Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Raymond Carr has banned his players from talking about a potential meeting with Celtic in the last 16 of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The winners of Wednesday night’s fifth-round clash at East Kilbride will host a lucrative tie against Ronny Deila’s Premiership champions with Lothian already confirming that the match would have to be switched from Saughton Enclosure to a larger venue should they progress.
Carr wants his team to get much-needed game time this weekend ahead of the trip to K Park on Wednesday.
“We had them in at training on Tuesday and they were allowed to talk about the draw for ten minutes, but once we were out on that training pitch, nobody was to breath a word about it,” said Carr.
“We’ve been inundated with calls from the media since the draw was made but I’ve made light of it.
“Nobody, certainly from a playing and coaching point of view, will be thinking about it in the meantime, and it’s all about preparing the players in the best possible way for East Kilbride.”
Lothian are due to face Heriot-Watt-University in the East of Scotland league this weekend, but with Saughton unplayable and East of Scotland rules preventing them from switching the match to Riccarton, an alternative venue will have to be found.
“We train at Riccarton so we’ll have a chat with the guys at Heriot-Watt to see what we can do.
“Whether we play a friendly against someone or can arrange a full day’s training session I’m not sure as it will all depend on the weather, it’s very difficult to get pitches booked.
“There are a few potential venues we are looking at, but keeping the players ticking over ahead of Wednesday is absolutely vital. East Kilbride have Whitehill Welfare in the Lowland League so they will be fully prepared.
“We are representing the East of Scotland League in the Scottish Cup, so any help we can receive from other clubs as is beneficial and appreciated.”
Heriot-Watt manager Ian Little sympathised with his Lothian counterpart.
“You can understand Lothian wanting to get a game on, they have a huge game this Wednesday so I’ll have a chat with Raymond to see what can be arranged.”
In tomorrow’s other fixtures, pitch inspections will be likely at most venues with league leaders Leith Athletic travelling to Stirling University hoping to extend their 15-point lead at the top (2.00pm kick-off).
Ormiston face Civil Service Strollers at Recreation Park and Craigroyston play Hawick Royal Albert at St Mark’s Park.
Spartans EoS face Tynecastle at Ainslie Park in the other clash (3.00pm).