COVE Rangers defender Scott Ross says he’s looking forward to our rematch with Auchinleck Talbot in the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Talbot beat us at the same stage a year ago, winning 2-1 in a replay in Ayrshire after securing a 1-1 draw at Balmoral Stadium.
Scott, who played in both games, is excited by the prospect of taking on Talbot again at Beechwood Park, even though he can expect another tough, physical, test against the best Junior side in Scotland.
“We are looking on it as the tie of the round and I’m sure it’s the same with the Talbot players,” said Scott.
“They will be feeling confident because they beat us last year but we will be  better prepared this time, every one of us ready for the battle ahead.
“When we came down last time we were a bit shocked by just how much Talbot were willing to scrap and fight for everything.
“We know what to expect this time, though.
“Most of us also have the benefit of having experienced playing on their pitch, which is a great surface but a bit tight.
“Talbot will be looking to use that to their advantage by being quite direct, as they were the last time.
“It’s up to us to show we can deal with that more comfortably than we did in last year’s replay.
“The Talbot fans being almost right on top of us won’t be such a big thing this time either, although that’s not something I ever think too much about.
“It’s what happens on the pitch, man to man, that matters.
“It’s going to be another very hard game, but it’s one we are all really looking forward to.
“We are desperate to make up for losing to Talbot, although I felt we were a bit unlucky to get held to a draw in the first game.
“We had enough chances to do the job at home only to then concede a late penalty to leave ourselves having to go to Ayrshire for the replay.
“Despite eventually losing we had our chances down there as well, Blair Yule was really unlucky with an effort that hit the post late on, so there was very little between is, which is likely to be the case again.
“They got the breaks over the two games the last time, hopefully it will be our turn on this occasion.”
Scott warned his team-mates they will have to defend better than they did in their last Ladbrokes League Two outing - a 3-2 defeat at Stenhousemuir- of we are to have any hope of making it through to the third round.
Scott said: “It’s been a strange season for us so far defensively.
“We’ve gone on runs when we have got clean sheets and felt we were looking pretty secure only to then go and concede two or even three sloppy goals in the next match.
“It’s so uncharacteristic for us.
“Anyone who has watched the highlights of the Stenny game would agree we conceded goals that you would never expect from a Cove side.
“I gave away their penalty, which I felt was a bit harsh.
“But as a team we should have done a lot better at the other two.
“I hate losing any goals but it’s how we have been conceding them that has angered me the most.
“We know we won’t win games as tough as the one with Talbot will be if we keep doing that.
“It means being more vocal at times to ensure we are better organised and latching on to opponents better when they are coming forward at us.
“We accept the pressure is on us to show we can do better than we have on a few occasions so far.”

SPOT OF BOTHER: Auchinleck Talbot scoring their late penalty equaliser at Balmoral Stadium last season.