Formartine United defender Stuart Smith thinks reaching the Evening Express Aberdeenshire Cup final would be the perfect tonic after a disappointing weekend.
The North Lodge Park outfit fell 1-0 to north-east rivals Buckie Thistle at Victoria Park on Saturday.
Paul Lawson’s team have now suffered two defeats in the Highland League this term and are six points off leaders Fraserburgh.
They host Paul Sheerin’s Dons Colts tonight and full-back Smith is looking for an emphatic response.
He said: “It wasn’t a great result at the weekend and it’s good that we’ve got another game quite quickly.
“It’s obviously going to be a really difficult game, but sometimes that’s the best way to respond to a defeat, so we’re looking forward to it.”
Centre-back Michael Clark’s own goal was the difference in Buckie on Saturday, but Smith thinks – had the big moments gone Formartine’s way – there could have been a different outcome.
He says drawing first blood will be pivotal against full-time opposition, who Smith expects to be fit and sharp from the opening whistle.
Smith said: “I don’t think there was much in the game to be honest and the big moments went in Buckie’s favour.
“We just need to try to reverse that. When you’re playing a bigger team the first goal is always massive. Hopefully we can get our noses in front.
“They’ll be really fit and they’ll be really sharp – that comes with full-time training.
“We just need to try to match up to them.”
Formartine’s ultimate ambition in the Shire Cup is to match their run to the world’s second oldest association football trophy two seasons ago, when they defeated Cove Rangers in the final at Balmoor.
Under Lawson, they’ve gone on to secure the Highland League Cup – also in 2017-18, while they lifted the Aberdeenshire Shield at Balmoral Stadium last term after beating Junior outfit Banks o’ Dee.
Smith, 30, who started his career with Aberdeen and also won the Shire Cup with Formartine in 2013-14, said: “We’ve done well in recent years.
“We’ve had a few cup finals and won a couple of trophies.
“We’ve also had some decent runs in the national competitions.
“Cup runs are important for us and we need to try and keep up our good form.
“Getting to a final is always something to look forward to. It lifts the performance of everyone when they’re fighting for a cup final place.
“Hopefully with a wee bit of luck and a decent performance we can get through.”
A win against the young Reds would set Smith and Co up for another tough tie at home to Northern Ireland’s Glenavon in the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup on Saturday.
He said: “We made a half decent run in that cup last year as well and it’s a bit of an unknown for us.
“I’m sure they’re much and such the same.
“It’s a different challenge because you’re usually playing the same teams.
“But again we’re looking forward to it.”