Formartine United first-team coach Jerry O’Driscoll reckons tonight’s cup tie against his former side Cove Rangers has the makings of a classic.
The former Dundee forward, who represented the Republic of Ireland at under-21 level, co-managed Cove Rangers alongside Kevin Tindal between 2009 to 2010.
The fourth-round meeting at North Lodge Park guarantees a Highland League side in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup – and with so much to play for O’Driscoll expects an entertaining tussle.
He said: “I think the game has the makings of an epic. It is a Friday night under the lights and hopefully a big crowd will generate a tremendous atmosphere.
“It will be the first time a Highland League team has made it to the fifth round for a long time.
“I know that Elgin City, when they were still in the Highland League, made it to the quarter-finals in 1968 before they were beaten 2-1 at Morton.
“The stakes are high but these are the types of games that players want to be involved in. Hopefully, both sets of players will rise to the occasion and are not overawed by it.
“The recent cup games between the clubs have produced some really good football.
“Cove defeated us in extra time in the Aberdeenshire Shield but we gained our revenge by beating us 1-0 in the final of the Aberdeenshire Cup in November.”
O’Driscoll believes the decision to play the match on a Friday night was a shrewd one. He added: “When the draw was made Aberdeen, Peterhead and Fraserburgh were also drawn at home. As a result we were competing for a crowd with three other clubs on our doorstep.
“This was before the decision was made to screen Aberdeen’s tie against St Mirren on Saturday lunchtime and Fraserburgh’s match against Rangers.
“It was a brave decision to move the game to the Friday night.
“I know loads of guys at other clubs, both in the local amateur leagues and the junior ranks, who are delighted that they’ll be able to go and watch the action.”
Formartine will be without central defender Scott Henry, who has an ankle problem, and midfielder Stuart Anderson, who will be out for the next two or three weeks with a calf injury.
Cove are at full strength apart from striker Daniel Park, who is working abroad, and midfielder Sam Burnett, who is struggling with an ankle injury.