Premier Sports Cup – A look at our opponents

Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

Cove Rangers:  The sides last met in the SPFL 2 Play-Off semi-final in 2018 when the respective Lowland and Highland League winners locked horns for a chance to take on Cowdenbeath.  A trip to Inverurie in the first leg saw the hosts prevail 4-0 whilst in the return, Spartans were to be victorious courtesy of goals from Blair Atkinson and Jamie Dishington.  The Blue Brazil however edging the Final 3-2 after a 0-0 first leg draw in the Highlands.

The following season, Cove became the first Highland League side to gain promotion to the SPFL.  Defeating East Kilbride over two legs in the semis, it was an emphatic 7-0 aggregate win against Berwick Rangers that saw the clubs trade places.

Cove finished mid-table in League 1 last season.

Dunfermline Athletic:

Competitive games between the sides have been limited to a 2014 Ronnie Swan Trophy Final at Ainslie Park.  Donal Henretty scoring for Spartans before Ross Drummond netted for the Pars to set up a dramatic penalty shoot-out which was won by the Fifers.

More recently, the teams met in June 2021 for a pre-season friendly in what was Peter Grant’s first outing in charge of the East End Park side.  Sam Jones bagged a brace of goals in the North Edinburgh sunshine to secure a respectable draw.  It was a season that saw the Fifers lose out in the Play-offs and were relegated to League 1 however there was an immediate bounceback just twelve months later.

Dunfermline finished in 6th place in last season’s Championship. 

Livingston FC

It’s been so long since the sides last met, Danny Denholm was still in his short trousers at Broughton High the last time Spartans played Livingston.

The Scottish Cup run of 2004 saw East of Scotland outfit Spartans defeat Buckie, Alloa and Arbroath to set up a Sunday 4th Round February showdown against Scottish Premier League side Livingston.

A capacity crowd of 3123 filled ‘Estadio City Park’ (Telegraph) / ‘ramshackle City Park’ (Daily Record) for the most romantic of David v Goliath ties.  Unfortunately a second half Derek Lilley hat-trick helped guide Spartans’ lofty opponents to victory.  The Lions were to reach the Semi Final before succumbing to Celtic who went on to lift the trophy against fellow Group E opponents Dunfermline.

The sides also met in foul conditions in July 2010 in a pre-season friendly.  Jack Beesley – now the Head Coach at Spartans Women, made his debut for the Club against previous season’s League 3 champions Livingston who showcased their summer signings.

Forfar Athletic

Prior to last season’s quartet of fixture in SPFL 2, there had been three Scottish Cup meetings between the teams spanning over some thirty years.

The first outing was in December 1979 at City Park in front of a modest audience of some 300 hardy souls. It was the first time The Spartans had played at home in the Scottish Cup and a souvenir match programme to match the occasion was produced – an eight pager for all of 15p! 

John Clark had put the Loons ahead before Alan Kirkwood levelled proceedings for the plucky East of Scotland side.  Any hope of progression however was dampened when Ian McPhee was upended in the box and Alex Rae netted the 77th spot kick.

The next meeting in 1983/84 was a little more clear cut whilst there was only a solitary strike between the teams in the 3rd Round of the 2009/10 tournament.

Last season saw Blair Henderson score in three of the four SPFL 2 encounters, two of which as winning strikes.

Next Fixture

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

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