Viaplay Cup: Denholm relishing Firhill showdown for shot at Last 16

Posted on Friday, July 28th, 2023

The Spartans enter the final weekend of the Viaplay Cup Group B stage in what’s been dubbed a ‘Winner Takes All’ encounter with Championship side Partick Thistle with the winners potentially in line for a place in the last 16.

Summer signing Danny Denholm, who made the move from Stirling Albion, is no stranger to playing in crucial clashes and the seasoned campaigner is delighted by the way his new club have got their competitive season off the ground.

Ahead of trip west on Saturday, the 32 year old winger said,  “The club’s got a winning mentality from last season and high expectations but you look at the group on paper and it’s a tough group.

“Dundee United and Partick will be two teams expected to be battling it out at the top of the Championship and you see other groups who would on the face of it seem a bit weaker.

“To go into the last day against Partick and to be still in with a chance of progressing from the group stages is a massive thing for the club. It’s a big ask, but we’d handled ourselves well so far in the games we’ve played.”

Douglas Samuel’s Spartans go into the crunch tie on merit and have gained plaudits from wide and far as the North Edinburgh side get ready for their inaugural season in SPFL 2.

Denholm, a former Broughton High School pupil added, “I think on merit is an understatement to be honest.  Against Falkirk, if we’d taken that point we’d have gone into Saturday’s game outright leaders and were just two minutes away from doing so and that’s without thinking about a bonus point. 

“Wednesday night was another great win for us.  Peterhead was a great test for us and was always going to be.  Some of the phases of play the lads put together were tremendous, the goals were worked hard for and being able to see it out was crucial too.

“It’s not all going to be lovely football this season.  I’ve been there long enough to know there’ll be a lot of games where you’ve just got to dig in and that’s how you become successful in league 2 however there were lots of positives to take from Peterhead – and the other two games against full time opposition too.”

The victory at Balmoor Stadium in midweek against fellow SPLF 2 opponents was, Denholm noted, a benchmark for the season ahead:

“Don’t get me wrong, there are teams in the league that will want to stroke the ball around and play different styles, but there’s also teams who take that more direct approach and you have to be able to deal with that.

“A lot of the time its about being pragmatic and we’ll need to do that at times, that’s absolutely fine.  I was at Stirling Albion last season and we probably didn’t play the most attractive football but we found a way to win.  Teams will do that in the league and we might have to revert to it at times even though it’s not ideal but we’ll just have to try to find a way to win and that’s what we did on Wednesday night as well which is important.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, would winning ugly suit the seasoned SPFL campaigner?

“Win any way you want, I’m happy.  We can win playing fast flowing football, I don’t mind.  But if we win, what a huge achievement it would be for this club.  Obviously we are massive underdogs but to go through from this group would be huge. 

“What a year it has been for Spartans.  I’ve only experienced the last three or four weeks, but for most of the boys in the changing room, what a time it’s been for them.  So let’s win whatever way we can on Saturday.”

Match Day Info: Supporters will be located in the Jackie Husband Stand, section 8 & 9.

Prices for tickets are as follows:

Away Supporters

Adult – £15, Concessions – £10, Under 16’s – £5

Tickets can be purchased online via the link here

Tickets will NOT be available to purchase at our ticket booth on match days.

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 27th April
Opponent: Peterhead
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

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