Thistle out to make mark in the ‘big’ Scottish Cup
BATHGATE Thistle make their senior Scottish Cup bow this weekend on familiar territory.
The Jags visit East Super League champions Lochee United at Thomson Park in the first round of Scotland’s premier cup competition.
And boss Willie Hill admits this is the biggest game in the history of the club he has been involved with for more than 30 years.
He said: “This is the biggest game in the club’s history.
“The junior sides who have qualified for the Scottish Cup have a responsibility to put on a show.
“Linlithgow Rose did that last season with their run and it’s up to us to continue that promise.”
Rose won many fans during their run to the fourth round where they were eliminated by eventual finalists Queen of the South and Hill reckons their showing and the ambitions of his own Bathgate side show Scotland needs a pyramid promotion system.
“We need to show the football fraternity what we have to offer.
“I believe we should have a pyramid system to give go-ahead clubs the chance to progress.
“Most of the top Junior clubs would be more than a match for many of the lower League senior clubs.
“This competition gives clubs like us the chance to pit our wits against such clubs and they may not like it because they are the ones who could suffer but is it wrong to block us out.
“Relegation and promotion should be available to everyone while the bulk of Junior football is played in the central belt anyway.”
But the draw for the First Round has been unkind to Bathgate who have been paired with a fellow junior side but Hill is confident the Jags can advance.
“It has been very close every time we have played Lochee.
“We beat them in the Junior Cup a couple of seasons ago so we are more than capable of going there and winning.
“We are going there to win and stake our place in the draw for the second round which is drawn after the finish of Saturday’s game.
“We have some injury problems but it’s amazing how quickly they clear up before a big game like this.”