HADDINGTON host Newtongrange in tomorrow’s Scottish Junior Cup second round with home manager Stevie McLeish needing no reminder of the Super League leaders’ scoring threat.
McLeish’s men welcome Star to Millfield Park with Sean Jamieson and former Hibs youth Jordan Cropley familiar faces in the visitors’ line-up. Both players were regular scorers during successful spells at Haddington but will arrive tomorrow looking to put their former team to the sword.
While well aware of the task facing his team, Hi-Hi’s boss McLeish is confident his South League team can spring a surprise.
“I believe in games like this you will only get one bite of the cherry and we have to get a result tomorrow,” he said.
“I’ve seen over the years that smaller clubs do get a chance against the bigger ones but they have to take that first chance because history tells us that the bigger clubs learn more and don’t make mistakes in the replay.
“This is a massive game for us because we don’t have a good record against Star but this could be the first time in seasons that we have a great chance.
“We’re not as free scoring as we were when Sean Jamieson and Jordan Cropley were here but we still have a very good squad and we will be looking to finish the game off.
“We’ve beaten Super League sides before and we’ll give them a game of it. But there’s no pressure on us to win – it’s all on them because they are expected to beat us . . . and beat us well.”
Newtongrange striker Jamieson, who was recently capped for Scotland Juniors in the International Tournament in Limerick, is looking forward to returning to a club with whom he spent two happy seasons.
“It’ll be great to get back and see some of the faces I remember from my days there,” he admitted. “I had two really good seasons with Haddington and it was a time when we had a bit of success.
“Jordan and I played together for a year at Millfield so it’ll be good for both of us.
“After I left Haddington I signed for East Fife where it was a bit up and down but since I came to the Star it’s been terrific. I was capped at the start of the month and we’re sitting top of the table. It doesn’t come much better than this. Tomorrow will be nice but we have to do the business.”
Newtongrange manager Alan Miller is preparing his side for a real battle but has happy memories of his own time at Haddington.
“Haddington were the first club who gave me a chance to manage a football side and I can’t say a bad word about them,” he said. “They have a great Committee, always have had, and great supporters. I’m delighted to take Newtongrange there especially if we get a result.
“It’s going to be hard but if we prepare well and don’t make any silly errors then we will get a result at the first time of asking.
“They will come at us no doubt but we have a good record against them and I hope to maintain that.”
Other East Region sides in action tomorrow include Bathgate, who are down in Ayr to play Whittlets in a game they should win comfortably.
Bathgate are scoring goals for fun just now with winger David Swan catching the eye of many senior sides.
Tranent face the tough trip to play Super League side Sauchie, who have ex-Falkirk and Dundee United striker Collin Samuel in fine form.
Last season’s beaten finalists Linlithgow Rose are at Carluke while there’s an all-East Super League tie between Musselburgh and Armadale at Olivebank. Armadale were hoping to have Calum Rarity and Johnny Wilson back from suspension but their game against Bonnyrigg last Saturday was postponed meaning both will sit out this one.
Bo’ness, one of the favourites, are in Dundee to play North End. Penicuik need to bounce back from last week’s defeat at the hands of Fauldhouse if they are to beat Aberdeenshire side Sunnybank, while Pumpherston face the long trip north to meet Banchory St Ternans. Dalkieth take on Alexandria-based Vale of Leven.
In the Super League tomorrow, struggling Bonnyrigg are at home to Kelty, who recently sacked their manager Willie Newbigging and replaced him with Tom Courts, a player already at the club.