Student footballers at the University of Stirling are preparing for one of their biggest games of the season – as they aim to make the Scottish Cup Third Round for the second consecutive year.
The University men’s first team will take on Linlithgow Rose this Sunday (October 20), with the winner potentially facing Championship sides – such as Partick Thistle, Dunfermline Athletic and Queen of the South – in the next phase of the competition.
The University reached the Third Round for the first time ever last season – but lost to Elgin City, who went on to face Hibernian at Easter Road.
Chris Geddes, the University Men’s First Team Coach, said: “There is a great feeling in the squad at the moment as we all look forward to this weekend’s match against Linlithgow. We hope that, with a good performance, we can reach the Third Round again – not only for ourselves, but for the University, our supporters, and our families and friends.”
The University first entered the Scottish Cup in 2012/13 and have played 13 matches in the competition, winning six; drawing one; and losing six.
This season, the students beat Banffshire side Keith in the Scottish Cup First Round – coming back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 – with goals from Conor Doan, Matthew Burrows and Calum Heath. They come into this weekend’s match in good form, having scored a 93rd-minute winner away to Spartans in the South Challenge Cup last Saturday – and clocking up an 8-2 win against Northumbria University in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier North Division on October 9.
Linlithgow have come through three rounds – including two preliminary stages – to meet the University. They beat Preston Athletic 2-1 in the first preliminary; Jeanfield Swifts 5-2 in the second preliminary; and Huntly 1-0 in the First Round. The West Lothian side – currently eighth in the East of Scotland Premier League – have recently appointed former Rangers Academy coach and Stenhousemuir manager Brown Ferguson as their new boss.
Geddes said: “We know that Linlithgow are a good side and I expect a very competitive match as their players look to impress under their new manager. It will be a tough game for our boys but we come into this game with confidence, having won away to Spartans last weekend.”
A former University of Stirling player himself, Geddes is the club’s all-time record goalscorer. He took over as First Team Coach following Shelley Kerr’s departure in 2017.
The University currently sit 10th in the Lowland League and second in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Premier North Division. They have also progressed in both the Football Nation Qualifying Cup and the South Challenge Cup.
Stirling has been Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence since 2008 and is The Times / Sunday Times Good University Guide’s UK Sports University of the Year 2020. It offers an unrivalled all-round environment for excellence in sport: education, research, participation, and performance.
Stirling has six men’s and three women’s football teams – both senior and amateur sides – and all benefit from world-class on-campus facilities, including seven grass and two artificial pitches, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness centre. The dedicated football coaches are supported by strength and conditioning experts, physiotherapists, and sports scientists, while several players have the opportunity to combine their studies with high performance football through a scholarship programme.