Kilby on cup trail

McNeill in­sists onus is on favourites Cow­den in cup

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Thom­son

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

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