Spartans keeper: Beating Kilby perfect prep for St Mirren tie
Spartans goalkeeper Blair Carswell reckons that becoming the first team in 30 games to defeat East Kilbride has provided the perfect morale boost for this weekend's William Hill Scottish Cup tie against St Mirren.
Last weekend’s home victory over Lowland League table-toppers East Kilbride – courtesy of Jack Hay’s solitary strike – ended a mammoth run in which Kilby broke Ajax’s world record of 26 consecutive victories. With a trip to the Championship’s bottom club in the third round of the cup this weekend, Carswell says there has been a real adrenaline rush around Ainslie Park this week.
“Everyone’s looking forward to it as it’s a great occasion for the club,” he said. “There’s no pressure on us so we’ll be looking to do the best we can.
“St Mirren seem to be really struggling so you just never know. We’ve prepared properly, we’re looking to win the game so we’ll just take it as it comes.”
Carswell became the first goalkeeper to register a clean sheet against Kilby in more than eight months. To not concede against a team who have already racked up 48 goals in 15 league matches this term was the perfect response to a South Region Challenge Cup defeat by East of Scotland League side Tynecastle 12 days ago. “Clean sheets are what you want as a goalkeeper,” the former Heriot-Watt No. 1 said. “They have been rattling in goals for fun so I suppose it made it that wee bit more special. To be honest, I never had much to do but I was pleased. We’ve had a couple of poor results ourselves this season but we saw East Kilbride as a great opportunity to bounce back from going out of the cup the week before and show that we can compete with the top team in the league.
“It has been a bit of a mix bag so far this year. We’ve played well in a lot of games but just haven’t come away with the points. I don’t think we’ve had the rub of the green with a lot of things but hopefully our fortunes can change.”
East Kilbride remain 13 points clear of their opponents at the summit and Carswell is urging other clubs to take points off them and boost Spartans’ title challenge. We’ve got to fight until the end so it’s never over until the fat lady sings,” the 21-year-old said. “Ideally, teams will now start to believe that they can take points off East Kilbride having seen us do it last weekend. I’m not saying they’re not good enough to be where they are because they’ve more than proved that in the games they’ve played already this season. But, hopefully they drop a few more points and we can start to eat into the gap.
“I think the points gap between ourselves and them is a bit extreme and I think anyone who was at the game last Saturday could see that the difference between the two teams isn’t what the table shows.”