Inverurie Locos midfielder Neil McLean knows tonight’s meeting with Aberdeen could be another step towards cup success this season.
The Aberdeenshire Shield quarter-final meeting with the Dons reserves is the first of three consecutive cup games for Locos, who meet Formartine in the Highland League Cup this weekend, before a Scottish Cup clash with Broxburn Athletic the following Saturday.
Second in the Highland League after two wins in a row, McLean hopes Locos are building a head of steam under boss Andy Low after a few seasons of disappointment in their hunt for silverware.
He said: “We had a bit of a disappointing result last Saturday against Wick (in the league) where we let ourselves down and didn’t play well.
“But we’ve done well in the last two games (with wins) against Formartine and against Clach on Saturday.
“Hopefully with the three cup games coming up, leading up to the big one, which is the Scottish Cup – they’re all hard games – hopefully we can keep building that momentum.
“We’ve said in the dressing room that it’s always our aim to do well in the cups and challenge in the league.
“That’s where we want to be as a club.
“It’s always down to the players –when you step on the park you need to produce and we know it’s not been good enough.
“We’ve tried to put that right with two good games in the Scottish so far and hopefully we can progress in the Shield tonight.”
Aberdeen reserves blitzed Cove Rangers’ second string 5-0 in the last round of the Shield at the Balmoral Stadium, with first-team players like Bruce Anderson and Dean Campbell featuring.
McLean knows a lot hinges on what side Paul Sheerin puts out for the Reds, but also thinks home advantage can help the Railwaymen.
He said: “It’s always tough playing against guys who are full-time and looking for contracts once their’s run out.
“There’s the potential there could be a few first-team guys in and it’s always good to come up against them and test yourself.
“Tonight will be no different. To take anything out of the game we’ll have to be at our best. Hopefully some of them have a tough night.”
McLean added: “It makes it a bit better that we know the pitch, although a few of the guys at Aberdeen have probably played there in pre-season.
“They’ll know what it’s about. But it potentially won’t be as fluid a game as it would be on the astroturf they’re used to playing on at Cove and they played there in the last round.
“It’s a big park and Harlaw’s quite a tight park.
“It doesn’t give them as much space as they’d maybe like.
“If they turn up with their ‘A’ game it’s going to be tough, but you’re hoping we can keep it tight and maybe nick something.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen’s Michael Ruth has praised coach Sheerin ahead of tonight’s encounter, with the free-scoring 17-year-old saying: “Paul is a great coach and knows what he’s talking about.
“He gets the best out of us the way he sets the team up and as you can see, we’re getting the wins.
“There were a few experienced boys out there (against Cove) who have played the game for a while and I thought we coped well.”