COLIN Spence is the last player Arthurlie would want to be without going into their Scottish Junior Cup fourth-round replay against Gartcairn on Saturday.

But the midfield playmaker with five winners’ medals to his name is a definite non-starter after severely rupturing his shoulder joint in last weekend’s dramatic 2-2 stalemate in which team-mate Michael Daly headed home an injury-time equaliser to cap a memorable fightback by the Barrhead side from 0-2 down at half time.

And Junior internationalist Spenny is already looking a major injury doubt should the Super Premier Division outfit manage to secure a place in the Holy Grail last 16 at the second time of asking.

He admitted: "Doctors said my shoulder will take four or five weeks to fully mend, so my chances will be touch and go at best even with round the clock sessions on the treatment table.

“But even to be talking about the next round is a bonus because there were times on Saturday when we looked dead and buried against a Gartcairn team who made a far better fist than we did of adapting to a dodgy astro-grass pitch and windy overhead conditions.

“They have players capable of causing problems in the replay and will be coming here with the scent of a giant-killing act in their nostrils, as you might expect looking at how the first game panned out.

“But they couldn’t kill us off and we are still in the Cup as well as far better prepared from seeing up close what Gartcairn are all about.

"Their manager Davie Greig is a real character and he was heard writing off his side’s replay hopes immediately after Saturday's final whistle but I’m willing to bet he will be preaching a different gospel behind dressing room doors.”

The importance of his side’s never-say-die spirit in their roller-coaster Cup run is not lost on the experienced Spence, who revealed: “We were 2-0 and 3-1 down in our first round tie away to Kello Rovers and recovered to win 4-3 and the same scoreline got us through against Lesmahagow, but only after we had to come back from a 3-1 deficit at their place to earn a replay.

“For us to survive again after giving Gartcairn two goals of a start is just unbelievable stuff and great for our supporters, but I’d much prefer us to get into a winning position and stay there.”

Visiting gaffer David Greig is looking forward to leading his Second Division playing charges into a “big boys playground” even though he is adamant Gartcairn should have clinched their place in the fifth-round draw.

He blasted: "Big teams get the big decisions in their favour and that was certainly the case in the first game,

“Marc McKenzie has curled home a wonderful free kick for Arthurlie’s first goal but it was never a free kick in the first place and the equaliser has come about when one of their players has wiped out Murray Spooner in the act of clearing his lines.

“It’s a blatant foul and probably a yellow card into the bargain, but the referee has allowed play to go on and a cross has come in that Arthurlie’s players were queuing up to head in.

“Yes we could have defended the cross better but my players stopped because they thought the referee was certain to award us a free kick.

“It’s an easy excuse to blame the referee when things don’t go their way but I would ask him to have a look at the highlights footage and tell me that I’m wrong in my observations?

“I’m first to admit we possibly had the rub of the green when Arthurlie were denied a first-half penalty claim but the foul on Murray was as blatant as I have seen and it’s robbed my players of a deserved victory.”

Greggy, who has top-scorer Ryan Donnelly rated extremely doubtful for the Dunterlie match, insisted: “Most people say you don’t get two chances to knock out the big guns and they might be right but we will go through to the lion’s den and have a go… my players don’t know any other way to play the game.”