Fife Free Press Group head of sport Matthew Elder recalls the greatest day of his life.
There are more important things in life than football.
It’s a phrase I’m often hit with when I refer to the Coca-Cola Cup final of 1994 as the best day of my life.
It’s something that my better half particularly struggles to deal with, especially when I explain to her that there’s no guarantee our upcoming wedding will trump it, and that my heart still belongs to Jimmy Nicholl.
My memories of the cup final come from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy, to whom nothing was more important in life than the fortunes of Raith Rovers.
Saturdays on the terraces of Stark’s Park were what I lived and breathed for.
My father first started taking me to the occasional game in the late 80s, and by the early 90s we were regulars. Talk about good timing.
You’d need to travel a long way to find a greater adventure than the one we all went on supporting our home-town team during that era.
It was a journey of utter euphoria, and one that I feel very lucky to have been part of so early in life. Some fans have gone an entire lifetime without ever seeing the likes at Stark’s Park.
League championships, top flight football, cup glory, European nights, the half-time scoreboard in Munich - it was beyond the wildest dreams, even of a young fanatic.
The derby wins, and there were many, were great too. The phrase ‘wee team’ wasn’t even part of the west Fife vocabulary back then.
This remarkable chapter in Raith’s history was all built around that unforgettable win at Ibrox.
That team were, and still are, my heroes - and to think, Cameron, Crawford and Dair weren’t that much older than me.
During the game, I remember having to physically hold my legs still to stop my knees knocking together as I ran through possible scenarios in my mind, none of which even came close to predicting the drama that unfolded.
It was a perfect fairytale, from striking the first blow, to ending up in a seemingly lost cause, only to produce a heroic ending that brought so much joy, and tears of joy, to so many.
I didn’t really see it in context at the time. I knew that what I was witnessing was rare and special, but didn’t fully appreciate the hardship Raith had endured to get there. Covering the team’s fortunes for The Fife Free Press for the past decade has certainly given me some perspective!
Looking back, it was a culmination of 111 years of sweat and toil - the combined efforts of the men on the park that day, the 10,000 fans in the Govan Stand and everyone who’d played for and supported the club since 1883.
Without a doubt, the best day in the club’s history, and one I’m proud to call the best day of my life so far - and it will take some beating.
>> This article first appeared in our Raith Rovers’ Hall of Fame supplement.