BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
JACK Ross has told his ‘history boys’ to keep believing after they earned Alloa Athletic a place in the quarter-finals of the League Cup for the first time in 51 years.
The League One side dumped Premiership Inverness Caley Thistle out courtesy of a first-half goal from Jason Marr in a hard-earned 1-0 victory.
It is the first time the Wasps have made it to the quarter-final stage of the competition since 1965-66 and is another remarkable result for Ross and his new-look team.
They have now won all six of their competitive matches this season – including a group win over Caley Thistle’s Highland rivals Ross County – and are undefeated in their last 11 games, stretching back to the tail end of last term.
Following on from a morale-boosting 4-0 success in their opening-day league encounter with Peterhead, Ross was full of praise for his squad and insisted they should not fear anyone in the next round.
He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement for the players. I’ve told them to enjoy it, to talk it up. That’s not to get carried away as a side, but they have every right to talk up what they’ve achieved tonight.
“We highlighted how long it has been since the club last got to the last-eight of this competition.
“It’s a terrific achievement for a League One team and a part-time side to do that.
“People think footballers get caught up in how much they earn and all these different things.
“But see when you stop playing it’s about the things you achieve – and that doesn’t have to be medals.
“Sometimes it can be putting yourself in the history books at a certain club, and that’s what we’ve done tonight.
“It does’t need to stop, because regardless of who we get drawn against we’ll have an opportunity.
“I’ve worked with this squad through the course of pre-season and they’re good.
“They’ve got a terrific work ethic but there’s some really good players in there as well.
“We’re not out to say ‘that’s it, we’ll pat ourselves on the back and say job well done’.
“It’s about trying to win the next round again.”
With Hibs and Hamilton Accies joining Inverness in the ‘big-name’ clubs to have exited the tournament, Alloa have every right to fancy their chances in the quarter-finals if they can avoid the Old Firm.
And, asked who he wanted to draw in the last-eight, Ross had one wish.
He added: “Genuinely, before this round, I didn’t look too closely at it because I don’t care.
“Whoever the draw will be, it will be difficult, we’ll be the underdogs and every other team in the competition will probably want to draw us.
“But I’d like a tie here because our record here is good at the moment – the pitch changing has helped us enormously with the players we have.
“That would be my only preference.”