Stranraer boss on facing Hibs and his hopes for youngster preparing to face his former side
Stranraer manager Stephen Farrell admits his side face a tall order in Sunday's Scottish Cup tie after watching Hibs dismantle Queen of the South in the previous round.
Farrell was in the stands at Palmerston Park as Jack Ross' side produced a commanding performance in a 3-1 victory over the Championship outfit in Dumfries last Monday.
And he was left under no illusions over the size of the task facing his part-timers in the live BBC televised clash, which was pushed back 24 hours due to the funeral of Prince Philip.
"I went to the game [against Queens] last Monday night and Hibs deserved the result," Farrell said.
"They were very good second half and you can see why they are sitting at the top end of the Premier League. They're an excellent side, their movement was good and they were well on top so we know it's going to be a difficult tie.
"But we've just got to go and make it as difficult as we can at Stair Park, try and impose our own game as much as we possibly can but at the same time be mindful that we are playing a very, very good side."
Stranraer are currently fifth in League Two and pushing for a promotion play-off place. Their match against Hibs will be their fourth fixture in eight days as the lower leagues cram in the remaining games following the return from the covid-enforced shutdown.
Farrell admitted disappointment that there will be no fans attending what is a glamour tie for his side and also expressed sympathy for the Hibs supporters unable to make their first trip to Stair Park in 19 years.
"It's a shame for both sets of fans," he said. "The Hibs fans will look at these cup ties as a great day out, a journey they don't often make, and the Stranraer fans miss out on the occasion of having a Premier League club coming to their home ground."
Farrell has former Hibs youngster Matty Yates on his books and the Blues boss revealed he has high hopes for the 18-year-old forward who spent a short time in the East Mains academy before being released after the pandemic hit last year.
He joined Stranraer in November where he has scored four times in 12 appearances, three of which have come in the Scottish Cup.
"The kid's got a real chance, I've said that from day one," Farrell told the Galloway Gazette.
"We've signed him on an 18-month deal so he's got the rest of this season and next season and he's developing and learning all the time.
"There were high hopes for him in the Development Leagues with Hibs and Rangers, but there's a big difference playing in League 2 against the teams he's playing against week in, week out now.
"He's had to be patient and bide his time coming off the bench and making an impact.
"He started at Elgin and was one of our better players and he's doing very well - but we'll just need to be careful with him.
"He's a very young lad and we don't want to give him too much too soon. But he's certainly going to be a big player for us between now and the end of the season."