With the haphazard swing in Selkirk’s fortunes this season, it doesn’t seem too surprising that they’ve been handed probably the toughest tie in the Scottish Cup’s first round.
The Souters play host tomorrow (Saturday) to one of the most formidable junior teams in the game, Linlithgow Rose.
The West Lothian club are likely to be strong favourites but Selkirk believe they have the players at Yarrow Park who could spring a shock.
And shocks have certainly been in plentiful supply down Ettrick Water way this season, with Gary O’Connor’s men going into this game on the back of 90 minutes last Saturday which no one could have predicted.
After six consecutive league defeats, Selkirk hammered Gala Fairydean Rovers 7-1 – but a week later, went down 5-1 at Dalbeattie Star, amid a surfeit of individual errors and counter-attacks.
Last week, they faced East Stirlingshire – and a quite incredible result and sequence of scoring materialised.
Selkirk were 3-0 up in under 20 minutes and led 4-1 at half-time.
‘Just keep doing what you’re doing’ was the directive from O’Connor and his assistant Joe Brown. But Selkirk faltered alarmingly as ‘Shire hauled back the three-goal deficit to square it at 4-4.
With only a dozen minutes left, John Sludden’s emboldened troops must have thought the game was theirs for the taking. But defensive holes appeared as they chased another counter and Selkirk recovered to hit three more of their own for a 7-4 win.
Phil Addison, who hit a hat-trick against Gala FR, weighed in with four goals, while Gary McCormack, Jay Doyle and Ross King scored the others.
Praising his marksman, Brown said: “We have many good individual players but Phil is that bit special. He can be a nightmare for other teams. Happily, he wears the colours of Selkirk.”
Brown added the players had showed excellent character to regroup, rediscover their composure and score three more goals after ‘Shire were in the ascendancy at 4-4.
However, he said no team should throw away a three-goal lead and Selkirk were in “a bit of shock” after ‘Shire mounted their fightback.
Brown reiterated boss O’Connor’s view that many of the poor results this season hadn’t mirrored the quality of Selkirk’s play.
“We do play good football and we carry an attacking threat,” he said.
This could serve them well against Rose and Brown hoped the community would get behind them tomorrow.
“Rose have a good cup pedigree but it’s a good tie for us and we’d like to think a lot of people in the Selkirk area would come out and support their local club,” he said. “It’s the first round of the cup – it’s the road to Hampden. We’ll give as good an account of ourselves as we can. The character we showed against East Stirling will help our confidence against Linlithgow.”