First Team

Braves eye quarter final spot as Threave clash looms

3rd March 2023

Braves make the trip to Castle Douglas on Saturday as we look to progress to the latter stages of the South Challenge Cup.



A place in the last eight of the competition beckons for the winner of the tie and this cup will be a target most definitely for Ricky Waddell's side.


We have come through three rounds thus far on our road to the last 16, seeing off Carluke, Rutherglen and Bo'ness in the process. The first two rounds were routine wins as we chalked up 13 goals over the two games. However, the last round at home to Bo'ness was anything but as we required an extra time clincher from Marc Kelly to secure passage through.


Confidence will be high coming into this game as we have chalked up five wins out of our last 6 games. Last time out, Ross McNeil's acrobatic effort was enough to oust Lowland League strugglers, Edinburgh University. 


Ricky Waddell may be looking for an improved performance however as Braves perhaps made heavy weather of an end to end 2nd half against Edinburgh Uni. He reflected after last weekends' game that, "I was dissapointed with certain aspects of the game... we looked a bit leggy. I would've liked us to perform a little bit better in the things we speak about at training i.e. the principles of the way we want to play the game".


And if Braves needed any warning of the potential consequences of dropping slightly off the intensity on Saturday, they should look no further than the recent cup game against lower league opposition away to Mid Annandale where we fell two goals behind in the opening four minutes of the match. That being said, we did recover rather well with just the seven goals without reply. 


Opposition Overview


Threave Rovers come into this last 16 tie as the lowest ranked team remaining in the competition. They play all the way down in the fourth division of the West of Scotland football setup, so it has been a superb effort from the Rovers to make it to this stage. 


They will relish the opportunity as underdogs on Saturday though, having seen off recent opponents Mid Annandale, Nithsdale, Whitletts Victoria and St Cadocs on route to the fifth round. They have scored an impressive 18 goals across the four games. 


Threave currently sit in fourth place in their league, just outside the promotion places and will go into Saturday in decent spirits after a 6-1 thrashing of Eglington last time out. 



Spotlight: Ross McNeil


One to watch on Saturday for the Threave backline will be Braves' number nine who is in fine form at the moment. His decisive winner last weekend was his 20th of the season and the man from East Kilbride has scored a stunning eight goals in his last six games. 


His intelligent link up play added to his obvious clinical finishing and penalty box instincts make him a key man for Braves and there would be no eyebrows raised if he is on the scoresheet again at the weekend. 



Ricky's Preview ahead of the game


"We're going to need to go down and do the business, we're going to need to dig in and do things better that I felt we didn't do so well in the tactical element of things against Edinburgh Uni. It's probably not going to be a purely tactical game but I feel if we go and do those wee things better, then we have the players and the quality to go and win that game"

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