Kilby gun for Rovers

Billy Stark’s men look­ing for cup clash re­venge

East Kilbride News - - FRONT PAGE - Paul Thom­son

Re­venge will be on East Kil­bride’s mind when they head into their Scot­tish Cup third round clash with Al­bion Rovers this week­end – and there’s sev­eral ex-Rovers men aim­ing to up­set the odds.

The Coat­bridge club served up a 5-2 de­feat when the sides met at K-Park in the Bet­fred Cup this sea­son,but a strong con­tin­gent of ex-Rovers play­ers will be lead­ing the Kilby charge to atone for that mis­er­able day in July.

Not only was EK gaffer Billy Stark at Clifton­hill last sea­son as as­sis­tant man­ager, there are six play­ers who have all turned out for the Mon­k­lands side.

Kilby skip­per Barry Rus­sell spent three years at Rovers, while Ross McNeil, Kevin McCann, Matt McGin­ley, Martin McBride and Scott Steven­son have all pulled on a jer­sey for the League One club.

So there will be plenty of mo­ti­va­tion for them on Satur­day when their for­mer club comes call­ing.

Steven­son, who was with Rovers when they won the League Two ti­tle in 2015, said: “I don’t think the guys all re­alised how many of us have played for them.

“Ob­vi­ously, Barry has made a lot more ap­pear­ances than me but there’s a good five-a-side team in there any­way.

“I played for them the sea­son they won the league. I was only there for a few months af­ter I left St John­stone.

“I made my se­nior de­but for Rovers, so that was a good ex­pe­ri­ence for me even al­though I only made a cou­ple of ap­pear­ances be­cause I was part of a suc­cess­ful sea­son for the club.

“It was good to be in­volved in a ti­tle race at 19 and hav­ing ev­ery­thing work out so well for the team.

“But there will be a lot of guys go­ing out there to prove a point on Satur­day.

“We are all re­ally ex­cited about it and we want to prove, with it be­ing our for­mer club, that we are bet­ter than them and we can at least com­pete with them.

“I was on hol­i­day and missed the last game against them but I heard it wasn’t our best per­for­mance.

“The boys have bounced back from it and the Bet­fred Cup set us up well for the sea­son.

“We’ve had some de­cent re­sults and it was a good ex­pe­ri­ence for the whole squad.”

The 21-year-old, from Ste­wart­field, has al­ready been on a fairy­tale cup jour­ney with Kilby, hav­ing played against Celtic in the last 16 of the com­pe­ti­tion two sea­sons ago.

And the right-back ad­mits the Low­land League cham­pi­ons are dream­ing of an­other mem­o­rable cup run af­ter knock­ing out League Two side Cow­den­beath in the last round.

He said: “We be­lieve we have a good squad here and we all be­lieve we can go fur­ther in the cup. I was lucky enough to be here for the Celtic game and that was a mas­sive day for every­one in­volved, so you want to have times like that again.

“We just want to go out and do well and get as far as we can.

“We’ll see how it goes on Satur­day but we need to do the things that we’ve been work­ing on in train­ing and put them into the game. “We be­lieve we can do it.” Mean­while, the ca­pac­ity for Satur­day’s tie has been re­duced with a toi­let block in the North Stand yet to be com­pleted.

It means Rovers fans have re­ceived just 60 tick­ets for the clash. How­ever, briefs are still avail­able for home fans at K-Park, from 11am each day, priced £10 for adults and £5 for con­ces­sions.

Fa­mil­iar faces

From left – Kevin McCann, Ross McNeil, Billy Stark, Barry Rus­sell, Matt McGin­ley and Scott Steven­son were all for­merly on the books at Rovers. Martin McBride is not pic­tured.

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