BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Calvin Shand has urged Linlithgow Rose to ensure they have no regrets in the Scottish Cup this weekend after confessing he looks back on his own spell as a player at Hibernian with some disappointment.
Shand came through the ranks at Hibs with the club’s most recent ‘golden generation’, sharing a youth team with the likes of Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson and Steven Whittaker.
However, Linlithgow’s assistant-manager never broke into the first-team at Easter Road and went on to have stints with Cowdenbeath, Peterhead and Berwick Rangers, before dropping into the junior ranks.
The 32-year-old looks back on his time with Hibs fondly but, having watched his old team-mates – who also include Garry O’Connor and Derek Riordan – since make names for themselves, he admits he could have done more to share in their success.
Now, though, his focus has shifted to coaching and, after working with Hibs’ under-17s for three years, he is relishing the Scottish Cup run that will take Linlithgow to face Premiership Ross County on Saturday.
He said: “I was full-time with Hibs when I left school and got to the first-team when I was 18. I just never quite made the grade.
“Then I dropped down and played with Cowdenbeath, Peterhead and Berwick Rangers, and played over 150 games in the senior game.
“I went down to the juniors after that and that’s where I first worked with (manager) Davie (McGlynn). It’s about seven or eight years now where I’ve either been a player under him or worked together.
“In my Hibs youth team were guys like Steven Whittaker, Kevin Thomson, Scott Brown, Derek Riordan and Garry O’Connor, so I came through in a decent side!
“To be honest with you, I was probably just a little bit short of making it. I was in the first-team as early as any of them.
“But the competition for places then was so tough. I captained the reserve team and was in the first-team squad, but never made an appearance.
“And when you look at those players they’ve done great in their careers.
“I’ve got good memories to look back on. I wish I had probably worked a little bit harder and made it, but it is what it is.”
Shand, who is also a coach with the Scottish FA, and McGlynn have used all their contacts in the game to build up a dossier on Ross County, seeking help from the likes of Robbie Neilson at Hearts and sacked Kilmarnock boss Gary Locke.
The pair also took in Sunday’s League Cup semi-final when the Staggies pulled off a major shock to knock Celtic out of the competition.
Everyone connected with the East Superleague outfit is fully aware it would be an even bigger upset if they were anything other than routinely beaten in Dingwall tomorrow.
However, Shand is hopeful the ‘Gallant Rosey Posey’ can make the most of the glamour tie as they become the first junior side to play in the last-16 of the tournament.
He added: “We’re not under any illusions of how hard it’s going to be, but it’s a day out for us, ‘just go and enjoy it’. The players just need to work as hard as they can then whatever will happen will happen.
“We’re not expected to do anything at all. So, we can go and relax and be ourselves and enjoy it a wee bit.
“We’ve had a lot of reports on them, from several different teams we’ve got connections with. We couldn’t ask for any more, we know as much about them as we’re going to.
“Coming up against a team that’s full-time, and they’re flying at the moment, we can only try and hope that helps us.
“We can only do our jobs, at the end of the day, and what’s expected is for us to be knocked out of the cup on Saturday.
“And if that happens then hopefully we’ll have given it our best shot.”