Saints face Aberdeenshire side in fifth round of the Scottish Cup
Oban Saints Westdyce
Scottish Amateur Cup - 5th round
THIS Saturday at Glencruitten, Oban Saints usher in the Chinese year of the rooster with just their fourth home match of the season so far and their first in any cup competition.
The visitors for Saturday’s Scottish Amateur Cup fifth round tie are Westdyce of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association Divison Two East who are making their first trip west in Scottish amateur football’s most prestigious competition. Founded in 2012 as a Sunday morning team, Westdyce joined the Saturday afternoon ranks for the 2014-15 season where a second-placed finish in Division Three behind champions Sheddocksley was enough to secure an immediate promotion to Division Two East. Another impressive league campaign followed and only a shock 1- 0 defeat to bottom club Continental in their penultimate fixture denied the Inverdee-based club back to back promotions.
Westdyce took out their frustration at the disappointment of narrowly missing out on a place in Division One East with a thumping 8-2 victory over Grammar FP’s in the final of the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association Barclay Cook Cup to win the fledgling club’s first piece of silverware.
Westdyce have continued their good form into the 2016 -17 season winning 14 of their 17 fixtures so far.
Westdyce have progressed to the fifth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup for the first time in their short history and are one of just six Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Association clubs still in with a shout of grabbing the big prize.
A first round bye was followed up by a second round regional section 2-1 home win against Rattray’s XI. Strathclyde Saturday Morning Amateur Football League Division 1A Firhill United were sent back down the A90 on the wrong end of a 5-3 scoreline in round three before Westdyce entered the previously uncharted waters of the fourth round. Awaiting them was an away trip to Fife to face Strathmiglo United of the Kingdom Caledonian Amateur Football Association where a Ryan Fenby goal secured a 1-1 draw on December 3 to set up a replay at Inverdee the following week. Back on home soil and being under the cosh from their more experienced visitors, Westdyce took the lead in the 23rd minute when Michael Caldwell poked home a Robbie Duncan corner.
A second yellow card for right full back Danny Blanchard after 40 minutes left the home side facing an uphill struggle in the second half.
However, the 10-man Westdyce side produced an heroic performance to keep the Strathmiglo attack at bay before Michael Caldwell made the tie safe with a second breakaway goal.
The fifth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup may be unexplored territory for this Saturday’s visitors but it has far more of a familiar feel for the home side. Saints have maintained their interest in the nation’s premier cup competition beyond the Christmas and New Year break in nine of the past 12 seasons, including three quarter-finals and last season’s semi-final appearance. This season’s road to Hampden began with an extremely tough first round away fixture against former Scottish Amateur Football League rivals Finnart, now of the Caledonian League Division 1B.
Goals from Craig MacEwan, Paul Carmichael and a Donald Campbell penalty saw the Oban side progress with a 3-1 victory to round two. A second round no show from Glasgow and District Saturday Morning League Premier Division outfit Bishopton denied the Saints faithful a home match on October 1 but saw Saints comfortably through to the third round by virtue of a walkover.
The third round draw paired Saints with another recent Scottish Amateur Football League defector FC Clydebank, now of the Central Scottish Amateur Football League Division 1A. A significantly less assured performance than against Finnart somehow still managed to produce an identical result at Thorn Park, Bearsden, on November 5. Dean Smith, Fraser MacFarlane and Willie Gemmell were on target in a 3-1 win.
Saints made a rare journey east to face Salvasen of the Lothian and Edinburgh Amateur Football Association Lothian West Division in their biggest test of the season so far. With skipper Marc Maccallum calling off through illness, Paul Kerr took the armband and successfully lead his troops into the fifth round against the previously undefeated Edinburgh side. Saints were assured throughout dominating possession and looking solid at the back.
Goals either side of the half time interval from Dean Smith and Ross Maitland saw Saints comfortably through to a much welcomed and eagerly anticipated home tie against Westdyce on Saturday. Manager Alex Craik hopes to have a full squad to choose from for this important cup fixture
The match kicks off at 2pm at Glencruitten with last season’s Scottish Cup final referee Kevin Nolan from Glasgow in charge.