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Aberdeenshire Shield final: Allan Hale says Huntly players have chance to become legends

Huntly are aiming to win the Aberdeenshire Shield for the first time when they face Banks o' Dee
Huntly are aiming to win the Aberdeenshire Shield for the first time when they face Banks o' Dee

Allan Hale wants his players to become Huntly legends by winning the Morrison Motors (Turriff) Aberdeenshire Shield for the first time in the club’s history.

The Black and Golds take on Banks o’ Dee in the final of the competition at Harlaw Park, Inverurie.

Despite a trophy-laden spell in the 1990s during which the Christie Park side picked up 17 pieces of silverware, Huntly have never won the Aberdeenshire Shield.

The Strathbogie outfit’s last trophy was the SFA North Region Challenge Cup in 2008 and manager Hale is hopeful they can break new ground tonight.

He said: “Banks o’ Dee have got their own motivation by trying to become the first Junior team to win both Aberdeenshire competitions.

“Our motivation is to become the first Huntly side in the club’s history to win the Shield and the first Huntly side in 15 years or so to win something.

“That’s a huge incentive and the players are aware of what they can achieve.

“But Banks o’ Dee also have a huge incentive and, without wishing to be too cliched, you can’t look too far ahead in terms of what might happen.

“It’s about the players giving their best level of performance and we’ll see what happens.

“It’s important as a group we don’t come away with any regrets.

“We’re only a year into our project, whereas, Banks o’ Dee have had a settled squad for a number of years now.

“We’re very early in the process as we try to build and move forward, but the players have earned the right to play in this final.”

Huntly look to upset the favourites

Banks o’ Dee won the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup earlier this season and Hale says they start the Shield final as favourites.

But he believes Huntly can rise to the occasion and make it a difficult evening for the Junior side.

He added: “Banks o’ Dee are favourites, their record against Highland League teams and within their own league and cup competitions is there for everyone to see.

“They’re an excellent side with quality all through the pitch who have enjoyed a lot of success.

“We need to play the way we believe we’re capable of playing.

“In some of the games against sides high up in the league this season we’ve played really well.

Allan Hale believes his Huntly players can rise to the occasion in the Aberdeenshire Shield final

“So if we play to the levels I believe the squad is capable of, then we’ll give Banks o’ Dee a difficult 90 minutes and we’ll see how it pans out.

“Banks o’ Dee are used to being in finals and winning finals.

“But for a lot of our players it’s a first final – but that’s motivation in itself.

“Both teams are playing for different outcomes in terms of what they’ll accomplish for their respective clubs.

“I believe in the group of the players and I believe we have the characters and experience within the team to handle the occasion.”

Andy Hunter is cup-tied, while Angus Grant, Bradley Manson, Stuart Taylor, Colin Charlesworth and Alex Thoirs remain on the sidelines due to injury.

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