Syngenta well up for challenge of cups

Syngenta manager Zander Diamond praised his players’ mentality after they came from behind to beat Edinburgh United 3-1 in the South Challenge Cup’s third round on Saturday.

By Ben Kearney
Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 2:17 pm
Goalscorer Ian Smith drives with the ball (Pics Scott Louden)
Goalscorer Ian Smith drives with the ball (Pics Scott Louden)

The East of Scotland Football League first division conference A side are one tier above the Dyes but were beaten by Zander Diamond’s side last month in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.

The visitors took the lead after only 45 seconds, but an own goal, followed by strikes from Ian Smith and David Wilson, ensured progress, and Diamond was pleased with that response.

“It was a match that was always going to be about mentality,” he said.

Players fight for possession of the ball

“They are a decent side, but we had already beaten them last month and we knew going into the match we could win. I made some changes to freshen up the team and give some boys a chance to make a claim for a spot in the team.

“To concede in under a minute wasn’t an ideal start, and the first 10 minutes or so you could tell that we had shuffled the team around and that we weren’t quite at it.”

Diamond believes the fact his bench was so strong shows the strength in depth his side have, explaining: “To have the bench filled with so much quality is brilliant for me and it shows the real team we have built at the club over my time here. It makes it tough for me, which is a good thing, to leave so many good players out.”

Ex-Aberdeen defender Diamond admits the early goal frustrated him and it is something he will work with players on in training throughout the week.

“Anyone will tell you I am a bit of a perfectionist and it was a bad goal to lose,” he said. “It was an own goal as well, which is frustrating because you have given them something to hold onto.

“It’s about being switched on and that is something that is hard to teach so we will go over defensive awareness.

“The guys have done superb and it is hard to fault them.”

Syngenta face more cup action on Saturday, taking on Lochgelly Albert away in the King Cup’s first round, and Diamond wants his side to harness the same mentality against a team above them in the tier system.

“We’ll do our homework and plan and prepare for it properly,” he said. “It’s all about getting into the next round by any means.”