Newtongrange Star began preparation for tomorrow’s Scottish Junior Cup trip to the East End of Glasgow more than 18 months ago.
Alan Miller took his side to Super League First Division Shettleston in August 2013 for a friendly – one of many visits to the west in recent seasons, in order to give his players the experience of playing “a different type of football”.
They’ve also faced Auchinleck and Kirkintilloch Rob Roy in friendlies in recent years. His planning has been meticulous in the event of the Midlothian side coming up against a west outfit in the Junior Cup.
“We’ve played a few teams through in the west in friendlies and for me it was all about giving the players that type of experience in the event that this kind of tie would come along,” he said. “It was all about understanding that it’s a different type of football in the west.
“The players now know what they’re walking into and they’ll be stronger for the experiences that we’ve had recently.”
Nitten adopted a different style of football in their fourth-round replay away to Blantyre Victoria last weekend to ensure their passage to the last 16 and they might do the same again tomorrow as they seek a place in the quarter-finals for the first time since season 2008/09.
“What they showed, which is unlike us, was a different set of qualities,” said Miller on their 2-1 win last weekend. “It was all about good defending and resilience, because Blantyre had most of the ball on a horrible pitch.”
Linlithgow Rose host Camelon at Prestonfield for a place in the last eight tomorrow. Danny Smith will be hoping his side can maintain their run against his former club, with Rose having beaten the Mariners twice in the Super League this season.