BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Marc McAusland will be back on familiar territory this afternoon, wearing the black and white stripes he has donned for years – only this time the former St Mirren stalwart will be turning out against his boyhood heroes for Dunfermline.
Until his departure at the end of last season, the 27-year-old had spent all but one year of his career with his hometown team and ensured he would be part of club folklore by winning the League Cup in 2013.
Before realising his dream of becoming a professional footballer, the defender was a ball boy for the Buddies and his dad, Bryan, remains a director of the Paisley outfit.
For someone so immersed in St Mirren, he confesses that finding himself in the opposition ranks for this afternoon’s Petrofac Trainin Cup quarter-final will prove ‘a bit different’.
However, the former Scotland under-21 stopper insists he is determined to try and treat the tie as any other.
He said: “I’ve been to a couple of St Mirren games this season but I’ve not found myself in the away dugout or in the away changing room very often, so it will be a bit different.
“But I’m still looking forward to it. I’ll be taking it as any other game, to be honest, I’ll approach it in the same way and hopefully we can get the result that gets us into the next round.
“There’s been a big turn around in the squad but there’s maybe six or seven still there from my time, and then also the backroom staff – the physio and kitman – and the people that work at the stadium as well.
“There will be a few faces I don’t know but I did train with them over the summer for a wee bit and so I kind of got to know them.
“But there’s a few I’ll know really well and we’ll have a bit of banter on the pitch.
“It wasn’t until about a wee after I’d signed that I realised this fixture was on the horizon. I suppose other people will look at it a wee bit differently, but it’s the same as any other game, for me.
“The only thing that’s different is I don’t need to travel very far to get to the game!”
McAusland only signed for Dunfermline just over a fortnight ago, having left St Mirren early in April with the intention of trying to find a move abroad.
When a couple of options fell through, the towering centre-half was delighted to join a club he believes are heading in the right direction.
And, with Dunfermline having defeated Dundee and lost out to Dundee United after extra-time already in the League Cup this season, McAusland insists the Pars can cause his old Buddies more headaches this afternoon.
He added: “We’ve got a good squad here, we’re playing well and scoring a lot of goals, and St Mirren have had a few problems this season.
“They’re not doing as well as what everybody would have expected, so we can certainly cause them troubles and hopefully get the result we need.
“We’ll be the underdogs because we’re in the league below but there won’t be too much of a difference, because we’re doing well and we have got a good squad – and St Mirren are struggling with their form in the league.
“It will be a good game for us to test ourselves against a club from a league above. Hopefully we can go and put a good performance in and get a good result.”