Tranent Juniors’ Gary Small has urged the town’s football fans to come out in force and cheer his side on in tomorrow’s Scottish Junior Cup clash with record 11-times winners Auchinleck Talbot.
It’s a dream second-round tie for the South Division outfit as they welcome the holders to Foresters Park (kick-off 2.00pm) and Small wants the occasion to be an enjoyable one for players and fans alike.
“This game has captured the imagination of everyone in Tranent – it’s beyond our wildest dreams,” said Small, whose side currently sit top of the east regions third tier.
“The cup holders are in town and we’re playing a side who have been on the crest of a wave for the past three or four years.
“Only three or four months ago, Tranent were on the brink of going under. Now we face the biggest Junior side in the land and we can’t wait.
“We’ve been doing well since the start of the season and are sitting in top spot but it’s big games like this that will show just how far we’ve come. I’m telling the players to milk the occasion but keep their concentration on winning the game.
“For most of the players this will be the biggest game of their lives so they must first of all enjoy it but not take their eye off getting a result.
“Talbot will be hurting after losing out in the William Hill Scottish Cup last week and won’t want a repeat. They are still a huge force in our game.
“The crowd could be around the thousand mark so it’ll be a carnival atmosphere. However, we want the crowd to get behind the team and support us. It might be a while before we meet the likes of Auchinleck again so we should all enjoy the game.”
Tranent could be facing Talbot at a good time with Tommy Sloan’s West Super League champions having something of a sticky spell.
Their William Hill Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Lowland League new boys Cumbernauld Colts last weekend will have hurt badly and Tranent will be wary of a backlash. Home goalkeeper Sinclair Inglis is likely to face a busy afternoon but is up for the challenge.
“I reckon I’ll need to be bang on form to face this side,” he said.
“It’s going to be busy but goalkeepers like to be busy. If we can keep them out for the first half hour then we’ll get a huge lift from that.
“Everyone will need to be on top of their game because matxhes don’t come much bigger than this for us. It’s the biggest game I’ve played in and it’s the same for a lot of the guys, so bring it on.”
Elsewhere in the Junior Cup tomorrow, Newtongrange Star host Petershill in their second-round replay in what promises to be a tough encounter.
Linlithgow play host to Ayrshire side Annbank after last week’s William Hill Scottish Cup victory at Inverness Clachnacuddin while Arniston Rangers have a replay at home to Larkhall.
Armadale face the long trip to Cruden Bay after the game was postponed last week and Fauldhouse get another crack at West Super League side Hurlford in their replay.
In other replays, Bathgate are away to Greenock while Easthouses Lily host Saltcoats.