Scott Clapperton: Civil Service Strollers want another taste of South Region Challenge Cup glory
Civil Service Strollers’ Scott Clapperton has revealed he and his team-mates are desperate to relive the euphoria of their recent South Region Challenge Cup success.
The Capital outfit clinched the silverware in May last year following a 2-1 extra-time victory over BSC Glasgow and Clapperton admits there is a real buzz around Christie Gillies Park ahead of Lowland League rivals Kelty Hearts’ visit on third-round duty on Saturday.
The 29-year-old defensive midfielder says there was a real sense of disappointment the club failed to defend their cup win at the first time of asking last season but insists they will be doing all they can to repeat their heroics of 17 months ago.
“It was the first trophy we had won in a while and it was a great experience,” the 29-year-old explained. “It was our goal to retain it last year, but it wasn’t to be so it’s very much our target to go and get it back this season.
“Kelty are a really good side, there’s no getting away from that. But if you want to win the trophy and get to the latter stages of these competitions then you have to beat good teams along the way, whether that be in the first round or the final itself.”
The two sides have already faced off against one another on Lowland League duty this term, Barry Ferguson’s men earning a comfortable 5-0 victory at New Central Park in August.
However, Clapperton doesn’t think that setback will have any bearing on this weekend’s cup tie.
He said: “We still had a few new faces trying to bed in so I think we’ve come on a lot since then. There’s no feeling of revenge on our part, we just want to get through to the next round.
“I actually think the scoreline was a bit harsh the last time we played them, but Kelty can do that to you given the opportunity.
“When we have everyone fit and available we’ve got a really strong squad and that has been a problem so far this season. We can still get better as the season progresses but we have enjoyed a fairly solid start.”
Strollers have produced the goods when up against the so called bigger clubs having already beaten league champions East Kilbride and Berwick Rangers away from home this season.
However, they succumbed to a 2-1 loss at East Stirlingshire six days ago despite taking the lead with less than 15 minutes remaining.
“We almost finished last week on a real high having beaten Edinburgh Uni midweek and Cumbernauld the Saturday before,” Clapperton said. “We played really well in the first half against East Stirlingshire, but I think we ran out of steam – we just didn’t play well enough to hold on.”
Premier Division (2.30pm): Sauchie v Whitehill Welfare.
Conference A (2.30pm): Lothian Thistle HV v Haddington Athletic, St Andrews United v Peebles Rovers, Leith Athletic v Burntisland Shipyard.
Conference B (2.30pm): Arniston Rangers v Tynecastle, Coldstream v Edinburgh United, Coldstream v Edinburgh United, Stirling University (EOSFL) v Hawick RA, Tweedmouth Rangers v Dalkeith Thistle.
South Challenge Cup third round (3pm unless stated): Upper Annandale v Tranent (2pm), Blackburn United v East Stirlingshire (2.30pm), Camelon v Heriot-Watt Uni (2.30pm), Craigroyston v Preston Athletic (2.30pm), Dunbar v Broxburn (2.30pm), Dunipace v Glenrothes (2.30pm), Easthouses Lily v East Kilbride (2.30pm), Penicuik Athletic v Hill of Beath (2.30pm), Bonnyrigg Rose v Threave Rovers, BSC Glasgow v Gala Fairydean Rovers, Caledonian Braves v Musselburgh Athletic, Civil Service Strollers v Kelty Hearts, Cumbernauld Colts v Jeanfield Swifts, Heston Rovers v Linlithgow Rose, Nithsdale Wanderers v Bonnyton Thistle, Spartans v Stirling University