BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Chief Executive Eric Drysdale is hopeful the League Cup can provide Raith Rovers with another memorable meeting with Celtic after insisting the Fifers want a win – and not the finance – when the teams clash next month.
The Kirkcaldy outfit won the tournament back in 1994 with a famous win over Celtic in the final and were left dreaming of success again when they were paired with the cup holders in yesterday’s last-16 draw.
The Stark’s Park outfit will benefit financially from the trip to Parkhead on September 22 or 23, but Drysdale is adamant the Championship club will head west with victory uppermost in their minds.
Ray McKinnon’s side earned the tie with a 2-1 victory over top-flight opponents Hamilton Accies on Tuesday night and Drysdale insists there is optimism they can pull off another shock.
He said: “We’re pleased with the draw. It will provide a great test for the team and we know that Ray and the players will give Celtic a run for their money.
“We’re going into the game to win it; it’s not all about bringing in finance. Yes, the money’s nice, but we are looking to progress in the tournament.
“It was a great result against Hamilton. We matched them in every department and I’m sure we can give Celtic a good game.
“It’s all about trying to get through to the next round and, of course, we have won it before – and I seem to remember it might have been against Celtic as well!
“Lightning does strike twice in the same place, sometimes, so you never know.”
Meanwhile, Rovers will be forced to do without skipper Jason Thomson for the trip to face Hibernian tomorrow (Saturday) after the defender failed to overturn his recent red card in an SFA appeal yesterday.
The former Hearts full-back was sent-off by referee Greg Aitken in injury-time in last week’s 2-0 defeat to Stenhousemuir in the Petrofac Training Cup following a late tackle on Alan Cook.
The resulting two-match suspension was set aside after the Stark’s Park outfit decided to contest the decision, allowing the 28-year-old to play in the victories over Alloa Athletic in the league and Hamilton Accies in the League Cup.
However, the Kirkcaldy club, who were represented by chief executive Eric Drysdale and manager Ray McKinnon at the Hampden meeting of the Judicial Panel, failed to have Thomson’s dismissal rescinded yesterday.
Thomson will now miss the trip to Easter Road and the next tie he is due to play in the Challenge Cup.