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Dundee Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park Sat 17 Dec 22 / 15:00

Full Focus For Dunipace Cup Tie

Cove Rangers’ twenty-fifth Scottish Cup adventure begins against Dunipace at Balmoral Stadium this weekend.

It will be the club’s sixteenth successive year competing in the national knockout competition, with everyone hoping to create a few more headlines and memories. 2017-18 saw our longest run in the Cup, when the players battled through to the fifth round, while recent seasons have seen high-profile trips to Ibrox and Easter Road, and an impressive 3-0 win over Queen of the South at Palmerston.

It will be a new experience for winger Luis Longstaff, but he has been made well aware how important the tournament is, both for the club and the Cove fans:

“I’ve been told this is the big competition, and as a Championship club we want to get as far as we possibly can in it.

“It’s nice to get a change, to get away from the intensity of the league. Of course, that is the main thing for us this year, but we want to get through this first round and hopefully get a cup run going too.

“It’s massively important, and hopefully we can move on and get a draw against one of the big clubs from the Premiership, the likes of Celtic, Rangers or Hearts. I think everyone wants that big standout tie as you want to test yourself against the best and see how you do, but there is that balance, as you also want to go as far as you can.”

“First of all, we have to focus on this game though, we can’t overlook that. We need to make sure we’re at our best, win this one, then we can see where that takes us.”

Luis is also hoping conditions are a bit more favourable than during last week’s meeting with Morton, when the gusts that ripped across the pitch made trying to play decent football almost impossible:

“Oh yeah, I’m hoping the wind dies down a helluva lot, because that was so difficult. When it’s like that and you’re trying to play the ball in, you just don’t know how far outside the normal line you have to aim.

“Hopefully that won’t be an issue on Saturday. We’ve done our homework, and even though they’re from the lower leagues, we’ll be treating Dunipace as we would any other club.

“You see plenty upsets when the bigger team maybe underestimates their opponents. We won’t be making that mistake.”

That is a point emphasised by Jim McIntyre, who is determined that Dunipace will not be making the headlines on Saturday evening:

“They have done so well to reach this stage, have already had to negotiate three rounds, and I can guarantee you we will be taking nothing for granted. We have approached this game in the same professional manner we always apply.

“We have had them watched the last couple of weeks and we know what we’re up against. As ever, in the cup competitions, there is only one objective, and that is to be in the draw for the next round.

“Most seasons in the Scottish Cup there is a big giant-killing act, a shock that no-one saw coming. What we have to do is ensure that it’s not going to be us on the receiving end this year.”

“It will be all about attitude, intensity and total concentration at the back.”

Mitch Megginson is free from suspension, so the captain will be back, as will Evan Towler who has returned from duty with the Scotland under-19 squad.

There is also welcome news about Kyle McClelland, who has resumed training with his parent club, Hibernian, and should be fit to play again in the early part of next month.

Tickets for the cup-tie can be bought online at the Cove Rangers FC website

The full interview with Luis Longstaff can be viewed at the Cove Rangers YouTube channel

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