Spartans are wary ahead of semi with improved Selkirk

Spartans, who have not won the Image Printers East of Scotland Qualifying Cup since season 2006-2007, are determined to make it to this year's final when they host the much-improved Selkirk at Ainslie Park tomorrow.

Spartans are unbeaten in all matches this season and warmed up for tomorrow's semi-final with a 3-0 win against Edinburgh University last weekend.

"That was definitely the best display we have put in this season, especially in the opening 20 or 25 minutes of each half," stressed joint manager, Mike Lawson. "Tomorrow, we know that Selkirk will give us a hard, competitive game. They are the most improved team in the Premier Division this season and there is a real spirit about them. They have very good players, their confidence is high and they will set us different problems from many other sides."

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Lawson will be without defender Ross Archibald lthough Daniel O'Donnell returns to the squad.

Selkirk boss Paul Brownlee, who is guiding the Souters to their best league campaign since league reconstruction in season 1986-1987, watched his side come from behind to beat Lothian Thistle 3-2 last Saturday with two late goals.

"We seem to be giving lots of teams a goal of a start before pitching up," said Brownlee. "I don't know what the problem is and equally I don't know what the answer is. Honestly, we are not playing well but we are getting results.

"We do have a great fighting spirit and that is typified by Paul Hossack. However, we need all eleven players on the park to give what he does. We cannot go to meet Spartans with any fear and our concentration levels must be very high. We cannot afford to sit off Spartans and we have to squeeze them and I am sure that we will create chances. We then have to take them and if we perform on the day then we can get a result. Our league position tells us that we are doing okay so as long as we do the basics correctly and don't do anything silly then we will enjoy the day. After all, it is a cup semi-final."

Brownlee has a full squad to choose from. The game kicks off at 2.30pm with extra time and penalties, if necessary. Admission charges are adults 5 and concessions 2.