Thursday 19th January, 2017 at 3:40pm
Thistle may never have played against Formartine United before but there is one man at Firhill who knows Highland League football only too well having started and finished his playing career at Cove Rangers. So, in a break from the norm, it was Scott Paterson rather than Alan Archibald who spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie against the Aberdeenshire outfit.
Scott said: “Highland League is where I started way back before I turned professional and I still have some right good memories from that time. It was a really tough league, back then in particular, but even now there are some very strong teams up there.
“I went to see Formartine play Cove a couple of weeks ago and I was impressed by them. They’re a good team with a really good energy about them and a strong looking squad. Our players know exactly what to expect and we have done everything right in terms of our preparation. Everyone knows what is at stake so we all prepare in exactly the same way as we would for any other game – the opposition doesn’t make any difference.”
Thistle may be strong favourites going into Saturday’s match but Scott for one won’t be underestimating the opposition.
“There is a fair amount of money up in that league and the club has been well backed but it’s all about how a side uses that money and the guys have done that very well. They have a lot of good players and a number of ex-pros who were playing at a high level just a couple of years ago. They can play completely without pressure as all the pressure really is on us. We know it’s going to be a tough game but our preparation this week has been excellent so we know we’re going into it in a good place.”
“We had an excellent week away in La Manga with some really high quality sessions and that has just carried on into this week, we’ve trained really well.”
Thistle’s recent cup form has been poor and this is something Scott, together with everyone at the club, is really keen to put to bed.
“I definitely think we’re overdue a cup run as it’s the one thing we’ve really been missing in recent years. It gives you a bit of respite from the league and a good cup run is fantastic for everyone around the club. We’ve got a good opportunity to go through to the next round but we just need to stay focused and make sure we are in the hat when the draw happens on Sunday.”
Thistle fans were buoyed by the news that Mustapha Dumbuya got a good run out for the Jags in Spain, but Paterson remained cautious when the prospect of a return to competitive action came up.
“Muzzy has trained really well over the past couple of weeks and got a good run out in Spain. We’ll be cautious with him though and not look to rush him back. He’s been out for a long time now and we just need to make sure he is looked after properly as he starts to make it back to full fitness. He’ll definitely be in the squad and we’ll just need to see how we go from there.”