gold and handed it to me, still none the wiser I looked at him ‘what’s this for?’ I enquired, Tosh said ‘You’re todays mascot, you’re leading the team out, it’s a special day, it’s Knighty’s 500th game’.

I couldn’t believe it… in fact I thought I was going to be sick (absolutely no offence to the caterers!)

Tosh ‘You don’t have to wear it all, you can just put the top on’ quickly followed by him, and everyone else saying ‘C.mon… you’re only here once!’.

Ever since I was a wee boy, all I ever wanted to do was play for Forres, now while that ship may have sailed, here was a once in a lifetime chance to be ON THE PARK (legally) for the Can-Cans, even if just for a few minutes.

I decided, despite wishing I was 2 stones lighter, I’d do it (lockdown ain’t been kind!)

I was taken down and invited into the dressing room, I stood in the corner and listened intently to everything Stevie MacDonald said, despite being 6ft 4” I just stood in the corner like a wee boy, spellbound.

One the guard of honour was formed for Big Stuart, I walked out with the captain, Martin Groat.
My heart was beating so fast I thought it would burst, and then Big Stuart made his entrance rightfully took a bow.

I returned to the lounge changing into a much more becoming outfit and savoured a marvellous 3-0 win, and a clean sheet for the big fella,

Finally, after all these years, I made it on to the hallowed turf, kitted out too.

Now I’ve been away from Forres a long time and I follow Hearts, I’ve seen them beat Hibs 4-0 in a Scottish Cup semi and then of course 5-1 in the final itself, but this… THIS possibly eclipses even those games.

I’d like to thank everyone connected with Forres for making Saturday such a memorable day and my old school pals Ross and Iain MacLennan for being there too to help me enjoy my moment and my friends Chris, Robert and Stuart Milton, even if they did feed Tosh and Co a line about me being a H1b5 fan and enjoying cocktails, nothing could take the shine of Saturday…”

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