After giant-killing’s in the last two rounds, Brora Rangers step up another level as they head to Ayrshire this afternoon to face Kilmarnock in the Fifth Round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Looking back on the competition so far, the former Inverness Caley Thistle defender said:
“I feel as though we have played very well on the day; we had done our homework and the boys played very well on those afternoons. These were very proud moments for myself and for the players: it is a great achievement for a Highland League team to come down and defeat League One sides, especially away from home.”
Now, Tokely’s side visit Rugby Park for their toughest test yet.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’d have loved to have gotten a home tie, especially against a Premiership club, but, since the draw was made we have been watching Kilmarnock and they beat Celtic on Saturday while playing very, very, well. We know the task in hand – we are major underdogs, but, we ain’t going to lie down and enjoy the day; that isn’t my mentality, for a team to go somewhere and not put on a performance. We need to make it as hard as possible for them.
They have got some very good attacking players, especially in midfield and upfront: they were a wee bit more defensive against Celtic, but, they counter-attacked very well and they have some quick players. We just need to concentrate on what we are doing; we have given the boys information on them. They will need to have an off-day and we will need to play out of our skins. There is no fear within the boys as there is no pressure on us. We just need to try and do the best that we can.”
The 38-year-old is confident his players can step up to the plate when kick-off comes around.
“I think when you are facing players from a higher level, it is a challenge. I always found in my career that when I came up against guys who were earning more money than me and things like that, that it motivated me more. I feel I’ve got players within my squad that can step up a few divisions – I am not saying they can play in the Premiership, but they are certainly good enough for Championship level. Also, there are boys who have played in the Premiership as well, so, we are no mugs. I am confident we will compete and if we do what we have been practising on, while keeping it tight in the first 15-20 minutes – as I feel that is the most important time in games like this, if you can build some confidence as well as frustrate them. The crowd I am sure would then get agitated and that can only work in our favour.”
So, what has this cup run meant to the club so far?
“We will take a lot of fans down, considering we are a part-time team and travelling a long distance. We all want to do our best for the club, and also the fans and families of the guys who are coming down to watch. The boys know they are under no pressure to get a victory. We are massive underdogs, and it is a great tag to have; we are confident within our own abilities and I am sure we can trouble them within times in the game.
It has been an unbelievable journey within this competition. Our chairman set out a target this season for us to be in the Scottish Cup after Christmas and now we are in to the last 16. The boys have certainly enjoyed it, we have all enjoyed the journey’s home from Edinburgh, Stranraer and Methil. It is a nice game for the boys to go and play in a nice venue. It is just about finding our feet and getting a good start: hopefully we want be overawed on the day. We haven’t had a league game at home since the 2nd of December, while we have had a couple of away games so it has been a bit stop-start. We won 4-1 in the Highland League Cup, as well, so, we are in decent enough form – we played well last Saturday and now the boys are just champing at the bit to play this Saturday. We have got loads to play for, still, and it has been a very good season for us, so far.”