McNeil relishing return to his old stomping ground

ANDY McNEIL, the former Hibs goalkeeper, celebrates his 23rd birthday today happy in the knowledge that he helped Montrose set up the clash with Hibs at Easter Road in the next round.

Montrose sit bottom of the SFL Third Division and threw away a 4-2 lead to lose 5-4 to Stranraer at the weekend. But the Links Park outfit seem to be keeping their best results for this season's Scottish Cup.

"We started brightly against Edinburgh City and after going 1-0 up we tried to close the game by scoring a second," said McNeil. "Apart from letting in the one goal we played good and when I play at Easter Road in the next round it will be like going home."

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McNeil was three years with Hibs before he signed for Montrose last summer after being released by the Edinburgh club and although he is only part-time with the Third Division side he is training full-time with Raith Rovers thanks to facilities being made available by Raith manager John McGlynn.

McNeil played in Hibs' League Cup winning side of 2007 when they beat Kilmarnock 5-1 in the final at Hampden Park and despite being released by then manager Mixu Paateleinen he is determined to return to full-time football.

"I will keep on working hard and this game against Hibs gives me the chance to prove how good I think I am," said McNeil. "I want to play football full-time at the highest level. Playing against Hibs will be a high-profile game and it will be great for all the guys to test ourselves against SPL opposition."

The fifth round game is scheduled for Saturday, 6 February.