THE first steps on the long and winding road to Hampden Park for the final of the Scottish Cup will be taken on Saturday, writes John Slorance.
And set to take these steps, which they hope to turn into strides, are Borders sides Gala Fairydean, Hawick Royal Albert, Selkirk and Vale of Leithen.
The draw has thrown old rivals and near neighbours Gala and Hawick together for a match that takes place at Yarrow Park, Selkirk.
Fairydean manager Fraser Lothian told TheSouthern: “We are looking forward to a real battle and it’s a battle we will be going all out to win. The big park at Selkirk will suit our style of play. The facilities are great and I think the match will attract a big crowd.
“Apart from having Craig Livingstone out, we are more or less at full strength and it’s going to be a problem picking the team, but it’s a good problem to have.”
Hawick team boss Mick Murphy doesn’t believe in having teams ‘watched’ and said: “Teams can have good games and bad games and change formation, so you spy on a side and end up getting the wrong idea.
“It doesn’t matter how you have done or how you have been playing, it’s what happens on Saturday that counts.
“It’s an away game for both teams, and it’s also a Hawick Gala match, so anything could happen. I won’t need to motivate the players, they know what this game is all about, and its importance. If we are good enough we will make the next round, it’s as simple as that.”
Albert are without Jordan Yardley who has been released. A close-season signing from Hawick Waverley, the cavalier Yardley, who has shown up well for the Royalists, is taking up a college position in Hamilton and will be staying there. His sudden release, however, is a surprise.
Vale host Girvan at Victoria Park and manager Robbie Horn said: “I am pleased with the way we have been playing and, with home advantage, we have a good chance of winning this Saturday’s tie.”
Vale have a doubt about Grant McNicholl who has a knee injury, while Jamie Lauder is on the fringe of making the squad after being on the injured list for a while.
Talking of his side’s Highland clash against Nairn County, Selkirk manager Bryan Templeton told us: “Nairn play at a high level and are obviously a good side, so we are going to be up against it.
“We know that we have a job on our hands, but we are capable of doing it.”
Included in the Selkirk squad is 21-year-old Spaniard Romero Aguilera, who arrived in Scotland last weekend.
In the First Division, Peebles Rovers tackle Ormiston at Whitestone Park and Kelso United meet Berwick Rangers Reserves.
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