Tollcross Thistle were set to be without their top goalscorer for today’s Foster’s Scottish Amateur Cup second-round tie away to Stirlingshire side Fallin AFC, but manager Alan McKay is not too concerned.
Striker Michael Yuill misses out with an ankle injury, having notched up eight goals in seven games for the LEAFA Premier 1 side this season. However, McKay believes his side have enough firepower elsewhere to put them in the draw for the third round.
McKay said: “Michael has been playing very well for us and has been scoring frequently but unfortunately he will miss out through injury. Hopefully, he will be back training in a week or two.
“Thankfully, we have other top strikers at our disposal. We are very fortunate to have good players that are all capable of scoring goals. The way we like to play is to keep our ball retention as high up the pitch as possible, which enables more players to get involved in forward play and rotation of positions during games.”
The attacking strategy deployed by McKay along with first-team coach Dale McCall has been fruitful so far this season. In their last six matches, Tollcross have scored 23 goals, securing five wins and a draw in the process.
They were knocked out of last season’s competition in the fourth round by Ayrshire side KSC Wolves after a replay, but McKay has high hopes for his side this season and is aiming to become the first LEAFA side to win the trophy since Liberton Royal Mail won it in season 1999-00. “Would we like to be the first team to win it from LEAFA in 14 years? Of course, but first and foremost Fallin stand in our way of a third round place,” McKay added.
If his side get through today’s tie, he would relish a home tie against either of last year’s finalists.
“Fallin have got a good run of results going in the Stirling leagues, so we know they will be tough opposition, but we are going there to win. If we get through, we would like Wellhouse or Colville Park at home to test ourselves against the best,” said McKay.
Meanwhile, fellow Saturday Premier 1 side Heriot Vale head into their Scottish Cup second round tie at home to fellow LEAFA side Mayfield & Easthouses today in buoyant mood.
Vale sit six points clear at the top of Premier 1 and still remain unbeaten in the league and cup this season – largely thanks to the scoring exploits of striker Pieyam Khosrowpour, who has 13 goals under his belt.
“Piesy”, as he is affectionately known to his team-mates, has been on scintillating form so far this season in front of goal for his side and he’d love to grab at least a couple this afternoon to give himself some breathing space in Vale’s scoring charts, with Alan Sheriff and Jordyn Sheerin just behind him.
Khosrowpour revealed morale is high in Vale’s squad ahead of their cup tie against Premier 2 opponents Mayfield & Easthouses.
He said: “Everyone in the camp is really happy. We are still unbeaten this season and are playing really well. I feel we will have more than enough to beat them – especially at home. I’m still banging in the goals and I’m playing well just now, so I’d hope to get a couple at least.”
Despite racking up the goals going forward, Vale have been susceptible to conceding goals when ahead. In particular, back in early September they were well in the ascendancy in a league match against Spartans’ amateur side – leading 6-2 early in the second half – only to concede three quick goals and give the away side a route back into the match.
Khosrowpour insists this has to stop. He said: “We are scoring like mad, but we need to keep tight at the back. We go into every game feeling we can score, but then we seem to lose a couple of sloppy goals. As long as we are tight at the back we know we are going to do well.
“As long as the boys are playing well and I’m still scoring or even setting up goals, I’m happy. The main thing is we get through to the next round and hopefully we can get a good cup run.”