Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale were handed a potential dream fifth-round home tie in the William Hill Scottish Cup after being paired with Premiership champions Celtic.
However, manager Raymond Carr would have preferred not to have known the draw given his team have the small matter of a fourth-round encounter with East Kilbride to come first. The East of Scotland/Lowland League clash was postponed on Saturday with Kilbride’s artificial pitch at their K Park ground covered in snow. The two will now meet on Wednesday, January 20, except now with the biggest incentive either could have hoped for.
Carr must keep his players mentally ready given the extra significance the re-arranged game has now assumed.
“It was great to see Celtic come out,” he admitted. “But a lot of people seem to forget we still have a game to go. Although it’s nice to know what’s in front of you. I’d have rather not known and got the game out the way first, but the players will be delighted.
“It puts a bit of spice to it. With East Kilbride having the home advantage and the support, it’s going to be difficult, but whichever team comes out on the night and wants to win it, will win it. It’s a scenario where it could make players more nervous about missing out on the biggest game of their life.
“My job is going to be trying to keep their feet on the ground because we have a league game on Saturday and we don’t want them holding back in that. We need to rack up points because we’re six games behind. We’ll keep our feet on the ground, hopefully go and win that game and let’s talk about Celtic after the East Kilbride game is over.”
While keeping a lid on any excitement, Carr revealed it was difficult after former Rangers player Brian Laudrup pulled Ronny Deila’s men out the hat, prompting his mobile to jump in to life.
“It’s been non-stop!” he laughed. “There were a couple of calls that came in and I looked at the numbers and thought ‘naw, that’s a long conversation’ – I’m not ready for all that! I’ve had a lot of texts but I’ll answer some of them later on.”
East Kilbride aren’t an unknown proposition for Lothian, having faced each other in pre-season, and the Saughton club will fancy their chances of winning at K Park.
“We played East Kilbride in July in a friendly,” explained Carr. “They invited us through and I took the game after just one night’s training because it’s a nice venue and good people through there as well. I only had ten players so I had to get one of the coaches stripped and it finished 3-1 to East Kilbride, who had their full squad but it was good work out for us. It let me get a good look at what they’ve got. They’ve added since then so it’s going to be a different game all together.”