Conrad Balatoni: Edinburgh City hope Friday night under lights can kick off Scottish Cup run

Conrad Balatoni is hoping tomorrow night’s second-round clash with North Superleague giants Banks O’Dee represents the start of a memorable Scottish Cup adventure for Edinburgh City.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 6:00 am
Conrad Balatoni wants a shot at one of the top-flight teams in the Scottish Cup. Pic: SNS

The centre-back helped the Ainslie Park side to the third round last year, when they took Inverness Caledonian Thistle to a replay before crashing to a 6-1 defeat in the Highlands.

Balatoni would love to go a step further this time and set up the possibility of facing a top-flight side when the big guns join the competition at the fourth-round stage in January.

“The Scottish Cup’s good because it gives you the chance to come up against teams you don’t usually play in the league,” said the experienced defender. “There’s always a wee extra buzz to these games because you know if you progress you could get a potentially lucrative tie in the next couple of rounds.

“We took Inverness to a replay last year and got thumped 6-1 up there but we learned a lot from that. Hopefully we can get a decent wee run going against teams of our standard in the early rounds and then get a lucrative tie when the top teams come in but obviously our main focus at the moment is Banks O’ Dee. If we can go further than we did last year, that would be a great achievement.”

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Banks O’Dee will make the journey south from Aberdeen to Ainslie Park tomorrow in confident mood after winning the SJFA North Superleague in each of the past four seasons. They have already beaten Glasgow University, Golspie Sutherland and Forres Mechanics to reach this stage of the competition. “It’ll be a tough game,” said Balatoni, the former Partick Thistle, Kilmarnock and Ayr United player. “We don’t know too much about them but teams from up that way usually have good players and they’ve won their league for the past few seasons.”

City will be bidding to bounce back tomorrow night after having their momentum in League Two halted by only a second defeat of the season when they lost 1-0 at promotion rivals Cowdenbeath a week past Saturday after having Craig Thomson sent off at the end of the first half. “It’s good to get a wee break from the league after losing our last game,” said Balatoni. “Everyone knows our main priority this season is the league but this is a welcome distraction. We need to make sure we bounce back after losing our last game. It was obviously disappointing to lose but we know there’s still plenty games left to make amends.

“We’ve shown after the Cove Rangers game that we can bounce back from a setback. We’ve had two defeats and a draw in the league and every other game has been a win so we’re pretty happy with where we are. We know we’re going to lose games sometimes so it’s all about the reaction. We gained a lot of experience last season so we’re not going to get downhearted if we’re a few points off the top. We know it can swing quickly at this level so the main thing is that we keep in touch with the top two and then hopefully mount a really strong push after Christmas.”