Kilby on cup trail
McNeill insists onus is on favourites Cowden in cup
EK to face Cowdenbeath for fourth time in a year
East Kilbride striker Ross McNeil reckons Cowdenbeath will be feeling the pressure ahead of their Scottish Cup second-round clash this weekend.
The teams will face-off for the fourth time in a year on Saturday, following a meeting at the same stage of the competition last year and two legs of the SPFL play-off final in May.
Although Kilby lost the play-off final on a heartbreaking penalty shootout, the Blue Brazil have yet to beat them in regulation play.
The Lowland League champions won 1-0 at Central Park in the cup last term with 10 men and go into the clash at the same venue in similar circumstances, with Kilby fighting for a league title and Cowden rooted to the bottom of League Two.
And McNeil, EK’s top scorer this season with nine goals, said: “They are the League Two side, so the onus is on them.
“We are the underdogs again and we can go and enjoy the game without pressure.
“We have good and bad memories at that park last season. But we are unbeaten there in two games and that will gives us confidence.
“It’s a new season now, there’s some new players here who didn’t play in those games, so I don’t think everyone will be thinking too much about what happened in the play-offs.
“The boys are picking up momentum in the league and we want to keep it going here.”
Cowdenbeath are on a dismal run at the moment having won just once in their last 12 games, losing nine.
McNeil will be hoping Kilby can heap more misery on the Fifers, but admits he’s happy to trade being the hero for a place in the next round.
“I haven’t scored a Scottish Cup goal for EK yet, but I would take a 1-0 and someone else scoring as long as we get through,” said the 23-year-old, who netted a hat-trick against Civil Service Strollers last week.
“Of course, I always want to score goals, but it’s all about the team and as long as we are in the hat on Saturday night I’ll be happy.”
Meanwhile, Kilby boss Billy Stark reckons it will be the chance of reaching the next round of the country’s flagship cup competition that will drive his players on and not a thirst for revenge.
He said: “I don’t think a win there would make up for last season, but it’s a Scottish Cup tie and we’ve seen the profile that we’ve got off of Scottish Cup ties in the past, so we want a taste of that again.
“I think that will be the big motivating factor on Saturday.”
No pressure McNeill is ready for Cowden tie