Who areThe New Saints?

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - READER TRAVEL -

An­drew McNair

Un­like the trav­el­ling Queen of the South, their op­po­nents on Sun­day reg­u­larly play in Europe and have en­ter­tained the likes of Manch­ester City and Liver­pool in their non­do­mes­tic ad­ven­tures.

In fact, in 2010 The New Saints came within one round of qual­i­fy­ing for the Cham­pi­ons League group stages, only to lose out heav­ily to Bel­gian gi­ants An­der­lecht.

The Welsh Premier League side, who have had a se­ries of dif­fer­ent names in their 58 year ex­is­tence, in­clud­ing To­tal Net­work So­lu­tions, are ac­tu­ally based over the bor­der in Oswestry, Shrop­shire and play at Park Hall in the town – a 2,000 ca­pac­ity ground.

They’ve won the Welsh ti­tle six years in a row and once again top the ta­ble after 12 games in 2017/18.

Their cur­rent side led by man­ager Scott Rus­coe con­tains a few fa­mil­iar faces that Queens fans will no doubt recog­nise. Ex-Hamil­ton Ac­cies and Dum­bar­ton mid­fielder Jon Rout­ledge has ap­peared at Palmer­ston and for­mer Scot­land in­ter­na­tional de­fender Steve Saun­ders ac­tu­ally spent time train­ing with the Doon­hamers a cou­ple of sum­mers ago as he looked for a new club. An­other player who has fea­tured in Scot­land is striker Wes Fletcher who had a stint with Mother­well be­fore his move to TNS. The game is the hosts’ third home draw in the Irn-Bru Cup this sea­son, in con­trast with the 2016/2017 com­pe­ti­tion which saw three con­sec­u­tive away matches. Wins at For­far Ath­letic and Liv­ingston were fol­lowed by a semi­fi­nal de­feat at St Mir­ren. This time around Queens’ fel­low Cham­pi­onship side Liv­ingston have also been over­come along with League two El­gin City. Rus­coe said: “It’s a big game. They’re a good side, a mix­ture of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence. “It’s go­ing to be a tough test and ev­ery­one needs to be at their best if we are go­ing to beat them.”

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