Versatile defender Josh Kerr has had mixed fortunes in the Scottish Cup, and with the side all geared-up for the trip to Rugby Park on Saturday, he is hoping he and his team-mates can create a few special memories for the club.
Josh’s first experience of the tournament came as a teenager when he was out on loan from Celtic at East Kilbride:
“We had a good cup run, went away to Stenhousemuir and beat them, and we got drawn against Celtic at home. The tie got moved to Airdrie, but because it was my parent club, I couldn’t play, which was really disappointing.”
Celtic won 2-0 that afternoon in 2016, fielding the likes of Scott Brown, Kieran Tierney, Gary MacKay-Steven and Leigh Griffiths, and Josh says even sitting watching from the stand was time well spent for him as a youngster:
“It was a good day and allowed me to dream about what I might get to do in the future. Everyone watches the Scottish Cup Final, you look for the giant-killing in the earlier rounds, it was a taste for me and something you want to be part of throughout your career.
“After I had joined Airdrie, in 2020 we were away to Hearts in the Scottish Cup. That was one to forget about (Hearts won 5-0 that day with current Tynecastle manager Steven Naismith among the scorers), but it was a good experience, a big crowd, and it gave me a feel for the competition.”
Josh says there has definitely been a different mindset around Balmoral Stadium this week:
“It’s refreshing, it’s a whole new challenge. The results in the league have been a bit of a mixed bag recently, but you can push that to the side for now, and when you get a good result in the cup, that can be a real spark.
“We’ve got to look at Saturday as our chance to make a few headlines. We’ll be going there with a game plan, and we obviously want to win the tie.”
The twenty-five year old is well aware of the threat Kilmarnock carry:
“You would have to say they are one of the most in-form teams in the league, the manager there has done a great job, and they’ve got a lot of good attacking players, a really strong squad.”
“We’ll be up against it, we know that, but as soon as you cross that white line reputations mean nothing, you are just focused on trying to win the game. I have come up against plenty good players in the past, and as a defender it’s all about stopping them playing. We will have done our homework; we just need to carry that out.”
Among the recent arrivals at Rugby Park are Greg Stewart, and the Premiership’s second top scorer last season, Kevin van Veen:
“I’ve actually played against Kevin before. At Airdrie, we had Motherwell in our League Cup group, and we kept a clean sheet, winning two-nil. It would be nice to see a repeat of that against Killie, whichever front men they play.
“You have to dream in this game, the night before you’re maybe picturing yourself scoring the winner! We’ve got a good squad here, and we know if we turn up we can give anyone a game. We will be giving it a right good go.”
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