Bo’ness manager Alan McGonigal has a game plan in place which he hopes can stop “the best Junior football team of all time”.
McGonigal’s men face record ten-times winners Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Junior Cup in the tie of tomorrow’s third round.
Much of Talbot’s success in recent years has come at the expense of East Region teams and McGonigal is hoping to break that cycle.
“We will have to work our socks off to match what I believe is the best Junior side of all time,” he said. “We’ll have a game plan to counter the tactics Auchinleck always use against East sides and hope it works out for us.
“We’ll take the game to them because that’s the way we play in every game, but the effort we’ll have to put in will have to be greater.”
Auchinleck won the cup last season, beating a very strong Linlithgow Rose side by a single goal in the final at Almondvale by using the same tactics which proved so successful in the past. Tommy Sloan’s team get in opponents’ faces from kick-off, pushing a high line at the heart of their rivals’ defence and waiting for them to crack.
Those tactics paid off as Rose finally cracked and made a mistake at the back which produced a winner for the Ayrshiremen.
Bo’ness central defender Stuart Hunter is ready for the challenge tomorrow. He said: “It’s going to be a very tough game, but one we’ll enjoy. We played them three seasons ago when they beat Musselburgh in the final, but we came close to knocking them out with a draw in the semi in Ayrshire. Unfortunately they got off to a flyer in the second leg and blew us away 4-1.
“We know what to expect from them, but it’s more important to get off to a good start. We’ll be working hard to keep a clean sheet because we will get chances and we have the players to punish any mistakes they make. We have a stronger squad since the last time we played them under Paul Ronald and the gaffer has brought quality into the pool.
“The key for us tomorrow is the back line. We’ll have to be strong and work really hard.”
Bo’ness striker Steven Hislop is set to face Auchinleck for the first time and he is another player relishing the encounter.
“It’s a whole new ball game for me, but I’ve played against all sorts in my time and will take the game as it comes,” he said. “From what people have said, they are the yardstick of Junior football. Supporters are saying it’s a poor draw, but I’m quite happy to knock them out in any round, be it the third or the final.
“I do know it’ll be one hell of a game with goals in it. If we get a sniff then I’m confident we can get the goals we need. They have a great record in the Scottish, but records are there to be broken and we have the players to get a result.”
It’s another big game for Auchinleck, but manager Sloan is not afraid of the task, despite his team’s poor run of form.
“Someone up there doesn’t like us it seems,” he said. “It’s another huge game in another battle-weary year. This is without doubt the tie of the round and the talk is whoever wins will be in the late stages of the cup. I would agree with that.
“Bo’ness are a top side with Alan McGonigal strengthening his squad, so it’s going to be hard to get a result. We haven’t won in our last three games and the form seems to be dropping, but I’m confident it’ll return tomorrow.”
Bo’ness have a super chance to beat the holders especially at home where they have a tremendous support, and McGonigal added: “We wanted a home draw in this round and we got one. What we didn’t want was the cup holders and champions of the West, but we got them and we’ll just have to get on with it. We want to win tomorrow at the first time of asking because it would be a whole lot tougher going there to get a result.”