Lewis and Harris FC look to continue their steamrolling cup campaign in Golspie next Saturday, November 1st.
Hot on the heels of a 7-0 victory against Sutherland in the quarter-finals, the Lewis and Harris squad take their next step into the unchartered territory of the North Caledonian Cup.
But manager Billy Flower is determined to not let the team’s success go to their head after the huge win of the previous leg.
This campaign has seen the Lewis and Harris team go further than they have before and victory against Shetland will see them through the final, which will be held on November 29th.
Even though Shetland were handed a bye through their quarter-final after Inverness Clachnacuddin were unable to raise a team, Flower knows better than to overlook his opponents.
Flower said: “We’re excited. Looking forward to the challenge. I think that there’s pressure because the expectations are quite high, but we know Shetland are a very good team.
“Shetland are a better team than Sutherland. They have more experience of this competition; they made the semi-finals last year and lost on penalties, and they’ve actually won the gold medal in the island games, so we know that the standard’s very high up there. It’s a battle of the islands really and it’s a great challenge for us. It’s a big ask but we’re looking forward to it.
“Last year was our first time and there was a lot of expectation from the island. Having been there now we really know what we’re up against.”
Flower made it clear that this year it’s all about the football, and distractions are being kept to a minimum.
He continued: “What I really want to do this time is shield the players a wee bit so they’re concentrating on their strengths which is their football. Last year we had a press launch, we had TV crews following us - this year I just want the players to concentrate on their football. They did that the last game, we saw the result and that’s what we’ll do for this one too.”
Despite the challenge ahead, Flower said that he is always confident in his own players.
Flower said: “There’s only one change from the quarter-final squad with Alastair Macleod replacing Cameron Macarthur.
“The boys have been training consistently well since our match against Sutherland and we will go into this game with confidence from our performances this season. This is a tight squad who all get on well with each other and encourage each other irrespective of who is on the park. “I have already decided on a game plan for the Shetland match and informed the boys about it and their coach, Dano Macdonald, has worked tirelessly to set up training sessions to implement this game plan.
“The boys are all looking sharp at training and we must now all get behind them and encourage them to give of their best and hopefully that will be enough to give us an historic victory for island football.”
Lewis & Harris Squad :
D. I. MACLENNAN
PETER MACKENZIE (CAPT.)
INNES IAIN MORRISON