Heriot's star insisting Ayr remain the favourites

DESPITE a magnificent seven straight wins over domestic opponents, Heriot's will go into tomorrow's Scottish Premier Cup semi-final at Ayr as underdogs.

That's the view of star second row Chukwuma "CJ" Osazuwa who, nevertheless, believes a third successive final appearance for the Capital club is on the cards.

"People will probably have Ayr as favourites and that's understandable because Millbrae is a difficult place to visit and they are league champions," he said.

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"But that just means we can relax a bit more and if we hadn't lost our way a bit towards the end of a match at Dundee early in the new year we could have extended the run we are now on."

In fact, that blip on Tayside is Heriot's only domestic setback in ten starts which makes for an intriguing tussle and, according to CJ, other incentives exist.

On a personal level, the former Musselburgh Athletic footballer missed last year's final triumph over Melrose due to knee ligament damage and is keen to experience the occasion this time round.

He said: "Phil O'Connor, my second-row partner, is likely to be off on his travels next season and we'd like to do well for him. Phil never knows when he's beaten and he does all the grafting that helps me to get around the pitch. Others, like Marc Teague, have come back from serious injury and it's great to see him really flying again."

Teague is one of the players along with full back Colin Goudie singled out as a threat by Ayr coach Kenny Murray, who says of a match which brings together Scotland's two representatives in this season's British and Irish Cup: "Heriot's have some very dangerous players and our defence will have to be at it's best. Participation in the B & I Cup has provided both teams with high intensity competition that will make this a cracking semi-final."

Ayr are bidding to reach their first Murrayfield final having had their dreams shattered by Heriot's at the same stage two years ago.

Meanwhile, Watsonians seek survival points away to Glasgow Hawks with Irish prop Garret Walsh set to return to action for the first time since quick thinking by Boroughmuir opponents helped ensure a full recovery from a head knock.

Walsh, from Limerick, suffered concussion and was immediately assisted on the Meggetland pitch a fortnight ago by 'Muir full-back Stephen Ruddick, who placed him in the recovery position to avoid the risk of choking. Once back on his feet Fred Lait then assisted his rival prop from the field.

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Walsh said: "I can remember the entire game – apart from a few moments after I collided with an elbow.

"I never got the chance at the time to thank the Boroughmuir players because I was out for the count but their actions were appreciated. Fortunately the concussion didn't prove to be severe."

A win would see Watsonians leapfrog Edinburgh Accies, who would have to win their remaining game at home to Heriot's to have a chance of avoiding the drop.