Gary Sutherland will use the prospect of his Craigroyston side ending the season trophyless as motivation to inspire his players ahead of their Central Taxis East of Scotland League Cup last-eight tie tomorrow.
Assistant boss Sutherland has seen a Craigie team that was a couple of months ago still hopeful of challenging for the top-tier title lag behind in the championship race in recent weeks, eventually succumbing to the more consistent Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.
Tomorrow, Craigie will host Edinburgh University in a reverse of last week’s league fixture between the sides at Peffermill, which finished 1-1. Sutherland sees the match as an opportunity for the hosts to gain reward for the promising form they have displayed throughout the campaign.
“It’s a big game in terms of the rest of our season,” said Sutherland. “I have told the boys we don’t want to end up winning nothing after all the hard work they have put in.”
Sutherland was appointed No.2 to Craigie manager Tom Hendrie as part of a new regime to replace the departed Ross McNeil in November and has helped guide the squad to a third-placed finish in the Central Taxis Premier Division.
“To end up with zero would be awful,” he said. “How much you want it in football goes a long way to winning things.”
Craigroyston’s Russell Hogarth and Craig Dickson will miss the game.
Premier Division champions Lothian remain with the chance of completing a league-and-cup double, but must first overcome the challenge of Leith Athletic at Saughton Enclosure tomorrow.
Kevin Twaddle, whose Lothian side will miss Grant Munro for the match, will aim to bounce back from defeat in the South Challenge Cup semi final against East Kilbride last week by securing another last-four spot.
“It’s a great chance for us to progress into another cup semi final,” said Twaddle. “But, we’ll face a tough challenge against a good Leith side.”
The East of Scotland teams of Hibernian and Spartans are also on League Cup duty and will, respectively, face Berwick Rangers Reserves and Stirling Uni.
Ormiston are set to enter their penultimate Central Taxis First Division fixture of the season at Peebles Rovers minus a raft of players due to multiple injuries throughout their squad.
“We froze last time we played them and consequently played poorly,” said Ormi boss Murray Cheyne. “As usual, we will give 100 per cent. We really need a result from this game to help end our up-and-down season on a high.”