Linlithgow Rose’s Graham Weir is prepared to play through the pain barrier to help spur the Prestonfield club on another memorable William Hill Scottish Cup run.
Weir has been missing the last few weeks with a niggling ankle injury and was only able to take part in light training for the first time on Monday night.
With Rose’s squad severely depleted by injuries, Weir could be handed a starting berth against former club Stirling Albion tomorrow. It’s a game he’s determined to play in even if he’s not 100 per cent fit after joining Linlithgow from the Binos last summer.
“I did a wee bit of training on Monday, so hopefully all well I’ll have a chance of playing tomorrow,” said the former Hearts striker. “You always want to play in the big games and coming up against your old team especially.
“I was injured towards the end of my time there. It was frustrating because the new manager went down a different route.”
Weir believes Rose showed what they are capable of last season as they became the first Junior club to reach the fifth round, beating League Two Forfar on the way.
Tomorrow’s League Two opponents Stirling are in a similar predicament to Forfar when they faced Rose last season, battling it out at the bottom end of the table.
Weir continued: “We’re good enough to give anyone a game – we showed that last season against Forfar and teams like that. Everyone is looking forward to it, and hopefully we can put in a good performance. We’ve not been playing great of late, but it’s a cup game and anything can happen.
“If we can get through this and get boys back fit we should do alright. The travelling side of it was horrendous last season but it was a fantastic cup run for the club, which we want to repeat again.”
Knocking out Stirling would do Linlithgow caretaker boss Todd Lumsden no harm as he bids to take the reins on a permanent basis after former boss David McGlynn resigned earlier this month. He’s fully aware of the enormity of the task facing his side, especially given the resources at his disposal with several first-team regulars set to miss out, but he’s refusing to use their injury problems as an excuse and insists the XI he picks will give it all they’ve got to produce a cup shock.
“We’re down to the bare bones, so to speak. It’s not ideal but the players have been magnificent, taking an opportunity to stake a claim,” said former Arbroath boss Lumsden. “At the moment, we’re really struggling for numbers on the bench to make changes.
“The team is picking itself because of who is fit.
“It’s a challenge but we’ve just got to get on with it. We’ve won the last few games so the boys should be gaining more confidence.
“There’s a few players who haven’t played for a few weeks who might have a chance but throwing players back in right from the start is a risk in itself.
“It’s up against us, but it’s a cup game. Teams come to Linlithgow and raise their game when it’s a cup game, like Thornton Hibs last week, so we’ll be asking the players to do the same. It doesn’t mater what eleven we put out on the pitch, we’re not going to use a depleted squad as an excuse.
“There’s no reason with the quality that we’ve got in the team that we couldn’t go and nick a goal. It’s then just how hard we work to stop them creating things and scoring goals themselves.”
With a host of Rose players having senior clubs on their CV, coming up against a League Two outfit is familiar ground for most in the Prestonfield ranks.
Lumsden has called on his players to remember their experience of playing in the SPFL and use that as inspiration to rise to the occasion and produce their best.
He added: “There’s a lot of players who have played at senior level and they need to remember what it’s like to play against senior players and raise their game. Being the underdogs we need to raise our game.
“All we can do is try and get ourselves in the hat for the next round, whether that be by getting a replay or beating them, then fantastic.”