Junior Cup: Haddington ready for another shot at Shotts
Haddington Athletic captain Michael Fairnie hopes they haven't blown their shot at Scottish Junior Cup glory after a horror second-half showing last weekend.
The Hi-Hi faced a tough assessment away to Shotts Bon Accord in the second round, but defied their underdog tag as they sailed into a 3-0 lead at half-time thanks to goals from Scott Wright, Scott Moffat and Chris Robertson.
However, the tables were turned in the second half as their West Super First Division hosts roared back, squaring the tie in 90 minutes and ensuring a replay at Millfield Park tomorrow.
Centre-midfielder Fairnie is determined to lead Haddington into the third round for the first time in six years, for what would be the furthest he has ever got in the competition.
“It was disappointing [not to get the win], but the boys know themselves that it was a poor second-half performance from us,” said Fairnie. “We were complacent and disjointed, but the first half was terrific. It was a hard one to take.
“They pressed very well in the second half and as soon as they got their first our heads went down and we couldn’t get things back together.
“We’re looking forward to Saturday and hopefully we can put things right.”
Haddington have already delivered one cup shock on their home park this season when they knocked out West top-flight outfit Troon in the first round, so don’t doubt the Premier League club to repeat that feat tomorrow.
Skipper Fairnie continued: “That was another good result beating Troon. We were definitely underdogs there – the boys all battled for each other and we deserved the win.
“It’s good to get further in the Scottish Cup. In my time in football I’ve never really got far in the Scottish Cup, it’s usually just been the first or second round, so we want to get past this round.
“It’s something different from playing league games every week, it’s good for the club and the boys look forward to it.”
Haddington co-manager Kevin Twaddle has backed his men to be in the hat for Tuesday’s third-round draw.
The former Hearts and Motherwell winger has full confidence in his side to do the business on home turf despite last week’s second-half collapse.
Twaddle, who last managed Lothian Thistle prior to taking the reins at Haddington with former Ormiston boss Brian Johnston, described their first-half performance as his “best ever” in management.
He said: “All in all, if somebody had said we’d come away with a draw when the draw was made, I’d have been delighted to get them back at home. Hopefully the boys can show the same kind of performance as what they did for large periods last week. We fell out the game for 20 minutes and it cost us dearly.
“The boys played some fantastic football, it was really pleasing. The first half was the best performance I’ve had as a manager, I couldn’t fault any one of them.
“We are at home now so we’re expected to win, it’s a different kind of pressure. I would take anybody at home in the Scottish Cup. The place is buzzing just now and I’m sure if we go out with the same attitude, work rate and desire as I always talk to them about, I can’t see us not progressing to the next round.”
Elsewhere in the Junior Cup, Linlithgow Rose host Clydebank in an intriguing East v West second-round tie, while Bo’ness United are in Ayrshire to take on Dalry Thistle after last week’s match was postponed due to a burst water main.
In the Super League, Penicuik Athletic could jump up to second place with three points at home to Broxburn Athletic. Second-bottom Newtongrange Star got their first point since August last week and they’ll be looking to progress further when they host Lochee United. Musselburgh Athletic take on Jeanfield Swifts at Olivebank with fifth place on offer for Calvin Shand’s side.