Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale manager Raymond Carr is convinced his men will not be all at sea when they face senior opposition for the first time tomorrow, even though he has spent this week cruising the Mediterranean.
The East of Scotland League champions host Montrose at the Saughton Enclosure in Edinburgh and Carr has been putting together his plans while soaking up some late summer sun.
He will be back in time for kick-off as he explained: “I have been involved with Lothian Thistle in a number of roles over the years and I was brought back in as manager in February.
“Things had slipped, but we turned them around and won a League and Cup double. I had this holiday booked long before I had even agreed to go back, so we put plans in place to work around it as soon as the draw was made.
“We have had Montrose watched several times and have given the players enough information to be prepared. We have not given them too much as it is important to concentrate on ourselves as well.”
Carr said: “This is the biggest game in the club’s history and whilst some people may not see a home tie with Montrose as the most glamorous in the Scottish Cup, we do.”
Club secretary Tom Allison joked: “We have known about Raymond’s holiday for a long time so it is not an issue. However, we do have a helicopter booked at Southampton to fly him up if there are any delays.”
Darren Barr started his career as a young Bairn in the Falkirk rearguard, but he will face them tomorrow as an older Son at the heart of the Dumbarton defence.
The 30-year-old said: “I was 15 when I was first picked up by Falkirk and I joined them on a youth training scheme when I was 16. I had eight years there in total and I suppose I was a bit unique at the time as not a lot of young boys were coming through. Falkirk have been concentrating a lot more on youth in recent seasons and are now one of the top clubs when it comes to promoting that.”
With Falkirk, Barr earned a Scotland cap against Northern Ireland in August 2008 and he played with the Bairns until 2010 before a three-year spell at Hearts that included scoring in a Scottish Cup final when Hibs were seen off 5-1.
During spells at Kilmarnock and Ross County, injuries restricted his playing duties, but they are behind him now as he is already into double figures for Dumbarton appearances.
Barr said: “It has been good to clock up games and I am hoping that the next injury I get is a minor one. All the other ones I have had have always been serious long-term ones.
“After not playing much in the last couple of years I am delighted that the manager here, Stephen Aitken, gave me a chance to play at a good level in a really competitive league.
“Our season has been a bit stop-start. We started really well and then fell away before coming back and beating Livingston, only to lose to Hibs. Hopefully we can get back on track against Falkirk.”
Elgin City have signed attacker Dylan Easton, who was released by St Johnstone just before the transfer window closed in August.