Oban Saints march into sec­ond Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup semi-fi­nal

The Oban Times - - Sport -

ON SATUR­DAY April 15 Oban Saints will rack up 1,600 Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup miles for the sea­son when they travel to New Dou­glas Park, home of good friends Hamil­ton Aca­dem­i­cal, for their crunch semi-fi­nal tie with cup hold­ers Colville Park.

Saints’ Scot­tish Cup ad­ven­ture has taken them to Glas­gow, Bears­den, Tar­bolton, Perth and Ed­in­burgh twice where they have faced some for­mi­da­ble op­po­si­tion. How­ever, the trip to Hamil­ton to cross swords with Cen­tral Scot­tish Am­a­teur Foot­ball League Pre­mier Di­vi­sion top dogs Colville Park is by far the big­gest test yet.

Ar­guably the best am­a­teur team in Scot­land the reign­ing Cen­tral Pre­mier Di­vi­sion Cham­pi­ons and Scot­tish Cup hold­ers are well on the way to re­tain­ing their league crown and are also through to the West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Cup semi-fi­nals where they will face Cam­bria of the Cale­do­nian League.

Mother­well-based Colville Park’s bid for a fourth Cen­tral Am­a­teur Foot­ball League Pre­mier Di­vi­sion ti­tle in six years sees them cur­rently top of the league with a 100 per cent record from their first 10 games.

Only Saints’ old friends East Kil­bride look ca­pa­ble of halt­ing Colville’s march to back-to-back league ti­tles but with nine points points dropped even they must now rely on help from oth­ers to over­haul the ti­tle favourites.

On the do­mes­tic front Colville’s only de­feats so far this sea­son have come in cup com­pe­ti­tions with East Kil­bride putting them out of the Bun­righ Tro­phy and Hal­dane United end­ing their in­ter­est in the Cin­ema Cup.

Last sea­son’s Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup tri­umph earned Colville a place in the pre­lim­i­nary rounds of the Scot­tish Cup proper where they did the am­a­teur game proud elim­i­nat­ing Edus­port Acad­emy of the South of Scot­land League be­fore los­ing out nar­rowly to Gir­van Ju­niors in a match they cer­tainly de­served to take more from. Colville’s de­fence of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup has seen them bang in 32 goals and con­cede just four in their seven matches so far. Vic­tims to date in­clude league ri­vals Harestanes

To reach the semi fi­nal two years in a row is a tremen­dous feat for a club like Oban Saints David Buchanan Oban Saints sec­re­tary

and Ban­nock­burn, each of which have three Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup tri­umphs to their name, Saints Scot­tish Am­a­teur Foot­ball League col­leagues Drum­chapel Colts and Cale­do­nian League high fliers Thorn Ath­letic.

De­spite the size of the task ahead Saints can at least point to a good record against Colville. In four pre­vi­ous Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup en­coun­ters there has been two draws and a win a piece. In last sea­son’s West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Cup fifth round tie at Glen­cruit­ten the vis­i­tors edged a close match by two goals to one. Don­ald Campbell’s suc­cess­fully con­verted eighth-minute penalty kick can­celled out James Miller’s headed opener. How­ever, an­other header just be­fore half-time, this time from Rob­bie Pee­bles, re­stored the ad­van­tage for the vis­i­tors which they held onto de­spite a spir­ited sec­ond half dis­play from Saints.

Af­ter 40-plus years of com­pet­ing in Scot­tish am­a­teur foot­ball’s blue riband event, Saints once again stand within one match of an ap­pear­ance in the fi­nal of the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Chal­lenge Cup Com­pe­ti­tion due to be played at Ham­pen Park in May.

There is no doubt­ing the strength of the op­po­si­tion but with the agony of last sea­son’s semi-fi­nal de­feat at the hands of Leven United still fresh in the play­ers’ minds Saints will need no mo­ti­vat­ing for the most im­por­tant match in the club’s 57-year his­tory.

Saints sec­re­tary David Buchanan said: ‘We had Colville watched last Satur­day and our man­ager Alex Craik trav­elled down to Mother­well last night to watch them again.

‘To make the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup semi-fi­nal two years in a row is a tremen­dous feat for a club like Oban Saints. The boys are buzzing so hope­fully we can go one bet­ter and reach the fi­nal this year, but we know it will be very dif­fi­cult against the cup hold­ers who are a very ex­pe­ri­enced oufit.’

Pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters be­tween Saints and Colville Park - Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup 2006/07 sixth round Oban Saints 2-2 Colville Park; sixth round re­play - Colville Park 1-2 Oban Saints; 2012/13 sev­enth round - Colville Park 2-2 Oban Saints; sev­enth round re­play - Oban Saints 1-3 Colville Park. West of Scot­land Am­a­teur Cup 2015/16 fifth round - Oban Saints 1-2 Colville Park. Colville Park’s route to the semi-fi­nal: first round bye; sec­ond round - Colville Park 6- 0 Gor­mac; third round - Harestanes 1-2 Colville Park; fourth round - Ren­frew 0- 4 Colville Park; fifth round - Drum­chapel Colts 0- 6 Colville Park; sixth round - Colville Park 5-1 Wood­side; sev­enth round - Colville Park 6-1 Thorn Ath­letic; quar­ter fi­nal - Ban­nock­burn 1-3 Colville Park.

Oban Saints’ path to the Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup semi-fi­nal - first round Fin­nart 1-3 Oban Saints; sec­ond round - Oban Saints v Bish­op­ton - walkover to Saints; third round - FC Clyde­bank 1-3 Oban Saints; fourth round - Salvesen 0-2 Oban Saints; fifth round - Oban Saints 5-1 West­dyce; sixth round - Tar­bolton 1-3 Oban Saints; Letham 1-1 Oban Saints; sev­enth round re­play - Oban Saints 4-3 Letham; Quar­ter Fi­nal - Barca-Mil­ton 0-2 Oban Saints.

The Oban side will have to put the semi-fi­nal to the back of their minds for a week as they try to keep pres­sure on league lead­ers Gold­en­hill and St Joseph’s FP.

The D& K Laf­ferty-spon­sored Oban out­fit take on Mother­well This­tle in a league game at Glen­cruit­ten on Satur­day, kick­off 2pm. Ref­eree Jimmy Lit­ster.

Photo: Scot­tish Am­a­teur Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion

Oban Saints will be hop­ing to lift the the big­gest prize in am­a­teur foot­ball cir­cles this sea­son, The Scot­tish Am­a­teur Cup, but they have to ne­go­ti­ate a very tough semi-fi­nal against Colville Park be­fore reach­ing the fi­nal at Ham­p­den Park in May.

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