Rothes ready for shot at Scottish Cup history
SCOTTISH Cup fever is spreading through Speyside, and Rothes couldn’t be in better shape for their mission to create history.
It was only last season that the MacKessack Park club won a tie in the national competition for the very first time, beating Clach 4-0.
This term they created another first with a maiden away victory in the tournament, a 4-3 success in Motherwell against Caledonian Braves last month.
Tomorrow, Rothes play host to fellow Highland League side Inverurie Locos aiming to reach the Scottish Cup third round for the very first time.
“We just can’t wait for the game to come around,” said manager Ross Jack, “Scottish Cup weekends are always something to look forward to and I’m sure the players are the same. It’s a great occasion.”
The Speysiders go into their big weekend on a dazzling run of form, with Jack leading the team to victory in each of the four matches he has been in charge.
The latest was a 3-1 home success over Wick Academy.
Rothes have won seven of their last eight games in all competitions, a run which has taken them into the top five of the Highland League and made them a force to be reckoned with.
However, tomorrow’s opponents Locos are similarly in good fettle with seven wins in their last nine. Like Rothes, they were beaten by title-chasers Brora in the midst of their good run, while Inverurie’s other defeat was a 2-0 loss at Rothes, where they return this week on a revenge mission.
“They will be smarting from that league defeat a few weeks ago and keen to make amends,” said Jack.
“But we will make sure we are prepared and ready. We will just look to play our own game.
“This game has been on our minds for a couple of weeks now but it’s great how the players have channelled all their efforts into the league campaign.
“People talk about the Scottish Cup being totally different but it’s nice to go into this tie on the back of the form we’ve been on.
“I’d much rather go into a big cup tie in good form than anything else but Locos will be up for it as well and buoyant after some good results.
“It has all the makings of a right good cup-tie.”
The manager admitted his team did not hit top form in last week’s success over Wick.
Fraser Robertson, who passed a fitness test on an ankle injury, opened the scoring before Ally MacKenzie cracked in a second.
“I thought we went ahead against the run of play because Wick made it tough for us,” Jack said. “So we were absolutely delighted going in at half-time 2-0 up as we knew we were quite fortunate.”
Craig Gunn got one back for Wick against his former Elgin manager but Craig Cormack’s fifth goal of the season sealed the Rothes win.
“In the second half they threw everything at us and Ewan Macdonald had a couple of fantastic saves,” Jack said.
“It’s not a bad sign to play the way we did and come away with the three points and a 3-1 win. We can do better this week, I would hope.”
Jack will have to assess several of his squad before picking his team to face Locos.
Robertson didn’t train this week having been patched up to play against Wick and again he will get a late fitness test, as will captain Jamie Duff who also missed training due to an ankle knock.
Paul Macleod also picked up a dead leg while Dale Wood came off with the recurrence of a hamstring strain, and both will be checked over.
Steven Anderson misses out due to work commitments for the second week running.