Re-United Edinburgh are relishing visit of Cup giants

EDINBURGH UNITED manager Stephen Osbourne is licking his lips at the prospect of facing West Region giants Arthurlie - a few months after finding himself with only two signed players as he took over the reins at the Capital club.

The two sides have been drawn together in the third round of the Emirates Scottish Junior Cup, with Arthurlie's visit to Paties Road on Saturday, November 27 being a nice reward for their opponents after an excellent 6-4 win against Girvan last weekend.

"It will be like a Cup Final for us," said Osbourne of the visit by a team that is sitting alongside Pollok at the top of the West Region Super League.

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"This is the best tie we could have got and it will certainly give my players something to look forward to over the next fortnight. We were the underdogs against Girvan and it will be the same again as Arthurlie will be an even tougher test."

Osbourne took over the South Division club in the summer, moving from amateur outfit Links United along with assistant Neil Brownlie and goalkeeping coach Andy Ritchie.

They had to build a completely new team but, with a mixture of amateurs and under-21s, have managed to steer United into the last 64 of the Junior Cup.

"Only two players were left from last season and the club was shrouded in doom and gloom at the start of the season," added the United manager. "We not only had to build up a squad but also one that could compete on the park, and at the start that looked a daunting prospect. After getting off to a good start, we than had a spell of inconsistency before picking up again and I thought we were worthy winners against Girvan.

"There's already a feelgood factor at the club and now the prospect of facing Arthurlie in the Scottish Cup makes it even better for the players.

"We've got Blackburn away then Dunbar at home in our next two league games and it will be up to the players to show me just how much they want to be in that team against Arthurlie."

The Barrhead club have lifted the Junior Cup twice, most recently in 1998.

"We've had some big games before but this is definitely the biggest one so far for the current crop of players," said United secretary Brian Smith.

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"Hopefully we can attract a decent crowd against Arthurlie."

That will certainly be the case for the tie of the round - a meeting between the last two Junior Cup winners, Linlithgow Rose and Auchinleck Talbot, at Prestonfield.

"I would have preferred a lesser team but we had to do things the hard way in lifting the Cup last season and you just have to get on with it," said Rose boss Dave Baikie of facing the eight-time winners.

"Auchinleck won't be relishing the draw either and hopefully I can maintain what has been quite a good record against them, including a semi-final win when I was manager at Tayport."

n CAMELON are looking for a new management team after Steven Kerrigan and assistant Martin Mooney departed following last Saturday's Super League defeat at home to Musselburgh.