Gordon Herd out to play a cool hand in final

LINLITHGOW ROSE striker Gordon Herd is a player who has been through the build-up to the Scottish Junior Cup final before but still gets nervous before the big day.

Signed from Dumbarton in season 2004/2005 with an impressive goalscoring record, he has been a huge hit with the players and fans alike. All but guaranteeing at least 20 goals per season from his boots, every manager who has taken charge of Linlithgow in that time knows just how valuable he is to the club.

In the six seasons at the club he has won an impressive haul of silverware with a Scottish Junior Cup medal the highlight. In season 2006/2007 he was in the team which beat Kelty Hearts 2-1 after extra time at East End Park.

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Herd admits that the final was such a pulsating game that he doesn't remember a great deal other than the goals.

"The atmosphere before the game (there were more than 9000 at the final) caught many of us off guard and possibly we didn't have our minds fully on what to do," he explained. "I had to go off the pitch during the game and the rest passed in a blur, so this time I'm determined not to let this one pass me by.

"I've got a lot more experience this time around and I won't make the mistakes I did last time. Then you looked around you and saw your family, friends and supporters all shouting and you do take your eye off the match. It's easy to do."

Herd believes the leadership and experience of manager Dave Baikie will play a crucial role against Largs Thistle at Rugby Park on Sunday.

"The gaffer has been through all this before and is doing the right things," he said. "Both sides will be nervous so it's up to the players who have been there and done it, like myself, to settle the others down a bit. You don't want to leave your energy at the training ground.

"This season has been a bit stop start for me. I'm still not 100 per cent fit but getting games under my belt is helping. I had a couple of bad injuries early in the season and found it hard to shake them off."

And while the fact that Largs do not play in the same East Juniors league set-up as Linlithgow – although they knocked Bonnyrigg Rose out earlier in the competition – does not mean the striker and his team-mates have not done their homework on their opponents.

"Sunday's game will be really tough," Herd went on. "They have proved they are giant killers and we'll need to be at our best to beat them. If we play as we can then Largs will have a real fight on their hands and we have players like Danny Smith and big John Ward who have been over the course before and know what to expect as well. Youngsters like Roddy McLennan will need to be calmed down and talked through the game but let's hope it's a good game for the punters as well."

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This season Herd's striking partner has been Tommy Coyne, son of the ex-Motherwell and Celtic striker Tommy Coyne. Together they have terrorised rival Super League sides.

Linlithgow know that in Herd they have a striker who will cause panic in any defence. The supporters will be looking for some of that action, come Sunday at 4pm. The party plans are done and dusted – the only thing missing is the trophy.