Edinburgh University boss Dorian Ogunro revealed he breathed a huge sigh of relief after being paired with Lowland League rivals Whitehill Welfare in the first round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
The students will host Steven Hislop’s side at East Peffermill tomorrow thankful they have been spared the gruelling 500-mile round trip some of the other clubs involved in this weekend’s action will be forced to navigate.
Highland League outfit Wick Academy have drawn the short straw having been handed an away tie to Dumfriesshire-based Dalbeattie Star while Gretna 2008 travel in the opposite direction as they journey north to Deveronvale.
“We’ve had our fair share of long journeys in the past so it’s actually nice we’ve been given a home tie for once. I don’t think we’ve been drawn at home in about five years,” Ogunro explained.
“We obviously know Whitehill well and they haven’t changed a huge amount personnel-wise, but the new gaffer Steven Hislop and Bingo (David Bingham) will be putting across their own ideas. We have an idea of what they’re capable of but, looking at their results and performances and then looking at ours so far, I wouldn’t be putting a bet on the result!
“We always want to do well because the Scottish Cup the biggest competition we’re involved in. Obviously, the league is the most important in terms of what you work for all season but the Scottish Cup is the biggest trophy we can play for in terms of prestige and excitement.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, the crowds are better, the interest in the game from outsiders is far greater so it’s fantastic to be involved. To be honest, we haven’t really spoken too much about it but the game will take care of itself.”
On how the season has panned out for his team so far, Ogunro said: “I think our results should be better. It’s been small errors that have cost us because we’ve actually played well enough to win all our games.
“It would be easy to look at the negatives and for other teams to say ‘oh Edinburgh Uni are rubbish’ but that’s not been the case at all. In all honesty, I’m quite happy with the way things are going.
“If we can get a bit of momentum going then that could be crucial going forward.”
Elsewhere, Civil Service Strollers will be hoping for a more favourable outcome when they host Hawick Royal Albert at Christie Gillies Park.
The two sides met in the first Lowland League fixture of the season at the end of July where the Borders club secured their first three points with an emphatic 5-0 defeat of their Capital opponents. However, Alex Cunningham’s men have found their feet in recent weeks and were narrowly beaten 2-1 by current league leaders East Kilbride in the first round of the South Region Challenge Cup last weekend.
Meanwhile, Craig Nisbet and his Preston Athletic squad will welcome the break from league commitments as they undertake the 350-mile round trip to Station Park where Highland League opposition Nairn County await. The Panners have found life difficult so far this term, taking just four points from a possible 24 which sees them currently occupy bottom spot in the division. However, a 7-1 thumping of East of Scotland opponents Tweedmouth Rangers in last Saturday’s South Region Challenge Cup tie should make the bus journey north that little more bearable.
Spartans are the only side not involved in Scottish Cup action this weekend as they welcome East Stirlingshire to Ainslie Park on league business. Victory for Dougie Samuel’s players would see his team move above Cumbernauld Colts into second spot and close the gap on early pacesetters East Kilbride to four points.
• See www.edinburghnews.com tomorrow for a preview of Leith Athletic’s Scottish Cup clash with Cumbernauld Colts.