Skipper Adam Nelson is determined to make the most of his big day as he leads out Linlithgow Rose in this weekend’s Emirates Scottish Cup final against Auchinleck Talbot at Almondvale, Livingston.
Nelson left Musselburgh Athletic for Rose in 2010-11 with ambitions of playing in Junior football’s showpiece match – only to see his former club face Talbot in the final that very season!
The midfielder will finally realise his dream on Sunday, though, as Rose – unbeaten this season – look to outfox the record nine-times winners on Sunday.
Nelson, captain in place of the injured Mark Tyrrell, said: “This is why I signed for Linlithgow. I moved from Musselburgh to Linlithgow because I thought I could win big trophies and what happened? Musselburgh made it to the Junior Cup final the season I left!
“They lost at Rugby Park to a good Auchinleck side so this time I hope to put one over them for my pals at Musselburgh.”
Auchinleck are lining up for their third consecutive Junior Cup final and, like Linlithgow, haven’t tasted defeat in winning their league this term.
Rose, in fact, are yet to lose a single game this season and are in the midst of an incredible 49-game unbeaten run stretching back a full calendar year.
Nelson is no doubts over the task faced by his side on Sunday but is predicting a tight game. He said: “This is Talbot’s third Scottish Cup final on the bounce and that’s a terrific achievement but it’s up to us to ruffle a few feathers on Sunday. I was involved when we were beating Auchinleck going into the last 30 seconds of a third-round tie two years ago when they equalised. We lost the replay after that so feel we’re due them one.
“It’ll be a tight game but it’s the one the sponsors and supporters wanted.
“I’ll remember big occasions like this for the rest of my life. The town is buzzing already and everyone is happy so let’s hope it’s the same on Sunday night.”
Colin Strickland, meanwhile, is hoping to continue his incredible scoring run alongside fellow striker Tommy Coyne.
Strickland, a former St Johnstone youngster who played a season at Hearts where he was the Under-19s’ top scorer, is the son of Derek Strickland the ex-Rangers, Hearts and Leicester player and now manager at junior club Bathgate.
“I’ve never been past the fourth round of the Scottish Cup so this is new ground for me,” said Colin. “I’ve not had much luck in the competition before this season so I’m making sure I enjoy the occasion and soak up the atmosphere.
“I feel my form is settling down now because when I signed for the club I couldn’t do a pre-season and was in and out of the side. Then last season, I started to get a grip on what it means to be here and this time I’m happy to be getting a run in the side.
“I’ve scored 23 goals this season which is pleasing and when you count in Tommy Coyne’s 29, that’s over 50 goals between us a good return.
“The manager Mark Bradley has shown a lot of faith in me and tells me to express myself on the pitch so I hopefully I’ll get a chance on Sunday.”