Skipper Euan Spark reckons Elgin City can learn from Caley Thistle as they go into Monday’s crunch Scottish Cup showdown at Clydebank.
A trip to take on a Bankies side, who are third in the West of Scotland Premiership, would not have been their preferred next game, such is their inconsistent form.
The second round tie being screened live on BBC Scotland adds to the occasion as the Bankies participate in the competition for the first time since 2001 after becoming a senior club again earlier on this year.
"It’s going to be a great occasion for the fans and the board. It’s a big milestone in terms of what the club have been trying to achieve.”
— Clydebank FC (@clydebankfc) October 20, 2021
Two weeks ago, Elgin went down 4-2 against Championship pace-setters Inverness in the SPFL Trust Trophy, but led 2-0 after a storming start to give their opponents a real scare.
Patience crucial in heat of battle
The Caley Jags hit back with two goals in each half to progress and defender Spark, who joined City from Brechin City in 2019, believes it was an ideal example of how to tackle underdogs, as the Bankies are on Monday.
He said: “You don’t want to be the team put out by opponents from a lower division, so there is a bit of pressure.
It's Second Round week 🙌
We have 20 tantalising ties coming your way over the course of the Scottish Cup weekend.#ScottishCup
— Scottish Cup (@ScottishCup) October 18, 2021
“There have been many times where we’ve been the massive underdogs, even in the recent SPFL Trust Trophy tie against Inverness.
“It’s the same scenario for us at Clydebank. We went 2-0 up against Inverness and that could happen against us. Inverness showed the professional way to deal with these games by taking four goals from us.
“Even at 2-0 down, Inverness were patient and found a way back, like all good teams do, so hopefully we can be patient and ride any storm.”
We will be live on TV for our Scottish Cup clash vs Clydebank 📺
🆚 Clydebank FC v Elgin City Football Club
🗓 Monday, 25 October
⏰ Kick-off 7.45pm
📺 BBC Scotland pic.twitter.com/lvWpDCZRNe
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) September 29, 2021
Doing basics key to getting through
A sell-out crowd of just over 1000 will be crammed into Holm Park for the clash, with home fans relishing the chance of an upset.
Spark, 24, reckons Elgin will have to fight and scrap for everything to ensure they have a chance and said their defeat against Albion last Saturday could be similar to this one in that regard.
He added: “First and foremost, we want to put on a strong performance so everyone can still see we’re still at it.
“No disrespect to Albion Rovers, but they made the game a bit of a battle. We have seen at first hand how it goes and it was a good wake-up call for us.
“We have got players with ability to go and hurt teams, but if we don’t do the basics by fighting and scrapping for it then we can come away with a defeat.
“That will be fresh in our minds for Monday. We have to get the basics right and then go and play the way we can.
“Clydebank will be buzzing and they’ll have the fans behind them. That will give them an extra 10-15%, but we need to keep our wits about and ensure we get through.
“It should be a good tie and it’s brilliant that it’s a sell-out. What a game it is for them to play in their first Scottish Cup match for some time. We’re really looking forward it.”
League position unfamiliar to Spark
Spark, who has 13 appearances to his name this term, admits being ninth in the table after 10 league matches is a sore one, with Edinburgh City visiting next a week on Saturday.
He said: “It has been a bit unfamiliar for us so far this season.
“In recent seasons, we’ve been winning most games and been up the top end. I don’t think I’ve ever been second bottom of the table before at Elgin, so it’s strange.”
Full session as a final preparation
Elgin, who have several central belt-based players, will train in Moray this weekend as a group and the captain is sure that will benefit the squad as they round off their preparations.
He added: “We’re training on Saturday in Elgin, which will be good for us. It’s a rarity at this club to have us all together.
PIE & PINT 🍻 🏆
We are doing a pie & pint for our Scottish Cup fixture next Monday ⚽️
Come join us in the sports bar for this crucial match 🤩
Book now for only £5pp by contacting the Club 🖤 pic.twitter.com/x4LsAU00r5
— Elgin City F.C. (@ElginCityFC) October 18, 2021
“We’ve had a terrible first quarter, by our standards, and we’ve not started the second quarter well either, so we need to get together, work on a few things.
“The squad has changed a fair bit with the new signings coming and going, so a good training session will help get the spirits up and we’ll be looking forward to a good game on Monday night.”
The last time Elgin were live on TV was their 3-2 Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat at Raith Rovers in November 2019.