Duns hope to shock Stirling in cup final

Duns manager Neil Oliver
Duns manager Neil Oliver

Duns Football Club face their biggest game since their recent return to the East of Scotland League when they take on Stirling University in the final of the SFA South Challenge Cup at Netherdale on Sunday.

It is a remarkable feat for the Dingers who only returned to the East of Scotland League at the start of this season following an absence of over 30 years.

Duns will start as underdogs in the final, with Stirling hot favourites on the new 3G surface in Galashiels. The Students currently lie second in the East of Scotland Premier League, nine points behind Spartans but with four games in hand.

Stirling have a good cup pedigree this season having already won the Alex Jack Cup and through to the semi-finals of the King Cup.

On their way to the final Duns defeated First Division sides Ormiston and Hawick (hitting ten goals against them!), Premier League outfit Edinburgh City and South of Scotland League sides Heston and Threave Rovers.

To reach the final Stirling University defeated Premier League sides Civil Service Strollers, Edinburgh University, and Whitehill Welfare, and South of Scotland League sides St Cutherts Wanderers and Glasgow University.

Duns manager, former Blackburn Rovers and Falkirk player Neil Oliver, is confident his side will acquit themselves well on the big stage.

Neil told The Berwickshire News: “This is probably the biggest game most of the lads will have played in. To reach the final of the biggest cup competition in the league is a bit special. They have beaten some top class teams on their way to the final and the they deserve great credit.

“I am confident we can pull off what everyone would describe as a shock but a win wouldn’t be a shock to me. If we can perform at our best we have got a real chance.

“Stirling are a good side and it will be no easy ride but all the lads are looking forward to the challenge.”

Duns will be without the injured James Brydon and striker Johnny Waugh who is cup tied. However, on the brighter side, Ryan Burns returns from suspension and Michael Stewart, who has been out injured for the past four games, could feature.

Duns chairman Andrew Whitehead is delighted the club has done so well in the first season back in East of Scotland League football. He said: “I am both proud and delighted for everyone associated with the club to have reached the final of the South Challenge Cup 2012.

“It has been a memorable first season back in the East of Scotland League and to have reached this final really is fantastic so all credit to Neil, Steven and the whole squad.

“With regard to the venue at Netherdale, I think it is a favourable location for Duns and our supporters in terms of travel distance and hope that both sets of fans can create a good atmosphere within the ground. This combined with a great new playing surface should make for some good football and an entertaining afternoon for all concerned.

“I would take the opportunity to thank all the committee and supporters who have followed Duns this season both home and away – your support has been and continues to be very much appreciated.”

A supporters bus will be running on Sunday leaving the Market Square at 12 noon. Anyone interested should contact Mark Dixon on 07866883092.