Galashiels welcomes Murrayfield heroes
Published: 25 Apr 2012 09:300 comments
GALASHIELS welcomed back its heroes on Sunday - with the RBS Cup.
More than 1,000 fans lined the town centre streets to greet the rugby players who had defeated Ayr at Murrayfield the previous day.
But instead of a traditional open-top bus, the team were paraded on the back of pick-up trucks.
Gala spokesman Gordon Keddie told us: "We didn't want to publicise that we'd organised a parade in case we didn't win and ended up with egg on our faces.
"The only thing we couldn't get was an open-top bus at short notice, so we came up with the idea of pick-up trucks instead.
"Considering it was all done at the eleventh hour, it went really well. Our thanks go to the police and everyone else who helped bring things together."
Hundreds of youngsters wearing replica kit and maroon scarves gave Bank Street a carnival atmosphere during the parade.
Head coach George Graham told us: "I've been involved with rugby for over 30 years and I've never experienced anything like that. It was all very humbling.
"The whole squad was there, including many players who had left us earlier in the season. It was a great day and one I'll always remember."
The cup parade was cut slightly short by downpours - although the party continued in a few well-known public houses.
Sunday's celebrations were the finale to a remarkable two weeks for Gala when the town has thrown its weight behind its rugby club.
No officials numbers have been released for fans travelling to the national stadium, but forecasts suggest close to 1500.
And with the make-shift shop in the town centre doing a roaring trade in the build up to the final, the club has received a huge financial boost.
Mr Keddie added: "The shop was bouncing for the whole fortnight leading up to the final. There's a lot Gala scarves and flags in the town."