Holders determined to prove last season was not a final fling

Tony McInally masterminded the biggest Emirates Junior Cup shock in recent years – and is vowing not to be on the end of a similar upset on Saturday.

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Shotts manager Tony McInally wants his players to live up to their status as cup holders
Shotts manager Tony McInally wants his players to live up to their status as cup holders

Shotts Bon Accord's 2-1 victory over Auchinleck Talbot in last season's final has made them the team everyone wants to beat, however Macca believes his players can prove themselves worthy of their status as trophy holders.

But he insists the Lanarkshire outfit will be taking nothing for granted, even though they have what looks like a straightforward task of negotiating the visit to Hannah Park of Central First Division minnows Benburb – one of his former clubs – in a fourth-round showdown.

The Shotts gaffer said: "There's no denying we could have landed it a lot tougher, but nobody should make the mistake of assuming we will win just because it's a case of a Super Premier side going up against a lower league outfit.

"Shock results are part and parcel of the Scottish Cup and it is a competition where anything can and often does happen.

"I look upon the Bens as potentially dangerous opponents and it gives me some comfort to know complacency will not be a problem as nobody in our Shotts dressing room has delusions of grandeur despite lifting the cup last season.

"We are proud holders and have no intention of coming a cropper because our attitude isn't right on the day"

Confidence is understandably high in the Shotts camp as a result of their first league win of the season – Saturday's 3-0 defeat of Clydebank – giving rise to hopes of them climbing away from bottom spot in the table.

Mark Sideserf, who hit a brace against the Bankies, is determined that Shotts will secure a place in the Emirates last 16.

He said: "We are hitting form at just the right time as it was around the same stage last season that we started to believe we could go all the way.

"That's us now unbeaten in four games and the challenge is to try and keep our run going through the winter months and still be figuring in the main cup competitions when the pitches harden up."

Yet another big gun facing the prospect of having their scalp taken by lower league opposition are Irvine Meadow who await the visit of in-form Shettleston, unbeaten in eight games

The Ayrshire cracks had no competitive fixture themselves at the weekend and took on Wishaw in a friendly joust won 3-2 by the Medda thanks to goals from Kiegan Parker (2) and Liam McGuinness.

Boss Chris Strain said: "I'd have to say it was very worthwhile with Parker – who is available for Saturday – looking sharp and predatory so he will definitely come into my thoughts for a jersey.

"Overall I thought we showed signs of our old selves and it's vital that we are at our best because we had Shettleston watched on Saturday and word is they are nobody's pushovers.

"It will be tough but if our fans can get behind the team then I'm sure we can do enough to get through on the day."

Town counterpart Hugh Kelly said: "We will be massive underdogs in the eyes of just about everyone in the game but reputations count for very little in the heat of a Junior Cup tie.

"They beat us 5-0 down at their place in a pre-season friendly but we had no defenders that day because of holiday commitments. I'm expecting things to be a whole lot closer this time."

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