BEATING old team Elgin City would make Keith defender Zander Jack a Scottish Cup painkiller rather than giantkiller to ease the hurt of his Borough Briggs rejection.
The Maroons stopper can still feel the sting of being booted out by City, the club which first spotted his talents as a nine-year-old Hopeman primary schoolboy.
After coming through the youth ranks, Jack was poised for first team stardom until a lucrative job opportunity in Aberdeen pushed football down his list of priorities.
But Elgin’s loss became Keith’s gain, as the Maroons’ Granite City training base allowed the diminutive full back to pick up his career in the Highland League with Darren Still’s side.
And as luck would have it, in just his second term with the Kynock Parkers, Zander was weighing up the prospect of a crack at some of his old team mates when the cup draw paired City with a short trip along the A96 to the Friendly Town this weekend.
"It’s going to be an interesting one for me, playing against the boys I used to play alongside and the club I started playing my football for," he said.
"Elgin is where it all began for me really, but I’ve moved on now and I’ll be trying my hardest to make sure the right result goes Keith’s way on Saturday."
Zander isn’t bitter about failing to earn a new deal from current Elgin manager Ross Jack back in 2011. He realises his job with oil industry supplying giants AMEC in Aberdeen meant missing training stints with City and opportunities to impress his namesake boss back in Moray.
"My circumstances didn’t help me with getting a chance at Elgin. I was staying in Aberdeen and couldn’t train with them, and as a young lad at the club you’ve got to be there to show the manager whether you’re good enough to play or not.
"So I can’t really complain about not getting a game.
"I’d been there since I was nine years old so for me to get so far and just fall at the final hurdle was quite difficult to take.
"But I’ve been lucky to land at Keith with a bunch of good lads and ‘Stilly’ as manager has got me back on track. I feel this season I’ve finally got back to where I was all them years ago at Elgin, so I’m pleased with that."
Zander admits the strangest part of Saturday’s clash against Elgin could be facing up to Brian Cameron, a player who he came through the youth ranks with and still keeps in touch with.
Tackling Cameron, and other City players he knows from his time at Borough Briggs, will be a tough challenge for Jack and the rest of the Keith squad.
"There’s no getting away from the fact that Elgin are favourites, and rightly so.
"But we won the Highland League Cup as underdogs last season so we’re quite happy going into another cup-tie doing that."