Newtongrange forced to play Junior Cup tie blind

Newtongrange Star manager Alan Miller
Newtongrange Star manager Alan Miller
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Newtongrange Star manager Alan Miller admits he knows little about tomorrow’s opponents Blantyre Victoria.

The South Lanarkshire side visit New Victoria Park in the fourth round of the Scottish Junior Cup for their first competitive fixture in more than a month. The Central District First Division side’s last four matches have been forced off due to the weather and this has prevented Star boss Miller from conducting a scouting mission on their last-32 opponents.

“We’ve not had a chance to see them,” said Miller. “We’ve been trying to get through to see them since the beginning of December. We are going in relatively blind – there is some old YouTube footage of them, but we are just going to have to concentrate on ourselves and get ready for the job.”

Nitten crashed out at the third round last year, beaten 5-1 at home by Tayport. Miller admits it was a bad day for his side at the time, but it is not a result he wants to dwell on as he focuses on reaching the last 16.

He said: “I genuinely don’t look back and say that was a bad day. It was a bad day at the time and we moved on. Fair play to Tayport for getting the result at the time. We understand the importance of the Junior Cup to people. We’ve got to focus on this year’s competition and the opportunity.”

Miller was part of the Newtongrange Star side of 1990/91 which lost out 1-0 to Auchinleck Talbot in the Junior Cup final. Many regard Nitten’s current crop of players as being better than that squad. Nitten last won the national cup in 1930.

Miller understands the importance of the competition, but believes their main focus should be on the Super League.

He added: “In any grade of football the most important competition is the league. If I was prioritising anything it would be the Super League, but having said that, I understand the history and the importance that is placed on the Junior Cup competition, and a lot of people see it as the holy grail.”

Miller has a full squad to choose from for tomorrow, although midfielder Paul Tansey, on loan to South Division side Haddington Athletic until the end of January, has been placed on the transfer list.