Whitehill Welfare striker Aaron Somerville has targeted a top-two finish in the Lowland League this season – then wants to emulate Spartans’ Scottish Cup heroics.
The frontman, who bagged a hat-trick against Tynecastle last weekend in Welfare’s first competitive fixture since January 3, admitted catching Edinburgh City at the top is unrealistic, but believes a runners-up spot is certainly achievable.
With that comes entry into the second round of next season’s Scottish Cup and, having seen the coverage of Spartans’ run to the fifth round this season, Somerville wants to give Whitehill a chance of replicating that next year.
Ahead of tomorrow’s league clash at home to Stirling University, he said: “Wherever I’ve played my football, playing in the Scottish Cup has been a huge incentive. That’s where you want be competing.”
“Even the likes of Stirling tomorrow – those are the big games you want to be playing in. There are a few boys who have looked at how Spartans have done this year – I wouldn’t say there’s jealousy but that’s what teams are aspiring to do and get a cup run. So finishing second would maybe help with that next year.
It’s a big ask, but it’s something we’ve got our eye on and get the wee extra round in the Scottish next year. Realistically, it’s difficult to see Edinburgh City slipping up. We’ll keep going and try to pick up points in every game, but they’re the run-away leaders and are proving very difficult to stop. We’ve drawn both games against them this year, but they’re difficult to beat.
“There’s also stiff competition round about us for second place with Gretna, Kilby [East Kilbride], Stirling and Spartans so it’s going to be tight.”
Shelley Kerr’s side arrive at Ferguson Park tomorrow with a win against the hosts already under their belts. A late, deflected Jeff Kessie goal earned a narrow 2-1 win, and “Summy” expects a similarly close encounter tomorrow.
“Stirling are the kind of team – I wouldn’t say they’re a bogey team – that are very stuffy to play against. They have a few good players and always seem to cause us problems. It’s never really a thriller against them – it’s usually a tight, edgy game and we’re under no illusions.”
Despite last week’s treble, Somerville feels he and his team-mates are still lacking a bit of sharpness after recent postponements and revealed weeks of training on 3G pitches before a sudden switch to grass hasn’t helped.
“Last week was kind of bittersweet with getting the goals which is fine, but I thought the entire team – myself included – were very poor. It was a funny game with the boys just glad to get a win and back into a routine with having so many games off.
“Our last game before that was Spartans at the start of January which we won and wanted to kick on from that result but we then had six or seven games postponed which wasn’t ideal.
The other problem was training on artificial surfaces through the week – which are great for training facilities – but spending six or seven weeks on 3G before going back to grass I think was a factor in our sloppy performance.”
Those three goals put Somerville on 22 for the season and while he isn’t worried about hitting 30, he is pleased to have improved on previous hauls. “I’ve never really had a target, but Mickey’s [Lawson] said the last three years I’ve scored 20 so I’ve got to be pleased with 22!”