Newtongrange Star boss Alan Miller felt his side’s lack of competitive matches was to blame for an out of sorts showing against Blantyre Victoria last weekend, but he insists they’ll be back to their best in tomorrow’s Junior Cup replay in South Lanarkshire.
The Super League title challengers were held to a 2-2 draw at New Victoria Park in the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup – the match having gone ahead after four call-offs, with Nitten’s last league game having been a 2-1 win over Penicuik Athletic on January 3.
Miller’s side got off to a great start against their Central District First visitors, when Chris King put them ahead inside three minutes, but Star had to play with ten men for almost 80 minutes after goalkeeper Keiron Renton was red-carded for bringing down a Vics attacker inside the box.
Vics converted from the penalty spot before they took a first-half lead from a free-kick, but striker Sean Jamieson hauled Newtongrange level before half-time.
“We showed how difficult it is to come back after five weeks of not playing and that didn’t lend itself to a good day,” said Miller.
“We lost Kieron to a red card after 12 minutes which really just set the tone for the remainder of the half and for the rest of the game.”
Despite not performing to their ability on Saturday, Miller is confident his team can return from Vics’ Castle Park with a result to set up what would be a last-16 tie away to West Super League First Division Shettleston. “It is still very much an open tie and I remain confident in the team going through there to get a result. We’re looking forward to the game because we didn’t do ourselves justice on Saturday and the boys are itching to correct that.”