Spartans are looking to make it grim up north for Culter

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Spartans have accumulated a number of notable scalps in their recent Scottish Cup history including those of Elgin City and Lossiemouth from the Highlands.

Once more the Ainslie Park outfit travel north, to face Culter, the current SJFA North Superleague champions, in the second round of this season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.

Spartans’ preparations for Scottish Cup ties are always meticulous and Sam Lynch, their co-manager, made the journey to Peterculter, which is situated ten miles inland from Aberdeen, last weekend to watch them play at home against Longside in a North Regional Cup tie.

“Culter won 4-0 and, in fact, in their previous four games they won 4-0, 5-1, 4-0 and 5-0 so they are a side that is very used to winning,” said Lynch.

“I was very impressed with their whole set-up, including their excellent pitch and the nice group of people who run the club. They are obviously one of the top clubs in the North Superleague and they have a winning mentality, which will make our game difficult. Their strengths are going forward and in Ryan Scott and Ross McWilliam they have two excellent goalscorers who are putting the ball in the net for fun at the moment.

“They like to get the ball wide then get it into the penalty box where they can utilise their strength. They are definitely a dangerous team and it will be tough tomorrow. However, we want to exploit some of their weaknesses which we have identified.

“Spartans have travelled up to the north of Scotland before so we know what to expect and know what is required. We have our own strengths and we are going there with confidence. It’s never easy playing against top Junior sides, although we did beat Pollok three years ago.”

Spartans have a changed look about them this season after losing experienced campaigners Ross Archibald, Alex King and Chris Townsley, although they did add Scott Fusco, Alasdair MacKinnon and Chris Anderson.

“All of our new signings have done really well and we are currently sitting at the top of the league,” stressed Lynch. “There has been a bit of a transition but we have scored a lot more goals this season. Tomorrow, we will have to defend well and also show our strengths going forward. We are representing the entire East of Scotland League in Culter and we want a positive result that means that we are still in the Scottish Cup at tea-time tomorrow.

“We know that Culter will be in our faces so we need to defend well and keep possession when we have the ball. We are very well prepared.”

Spartans will give late fitness tests to Kerr Dodds, Donal Henretty and Robbie Manson while Jonny Seeley is doubtful because of work commitments. However, leading goalscorer Keith McLeod, who notched a double last Saturday on his return, is fully fit and his eye for a goal could well be an influential factor in this latest adventure.

The game kicks off at Crombie Park, Peterculter at 3pm with admission £8 for adults and £4 for concessions.

Vale of Leithen are in the midst of a remarkable run which has seen them win ten games in a row as they await Cove Rangers, currently sitting in third position in the Highland League only one point behind the leaders.

“No-one can argue with that run of form,” stressed the Vale manager, former Hearts and Berwick Rangers player, Robbie Horn. “We have a very strong squad with everybody within it playing well and looking for a starting place against Cove Rangers.”

Also in the Borders, Gala Fairydean have northerly opposition in North Caledonian League club Golspie Sutherland, with manager Fraser Lothian saying: “Golspie have not had a great start to the season but tomorrow is all about us and how we come out of the traps.

“For the first occasion this season, I have a full squad available with Craig Livingstone and Grant Gass both fully fit. The incentive to progress to the third round is massive and this is a major game for Gala Fairydean. We are quietly confident that we can win.”

Gals are having to play all of their games away from home until their new 3G surface is laid at Netherdale and tomorrow’s game is at Albert Park, Hawick, kick-off 3pm.