IT IS a pleasure to speak to a manager of Montrose FC who is justifiably proud of his team’s performance.
And it was a delighted Ray Farningham who complimented his players on their showing against First Division Ayr United when the Review spoke to him yesterday morning.
A visit by Montrose to Somerset Park for a Scottish Cup tie was something that the neutral observer would have expected to go only one way.
In the early stages it did seem as if the Honest Men were going to progress to the fourth round, but they reckoned without the character and determination of Mr Farningham’s men, who fought back to a two-all draw, ensuring that a replay would take place.
That happened last night, after this edition of the Review went to press. A report of the replay will appear in next week’s issue.
But before the replay, the boss indicated that it was likely that he would start with the same 11 who performed so heroically in the initial encounter.
He said: “There was not a failure in the team on Saturday.”
Asked if he felt that the fightback to force a replay felt as good as a win, Mr Farningham said that whilst before the game he would have settled for that result, the Gable Endies actually had chances to win the tie in the latter stages.
So in a way he was disappointed with the result.
The boss was keen to get last night’s game under way, and he said that his players have proved themselves capable of matching Ayr.
However, he cautioned that the Ayr management team had now seen Montrose in action, and would know what to expect.
But he added: “If our players demonstrate the same attention and commitment as on Saturday, I’ll be more than happy.”
Whilst the Scottish Cup is a big event for the club - and the replay at Links Park is a small blessing for the club treasurer - Third Division business will continue on Saturday.
Montrose will play host to Berwick Rangers, having defeated the Borders side when they met on September 10 at Shielfield Park.
The three points on that occasion were earned by yet another Gable Endies’ comeback. Berwick scored first through McLaren’s 11th minute strike, but the visitors retaliated, first through a Jamie Winter strike in 23 minutes, and a penalty winner with only nine minutes to play, courtesy of Sean Pierce.
Ian Little’s men are currently fifth in the league, with 18 points; and Montrose lie eighth with 13.
But the seventh team, Clyde, with 16 points, have no game on Saturday and a victory for Montrose would see them level with the Broadwood men on points, if not on goal difference.
There were no additional injuries as a result of the Ayr game, apart from a few minor knocks and bruises.
As things stand Jon Crawford is once again available, although groin strain victim Alan Campbell is still a doubt.