Baikie will be bold in away Scottish Cup semi first leg

DAVE BAIKIE insists he'll not be asking his Linlithgow Rose players to shut up shop in the hope of getting a draw in the first leg of their Emirates Scottish Junior Cup clash against Lochee United tomorrow.

Continuing a break with tradition that started last year, the semi-finals are being played over two legs but Baikie isn't interested in simply trying to keep things tight going into next weekend's return meeting at Prestonfield.

"As far as I am concerned, we'll be going there to try to win the game," said the Rose boss.

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"There will be no tactical manoeuvring or trying to shut up shop in the hope we might come away with a draw."

On the decision to play the last-four ties over two legs, he added: "It's definitely a financial decision more than a football one but we've just got to concentrate on trying to make sure we come through these games and make the final."

Baikie is no stranger to leading teams to that stage in the competition. He's been there five times and led Tayport to two triumphs – in 2002/03 and 2004/05.

"For me, the most important Junior Cup semi-final I've been involved in was the first one with Tayport," said the former Arbroath, Cowdenbeath and East Fife manager.

"At the time, it had been something like 40 years since a Tayport side had been in the final and we were up against Auchinleck.

"They were the giants of Junior football at the time but we beat them 3-0 to set up a final against Glenafton. Unfortunately, we'd already played our final, so speak, and that was an anti-climax.

"You learn from an experience like that, though, and I quickly discovered that just getting to the final isn't enough."

In addition to the fact he played for Lochee, Baikie lives close to Dundee in Tayport and says he's been enjoying some good banter this week with some of his workmates.

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"Quite a few of them are Lochee fans and that sort of thing adds to a game like this," he commented.

A fortnight ago, Linlithgow, bidding to make the Junior Cup final for the fourth time in nine years, won 3-1 in the Super League against tomorrow's opponents before suffering an untimely setback when last weekend's trip to Whitburn fell victim to the weather. Baikie said: "Ideally, we'd have wanted a competitive game to keep things going but we managed to play a friendly against Stoneyburn and that was helpful."

Danny Smith and Scott Wilson are both doubtful due to back problems but Gordon Herd trained earlier this week and has been added to the squad.

"Lochee are a side who have good movement and have three or four players in particular who can score goals, so we will have to be sound defensively," noted the Linlithgow boss.

While a slow start to the season – they drew too many games – appear to have cost Linlithgow their chances of catching local rivals Bo'ness in the Super League title race, they've been impressive so far in the Junior Cup.

Granted, it took a last-gasp equaliser from Roddy McLennan to stop them from going out at Bathgate in the last round but there's a settled look about Baikie's side at the moment.

They've not been beaten since losing 2-0 at home to Bathgate in the league eight games ago and, as a result, will go into these two crucial matches as the slight favourites.

Lochee are the odd ones out in the semi-finals as, unlike Linlithgow, Largs and Clydebank, they've never lifted the trophy.

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The closest they've come was in 2005, when they lost to Tayport in the final, and current boss Ray McKinnon, the former Dundee United man, admitted: "This cup has been the Holy Grail for our club for so long."