Oban Saints march into second Scottish Amateur Cup semi-final
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.
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.