FALKIRK manager Steven Pressley and his opposite number, Hamilton’s Billy Reid, are both looking to create history in today’s Ramsdens Cup final at Livingston’s Braidwood Motor Company Stadium.
ressley wants to see the Bairns become the most successful side since the competition was launched as the B&Q Challenge Cup in 1990 whereas Reid would join together with a small group that contains only John Hughes, Ian McCall, Sandy Stewart and Kenny Black of winners as both players and managers.
Pressley said: “It would be great to lead Falkirk to a fourth success in this competition as that would take us ahead of Airdrieonians in terms of winning the most Challenge Cups.”
Pressley is also hoping that a win is picked up to reward his squad for a season that has defied the critics. “It would be a massive achievement to win this tournament as the players have given me a lot this season. I have asked them to go to the well a lot and they have applied themselves fantastically well but you don’t win cup competitions on what you have done beforehand, you need to earn the right on the day.
“When you think back to the start of the season some people were hoping only for First Division survival from this squad but we have gone further than that and it would be great to mark their efforts with a cup win.”
Goalkeeper Michael McGovern is available after suspension and midfielder Craig Sibbald returns after U17 international duty with Stewart Murdoch the only absentee as the youngster is out with a broken foot and suspension.
Despite Pressley’s long career in the game and success in leagues and cups with Rangers, Celtic and Hearts, a Challenge Cup medal eluded him as Dundee United were shock losers in the autumn final of 1995 to Stenhousemuir on penalties.
Reid, on the other hand, won the Cup with Accies when they defeated Ayr United 1-0 in December 1991. They retained the trophy 12 months later. However, Reid missed out through suspension and he also missed out on the chance to be a winner as a manager in November 2005 when his side lost 2-1 to St Mirren.
Reid said: “It was a great time for the club to reach the final in successive seasons and also the St Mirren game was at a good time for the club as we had not long gone full time and we were beginning to climb the First Division in terms of being a good side. St Mirren were a really strong side at that time and won the Division that season, but we gave them a right good game and it was definitely a stepping stone on our way to the SPL a couple of years later.”
The New Douglas Park manager had some sound advice for his players: “I was a journeyman player and I know that you do not get to too many cup finals. I will tell the boys to enjoy the occasion but to win the game as no one remembers who came second.”
In some ways the season is ending too soon for the Hamilton side, with Reid saying: “Our run of results has come too soon in the First Division so we have to look at winning the Ramsdens Cup as our last chance of lifting a trophy this season. It has been a while since we beat Livingston in the semi-final and our side has changed a lot since then but it has been a season of re-building after coming down from the SPL.
“I have four strikers bang in form with Jon McShane and Mark Stewart doing well when they have started games and Greig Spence and Andy Ryan looking great when they have come on recently. It is a headache as I can’t play them all, but it is a nice headache.”
Hamilton will be without suspended defender Martin Canning, and Grant Anderson, who’s joined Stenhousemuir on loan. And Ali Crawford’s lack of games after a knee injury means he’s likely miss out.