Home is where the Scottish Cup start is for local trio

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The Scottish Cup takes priority in Borders football this weekend and it’s certainly creating a buzz among the four clubs involved.

None more so than Gala Fairydean Rovers, who firmly believe that playing at Netherdale gives them great advantage over any opponents.

Coach Steven Noble told The Southern: “Home ties mean a great deal to us, especially in the cup, and, with the backing of our fantastic support base, we are confident that we can put on a good performance against most teams.”

On Saturday, Glasgow University are the visitors and although he has picked up a few pointers from Selkirk coach Mike McKinnon, whose team played the students last year, Noble is happy to go into the match very much uninformed.

He said: “Most teams we have played this season have been an unknown quantity to us and, in a way, that makes it easier as we can just go out and play our own type of football.”

Gala have a full-strength squad to chose from on Saturday and may be boosted by two new signings who Noble describes as “good experienced players who will only add to the squad”.

Selkirk are also at home where they face Highland League side Turiff United who will be missing two key players including captain and top scorer Gary Harris.

Selkirk, however, have yet to win a league game this season and remain underdogs.

“It’s up to the players to prove everyone wrong,” said boss McKinnon.

Hawick Royal Albert should fancy their chances of progress in the national tournament when facing South of Scotland league outfit St Cuthbert Wanderers at Albert Park.

Speaking after last weekend’s win over Kelso United, Albert striker Michael Smith said: ““Getting the win was big for us, and gives us confidence for going into the Scottish Cup.”

Vale of Leithen, on the other hand, face a 500-mile round trip to the Highlands to play Brora Rangers.

Also this weekend, Leith Athletic begin their defence of the Alex Jack Cup with a second-round tie at home to Peebles Rovers, while Kelso United and Berwick Rangers Reserves are involved in an East of Scotland First Division clash at Woodside Park.