Spanish twist to Vale’s Scottish Cup adventure

A FORMER Barcelona player is set to make his Scottish Cup debut against Vale of Leithen this Saturday, writes John Slorance and Kenny Paterson.

The Innerleithen side travel to Cowdenbeath in the third round of the cup, with the Blue Brazil hoping to include new Spanish midfielder Albert Puigdollers Saperas, who played in a reserve match on Tuesday night.

After featuring for the Nou Camp club’s B and C teams, Saperas played more than 300 games for lower league clubs in Spain, before leaving Second Division side CE Sabadell this year. The inclusion of Saperas would add to the excitement already surrounding the tie for the Tweeddale club and its supporters.

Vale co-manager Fraser Ogilvie told TheSouthern: “It’s a big occasion for the Vale to be playing in the third round and the players and everyone involved with the club are looking forward to it.

“Cowdenbeath are a First Division side and nobody really expects us to win, so there is no pressure on us.

“However, we could surprise a few people and that’s what the Scottish Cup is all about.

“It will be our aim to keep it steady at the back and hold Cowdenbeath.

“We will not give them time, and will try and unsettle them from the start. Hopefully, we will create our own chances as well.

“I have 18 guys all wanting to play and we will be certainly up for the game.”

Elsewhere, Hawick Royal Albert square up against Easthouses Lily in the East of Scotland First Division.

The two sides met in the Image Printers’ Cup two weeks back with Easthouses emerging the victors on penalties in a bruising encounter that produced four red cards and several yellows.

Hawick manager Graeme Chadwick, who saw his side thrashed 13-1 by Stirling University last weekend, said: “We were short of 10 players against Stirling, and ended up getting destroyed.

“Due to getting beaten by such a big score, we have been criticised a lot and hit hard on various websites. However, we fulfilled the fixture and that was the important thing.

“The Easthouses game is an ideal opportunity for us to respond to the Stirling defeat.”

Hawick are without banned Ross Brand, but Graham Clee, Ronald Fleming and Jay Paterek return from suspension. Paul Power and Raymond Fleming are also back in the Albert squad.

In a game that has all the makings of producing some fireworks, Kelso United take on Gala Fairydean at Woodside Park.

Peebles Rovers are minus banned pair Greig Shortreed and Jason Girdwood for their home tussle against Duns.

And struggling Selkirk are involved in Image Printers Cup action in hosting Heriot-Watt University at Yarrow Park.

Meanwhile, Gala Fairydean have pulled out of the East of Scotland Under-19s League, with Selkirk taking their place.

The Fairies, who lost 14-0 to Kilmarnock in the Scottish Youth Cup last month, have been struggling to find a permanent qualified coaching team since the departure of Ally McCulloch.

A spokesman for The Dean said: “The club have tried as hard as they could to get the positions covered but to no avail.”