Can ama­teurs join ranks of Show­park gi­ant-killers?

Boss ad­mits: ‘No tougher draw’

East Kilbride News - - MOTORS - Paul Thom­son

There’s a real feel-good fac­tor around the Show­park these days.

East Kil­bride This­tle are rid­ing high af­ter stun­ning Su­per Pre­mier side Gir­van in the Ju­nior Cup and sur­pass­ing ex­pec­ta­tions in the league.

The new man­age­ment team, headed up by ex-Jags player Alan Pater­son, have built on the pro­mo­tion suc­cess the club en­joyed un­der Billy Camp­bell last sea­son.

The club’s com­mit­tee are even bring­ing a bit of life back to the old ground, with a new cafe and gym in­stalled within the Show­park.

And now This­tle’s am­a­teur team are giv­ing the club even more to shout about.

Man­age­ment trio Chris McColl, Gor­don Wil­son and Jamie Scott have guided the squad to the fourth round of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup for the very first time, fol­low­ing a 5-1 win over Dysart.

Their re­ward for that suc­cess is a daunt­ing tie away to two-time cham­pi­ons Dalziel next month – a side who have won their pre­vi­ous ties 14-0 and 7-0.

But such is the air of op­ti­mism around Maxwell Drive, This­tle Ama­teurs be­lieve they can fol­low in the foot­steps of their Ju­nior coun­ter­parts and record a cup shock.

Gaffer McColl, from St Leonards, said: “Win­ning is a good habit and the boys are buzzing with the run we are on.

“Every­one had their eyes glued to their phones for the draw last week – and we ended up get­ting Dalziel.

“We couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw.

“Pre­mier League cham­pi­ons in the Caledonian League – one of the big­gest Am­a­teur leagues in Scot­land – and a team who have won two Scot­tish Cups, they are a mas­sive team.

“Be­ing part of the This­tle set-up here gives us an idea into the work ethic needed. The Ju­nior team work their socks off all the time and you can see the re­wards on the pitch.

“They are beat­ing teams two leagues above them and do­ing re­ally well, so we’ll try and take con­fi­dence from how good things are around the club right now. “We don’t fear any­one. “It’s been dire for ages here, so it’s good to see things go­ing well and that is rain­ing down on the Ama­teurs and our un­der-19s, who are also do­ing well.

“The sea­son be­fore we got put out in the first round of the Scot­tish Cup and the sec­ond of the West, so it’s un­be­liev­able to get to the fourth round.”

Much like the Ju­nior team, the Ama­teurs are build­ing on pro­mo­tion last sea­son.

They won the Strath­clyde Satur­day Morn­ing League 1C ti­tle in May and are com­ing to terms with the step up.

McColl has re­placed Ross McNeil at the helm, af­ter he gave up the role to con­cen­trate on his play­ing ca­reer across town with East Kil­bride FC, and the new man­age­ment team be­lieves this sea­son’s sterner tests will stand the side in good stead for the cup chal­lenge ahead.

“It’s been a hard start jump­ing up a league and play­ing teams like Tynecas­tle, who have ex-pros like Char­lie Miller and Andy McLaren play­ing with them,” said McColl.

“The boys have found the step up dif­fi­cult.

“The num­bers were dwin­dling a bit, but our first ses­sion we had 15 bod­ies there and we had 19 to choose from by the time the Dysart game came along.”

Gor­don, from Whitehills, added: “We’ve got a cou­ple of the Ju­nior boys play­ing in our team, who got pro­moted last sea­son, so that will help.

“They couldn’t make Satur­day af­ter­noons any more so they’ve joined us for the Satur­day morn­ings. Liam Sloan, who was vice-cap­tain of the Ju­niors last sea­son, and Jor­dan Brown, so we’ve got some good play­ers in the team.

“Dysart were a big phys­i­cal team and we held our own against them. We were 1-0 down at half-time and then we played them off the park in the sec­ond half.”

Jamie, from Green­hills, said: “Ev­ery Scot­tish Cup game has been like a cup fi­nal for us and we’ll treat this one the same.

“The boys will be con­fi­dent and they need to play it like it’s the last game they are ever go­ing to play if we are go­ing to do some­thing.”

This­tle Ama­teurs take on Dalziel in the fourth round of the Am­a­teur Cup on Satur­day, De­cem­ber 2.

His­tory boys From left: Gor­don Wil­son, Chris McColl and Jamie Scott have guided This­tle Ama­teurs to the fourth round of the Scot­tish Cup for the first time

Special mo­ment This­tle Ama­teurs have kicked on from win­ning the Strath­clyde Satur­day Morn­ing League 1C last sea­son

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