Management thoughts on our Semi Final meeting with The Vale tomorrow

Posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Mike says –

“Although there was still some water on the pitch when we were down training last night we are all very hopeful that with a dry morning and some work on the Academy Park today our South of Scotland Challenge Cup Semi Final against The Vale will go ahead as scheduled tomorrow.

This is our big cup, the big one. Now it isn’t bigger than the actual Scottish Cup but it’s the biggest cup any senior non league side out with the Highland League can realistically win and it has Spartans F C engraved on it from last season. The name changed a couple of seasons back from the “Qualifying” to the “Challenge” but that doesn’t diminish the importance it holds to South and East of Scotland sides. As I say, it’s the big one.   

We played The Vale in the semi final of the East of Scotland Image Printers Cup on the Academy pitch last season and they beat us 2-1. We started slowly, they got two ahead and despite a spirited last half hour we couldn’t peg them back. What does that tell us? Well for a start we can’t start slowly in the semi final of a cup against a good side. It also tells us that The Vale won’t be phased coming here to play us. It tells us a victory here in a cup semi is in their player’s memory banks and they will feed off that tomorrow.  

Early in the season when they were still finding their feet we played The Vale home and away and won both hard fought games 2-0. Robbie and his team had set out Premier League survival as their biggest goal and they are presently sitting in the top half of the Division which would suggest that goal will be easily achieved.  Although we haven’t played them since September I’ve seen them against Preston and Lothian in the last few weeks. They beat Preston at Preston and went down narrowly to Lothian at the Enclosure a week last Tuesday. There is a good balance to their side and Robbie Horn has them trying to play the ball on the ground from the back through midfield to mobile strikers. Tomorrow is a cup-tie and the purest intentions may go out the window a bit but like ourselves The Vale try to play football in the correct manner.

We have a clean bill of health and it’s going to be as hard picking the bench as it will be picking the team for Sam and I tomorrow. Scott Livingstone and Danny O’Donnell are free from injury and David Etale looked really sharp at training last night after his game for the Army during the week.  We have been going along quite nicely despite losing 8 games to the weather since the turn of the year and our players deserve praise for hitting the ground running each time their season has re-started.

Our slow start against The Vale in our last semi meeting and how we must avoid a repeat this time round will be ringing in our player’s ears as they take to the park tomorrow. Let’s hope they’ve listened.”


Next Fixture

Date: 16/07/24
Opponent: Cove Rangers
Venue:Balmoral Stadium
Competition: Premier Sports Cup
Kick off: 7.45pm

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