Evening Express

Irn-Bru Cup: Formartine boss Lawson hails Irish challenge after Coleraine draw

Paul Lawson.

Formartine United player-manager Paul Lawson described their Irn-Bru Challenge Cup tie with Coleraine as “exciting”.

The Highland League team have been handed an away trip to play the Northern Irish Premiership team in the second round of the Challenge Cup following yesterday’s draw.

Being handed an away tie at the Showgrounds on the weekend of September 8 in Coleraine, which is 55 miles north-west of the Northern Irish capital Belfast, could give the Pitmedden outfit some logistical problems.

Among them will be when they travel out because if they choose to travel the day before players and club staff will need to seek time off work at short notice.

But that will be dealt with in due course with North Lodge Park boss Lawson relishing taking on Coleraine.

The Bannsiders are managed by Oran Kearney. Last season they finished second in the Northern Irish Premiership and won the Irish Cup for the sixth time in their history which saw them qualify for the Europa League.

But they were elminated 3-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round by Serbian side Spartak Subotica.

That was an improvement on a year ago when they lost 7-0 at the same stage to Norwegian outfit Haugesund.

Currently Coleraine, who have won the Northern Irish top flight once, in 1974, are top of the Premiership with six points from two games.

Lawson, who won the cup as a player with Ross County in 2010, is embracing the challenge of facing foreign opposition after reaching the second round by beating Inverurie Locos 1-0 on Tuesday.

He said: “It’s exciting for the boys, I said after the Inverurie game we wanted something different and we’ve got that.

“It’s something for us to look forward to and it’s a reward for getting through, although it’s a very tough tie.

“But it’s exciting for the players to test themselves against a side who in the last couple of years have been in the Europa League qualifiers. That shows it will be a challenge for us.

“We’ve been in good form at the start of the season and, hopefully, we can keep up our good form going into the game.”

Many within Scottish football have been critical of the format of the Challenge Cup with teams from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and England being invited into the tournament along with Scottish Premiership’s colts teams.

Lawson understands why the competition has been criticised and added: “I know people don’t like teams from other countries being in it and I agree with that to an extent.

“It’s a Scottish competition, but it gives us a chance to test ourselves against different teams and we just have to get on with it.”

Lawson also says that Formartine will have to meet as a club and sort out their travel arrangements ahead of the tie.

He said: “One of the big things in terms of planning is how we get the boys time off work.

“We’ll have to have a meeting as a club to discuss what we’re going to do and how we’ll go about it.”

FORMARTINE United player- manager Paul Lawson described their Irn-Bru Challenge Cup tie with Coleraine as “exciting”.

The Highland League team have been handed an away trip to play the Northern Irish Premiership team in the second round of the Challenge Cup following yesterday’s draw.

Being handed an away tie at the Showgrounds on the weekend of September 8 in Coleraine, which is 55 miles north-west of the Northern Irish capital Belfast, could give the Pitmedden outfit some logistical problems.

Among them will be when they travel out because if they choose to travel the day before players and club staff will need to seek time off work at short notice.

But that will dealt with in due course with North Lodge Park boss Lawson relishing taking on Coleraine.

The Bannsiders are managed by Oran Kearney. Last season they finished second in the Northern Irish Premiership and won the Irish Cup for the sixth time in their history which saw them qualify for the Europa League.

But they were elminated 3-1 on aggregate in the first qualifying round by Serbian side Spartak Subotica, this was an improvement on a year ago when they lost 7-0 at the same stage to Norwegian outfit Haugesund.

Currently Coleraine, who have won the Northern Irish top flight once in 1974, are top of the Premiership with six points from two games.

Lawson who won the cup as a player with Ross County in 2010 is embracing the challenge of facing foreign opposition after reaching the second round by beating Inverurie Locos 1-0 on Tuesday.

He said: “It’s exciting for the boys, I said after the Inverurie game we wanted something different and we’ve got that.

“It’s something for us to look forward to and it’s a reward for getting through, although it’s a very tough tie.

“But it’s exciting for the players to test themselves against a side who in the last couple of years have been in the Europa League qualifiers. That shows it will be a challenge for us.”

Many within Scottish football have been critical of the format of the Challenge Cup with teams from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Wales and England being invited into the tournament along with Scottish Premiership’s colts teams.

Lawson understands why the competition has been criticised and added: “I know people don’t like teams from other countries being in it and I agree with that to an extent.

“It’s a Scottish competition, but it gives us a chance to test ourselves against different teams and we just have to get on with it.”

He said: “One of the big things in terms of planning how we get there is boys getting time off work.

“We’ll have to have a meeting as a club to discuss what we’re going to do and how we’ll go about it.”