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Mark Gilmour says Banks o’ Dee would relish tilt at Highland League promotion

The Banks o' Dee players ahead of their big day in the Scottish Cup against Raith Rovers. Picture by Kath Flannery
The Banks o' Dee players ahead of their big day in the Scottish Cup against Raith Rovers. Picture by Kath Flannery

Mark Gilmour says Banks o’ Dee enjoy playing sides from a higher level – and would relish the chance to gain Highland League promotion.

Midfielder Gilmour had a busy afternoon on Saturday as Juniors Dee took on Raith Rovers in their bumper Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Spain Park.

They lost 3-0, with two late goals from the visitors resulting in a scoreline which did not fully reflect a tie where Dee had kept their full-time rivals at bay for close to 70 minutes.

The sixth-tier Aberdeen club have performed admirably against teams from the leagues above them in recent years, and especially this season – having knocked League One East Fife out in the third round of the national trophy and beaten north-east-based Highland League sides, including Fraserburgh and then Formartine United, to win the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup.

That silverware success was a first for any Junior team, and Dee could soon double their achievement when they take on Huntly in the Aberdeenshire Shield final, having defeated Buckie Thistle to get to the showpiece.

Dee’s biggest carrot of all this season, though, is a potential tilt at Highland League promotion through the new play-off system – should they again win the North Region Superleague.

Gilmour said: “We’ve got a lot to play for the rest of the season. We’ve done well in the cup competitions and have a final to come, so we’re obviously looking forward to that.

Mark Gilmour celebrates scoring in the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup final. Picture by Kath Flannery

“But we’re looking to win as much as we possibly can. We’ll just take it game-by-game and go from there.

“To be honest, I don’t know a lot about it (the potential play-off to reach the Highland League), we just play football.

“If that is the case and there is a chance to go up, then I’m sure all the boys will be relishing that. It’s something the boys want to do. We’ve got a taste over the years of playing Highland League teams and we always seem to up our game for those teams.

“They’re the games you want to be involved in, and stuff like Saturday and the East Fife game.”

Gilmour thinks the Scottish Cup run which culminated in the clash with Rovers is one Dee can be “delighted” with, adding: “It was a tough afternoon. We knew we were going to suffer a lot throughout the game, and it was all about just keeping our shape and then hopefully getting a chance when we could.

“But as soon as that first goal went in for them, we tried opening up – tried going for it a bit more, changed our formation – and then got caught on the counter on two occasions.

“For a lot of the lads it was their first game like that, so it was good experience for the boys.

“The fourth round for us was just a bonus, and we’re still proud of all the boys – we put in a great shift.”

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