Spartans could use Irn-Bru Cup clash as a ‘pre-season game’

Alan Brown
Alan Brown
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Spartans winger Alan Brown says he wouldn’t be surprised if manager Dougie Samuel makes wholesale changes for tonight’s Irn-Bru first-round clash against Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill.

The Lowland League side make the trip to Coatbridge having dropped their first points in the league this season to BSC Glasgow on Saturday, the visitors scoring the winner in the final minute to secure a 2-1 victory at Ainslie Park.

And while Brown is relishing the chance to test himself against the SPFL League 1 outfit this evening, the 30-year-old believes this weekend’s clash at home to Dalbeattie Star carries far more significance where the bigger picture is concerned.

“We take everything seriously but there is no pressure on us as we’re up against a team that are two leagues above us,” Brown explained. “We’re never going to win this competition so it’s almost like another pre-season game to get some more match sharpness. We might rotate the team ourselves. Dougie hasn’t said what he’s going to do but he may give some of the guys who haven’t played as much some game time.

“Our eyes are on the bigger prize which is promotion this year so Saturday’s match with Dalbeattie is far more important from our perspective. I think anyone else in the club would say the same. That’s not to say we don’t have any respect for the Irn-Bru Cup and the 11 that go out tonight will do their best to win the game for sure.”

The former Whitehill Welfare player admitted it was a downbeat changing-room after the defeat by BSC but insists the squad won’t allow it to derail their season.

He said: “It was disappointing as we were the better team for the first 25 minutes and then I don’t know what happened to be honest. We kind of lost our way a bit but we just have to pick ourselves up and go again. Everyone is still trying to find their feet so we’ve still started the season really well.

“We have to be ready to go again tonight whatever side the gaffer decides to put out. It’s just a case of going out and expressing yourself. If we play at our best then you never know but Albion will be on a high having gone to Hampden on Saturday and beating Queen’s Park 5-2.”