By Adam Gordon
– Reigning Uist and Barra League champions face the 2013 winners for place in the semi-finals
– ‘Sitting back and defending is not in our DNA’ says Saints manager
Iochdar Saints squad led by manager, Stephen MacAulay (pictured furthest right)
With Iochdar Saints flying the flag for the Uist and Barra League in the Highland Amateur Cup this weekend, Am Paipear caught up with Saints manager, Stephen MacAulay, ahead of their quarter-final tie against Wick Groats of the Caithness League in Portree on Saturday.
Am Paipear (AP): Are you confident going into the game tomorrow?
Stephen MacAulay (SM): ‘We are approaching this game as underdogs, Wick are a team with extensive experience in the Highland Amateur Cup, and of course have already won this competition. If we play the way I know we can play, then I have the belief that we could cause an upset.
AP: You have had a mixed week, a great result against your nearest challengers, then a shock defeat against Benbecula, do you feel the team became complacent after the Barra win?
SM: ‘Yes, we were definitely complacent with this game so close at hand, but at the same time we had some key players missing midweek and the conditions did not suit our style of play at all. In defence of the players, we did control the majority of the match midweek and had ample chances, it was just one of those miserable nights. Overall it was a well deserved victory for Benbecula, who gave a good account of themselves.
AP: Wick Groats has only conceded three goals in their three Highland Amateur Cup games so far, will you be going all-out in attack to break them down?
SM: ‘Yes, we will take the game to them, that’s the way we play football. We have the mentality that if we score more goals than our opposition, we will win. Fast-paced, free-flowing, counter-attacking football is what I want to see. Sitting deep and defending is not in our DNA!
AP: You have conceded six goals in your last two games, have you been working on tightening up your defence?
SM: ‘We have had several different defences over the past weeks due to unavailable players, so I am not too concerned about our recent defensive record. When you play such attacking football, you have to expect to be caught out in defence from time to time. If we have conceded so many goals, then every other team should be worried by how many we are scoring!
AP: Are there any of the Groats players, in particular, you have told your side to watch out for?
SM: ‘Yes, we will be keeping an eye on the two Macnab brothers, they look like quality players. Another player I hope we can keep quiet is Sandy Sutherland, he is the sort of player that will nick a goal from nowhere, looks like a nuisance and a bit of a fox in the box in my opinion.
AP: How do you think playing at a neutral venue (Portree) will affect the teams?
SM: ‘I don’t think that either team has an advantage, both teams will be leaving their homes between 4.30am-5am. I am just hoping we do the Highland Amateur Cup proud and make it a brilliant spectacle and see some really nice football.’
Am Paipear will be at Saints’ match tomorrow, so keep an eye on our website for full coverage of the game.