All Geared Up For Killie Tie

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After a busy week during which the players and coaching staff have been working hard both on and off the pitch, the stage is now set and everyone ready for our massive Scottish Cup fifth round tie against Kilmarnock.

Cove go in as outsiders, and there is no doubt that having knocked-out Stirling Albion and Brora Rangers this is a huge step up in class, as the side bids to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in the club’s history.

Paul Hartley is well aware of the importance of the game, and says he has done everything he can to try to give the squad the best chance possible of springing an upset:

“I went down to watch Killie on Wednesday night; I always think it’s important to see the opposition with my own eyes as you get a better feel for them than you do from the videos.

“Derek has built a very strong squad, he has signed well and the front players are top quality. With Vassell, Watkins, Greg Stewart and Kevin van Veen, he has four different types of strikers, and you’ve also got the likes of Daniel Armstrong and Matty Kennedy, who have had strong seasons. We have to be ready whoever they pick for the game.”

The preparation for that has been going on all week, in training and analysis, and the manager knows exactly what it is going to take if we are to have a chance of pulling off what would be a massive cup shock:

“We are going to have to be disciplined, prepared for all eventualities. Much will depend on how we shape up, there has been a lot of work this week on what we need to do both on and off the ball.

“It is a real challenge for our players, but I have to say there has been a bounce in training. For some of the guys, they won’t have played against this quality. In a sense, I have been trying to play it down a wee bit, to prepare just as we would for a normal league game, but the boys are well aware this is a bit special.

“We have to look forward to it, we’re taking on a big team at a good stadium; as a club we need to embrace the occasion.”

Ola Lawal and Matty Shiels are both cup-tied, and Fraser Fyvie is still ruled out, but the good news is that the midfielder is expected to resume full training next week. That apart, the manager will have the same squad at his disposal as saw off Brora in the last round.

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