STAR WANT A CUP TONIC
Boss says win could spark league form
BY STUART MCFARLANE Dalbeattie Star are hoping that cup success this weekend can boost their stuttering league season.
The South Challenge Cup holders continue the defence of their trophy with a home fixture against South of Scotland side Lochar Thistle at Islecroft on Saturday, with a place in the semi-finals at stake.
There was frustration as Star’s home fixture against Kelty Hearts was one of many to fall victim to the weather at the weekend, with Islecroft declared unplayable on Friday afternoon.
But boss Darren Kerr (right) was quick to ensure that his side weren’t left rusty following the call off.
Kerr said: “It’s obviously disappointing but we knew from early in the week that the game didn’t have much of a chance and the club made an early decision on Friday afternoon, which was appreciated by Kelty.
“We managed to get a bounce game organised at Heston up at the new pitches at St Joseph’s. We managed to get the whole squad involved and that was a good exercise because it was played at a slightly higher intensity than training.”
The cup offers sweet relief from a difficult Lowland League season for Star – who currently sit second bottom – and they have racked up comfortable wins over Newton Stewart and Creetown in the earlier rounds.
And gaffer Kerr admitted that it was a different challenge for his squad coming into the match as favourites.
He said: “It shows the character of the players because we will need to play the game in the opposition’s final third, which isn’t as much the case in the Lowland League, but we will need to adapt well as Lochar are a tough side.
“We know enough about them and we are aware of the threat that they will pose.
“They’ve got a couple of exDalbeattie players like striker Iain Anderson who we will have to keep quiet and their keeper Darren Ma r t i n , who is excellent as well.Our aims for this season are to finish well in the league and to win this cup and while the league season has been difficult so far, we are still in this cup and are hoping to go all the way. “But it’s a tough year to win it, with Edusport and Queens still involved, and you also have Stranraer reserves who are unbeaten in the South league this season, so it is a big challenge.”
No go Dalbeattie Star’s Islecroft pitch was deemed unplayable on Friday before their game against Kelty last weekend