Goalkeeper Fraser Hobday says the experience of facing Raith Rovers in the fourth round of Scottish Cup has made Banks o’ Dee hungry for more big days.
Spain Park welcomed 870 fans for the David versus Goliath clash between the sixth-tier club, who play in the North Region Junior Superleague, and the Championship title hopefuls. It was Dee’s biggest-ever tie.
Despite the on-paper mismatch and a host of early Raith chances, the resilient Aberdeen side kept the game goalless until the 67th minute, with Hobday making a string of saves in a frantic opening 25 minutes.
A fortunate Sam Stanton finish, after the ball fell kindly from an equally fortuitous free-kick, and late counters from Matej Poplatnik and Aidan Connolly, saw the visitors move on to the last-16.
Hobday said: “It’s just brought more hunger to the players to be honest. It’s a little bit more winners’ mentality to the dressing room.
“Everyone’s hurting we’ve lost – and that’s a Championship side that should be beating us.
“The boys worked hard, that’s for sure.
“I think 3-0 flatters them to be honest. We held our own for the first half.”
“I’ve told them they’ve got so much still to play for."
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Hobday enjoyed a game in which he showed great shot-stopping prowess, saying: “At Spain Park, on league business, it can be quite quiet just now, so it’s nice to be busy.
“It was just about making the saves and keeping the team in it as long as possible, so I was happy with my part.
“But, again, you’re walking away disappointed with three goals going past you.”
Dee have already lifted the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup this season, have the Shire Shield final with Huntly to contest, and are still in the mix for all of the ‘domestic’ Junior trophies, including, of course, the Superleague crown.
With the league this year comes a potential play-off run to try to gain promotion to the Highland League.
It is a step up Hobday is determined to make, with the former Peterhead and Turriff goalie saying: “First and foremost, you’ve got to focus on the league, but obviously – looking to the future – we are looking to go up.
“It’s about wrapping the league up first, then we can focus on getting up through the play-offs.
“I think we deserve to be playing at a higher level with the infrastructure, the players we have on the park and the football we try to play. We do need to take that step up and it’s a natural progression for the football club.”
Hobday certainly thinks Dee have potential to grow as a club, and has lofty targets, saying: “It’s a well-supported club, bang in the middle of town, it’s a great place and a great location to bring in good players.
“As soon as we go up, hopefully we’ll start building some momentum and, even next season, looking to win the Highland League wouldn’t be a bad thing to be looking at. I think that would be our target – to win everything again next season.”