Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay says his side must manage the added expectation placed on them for tomorrow’s Scottish Cup third round tie against Stranraer.
The Cattachs sprung one of the greatest shocks in the competition’s history in the previous round, by defeating last year’s finalists Hearts 2-1 at Dudgeon Park.
The Highland League champions, who were earlier this week awarded the 2020-21 title despite playing just three games, will now welcome League Two opposition to the Highlands in the form of Stevie Farrell’s Stranraer.
Brora’s memorable triumph over the Jambos, along with a strong cup record in recent seasons, has prompted suggestions the Cattachs will go into the game as favourites.
Mackay refutes that thinking, insisting his players must avoid any complacency against the Blues.
Mackay said: “We are very mindful of it – it’s completely on our radar.
“We spoke to the players about it on Saturday. We just said how proud we were of what we achieved on Tuesday, but this weekend poses a completely different challenge.
“On Tuesday there was no pressure on us, we were massive underdogs.
“Here, a lot of people actually put us down as favourites which I don’t think is right. I think it’s disrespectful to Stranraer who are a Scottish league side, and have earned the right to play at that level. They have competed not only in League Two, but League One.
“There will be an element of expectation based around the result on Tuesday, so we just need to make sure we prepare correctly.
“It will come down to the mentality, we just need to ensure there is no complacency there. Football has a habit of bringing you back down to earth very quickly if you don’t apply yourself correctly.
“We are mindful of that.”
With Brora pushing for a place in League Two next season through either the pyramid play-off or league reconstruction, Mackay feels a victory in tomorrow’s game would signal a statement of the Sutherland side’s intent.
Mackay, who netted the winner when the sides met at Stair Park in 2017, added: “We have talked about playing in the Scottish league and competing against teams of this calibre.
“It’s time to do that on Saturday – there is no hiding place for us as a club and a team.
“We are well aware that everyone will be looking at this result with great interest.
“It’s an opportunity for us to once again showcase the fact that on the park we have got a team capable of competing at that level.
“Whether or not the result goes our way will not determine whether we’ve got a squad good enough to do that, I know for sure that we do.
“It would just further strengthen our case if we could get the right result.”
Mackay has been blown over by the aftermath of Brora’s famous triumph over Hearts, however he has called for his side to cast it to the back of their minds in the build up to tomorrow’s game.
He added: “We have loved the attention the club has received and the euphoria that has surrounded the result.
“The focus on the club has been quite overwhelming at times, and unprecedented.
“We have never had that much media attention. It has been great for the village and the club and everyone has enjoyed it.
“We spoke about it on Saturday when we trained. Those memories are there forever, and I’m sure over the course of the next few years we will all look back on them very fondly.
“That is closed in our minds now, and we are just focusing on the Stranraer game.
“We had a session last Saturday, and we trained on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We will just prepare for what is another massive game for us. We have gone a couple of months with a bit of a lull, and having nothing to really focus our minds on from a football perspective.
“We then went into the biggest game in our history against Hearts, then equally as big a game this weekend.
“This is what we want with having football back in our lives – having these big games and big challenges. Everyone is looking forward to it.”