Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale midfielder Dean Cummings believes the decision to switch tomorrow’s William Hill Scottish Cup replay against Huntly to Ainslie Park will boost his team’s chances of reaching the fourth round.
With the East of Scotland League champions’ pitch at Saughton Enclosure bearing the brunt of this week’s heavy rain, the match against the Highland League side has been moved to Spartans’ 3G surface.
And Cummings – older brother of Hibs star Jason, pictured below – insists a change of venue could work in Lothian’s favour as they bid to secure a clash with either Stenhousemuir or East Kilbride in the next round.
He said: “The 3G surface at Ainslie Park will suit our style of play because we are a quick side – especially in the final third of the park.
“Last week, we found them quite physical and they have a big presence at the back so we had to adapt quite quickly. To be honest, their pitch was bone hard and wasn’t easy to play on.”
Lothian, looking to add Huntly to Girvan, Kelty Hearts and Montrose on their list of cup casualties, kept their hopes alive last Saturday as a late Scott Gormley strike cancelled out David Booth’s 39th-minute opener.
Cummings counts himself unfortunate not to have got on the scoresheet when his header looped over the bar from a Scott Taylor-McKenzie cross but added: “I think over the piece, a draw was a fair result because we created more chances in the second half.”
Lothian’s creditable result at Christie Park was soured in the dying minutes when experienced midfielder Eddie Mearns was issued with a second yellow card for an alleged dive.
With Lothian unable to appeal the decision, Mearns will be suspended for tomorrow’s match, having also missed last month’s 2-1 replay win at Montrose due to a ban.
While admitting Mearns’ absence is a blow, Cummings believes the Vale squad can cope with the loss of key players as their win over Paul Hegarty’s Montrose in round two proved.
“Nobody gave us a chance that night,” he said. “We were missing Eddie, Grant Munro and Scott Moffat but we proved all the doubters wrong and played some great football and got our just reward.
“The key has been to believe in our own abilities as footballers. We know we have a couple of guys in the team who could play at a higher level in Scottish football so we’re not afraid of anyone.”
Cummings admits he still harbours hopes of coming up against brother Jason – a former Hutchison Vale player – in a dream tie against Hibs in a later round.
He said: “You never know what can happen as it is the luck of the draw. My brother has been very supportive of all the guys here because he played here as well and he knows what it means to everybody.
“Hutchison Vale offered both of us a chance in football and we’ll both be forever grateful for that. It’s the best boys’ club in the country in my view and the merger with Lothian Thistle made it even better.
“I went to Livingston full-time and loved the experience of playing first-team football for them but, when I later fell out of love with the game, it was Lothian who offered me a route back and I haven’t looked back; it’s been great.
“There’s a great coaching staff here with guys like Stephen McKenzie, who I knew from his Tynecastle days, Fraser Ogilvie and, of course, Raymond Carr who has shown a lot of faith in me. It would be nice to repay them and keep this cup run going.”