Matt Kerr admits part of his motivation for East Stirlingshire’s Scottish Cup game with non-league Threave Rovers at Ochilview on Sunday lies in his first encounter with the Dumfreisshire side.
Kerr was assistant to current Shire boss John Coughlin at Stenhousemuir when their team were knocked out of the competition at Castle Douglas in 2007, and although they gained revenge later in their tenure at the Warriors, he says memories of that day still hurt.
The Shire number two also claims it should serve as a warning to the side currently at the top of SPFL Scottish League Two that they must show the right attitude to the tie and take nothing for granted.
“It shows that anything can happen in these games,” he said. “It will be a big game for them but also a big game for us. We are on a good run right now and will approach it in exactly the same way we would any league game by going out and trying to do our best to win it.”
Despite the six years that have passed since he first came across the Lowland League side, Kerr’s memories of losing 1-0 at Meadow Park while in the colours of Stenhousemuir have not dimmed.
“It still annoys us that we lost to this day,” said Kerr. “It was our first game in charge at Stenhousemuir and people were looking at us coming in with a bit of anticipation.
“But it was a horrible day and a horrible game and a horrible goal to lose. We kind of made up for it the following year when we beat Threave comfortably at Ochilview but something like that still sticks with you.”
Any feeling of superiority Shire may feel towards Sunday’s opponents should be countered, Kerr feels, by their performance in the Ramsdens Cup earlier in the season at Formartine United.
They crashed out of that competition 2-0 at the hands of last season’s Highland League runners-up and the Shire coach says that should serve as a warning not to get too complacent.
“We saw what happened at Formatine earlier in the season and we know that teams from outside the league are capable of hurting you,” he said. “There can be no complacency because we simply won’t allow it. We went to Formartine and it was a great day, a great surface and a great chance to progress. But we went out because we simply did not perform and we will not be making that mistake again.”
Threave have been struggling to get some results in the newly-created Lowland League while Shire are on a high after Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Berwick Rangers which left them four points clear at the top of League Two.
However, the Threave management team were part of Harry Cairney’s staff when he was boss at Annan Athletic and a number of their squad have experience of playing in league football with the Galabank club.
“They will be of a good standard,” said Kerr. “The Lowland League generally is very good and we will have to be careful. But we will also be approaching the game in a positive manner and aiming to go out there to do our best.
“We would always like to go out and win the game early and get early goals but we also have to be careful about how we go about things. They are a good team and this is a massive game for their club. They have beaten teams from our league before and they will be up for it. What we have to do is make sure our players are up for it as well.”
Shire will again be without the suspended Paul Quinn and are likely to stick with the players who defeated Berwick Rangers last Saturday.
As a club Shire have their own previous with Threave Rovers which they are keen to correct. The last time the two sides were drawn together, in 2002, Threave won 2-1 in a replay after a 1-1 draw at Firs Park.
“That whole day was a disaster,” said Shire secretary, Tadek Kopszywa. “We were comfortably 1-0 up until they got a penalty with ten minutes to go and that gave them the confidence to go on and win.
“But the club is in a different place to where it was eleven years ago and we hope with the right attitude and application from the players we can get past them this time.”