Hawick Royal ​Albert hoping for third win on trot after knocking Bathgate Thistle out of South Region Challenge Cup

Hawick Royal Albert right-back James Stewart on the ball against Bathgate Thistle during his side's 2-1 South Region Challenge Cup second-round win at home on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)Hawick Royal Albert right-back James Stewart on the ball against Bathgate Thistle during his side's 2-1 South Region Challenge Cup second-round win at home on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)
Hawick Royal Albert right-back James Stewart on the ball against Bathgate Thistle during his side's 2-1 South Region Challenge Cup second-round win at home on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)
​Hawick Royal Albert are hoping to rack up their third win on the bounce this weekend after knocking East of Scotland Football League third division table-toppers Bathgate out of the South Region Challenge Cup at home on Saturday and winning their first Borders derby of this season at Linton Hotspur seven days previously.

​That was Albert’s second 2-1 win against the West Lothian side in the space of three weeks after beating them on the road in the league last month.

This time round, after James MacAdam had put the visitors in front on 17 minutes, their scorers at home at Albert Park at the weekend were Harry Fowler right on the final whistle from the penalty spot for a foul on Keiran Grant, taking the tie to extra time, and Greg Ford five minutes later.

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That sets up a third-round tie away to North Ayrshire’s Kilwinning Rangers in mid-October but the Royalists return to league action in the meantime at home to Edinburgh Community this coming Saturday, with kick-off at 2.30pm.

Hawick Royal Albert goal-scorer Harry Fowler in action against Bathgate Thistle in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)Hawick Royal Albert goal-scorer Harry Fowler in action against Bathgate Thistle in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)
Hawick Royal Albert goal-scorer Harry Fowler in action against Bathgate Thistle in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)

They go into that game sitting sixth in the table on ten points from five fixtures, one place in the standings and two points better off than their visitors from the capital, one of Aitchison’s former clubs but known as Craigroyston at the time.

It’s a re-run of the visitors’ 3-1 win in Hawick at the start of August, a result since declared null and void because the Edinburgh side made too many substitutions, Fowler having netted for the hosts on that occasion.

Casting his mind back to that fixture, Albert’s second of the season after a 3-1 win at Pumpherston at the end of July, Aitchison recalled: “To cut a long story short, the referee told us on 72 minutes that he’d realised the opposition had made an additional substitution, six instead of five, and the significance of that was, because we’d already had three sub intervals, we had to go down to ten men for about 18 minutes as we had a player injured.

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“During that time our opponents had an extra man, we conceded two goals and ended up losing 3-1.

Midfielder Jack McAlpine helping Hawick Royal Albert beat Bathgate Thistle 2-1 at home in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)Midfielder Jack McAlpine helping Hawick Royal Albert beat Bathgate Thistle 2-1 at home in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)
Midfielder Jack McAlpine helping Hawick Royal Albert beat Bathgate Thistle 2-1 at home in the South Region Challenge Cup's second round on Saturday (Photo: Brian Sutherland)

“It was a really bizarre game.”

Aitchison rates this weekend’s game as a good opportunity for Albert to pick up points, saying: “I’m quite happy to be playing them again at this stage of the season, I must say.

“We had quite a few players missing then. Our team this time will be a lot stronger.”

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