Ross Gunnion remembers the night well.

It was the summer of 2016, the beginning of June and a Wednesday evening fixture against Oakley United.

The travelling party was a large one and they would watch Jeanfield Swifts clinch the East Premier title in the Junior ranks thanks to a convincing 4-1 victory.

As his players danced and celebrated with the trophy, proud manager Gunnion took a quiet moment and sensed this could be the beginning of something special. The start of the journey.

Five years on, a move to the East of Scotland League in 2018 included, the ambitious Perth club will tomorrow line-up in the second round of the Scottish Cup down at League Two Annan Athletic. It’s fairy-tale stuff for them.

“When I took over it was more by necessity than by design,” former centre-half Gunnion recalls. “I didn’t actually expect to be manager. I was injured at the time when I took over.

“The only reason I did it was because we literally didn’t have a player signed. I took over as a favour to the committee, who had been good to me in the four or five years to that point.

“From not having a player at the start of that season, to winning the East Premier, was a bit of a dream come true. We didn’t really have a plan at that point other than to put a good team on the park.

“The night we won promotion at Oakley sent us to the Super League for the first time, but we were well aware that Chris McLeish and Chris Dodd were being eyed by Elgin City. One or two others were coming to the end of their careers.

“We decided right there and then that we would target the best young players in the area. We didn’t want to recruit from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee or wherever else. We wanted the best players in Perth.

“The fact it has taken us this far proves it was the right thing to do. We are a true community club based in Perth, based in North Muirton.

“There are players here who have a history with Jeanfield back when we were in the bottom league of the Juniors. Now they have the chance to play in the second round of the Scottish Cup - and hopefully do more. These guys have earned the right to play on Saturday through loyalty, but mostly through talent.”

It seems every year, perhaps even every couple of months, another “biggest game in the club’s history?” question arises. Gunnion laughs.

“It’s another first for us,” he smiled. “Last year we probably couldn’t have had a harder tie in Kelty Hearts.

“We could have got luckier again this year too. But the fact of the matter is that we’re playing an established League Two team, which Jeanfield has never done before.

“We’ve achieved another little bit of history getting to this round. It now becomes the biggest game in the club’s history. But it’s our job to try and make sure it doesn’t become the biggest game in the club’s history for too long.

“Annan have maybe had a wee downturn in fortunes but, having looked at their games, there was never much in any of them. I don’t look too much at results though. It’s a cup game and they will be going into it with the same mentality as us.”

While Annan head into the tie at Galabank on the back of three defeats, Swifts’ form could not be more contrasting. Five wins on the spin. Gunnion expects to have a full squad to choose from with Jake Dolzanski and Keiran Stewart returning after missing out last week.

“The fact we have managed to pick up those wins is testament to how focused the players are,” Gunnion explained to the PA. "The confidence was definitely helped by the win in the last round of the Scottish Cup up at Inverurie.

“I was talking to the coaches after our win on Saturday just there. Every player in our squad has featured in the last five or six games. They have all got a taste of winning and have shown they are capable of coming in and doing a job.

“As a manager, you sit there with a real conundrum about who you are going to play. I can pick from 18 in-form players. That means I can pick a team to go and win the game. This is the hardest selection I’ve ever had with the club.

“We’ll have a good couple of training sessions this week and will work on a game-plan to focus on Annan Athletic. I always think these kind of weeks go quickly and, really, you only have two one-and-a-half hour training sessions to prepare the team.

“Trying to work on anything too detailed for Annan is going to be fruitless. Then you give players too much information.

“We'll work on the basics, our defensive and attacking shape. The training is high tempo and it goes by in a bit of a blur. I’m sure Saturday morning will be a bit of a drag.”

There will be nerves on Saturday morning too, no doubt about it. There will be great excitement. Excitement that will not just be emanating from the official team bus. Swifts are set to be backed by a bumper crowd for a fixture that has captured the imagination of the wider Perth public.

“We have a reasonably good core of a support,” Gunnion said. “The past couple of years the average attendance has been creeping up.

“But we know we’ll have in excess of 200 fans down at this game. We have our own buses and I know a bundle of cars going. It’s fantastic. We can’t ask for any more.

"We have a group of players who are being incredibly well supported. Fingers-crossed we can do something pretty special.”