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Speyside struck by Scottish Cup fever

By Craig Christie

Rothes v Annan Athletic, Scottish Cup, Rothes FC, Rothes v Clach
Rothes v Annan Athletic, Scottish Cup, Rothes FC, Rothes v Clach

ROTHES want to create more Scottish Cup history in Speyside this weekend.

The MacKessack Park side take on League Two Annan Athletic tomorrow, aiming to reach the third round of the competition for the first time.

Steven MacDonald's men achieved the club's first-ever Scottish Cup victory by thumping Clach 4-0 last month, and are keen to keep their adventure going.

"It is obviously a bigger occasion for our players and you have got to turn up on the day," he said.

"You can't afford to freeze or say 'what if' afterwards. You've got to be at your best and keep your concentration throughout.

"I have seen it many times that the occasion can beat people and they look back and say 'I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that'. That can happen and perhaps you're not at your best on the day.

"You need to be at your best to compete against any Scottish League side.

"These second division teams will look to be clinical. They will look to use their physical strength and they will be direct, I'm sure, and try to worry us out of it."

But MacDonald has experience at his disposal, not least in club captain Jamie Duff who has played many times in the cup for Elgin City and reached the last 16 of the competition with Brora Rangers last term.

He also believes Rothes pose a strike threat with Scott Davidson, Jaime Wilson and Steven Anderson all potential goal getters against Annan.

"I certainly think we can cause problems, as we can do against anyone," said MacDonald.

"We can score goals against teams but we've got to first of all be able to stand up to them and make sure that we all do produce performances that are good enough to beat a side like Annan.

"You are looking at your experienced players, guys that have got the know-how of dealing with that as well, it's another consideration that you have to bring in."

Annan are currently in fourth spot in League Two, just above MacDonald's former club Elgin City, who he has consulted for information on the Galabank outfit's strengths and weaknesses.

Rothes prepared for their big cup tie by battling back from 3-1 down at Formartine United to draw 3-3 last Saturday.

"Over the last few weeks we have been quite settled and boys have done well," added MacDonald.

MacDonald's squad is likely to be at full strength, with former Nairn striker Gary Kerr now back in the mix after a long spell out injured.

His physical presence could become a factor if he is considered fit enough to make an appearance from the bench.

MacDonald's assistant boss Gordon Connelly has huge Scottish Cup experience to call upon from his own playing career with Ross County and Dunfermline.

The pair will weigh up their squad in training this week before deciding on a line-up that could bring about a cup shock.

"I will play the strongest team that I think is capable of beating them and that's the way it will go," MacDonald said.

"I'm pleased we've got a few options in the squad now."

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