Linlithgow boss wants Raith tie to stay at Prestonfield

Comic legend Billy Connolly helped make the draw at the Usher Hall. Danny Smith, below
Comic legend Billy Connolly helped make the draw at the Usher Hall. Danny Smith, below
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Linlithgow Rose boss Danny Smith believes his side’s William Hill Scottish Cup third round tie against SPFL Championship club Raith Rovers must be played at their Prestonfield home to give his side the best possible chance of progressing.

Rose’s ground has a capacity of 3500. And, with demand for tickets expected to exceed that number, an alternative venue might be found to accommodate a bumper crowd.

Smith, who labelled their draw as “fantastic”, feels it is imperative that the money-spinning tie on November 1 is played at their own ground as the atmosphere could intimidate Raith.

“I think it’s vital that the game is played at Prestonfield,” said Smith. “The different thing for Raith is that everything will be on top of them due to the closeness of the supporters to the pitch, whereas they’ll be used to going to grounds where the supporters are further back. It should generate a real cracker of an atmosphere.”

Rose were favourites ahead of their second-round tie at home to Lowland League side Dalbeattie Star on Saturday, which they won 5-1, but they will be big underdogs against Raith in the third-round clash.

Smith is looking forward to playing in a match without pressure, with the junior giants usually expected to win most of their matches.

He said: “I always knew it was important for the club to progress through a few rounds. You want to face the real teams and we’ve achieved that. It’s one of the few games where we won’t be expected to win and we’ve got nothing to lose.

“I got a wee buzz yesterday when I heard the draw. It gives you a wee lift. I personally wanted to test myself against a real senior team and I would like to think the players would be the exact same. When you are playing junior you don’t often get to test yourself against full-time players, so for some, it could be the biggest game of their careers.”

Super League champions Bo’ness United will travel north to face League Two Elgin City or Highland League outfit Forres Mechanics in the third round.

The two Highland clubs drew 0-0 on Saturday and their replay will be played this weekend.

Bo’ness manager Allan McGonigal was disappointed with his side’s draw.

He said: “It’s not the draw we wanted, no disrespect to the two sides. We were looking for a more lucrative tie. Either game will be very difficult.”

Scottish Cup third round draw: East Fife v Berwick Rangers, Forfar v Cowdenbeath, Edinburgh City v Brora Rangers, Stenhousemuir v Brechin City, Hurlford Utd v Stirling Albion, Arbroath/Montrose v Nairn County, Elgin/Forres Mechanics v Bo’ness Utd, Ayr Utd v Alloa, Spartans/East Kilbride v Clyde, Peterhead v Stranraer, Dumbarton v Rangers, Queen’s Park v Albion Rovers, Greenock Morton v Airdrie, Annan Athletic v Livingston, East Stirlingshire v Dunfermline, Linlithgow Rose v Raith Rovers. (Ties to be played on Saturday, November 1).