Penicuik Athletic keep focus on derby despite looming Partick Thistle tie

Manager Milne tells players to take it one game at a time

Friday, 15th November 2019, 6:00 am
Penicuik manager Kevin Milne

Scottish Cup fever is beginning to consume Penicuik Athletic ahead of next weekend’s visit to Scottish Championship outfit Partick Thistle – but first up is a Midlothian derby against Newtongrange Star tomorrow.

Penicuik co-boss Kevin Milne has urged his players to treat their East of Scotland Premier Division clash as

their most important match of the season so far as he and Tony Begg try to prevent their players from looking ahead to their bumper third-round tie.

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The club were this week

granted an extra 500 tickets to sell for Firhill after their initial allocation of 1000 sold out. Songs are being written by fans for next week’s trip, while various media outlets have been along to training as the days count down.

“This game is the most important of our season now, it’s our full focus,” said Milne. “Since the Stenhousemuir game we have said to the boys that each match in front of us is the most important. We’ve told them not to worry about the 23rd November.

“This is a Midlothian derby, so regardless of our result last week and Newtongrange’s result last week it is two local teams going at each other. It will be entertaining; I’m sure there will be loads of chances created at both ends, but hopefully we will be the victors in the game.

“It is always an interesting game between the two sides, it’s always been highly competitive and exciting. I’m sure the spectators will be looking for that but for us, we will just be looking to go and win the game and make sure we will be in perfect preparation for the following week.

“When you look at their team, they have great players with a lot of good experience and they probably shouldn’t be where they are – whether it’s luck or a bit of confidence, I don’t know. They will be looking to prove a point. They will be wanting to try and quieten us down a wee bit.”

Places in the starting XI to face Partick are still up for grabs as Milne and Begg will leave the decisions for

choosing their best team until as late as possible before visiting Firhill so that each player has every chance to prove themselves for the club’s biggest ever game.

Milne continued: “Everyone is fit and available, which is great for us. It has given us a headache because everyone needs to put in a performance so they can be available for the Partick game.

“They need to put themselves in the window for that. I look at our bench the last couple of weeks and these guys were starters four, five or six weeks ago. Players have come in and taken their positions, and done well. That’s the most difficult thing about our job here, trying to keep all our players happy.

“We won’t go there [to Newtongrange] with the thought process of resting players because ultimately the league is more important than the Scottish Cup. We want to try and get out of this league, and it is absolutely critical that we go out and try to get the three points.

“I would hope that every single player is focused on the task at hand, because you can also play your way out of a team. It’s really important that we just focus fully on the Newontgrange game because I don’t want us to get sidetracked. After Saturday we can start thinking about the Partick game.”