As the crow flies it’s almost exactly 240 miles from Brechin City’s Glebe Park to Wick Academy’s Harmsworth Park.
By bus, on a return trip for football, City won’t get much spare change out of 12 hours for a 480-mile journey if the nightmare of Highland League football becomes a reality.
Anything less than a win against a Kelty Hearts side that leads 2-1 ahead of Sunday’s pyramid play-off final second leg will see Brechin relegated and heading for Wick.
The road back to SPFL football – from Buckie to Brora and Fort William to Forres – will be long and very, very tiring.
In total, Brechin will clock up 3,594 miles.
Their ‘local rivals’ will become Inverurie Locos – a 106-mile round-trip – as the short 15-minute hop from Glebe Park to Montrose’s Links Park becomes a thing of the past.
It’s the very same nightmare scenario that Montrose faced in 2015.
Back then the Gable Endies played the first-ever pyramid play-off final against Brora Rangers and, like Brechin, they were a goal behind going into the crucial second leg.
The memories of that day are all too vivid for Montrose goalscoring hero Garry Wood.
An impressive 2,132 fans packed into Links Park on May 16th, 2015 – delaying kick-off by 20 minutes – but for 29 nervy second-half minutes Montrose were behind and facing relegation.
Up stepped man mountain Marvin Andrews to draw them level before Wood’s stunning 35-yard winner rescued Montrose.
“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched that goal,” said Wood. “It’s the best sclaff I’ve ever had in my career and probably one of the most important goals I’ll ever score.
“Every year it pops up on my Facebook and it brings back vivid memories for me of that day. I still get Montrose fans contacting me today about it.
— Montrose SC (@MFCSC) May 15, 2021
“Like Brechin, everyone had written us off. Brora had gone the whole season unbeaten in the Highland League and were big favourites.
“But they only won the first game 1-0 and we still had a chance, just as Brechin do.
“The one thing we have that Brechin won’t have is a big crowd. There will be fans at Glebe Park but we were very lucky that day.
“It felt like the whole town and large parts of Angus were behind us. When we heard the kick off was delayed, we felt inspired.
“With them behind us, we never lost faith and after Marvin scored it clicked into place.
“After my goal I felt we’d win it and when the fans invade the pitch the end it was an amazing feeling. You could see, in that moment, just how much it meant to the town and Montrose.”
There are two roads Brechin could go down after Sunday.
One will see them rekindle their local rivalry with Forfar, just a short 13-mile trip to Station Park, the other leads them onto the A90, A96 and A9 to Wick.
It’s a journey Wood has made several times since that win over Brora, which proved to be his last 90 minutes at Montrose before he moved to Highland League club Formartine United..
Wood has netted 83 goals in 178 appearances for Formartine and is on the hunt for a new club after leaving North Lodge Park.
And having experienced Highland League football while keeping in touch with Montrose, the former Ross County and Inverness star is well placed to assess both scenarios.
“It will be very hard for Brechin if they go down,” said Wood. “There will be a lot of changes.
“They will have to get used to very long bus journeys, they may even have to consider relocating their training.
“It will be quite an experience for them at places like Fort William where crowds are not at the level they are used to.
“They’ll quickly realise that there are a lot of ambitious clubs in that league.
“If they stay up then it could prove to be a turning point.
“Montrose has totally transformed since that day and is well established in League One. Montrose is a very well-run club behind the scenes and has strong links to the community.
“I don’t think they will be in any danger of going down soon but you look at what has happened to Brechin in the last few years.
“When I was at Montrose, Brechin were the best-performing team in Angus. They got into Championship and it all went wrong for them after that.
“You just hope for their sake that they do what we did at Montrose and turn it round.”