Management thoughts on the South Challenge Cup Final.

Posted on Friday, April 29th, 2011

Mike says –

“At Spartans we are all looking forward to going back to Tynecastle where we beat Gretna in last year’s Challenge Cup Final and this time round we defend the biggest domestic trophy we play for against our close rivals Edinburgh City. It’s a big park, a big trophy and a big day for both sets of players and management teams. It can’t come quickly enough.

Who will win on Sunday? Well we are favourites but Sam and I have been in the game long enough to know that means nothing. I’ve watched 3 cup finals on the box recently – Arsenal were favourites against Birmingham City, Celtic were favourites against Rangers and Barcelona were favourites against Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey. Well Arsene Wenger didn’t look too happy after the final at Wembley, there were blue ribbons on the Scottish League Cup and it wasn’t Lionel Messi who dropped the Copa Del Rey under the open deck bus. Favourites – bah! humbug !

We drew with City on the opening game of the season at the Academy and if there hadn’t been a tight off-side decision in our favour near the end City could have picked up all three points. The return fixture at Meadowbank looks a bit more one sided but had Robbie Ross rolled the ball into the empty net rather than past the post when the game was in the balance who knows what would have happened. I guess I’m saying we have the upmost respect for Edinburgh City and in a cup final anything can happen.

In my first season at Spartans we played City in the corresponding Qualifying Cup Final and it was Kevin Brown’s heroics in the penalty shoot-out that saw red and white ribbons on the cup. The majority of the predicted scores on the P&B EOS Forum had us winning by a few goals against Tynecastle in the East of Scotland Cup Final on 27th March yet it took a bizaire goalkeeping error to win us the game in extra-time. We are prepared for the long haul on Sunday. 

Since our Final at St Marks Park at the end of March City have played 4 games to our 8. Our 8 include 4 games against Whitehill, a Cup Semi Final and a Final at Berwick. City should therefore be a bit fresher than ourselves and will have had this game in their minds for a few weeks now. Sunday’s final has only been in our minds since Tuesday after the game at Fernieside and it was a very low key training session last night. Such is the experience and quality of our squad however Sam and I know the players will be ready and able when the whistle goes at 2.30 on Sunday.

David Etale with a fracture to the fibula joins Alex King in being out for the remainder of the season and with Jonathan Seeley a very occasional starter due to work commitments we are down to a first team squad of 15. That means Jordan Finnie from the Under 19’s will be stripped along with the big boys at Tynecastle.  Omar Kader was in London so along with Ross Archibald, Kevin Sivewright, Chris Townsley, Robbie Manson and Keith McLeod we didn’t have 6 of Sunday’s 11 in the starting team at Fernieside. That rest is sure to help those players after such a hectic spell of fixtures and as I say at the top, Sunday can’t come quickly enough.

May the best team win.”

Mike


Next Fixture

                     
Date: 23/07/24
Opponent: Forfar Athletic
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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