Scottish Cup: Lothian Thistle in confident mood

Lothian Thistle's Grant Munro, left, fights for posession
Lothian Thistle's Grant Munro, left, fights for posession
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Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale captain Grant Munro says confidence amongst his team-mates is sky-high heading into tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup second preliminary-round tie with Girvan at Saughton Enclosure (3.00pm)

Last season’s East of Scotland League winners have made a fine start to the defence of their title, an opening day 6-0 win over rivals Tynecastle was followed up by 7-0 and 4-1 wins over Craigroyston and 
Heriot-Watt University respectively.

Their only defeat came against Lowland League Stirling University in a 1-0 defeat in The East of Scotland Qualifying Cup, a match which Lothian manager Raymond Carr acknowledged afterwards they were unlucky to lose.

Munro was in the Lothian side that narrowly missed out on a place in last season’s First Round of the national cup competition when under Kevin Twaddle, they lost 1-0 to East Kilbride at Saughton.

However, the Lothian skipper is determined to go one better than last season and make it a memorable afternoon against The West Region Ayrshire outfit.

“Confidence amongst all the players is really high heading into this game, we’ve scored 17 goals and conceded just one so we’re keeping it tight at the back and scoring as well,” said Munro.

“Playing against any Junior opposition is a tough match because they always play to a high standard, but the fact that we have guys like Eddie Mearns and Darren Smith who have played at this level before will help some of the new boys who are experiencing it for the first time.”

Munro has already chipped in with two goals so far in the recent demolition of Tynecastle and knows his side carry a goal threat from all areas of the park.

“We’re dangerous from free-kicks and set-pieces with guys like Scott Taylor-McKenzie and then with the likes of Willis Hare and Dean Cummings up front there is goals in the team from different sources.”

Lothian manager Raymond Carr has had Girvan – who started their Ayrshire District League season last weekend with a 2-2 draw at Lugar Boswell Thistle – watched ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash but is not giving too much away about their strengths and weaknesses.

“We’ve had them scouted but the main thing from our point of view is that we have prepared well, and have the right game plan from the start to combat any threats they have,” said Carr. “It’s the Scottish Cup, so that is motivation in itself, the bonus for the players is a place in the First Round proper which would be a huge achievement, but things can go wrong if you don’t have the right attitude or you freeze so we’ll be warning them about keeping a cool head.”

Tomorrow sees a return to Lothian for Girvan coach Steven McNally, who played for the Capital side in the 1997 Image Printers Cup win over Whitehill Welfare and lifted the old East of Scotland First Division Trophy in a five year spell at the club.

McNally paid a glowing tribute to Lothian chairman Tom Allison who helped to form the old Lothian Thistle back in 1970 and has been club president ever since. “I’m looking forward to going back and seeing Tom, he’s a remarkable character and has such a presence in the East of Scotland League” reflected McNally.

Girvan defeated Scottish Amateur Cup Winners Harestanes 3-0 in the First Preliminary Round and have been regular Scottish Cup participants since 2007 owing to their SFA member status. Carr will be missing Alan McDonough and Kevin Browne but otherwise has a full squad from which to choose his starting line-up.