Scottish Cup: JT DNA in Denholm genes but Danny determined to make it third time lucky with Spartans

Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

An Edinburgh Derby like no other comes to the North of the Capital this Saturday as Douglas Samuel’s Spartans welcome Heart of Midlothian to Ainslie Park in a Scottish Gas Scottish Cup 4th Round tie.

Danny Denholm, who joined Spartans in the summer from Stirling Albion, is hoping it’s third time lucky against the Jambos.

“I’ve played against Hearts a couple of times previously, both in the League Cup.  In 2015 with Forfar I had a magic 89 minutes against them before shooting over the bar then getting a soft second yellow, then in 2020 when I was at East Fife, we narrowly lost 2-3 at home.”

A change of cup tournaments on Saturday for Denholm, but will it be third time lucky for the 33 year old winger? 

“Hopefully it’ll be a better outcome this time round and it doesn’t get any bigger than an Edinburgh derby.  It’s brilliant, isn’t it?  It’s amazing for the club and many of us are local to here too so we know how much it means to have the game here at Ainslie Park.

“We all know how great a community club Spartans is anyway but to host the game at home and to have lots of locals, including the young Ultras making plenty noise – it will be a tremendous family atmosphere.”

Since the draw was made after the third round victory over Arbroath in late November, Denholm’s phone has been a bit busier too.  With a chuckle he notes, “No surprise that I’ve been getting pestered for tickets since the draw was made!  Usually no-one is bothered about asking me – I’m always the one who has their two tickets left on the sheet, but yeah, it’s been unsurprisingly different this time.”

Spartans have a good Scottish Cup pedigree claiming a number of lofty scalps since their debut in the tournament back in 1978-79 season.  It was most likely the 2003/04 journey that put Spartans and the dilapidated City Park ground on ‘the Scottish’ map.  It’s a memory, albeit distant, that remains with Denholm.

“I think I was still at Broughton High the time Spartans played Livingston at City Park.  People were trying to sneak in through fences and all sorts to watch the game – obviously not me of course!  Things are far more robust here these days and it’ll be good to see the place buzzing.

It’ll be the 74th Scottish Cup appearance for the Ainslie Park side and clearly the biggest one yet. Is Denholm daring to dream?

“We want to do well in the game and yes, it will be extremely tough and Hearts are obviously sitting third in the Premiership.  That said, we’ve beaten teams higher up the tables than us before, even as recent as this season when we defeated Dundee United at home.  Since we beat Arbroath we’ve won four out of our last five games and only lost two goals.

“We can dream, we can have that.  Obviously the atmosphere and all that comes with it will be fantastic and regardless of the result, people are going to enjoy themselves.  The players, the staff, the fans, indeed, everyone connected to the club.

The Scottish Gas Scottish Cup 4th Round.  The Spartans v Heart of Midlothian. Kick-off 12.15h.

Saturday’s tie is SOLD OUT. Please do not travel to Ainslie Park without a ticket.

BBC Scotland will be showing the game live. For fans outside the country, you can watch it live on The Spartans FC

Next Fixture

Date: Saturday 13th April
Opponent: Stranraer FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: SPFL 2
Kick off: 3.00pm

cinch J-Teq EMS Solutions Ltd Spentwell JB Contracts (Scotland) Ltd
Mintbox Removals Johnstone Carmichael Consider IT Shepherd Chartered Surveyors
Sonsie Face Westwoods Health Club Mr Eion Coffee Hart Lifts
Soho IT CHAS Jim Martin