BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Joe Cardle may have suffered a second knock-out blow after being counted out of a request to carry brother Scotty’s belt into the ring for tonight’s British title fight.
But the Dunfermline winger is thrilled Celtic legend John Hartson has stepped in to do the honours at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
Joe was lined up to lead his younger brother into the defence of his British Lightweight title back in September, only for Scotty to have to pull out of the bout because of a calf injury.
This time, with Joe not set to finish against Peterhead at East End Park until shortly before 5 p.m., the 8.10 p.m. schedule of Scotty’s clash with Sean ‘Masher’ Dodd has put paid to the siblings’ plans.
Joe told Scotty on Thursday night he would not make it down to Liverpool in time to kick off proceedings, but admits he could not think of a better substitute than Hartson.
The 28-year-old, who is taking team-mates Josh Falkingham and Faissal El Bakhtaoui south for the fight, said: “I’m going down and I can’t wait for it.
“This is the second time I’ve been supposed to carry his belt in but again it wasn’t meant to be. I had to tell him I wouldn’t make it down in time.
“But as long as John Hartson was second choice then I’m happy!
“I know John is a big boxing fan and he was honoured to be asked. He’s a Celtic legend and a player both Scotty and I grew up watching, so it’s great he has agreed to do it.
“The football is obviously the focus and then it’s a case of trying to get down in time to see Scotty fight.
“The three points comes first and then hopefully we’re celebrating two wins on Saturday night.”
Nip and tuck
Dunfermline relinquished top spot in the table when they were held to a goalless draw away to Fife rivals Cowdenbeath last weekend, with Ayr United resuming pole position with a 3-1 win over Stranraer.
Cardle reckons it will continue to be nip and tuck between the teams as the season progresses, but hopes the Pars can stay focused as they bid to land the one automatic promotion spot.
He added: “Last weekend was always going to be a tough game, going to Cowdenbeath, and we were disappointed with the draw.
“But we just have to look at the positives and make up for it on Saturday.
“It’s going to be tight at the top throughout the season. Ayr United have done really well, but as long as we keep doing our job and winning then that’s all we can do. We just have to concentrate on ourselves.
“From playing up there at the start of the season we know it’s going to be a tough game. Peterhead are one of the better sides we’ve played this season.
“So, we’ll have to be at it, we’ll have to play to our full potential, and hopefully come away with the goals and the points.”