Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale striker Jamie Devlin has warned Stirling Albion they risk being eliminated from the William Hill Scottish Cup if they assume their SPFL League Two status will be enough to see them through.
The Binos squad would have been licking their lips upon learning they had been handed a home tie against the second lowest-ranked team left in the competition – amateur club Colville Park are the lowest – when the draw for the second round was made almost three weeks ago.
But, 24-year-old Devlin, who has amassed 20 goals already this term, insists the current League Two leaders are setting themselves up for an almighty fall if they think they are in for an easy ride at Forthbank tomorrow afternoon.
The East of Scotland League champions have already come through some tough opposition in Kelty Hearts and Inverurie Loco Works just to get to this stage and the former Whitehill Welfare frontman isn’t ready to see their Scottish Cup journey end just yet.
“If they were up against a Lowland League club then they would maybe mindful of the fact we were in the league immediately below them. However, because we’re even lower than that might just see them underestimate us that wee bit more,” Devlin explained.
“I would imagine they have looked at our results and have taken notice of the fact that we’ve been flying but I think they could be a bit complacent which might just do us a favour.
“We’re going there to win. It’s as simple as that. We don’t need any more games than what we’ve already got so we’re not even thinking about trying to get them back to Saughton for a replay. If we go and play our own game then I think we’ll cause them problems.
“The difference between the clubs is massive but someone has got to cause an upset somewhere. We always believe we will score so it’s just about trying to stop them.
“We’ve done our research on them and they’ve got some decent players on the wings and they score a lot goals, but they also concede a fair few as well.”
Devlin’s early season goal-scoring heroics, coupled with team-mate Sean Wringe’s healthy 17-goal tally, recently prompted manager Raymond Carr into saying he believes that, outwith the SPFL, he has the most formidable strike partnership in Scotland at his disposal.
“I read what Raymond had to say and it’s nice what he thinks. Sean and I have got a good partnership off the pitch as well which always helps,” the striker explained. “It just seems to happen [the goalscoring] and when I’m not scoring he does and vice versa.
“But there’s goals everywhere in the team so it takes the pressure of the forward-thinking guys, especially this weekend because it doesn’t matter where the chances come from it’s about taking them.
“We are looking sharp and a lot better than last season. We had a free Saturday last week but we were in for training, just an hour and a half so nothing too heavy. We’ve had another good week’s training so everyone is looking fresh, no new injuries so it’s all set up for a great game.
“Since the Inverurie game in the last round things have kind of dragged on a bit. I’ve just been trying to keep myself fit and ticking over. I don’t think I’ve ever had a build-up to a game like this in my career so I just want to go out and do myself justice tomorrow.”
And what about the prospect of testing himself against tomorrow’s level of opposition every week?
“It’s frustrating because you look forward to these big matches and then the following week you could be away to Burntisland,” Devlin said. “When you see what’s going in the Lowland League, it’s difficult to watch because of the quality we have in our team and what we could be doing in that division and even higher than that.
“It might be hard to keep us all together and at some point that time may come. It’s up to the club now to keep pushing.”