Dale Gillespie admits Brora Rangers could be under the cosh as they go to Dundee in the Premier Sports Cup on Tuesday night.
The Highland League champions, who have had to deal with Covid in the camp and no warm-up games, lost their opener at League One Montrose on Saturday 3-0.
This will be newly-promoted Premiership side Dundee’s first Group C fixture, while, elsewhere in the group, Forfar were handed a 3-0 win after Ross County were forced to forfeit their fixture on Saturday due to Covid.
Gillespie scored for Brora in a 3-1 loss to Hibs in Edinburgh in the League Cup last year and they also lost 2-0 at home to tonight’s opponents Dundee, while picking up draws against Cove Rangers and Forfar before losing on penalties.
He said: “The Dundee game is another really difficult one. We need to work as hard as we can against a very good team.
“It’s a great competition to play in. Unfortunately, there were no fans when we played Hibs at Easter Road last season, so that was the only disappointing thing.
“We did get four tough cup games ahead of the league starting last season. Although we only played three games in the league (due to the pandemic), these games again this year should stand us in good stead for the start of the Highland League.
Full-Time at Links Park
It finishes Montrose 3-0 Brora Rangers. pic.twitter.com/DNQxMph4c4
— Brora Rangers (@brorarangers) July 10, 2021
“We played Dundee at Brora last season, but they have since got promotion to the Premiership and they will be vastly improved.
“They beat us comfortably at Dudgeon Park and I think they have strengthened from then, so this will be a lot harder for us.”
Montrose too strong in cup opener
First half goals from Martin Rennie and Blair Lyons had Montrose coasting against Brora at the weekend and they killed the tie off with a late penalty from Lewis Milne.
Gillespie admits their opponents were too strong, especially as they were helped by Brora’s lack of games beforehand.
He explained: “It was a tough game, but we were short on bodies because of injuries and boys hadn’t trained as much as they wanted to because of Covid.
POST MATCH WITH SP – “really encouraging performance from start to finish” pic.twitter.com/Lfmpxm3h5Z
— Montrose FC (@MontroseFC) July 10, 2021
“Our friendlies were cancelled then, so we had no games going into Saturday.
“Montrose are a very strong team. They reached the promotion play-offs in League One last year, so even with a full squad it would have been a pretty difficult game for us, but the lack of playing time counted against us further.
“For spells in the game, we did okay, but Montrose were excellent. It was also a really warm day and they kept possession of the ball very well, which probably tired us out.
“From a pre-season perspective, in terms of preparing for the start of the Highland League, it was a good game for us.
“Against the teams we’re up against, if we do get a result, it’s a bonus, given where we’re at. We’re in a tough group.”
New signing, defender Josh Meekings, could be in the running to make his Brora bow against his old club at Dens Park.