How Stenhousemuir stunned Aberdeen in one of the great Scottish Cup upsets

Terry Christie and Tommy Steele
Stenhousemuir manager Terry Christie celebrates their unlikely victory with two-goal hero Tommy Steele

"Roy Aitken popped his head around the door and said: 'Congratulations on being part of Aberdeen's worst result in the club's history'. There was nothing else to say."

Former striker Duncan Shearer vividly recalls the day third-tier Stenhousemuir downed Aberdeen 2-0 in 1995 to inflict one of the biggest upsets in Scottish Cup history.

The two clubs will contest a fourth-round replay on Tuesday, after drawing 1-1 at Pittodrie, and the League One side will aim to repeat their incredible feat of 23 years ago by winning at Ochilview.

BBC Sport Scotland spoke to players and managers from both sides to hear the inside story of a classic cup shock.

'Nobody dreamt Aberdeen could get beaten by Stenhousemuir'

Aitken, who had only taken over a fortnight earlier with the club in a relegation battle, could not have made a better start as Aberdeen manager with a victory over Rangers at Pittodrie. Terry Christie, juggling his job as a full-time head teacher with managing Stenhousemuir, was there to watch it. His towering striker Miller Mathieson, a lifelong Aberdeen fan, had other issues on his mind.

Christie: Aberdeen were brilliant against Rangers, so we came away from that thinking we had a real task on our hands. Nobody dreamt that Aberdeen could possibly get beaten by Stenhousemuir. I'd be lying if I said I was confident. The Friday prior to the game, Craig Brown, who was Scotland manager of the time, came on the BBC and said he thought Stenhousemuir were going to beat Aberdeen. If I could have got my hands on him I would have strangled him! Talk about pressure.

Mathieson: That particular game was of massive importance to me. I had to get 50 tickets for the game for all my family and friends. Everyone I got tickets for was under strict instructions to support Stenhousemuir, even though they were from Aberdeen. I had an uncle and a cousin who politely declined and went to Pittodrie to get their tickets because they wanted to support Aberdeen.

'The pitch was like a bog'

Aberdeen forwards Billy Dodds and Duncan Shearer were immediately struck by the condition of the Ochilview pitch, but still felt confident.

Dodds: We were on a high, but just turning up to the stadium I remember it was a really bad day. We turned up and the changing room was really small, the pitch was like a bog, a quagmire. So we had negative thoughts right away, which we shouldn't have. You've got to overcome that, because you're professional players.

Aberdeen vs Stenhousemuir match action
Aberdeen failed to get to grips with the conditions

Shearer: We thought the game was going to get called off, the pitch was just a mud heap. The typical saying is that when the conditions are bad it can be a leveller, and it was certainly that. We were the team that were trying to play football and they were the team that were playing the conditions. They played the conditions well and thoroughly deserved the win.

'We could have won by more'

Stenhousemuir were 200-1 outsiders to win the cup, with Aberdeen expected to sail through into the next round, but dairy farmer Tommy Steele put the hosts ahead. As Aberdeen pushed for an equaliser, Stenhousemuir and Steele doubled their tally from a corner, sealing the historic win.

Christie: Aberdeen had by far the better of the early parts of the game and missed a couple of decent chances. But as the game went on, we actually dominated the midfield. In my time in football I had a lot of victories over big teams, and in most of them you had a good share of the luck, but in that game we were the better team. As the game progressed, I started to think we could win it.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Terry Christie outlines his tactical approach to big games

Dodds: When they took the lead I thought we'd say, 'Right, we'll battle back now' but we just didn't show anything. They probably played to their maximum and we were as bad as we could get. It was so disappointing. Nothing happened on the day, absolutely nothing. We were never a threat to them. We deserved to go out, no excuses, we were well beaten on the day.

'Congratulations on being part of the worst result in the club's history'

Stenhousemuir were to go out in the next round to Hibernian, but they had already far exceeded expectations. For Aitken and Aberdeen, the damage was done. The result would go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of Scottish football.

Dodds: We were all numb and in shock. Horrendous. It sounds doom and gloom, but it was. That's why people mention it 20 odd years on. 'Remember Stenhousemuir beat you?'

Shearer: Roy didn't come into the dressing room for five or six minutes. He popped his head round the door and said: 'Congratulations on being part of Aberdeen's worst result in the club's history.' There was nothing else to say. He gave the boys a couple of days off after that to reflect on it. Too many of us let him down that day.

Mathieson: We did all the things we were asked to do and they worked. It's a game that everyone connected to the club will always remember. To be fair to my uncle and cousin, they were the last Aberdeen supporters behind the goal when we were doing our lap of honour.