Gala Fairydean Rovers boss on his team's East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final prospects against Linlithgow Rose

Gala Fairydean Rovers boss Martin Scott reckons his Lowland League side will face a tough test against Linlithgow Rose in this Sunday’s East of Scotland Qualifying Cup final at Penicuik, but he’s hoping they can overcome it.

Forward Mark Stowe has scored over 40 goals for Rose, helping them sustain a 21-game winning streak in league and cup before faltering and ending up third in the East of Scotland Premier Division, a level below their Borders opponents.

Gala boss Scott has watched Linlithgow and he said: “We are not taking the cup final lightly. If you look at the calibre of player that Linlithgow have, it shows you how strong they are.

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“They obviously built that squad this season, and I’m sure they would have wanted to be promoted.

Gala Fairydean Rovers manager Martin Scott is hoping he can bring back the first trophy in the nine-year history of their current guise. Picture Bill McBurnie

“They’ve been in the latter stages of a few different cups and they are in this final, so it shows you how dangerous they are.

“Mark Stowe is a very good player. He plays on the right-hand side and cuts in on that left foot. He’s got bags of pace and good movement, so, at our level, he’s a very dangerous player.

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“We’re looking forward to it and it’s definitely going to be a challenge because we know how good a team Linlithgow are.

“I actually know their first-team coach Eamon Fullerton because I played with him at Livingston. He probably had a similar education to myself in terms of football. He was a very good player and he’s doing very well at the coaching side of things.”

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Rovers finished 13th in Scottish football’s fifth tier after losing their last five league games in a row.

Scott doesn’t think that losing streak will have any bearing on Sunday, though, saying: “I think league form’s irrelevant going into the cup game.

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“In the last few league games, we used different personnel, looking at different formations, and we knew where we had to improve in consistency levels in the league campaign.”

Scott, 36, has played some games for Gala this season but it is undecided about whether he’ll feature on the park in the final, saying: “If we’ve got a full selection of players available to choose from, including myself, I’d probably lean more towards going on the bench initially.

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“I think the guys who’ve played in the previous rounds deserve to go and get the job done in the final.”

Scott is hopeful that he will have a full squad available, including right-back Calum Hall and left-sided midfielder Marc Berry. They have both signed contract extensions to summer 2023.

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The manager added: “We know on his day that Marc can be a very dangerous player. On his day he’s one of the best wingers in the league.”