Flyers’ convoy arrives in Scottingham ...

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The convoy departed on Friday by train, plane and car as Fife Flyers headed for the city that has been renamed Scottingham for this weekend only.

Interest in the EIHL play-off finals weekend has generated the sort of travelling support which was the hallmark of the great Wembley finals weekends from the Heineken era when a convoy of buses left the rink for a weekend of hockey and fun in the capital.

Many supporters have changed their plans to make a last-minute 300-plus mile journey south to be part of what is shaping up to be a very special event.

It’s the first time a Scottish team has made the finals weekend in Nottingham - and now there are two, Fife Flyers and Braehead Clan and, if it all goes to plan they could go head to head in Sunday’s final. From no representatives to an all-Scottish final? Anything is possible ...

Belfast Giants and Sheffield Steelers conclude the line-up with two semi-finals on Saturday, plus a third-fourth place play-off and the showcase final on Sunday.

A large number of fans arrived from Fife on Friday night, but many more planned pre-dawn departures in order to be here for the first semi-final at 1.00 p.m. which sees Flyers go up against the runaway league champions, Belfast Giants.

The team is expected at the National Ice Arena around 11.00 a.m. - two hours before face-off - to begin their pre-game routines and prepare for the biggest 60 minutes of hockey of their landmark 75th anniversary season.

They will be roared on by a support which could number up to 1000 - no-one is actually sure of how many are heading south given the huge scramble to make arrangements after Flyers qualified last Sunday night.

They travel with a sense of excitement and belief after watching their team wipe out an 11-point gap to make the play-offs and then eliminate an excellent Dundee Stars on their home ice to reach the semi-finals.

Flyers are one of the few teams to beat Giants during their remarkable season; their win in Kirkcaldy halting an unbeaten run that spanned three calendar months.

They also took the champions to OT in Belfast - an indication that this game could go either way.

Flyers hit the ice as the hottest team with 13 wins in their last 16 outings, including dramatic victories in overtime and sudden death penalty shots.

They have a full squad available, and the players have all spoken about coming to win rather thsan just enjoying the weekend.

The game facess off at 1.00 p.m.

It cannot come soon enough for the fans now camped in Scottingham ...

>> The Fife Free Press will be providing updates online at www.fifetoday.co.uk across the weekend - match reports, analysis and interviews.

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