First Team

'We knew today was massive' - Gaffer on momentous cup win

12th December 2020

Caledonian Braves manager Ricky Waddell praised the way his side stepped up to the mountain of challenges that came their way in their Scottish Cup Second Round (Prelim) win over Clachnacuddin FC.

The Braves trekked 174 miles north to face the Lilywhites, with Waddell acknowledging during the week that the fact the Highland Leaguers hadn't played a competitive game this season and had a new manager meant preparations were awkward.

That combined with the recent bad run of form and the lucrative prize of a place in the First Round Proper meant the pressure was on the Alliance Park side and they duly delivered.

And that's before even taking into account the torrential rain that made Grant Street Park a slippy and soggy place to be on this Saturday afternoon and the fact the Braves had to play for an hour with ten men.

Waddell said: "We knew it was massive, the guys knew it was massive without me saying anything. For the club, for themselves and for everyone connected with us.

"It was massive for what we're trying to do to progress. That button has been on hold for the first quarter of the season but I do feel in the past three weeks I've seen a turnaround in the guys, in their mood and in the competition for places and their fitness. That showed today. We had a right good fight about us and we showed we have a good strong character when things go against you."

Scott Forrester scored his first goal for the club early on but that early momentum was halted somewhat when Jamie Walker was sent off. Waddell found it hard to argue with the referee's decision to give the youngster his marching orders, but cautioned against criticising Walker himself.

He said: "I think he's flew in - I can't say it wasn't a red card from where I was standing. But if you take into account the manner of the game and some of the other challenges that were flying in which were relatively fair, I don't think he was going in with any malice. I've not spoke to the referee I think the home side's reaction helps to get him sent off, but the referee was closer than me."

The manager also praised Clachnacuddin's performance. The Highland League side added eight new players to their squad for this season but their proposed league opener was cancelled last week due to a waterlogged pitch, so this was the first competitive outing for many of them since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Waddell said: "I thought they were great. They played with energy and enthusiasm. They've played a lot of friendlies and trained a lot but there was still a lot of fitness there. Because of the pitch and the conditions it well it turned it into that old-fashioned type of game that we know and love and we had to win the battle."

Moving forward, it's another short recovery for the Braves before its back to league duty and a crucial match against Vale of Leithen, currently bottom of the Lowland League. 

"There's been a lot of quick turnarounds," said Waddell. "We suffered from a lot of injuries early in the season because of that. I'll need to speak to our pyshio to see where we are.

"We need a full squad - we were able to change things up today as you saw," Waddell continued, referring to the 4-4-1-1 the team adopted today. "I'll analyse the game tomorrow and hopefully we can get three points on Tuesday."

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