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Formartine boss Paul Lawson wants players to ‘show what we’re capable of’ against SPFL Trust Trophy opponents Forfar

Formartine manager Paul Lawson pictured at North Lodge Park. Picture by Kath Flannery
Formartine manager Paul Lawson pictured at North Lodge Park. Picture by Kath Flannery

Formartine United manager Paul Lawson says all focus is on Tuesday’s SPFL Trust Trophy clash with League Two Forfar Athletic.

The Pitmedden outfit travel to take on the Loons at Station Park in the first round, following a 3-0 Highland League victory at home to Fort William on Saturday and with a trip to face Brora Rangers coming up at the weekend.

Lawson is eager for his side to concentrate on giving a good account of themselves against Scottish league opposition, saying: “I think over the last few years, whether it’s in the Scottish Cup or Challenge Cup, we’ve have done well against league opposition and have competed well.

“That’s always the challenge for boys at our level – to show what they’re capable of.

“It’s not going to be easy and they’ve had a good start to their league campaign, but we need to make sure we’re fully focused on that, despite having a big one at the weekend.

“If we play as well as we can, I’m sure it’ll be a good game.”

Formartine have taken six points from their first two Highland League games and, having also defeated Buckie Thistle in the first round of the 2021/22 Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup last midweek, there’s a sense of momentum at North Lodge Park.

Lawson says he found Saturday’s opponents Fort to be “much improved”, with Dons loanee Kevin Hanratty opening the scoring for United.

Hanratty and fellow Aberdeen academy player Tyler Mykata, both 18, have impressed so far, with Lawson adding: “They’ve settled in. Their first game away at the Broch (3-0 defeat in the opening league game) was a difficult one for them. That’s not an easy place to go for anyone and was an eye-opener for them I think, but it’ll stand them in good stead.

“The last few games they’ve been excellent for us.”

While the Formartine players are keeping their sights on cup rivals Forfar, Lawson admitted to initially being shocked by the news Steven Mackay, who led Saturday’s opponents Brora to consecutive Highland League titles during the Covid pandemic, had stepped down following the Cattachs 6-2 defeat to Fraserburgh.

Lawson – who hopes Formartine can challenge at the top of the division this term – thinks Mackay’s decision reflects how all-consuming a job even part-time football management can be, saying: “When something like that happens it’s always a bit of a shock, but I know about Sid’s work commitments having spoken to him in the past about it.

“I can see the reasoning, because this job is almost a full-time job within a part-time environment. It’s a big commitment and, if he feels he can’t give it his all and is letting everyone down, then you feel that, so he’s maybe looked at it and thought other commitments are taking over and he can’t give everything to the club he’d want to give.”

On the competitive nature of the Highland League so far this term, Lawson added: “From before a ball was kicked everyone looked at Fraserburgh, Brora and Brechin coming in, then Buckie, Inverurie strengthening in the summer as well, and thought there’s going to be more people fighting for the title than there has been.

“Fraserburgh have started really well and have taken points off ourselves as well. Brechin, if you throw them into the mix – I’m sure teams will take points off each other at the top end and that maybe hasn’t happened in previous years, so hopefully it makes for an exciting season and I’m sure a lot of teams will fancy themselves to be up there challenging.”


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