WHILE hardly comparable to the enormity of the task facing Manchester United manager David Moyes as he bids to emulate the success of his predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson, Edinburgh University coach Dorian Ogunro nevertheless has the opportunity to match perhaps the club’s finest achievement – at the expense of the man who masterminded it.
The East of Scotland club’s famously reached the second round of the Scottish Cup before in 2006 under the stewardship of Dougie Samuel – and although they fell 5-1 to Cowdenbeath at Central Park, their cup heroics have not been forgotten.
Samuel, who was at the club for over nine years, will return to the familiar set-up at Peffermill for this afternoon’s William Hill Scottish Cup first round tie as head coach of city rivals, and Lowland League outfit, Spartans.
“He’s (Dougie) a very good friend of mine as I used to play for him,” said Ogunro, who is in his second season as manager of the students. “I know him very well and have a lot of time for him. When he first came into the club at Edinburgh University, he was assistant coach of the Scottish Universities side and a group of us playing for that team at the time, who were also playing for the Edinburgh side, spoke to the chairman to get him on board and that’s what happened.
“I have obviously known him for a long time but to be the fair, a lot of the younger guys in our squad now don’t really know who he is. They know he was very successful during his time here which included the Scottish Cup, but I don’t expect that will mean much to them.”
Ogunro certainly doesn’t underestimate what it will take to overhaul higher league opposition, a victory that would not only put his side in the draw for the next round, but offer them a chance to surpass the club’s magical run of almost seven years ago.
He said: “I know how Sammie plays. I am sure he may come out with one or two things but in general, there are some very fine margins in football. They have quality and if we’re not at our best then we’ll be beaten – it’s that simple.
“We’re looking forward to it though and have a lot of young players who haven’t experienced anything like this before so I am just looking for the players to give it their all.”
Samuel himself admits he is content to adopt the favourites tag ahead of the derby encounter but is fully aware of the threat his former club pose at the first hurdle.
“It’s cup football and anything can happen,” Samuel said. “I think it is one of those games were most people and the neutrals will make us favourites and that’s understandable. But last season, Edinburgh University came and beat us at the academy 2-0 so they have got a good record against Spartans in recent times and I am sure Dorian and his staff and all the new players will be desperate to keep that going.
“We’ve had them watched a few times and I know most of their players and I have a good idea of where the set will come from. But with it being Freshers’ Week and the trials, they may just spring a surprise on us.”