The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

NORTHTRIOI­NITTOWINIT

- JAMIEDUREN­T Sports · Soccer · Formartine United F.C. · Kilmarnock F.C. · Scotland · East Fife F.C. · Stranraer · Championship · Inverness · Motherwell F.C. · Motherwell · Dunfermline Athletic F.C. · Cowdenbeath · Aberdeenshire · East Kilbride · Scottish Professional Football League · Steve Clarke · League Two · Cowdenbeath · Pitmedden

Satur­day brings the Scot­tish Cup third round to three High­land League clubs with de­signs on progress.

Brora Rangers, In­verurie Lo­cos and For­mar­tine United all have the chance to get into the fourth round and po­ten­tially land one of the SPFL’s big­ger clubs.

Brora made it to the fifth round at the start of last year and earned a trip to Kil­marnock. A 4-0 de­feat was not the re­sult they wanted but for one of the coun­try’s most northerly clubs to ac­quit them­selves in such a man­ner, against a side man­aged by now-Scot­land boss Steve Clarke, de­served huge credit.

En-route they beat league sides East Fife and Stran­raer on the road, high­light­ing a taste for gi­ant-killing in the world’s old­est cup con­test.

This week­end they face the most dif­fi­cult game of the three, head­ing to Cap­pielow to take on Cham­pi­onship side Mor­ton.

Mur­murs of dis­con­tent around Cap­pielow have set in, after a promis­ing start to the sea­son was de­railed by back-to-back hum­blings by In­ver­ness.

They will still start Satur­day as over­whelm­ing favourites to progress.

But Brora, who have as­sem­bled an at­tack-minded squad geared to­wards chal­leng­ing for the High­land League ti­tle, will be­lieve they can cause an up­set in Greenock.

In­verurie Lo­cos have hit form un­der new boss Andy Low. They sit joint-top of the High­land League with Brora and are pick­ing up big re­sults, such as wins over For­mar­tine and Fraser­burgh in the last month.

Mem­o­ries of hav­ing Premier­ship reg­u­lars Mother­well at Har­law Park a decade ago will come into fo­cus should they elim­i­nate Brox­burn Ath­letic on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Brox­burn are no un­der­dogs them­selves, hav­ing elim­i­nated League 2 play-off hope­fuls Cow­den­beath 3-0 in the sec­ond round.

The ju­nior club had al­ready come through two qual­i­fy­ing rounds to make it into the com­pe­ti­tion and will

“They will start Satur­day as over­whelm­ing favourites to progress”

present stern op­po­si­tion for their trip to the north-east.

For­mar­tine have be­come an estab­lished cup side since Paul Law­son took over in 2017. They won the dou­ble of Aberdeen­shire Cup and High­land League Cup in his first sea­son, fol­low­ing it up last sea­son with tri­umph in the Aberdeen­shire Shield.

Their op­po­nents are East Kil­bride, peren­nial chal­lengers at the top of the Low­land League. They have missed out on pro­mo­tion to the SPFL in the pyra­mid play-offs in re­cent years but have slipped off the pace this sea­son, with big-spend­ing Kelty Hearts lead­ing the charge.

For­mar­tine have been patchy in the league but found some of their best form in the cup com­pe­ti­tions over the last few sea­sons. The fact the game is in Pitmed­den, too, should give them a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage come kick-off time.

The High­land League has seen many sides dur­ing its long history who have en­joyed mem­o­rable runs in the Scot­tish Cup. This year may well be no dif­fer­ent.

 ??  ?? CEL­E­BRA­TION: Bois­ter­ous Brora Rangers sup­port­ers make the most of their trip to Rugby Park last year for the Scot­tish Cup fifth round clash with Kil­marnock
CEL­E­BRA­TION: Bois­ter­ous Brora Rangers sup­port­ers make the most of their trip to Rugby Park last year for the Scot­tish Cup fifth round clash with Kil­marnock
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