Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale boss Raymond Carr has stressed it will be ‘business as usual’ for his side as they look to secure another piece of William Hill Scottish Cup glory against Highland League outfit Huntly in the third round tomorrow (3.00pm).
Only three weeks have passed since Willis Hare struck a memorable extra-time winner on a foggy Tuesday night against SPFL League Two side Montrose at Links Park to cap off one of the most sensational results in the club’s recent history.
Lothian’s shock victory saw Hare receive a mention on Sky Sports as the longest club name in British football flashed up across the vidiprinter on a midweek edition of Gillette Soccer Special!
The Saughton-based side have been inundated with messages of congratulation ever since, but Carr stresses it is important his players remain calm ahead of their long trip north to Christie Park.
“It’s another massive game for everybody connected with the club, but in terms of how you prepare the players it’s no different to any other game we have played this season,” said Carr, who has watched the East of Scotland League champions dispatch Girvan, Kelty Hearts as well as the Gable Endies from Scotland’s oldest cup competition.
“What we have achieved so far has been excellent and the Montrose victory has generated so much interest in the club with Hibs striker Jason Cummings (a former Hutchison Vale player) visiting us this week to pass on his best wishes.
“But it’s all about the players providing the same level of performance they have given us so far. What we have achieved means that other teams will view us as a big scalp now and you have to cope with that pressure.”
Carr was grateful to Edinburgh City for switching last weekend’s SFA South Region Challenge Cup tie to Meadowbank after Saughton Enclosure became waterlogged. Lothian were sunk by a late Ousman See penalty as the Lowland League leaders emerged 2-1 winners but Carr believes it was great preparation for tomorrow’s clash with the Black and Golds.
“Last week was our first competitive game since the Montrose replay and the players acquitted themselves very well.
“Gary Jardine (City manager) was very complimentary to us afterwards and we certainly showed in that game that we can compete with the best the Lowland League has to offer. We made a couple of changes at half-time and, on another day, might have won the game but it was a good exercise for us.”
Huntly sit 16th in the Highland League with ten points after 19 matches and also knocked out League Two opposition in East Stirlingshire 2-1 in the last round. However, manager Gregg Carrol resigned this week after an indifferent start to the season.
“We know that the more we progress in this competition the harder the standard of the opponent will be and nobody will be looking too much into what has happened at Huntly because they are there on merit like ourselves,” added Carr.
“We proved it to ourselves when we got the result at Montrose and that was without three of our regular players in Eddie Mearns, Grant Munro and Scott Gormley.
“But as long as we are not too sluggish and compete for every ball then that’s all I can ask of the players. They have achieved a lot but it’s important that they realise the season goes on even if we go out The Scottish Cup.”
Lothian chairman Tom Allison will be travelling in a separate supporters’ coach tomorrow morning, with the players travelling up this evening.
“We’ve had Sky Sports News down this week to do interviews so it’s been wonderful publicity for the club,” said Allison.