Alex King was a frustrated spectator last season as former club Linlithgow Rose made history in the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Now he wants to play a key role in his second spell with Super League champions Bonnyrigg Rose, who are dreaming of a fairytale cup run of their own, and perhaps even land one of the Old Firm further into the competition.
A niggling knee injury which has troubled the midfielder for several years and a fall out with Linlithgow boss David McGlynn meant King was frozen out as the Prestonfield men became the first Junior club to reach the fifth round, knocking out Wick Academy and Forfar Athletic before bowing out to Premiership cracks Ross County.
Feeling fully fit after a full pre-season under his belt, King is grateful of the chance to return to New Dundas Park after a tumultuous spell in West Lothian.
“I’m delighted to be back,” said King. “I left Bonnyrigg for one reason – because I fell out with Davy McGlynn. Then I went to Linlithgow and two months later he got the job. The writing was always on the wall for me with Davy. It was a clash of personalities and that’s how I left Bonnyrigg, otherwise I would’ve stayed
“I got injured just after Davy came to Linlithgow and spent ten months out. I was fit the last two months of the season, but I wasn’t getting included in the team. I still had another year to go on my contract so that just got ripped up
“I’ve had a good pre-season. I’ve done that and scored a few goals. Now I just need minutes on the park and I’ll get back to playing the way I do
“The last four or five seasons I’ve done my knee every time. I just want a season where I can stay injury-free because it’s the worst thing ever. It’s depressing. It annoys me when I get myself injured because I just want to go out and play and enjoy myself.
Rose start their Scottish Cup campaign on Sunday in preliminary round one away to Glasgow University at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium. The last time they featured in the competition was four years ago, with Rose eventually bowing out to Brechin City in the third round after a replay
King is the only survivor from that squad, albeit this is his second spell with the club. He has fond memories of that cup run which took Rose past Girvan and Stirling University, and he wants to experience it all again.
“That was an eventful game,” said King on their initial 2-2 draw with Brechin. “We were 2-0 up and cruising with 20 minutes to go or something. We could’ve been three or four up and then DD [David Dunn] scored an own goal, then the keeper dropped one at the boy’s feet and he scored.
“You only get one chance against the bigger teams and then in the second game I think they were 3-0 up after about half-an-hour – it was game over. We put that much into the first game and we knew the draw, it was St Mirren away in the next round so there was a big carrot there in front of us. It was a gutter.
“The whole town got right behind the us, the place was buzzing. There must’ve been 2500 at the replay, it was just disappointing that we couldn’t put up the performance.
“I’d love to reach the fourth round this time and get drawn against Celtic or Rangers.”
Sunday’s test against the students, who play in the Caledonian Amateur Football League, represents something of an unknown for Robbie Horn and his squad. King is anticipating a tricky encounter.
“It’ll be a hard game on Sunday,” he said. “This is meant to be one of the easier ties, but it doesn’t matter who it is at the end of the day. You’ve got to go out and apply yourself in the right way.
“Somebody said the students won’t be back until the end of August, so they might not have their strongest team as such, but it’s 11 against 11 and it’s just how you apply yourself on the day.”