Lochee United are bidding to make their first Scottish Cup Final since 2005 as they face a daunting trip to face Auchinleck — manager George Shields, though, says they go with “no fear”.
The Bluebells have already travelled well to Ayrshire twice in their run to this weekend’s semi-final clash, beating Irvine Meadow and Beith.
And Shields says going into the last-four clash with the tag of underdogs will suit his side just fine.
He said: “We go into the game as the underdogs — they’ve won the trophy 11 times and we’ve never won it, so that’s expected.
“We’ve done quite well down in Ayrshire already this season.
“We beat Irvine Meadow 2-0 and at Beith in the last round we won 4-1 so for our third visit down in Ayrshire we go with confidence.
“We’ll not change anything in terms of our approach — we go to try to win the game down there.
“I don’t think many teams will have gone down to face Ayrshire clubs two or three times and got through to the final.
“They’re normally the stronger sides in the competition and Hurlford are in the other semi-final against Wishaw.
“Historically, teams that are the favourites tend to go through over two-legged ties but, if we play to our capabilities, which we’ve already shown this season, we are quietly confident.”
The Thomson Park side had a strong following behind them for their 4-1 quarter-final victory over Beith last month. This time around they’re expecting even more to make the long journey to the south west.
Shields said: “We’ve got several buses going so there will be a few hundred supporters there.
“It was the same with the Beith game where a couple of busloads went down to cheer us on and it’s good to see.
“The support have been tremendous and I wish everyone travelling down all the best and thank them for their support.
“It’s key we keep ourselves in the tie because we’re expecting a big crowd at Thomson Park, the hospitality went quickly after the draw and there’s been a big interest in the game so we need to have something to play for in the second leg.”
Since being paired with the Ayrshire outfit, Shields has been keeping a close eye on things in Auchinleck.
“I’ve got reports on them. I’ve had them watched the last three times against Carnoustie, Hill of Beath and Beith as well,” he said.
“We’ve got good knowledge of what to expect.
“Preparations are going well, we trained on Monday and Wednesday and everything’s going fine.”
The Bluebells have no injury worries, apart from long-term absentee Kevin Buchan, and former Montrose boss Shields says he won’t be changing his usual approach for the game.
He added: “We’ve got a pool of 20 guys and there will be a few disappointed faces.
“It’s a squad game, though, and they understand they’ve all played their part through the season.
“To be honest, there won’t be any change to our tactics. We’re going there looking at it as a one-off match and we’ll try to play it that way.
“I won’t be changing formation or anything with a second leg in mind but we want to, hopefully, get a result and then take them back to Thomson Park.
“Our away form has actually been a lot better than our home form — we’ve not lost many away at all.
“We go with no fear and it suits us being the underdog. We like to keep things low profile and do what we’re good at.”