'˜Mr Leith' aims to help Athletic past visitors Coldstream
You could attribute captain Neil Lowson with the name tag 'Mr Leith' given the defender is the club's current longest servant with almost two decades of football under his belt.
It would therefore be a fitting tribute where he to lead the club into the Scottish Cup first round tomorrow with victory over opponents and East of Scotland rivals Coldstream.
Tomorrow’s tie, which is being played at Spartans’ Ainslie Park, is the second preliminary round of the competition, Leith having easily navigated themselves past St Cuthbert Wanderers in Kirkcudbright three weeks ago in what was the club’s first Scottish Cup tie for 62 years. Lowson has already tasted success in a competition of similar ilk when he was part of the club’s under-17 squad that defeated Johnstone Burgh to lift the Scottish Youth Cup in May 2008.
But Lowson, now 25, believes success at the club has been brewing for sometime.
“Leith has a much more professional feel to it and that’s even down to the kit we have. Everyone is in the same training gear every week and we have our base at Meadowbank,” Lowson explained. “It’s a lot more organised because in the past it was like finding a space at the (Leith) Links and we were left to get on with it.
“A lot of that is down to the coaches and the volunteers at the club. Some of the boys in our team help out with the lower age groups as well so it’s a real community club. It’s a big honour to be captain and it’s something I don’t take lightly.
“I’ve been at the club since I was six so it’s a special place to be part of. I’m very happy here at the moment, I live on that side of town so there is no reason for me to move. I get on with all the boys and coaches so I’m really happy to be playing my football here.”
Leith are no strangers to tomorrow’s opposition with both teams representatives of the East of Scotland League. The hosts were unbetaen against the Borders outfit last season winning all three of the fixtures between the teams. However, Lowson stressed he and his team-mates can take nothing for granted given the potential rewards at stake.
“We go into the game knowing a lot more about Coldstream than we did about St Cuthbert in the previous round,” Lowson said. “That was a little bit of the unknown, it was a long bus journey down there so we didn’t really know what to expect. But we came through it and got the result we wanted.
“It will be a tough game tomorrow but I think being on the astro should suit our game. I think it will benefit us the game being played at Ainslie Park as we’re so used to the surface at Meadowbank.
“We’re not going to change too much just because it’s a Scottish Cup game. We’re confident we can get a result but we’ve got to avoid that complacency and forget that we’ve played them many times before.
“It’s great that the professional teams come into the fray in the next round but we can only start looking at who we might face if we take care of our business tomorrow.
“If we are to get through, I don’t think we’ll be phased by any of the teams we could face as it’s an opportunity to show what we can do and a reward for winning the league last season.
“Everyone wants to impress on the biggest stage as they can and for us that’s the Scottish Cup.
“We’ve got a big season ahead of us,” Lowson continued. “Our long-term aim is to get ourselves into the Lowland League and be part of that set-up. But we just have to take one thing at a time.”