Cup could be perfect distraction for double-defending Tranent

Tranent celebrate lifting the East of Scotland Cup
Tranent celebrate lifting the East of Scotland Cup
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Having struggled so far to live up to their pre-season billing as Premier League title favourites, Tranent kick-off their defence of the East of Scotland Cup tomorrow.

Super League Sauchie are their first-round opponents at Foresters Park as the Belters bid to beat top-flight opposition for the ninth cup game in a row following last season’s double success.

Tranent ended a 40-year wait without cup silverware last season when two came at once in the space of a week, beating Bonnyrigg Rose on penalties to land the East of Scotland Cup having disposed of Broxburn Athletic just days before in the final of the Fife & Lothians Cup.

“We seem to be Cup specialists but we’ll see how long that lasts,” said co-manager Darren Smith.

“The priority is to try to make sure we get back on track in the league, but at the same time, I think anybody coming to Tranent now know they are going to get a hard game and we’ve proved we are a match for anybody on your day.

“Because of what we done last year, everyone now when they play against us see us as a scalp and we need to stand up and deal with that. What we did last season is done and we have to move on. Myself and Raff [Kenny Rafferty, co-boss] are confident the boys will come good and hopefully we can get on a wee run very shortly.

“We were better on Saturday and should have won the game, but there’s no panic from us just now. Expectations were very high and people were expecting us to go and canter it [the Premier League]. Myself and Raff never once came out and said we’re going to win the league, we just said we wanted to be competitive.”

Midfielder Ryan Gay could be handed his debut having signed this week. The former Penicuik Athletic stalwart brings a wealth of experience to Tranent’s ranks after ending his 11-year association with the Cuikie over the summer.

Elsewhere, Super League leaders Penicuik host Bathgate Thistle, while Arniston Rangers entertain Dunbar United in an all-Premier League clash.