Davie Irons says Friday night’s televised cup clash is a chance for Stenhousemuir to showcase their talent, writes Craig Turnbull.
The Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup takes centre stage this weekend and the Warriors’ match against Irish side Waterford will be shown live on BBC Alba, kick off 7.35pm.
And Irons says his team are relishing the occasion under the lights at Ochilview.
The Stenny boss told the Falkirk Herald: “It’s an interesting challenge for the boys against a team you don’t normally play. It’s a good occasion for the club and hopefully one that we can rise to.”
Stenny go into the last-16 clash in buoyant mood after defeating Welsh champions TNS in the previous round and defeating League Two leaders Cove Rangers last week.
Irons added: “There was a good support on Saturday. Waterford will probably bring a 100 or so over I’m sure they will enjoy a warm welcome. It’s on TV, it’s good exposure for the club and it’s a great chance to show what we’re all about.”
Stenny last won the Challenge Cup in 1995 when they beat Dundee United on penalties and Irons sees no reason why they cannot continue in this year’s competition for a little while longer.
He said: “The confidence I have in the players is growing from week to week.
“The response since I’ve came in has been absolutely terrific.
“They work very hard to try to take on board the type of football we want them to play.
“They set their own standard and there is no reason why they can’t continue those levels.
“They’ve raised their game against the so-called bigger sides such as Hearts, Dundee United in the Betfred Cup and last weekend against Cove Rangers - they’ve gone toe to toe against all of them.
“There’s no reason why we can’t continue our involvement in the competition. We beat the champions of Wales in the last round who were full-time.”
Waterford are seventh in the League of Ireland with their season nearly complete, and have won three of their last four games including a 2-0 victory over Sligo Rovers on Monday.
Asked if they could feel the impact of a long season, he said: “I don’t think that will come into it. I’m sure they will be treating it seriously, there are not just here for the weekend holiday in Scotland.
“They will know each other’s game that will be entrenched.
“The other way of looking at it is they could be feeling slightly fatigued, but from our point of view we will be treating them with the respect they deserve.”