FOUR football teams will, for the first time ever, represent East Lothian on the Road to Hampden this Saturday.

Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors will make their long-awaited debuts in the senior Scottish Cup, while Musselburgh Athletic will play only their second ever contest after defeating Penicuik Athletic just a fortnight ago.

The three newcomers are joined in the Scottish Cup preliminary round two by fellow East of Scotland Football League (EOSFL) club Preston Athletic, who have flown the flag for the county in the competition single-handedly for years.

Only the Prestonpans side are at home as they welcome fellow Conference B outfit Hawick Royal Albert United to the Pennypit.

Both Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors will come up against Lowland League opposition in BSC Glasgow and Edinburgh University respectively.

Finally, Musselburgh Athletic will make the long journey north to face Wick Academy of the Highland League.

Joe Hamill, player-manager at Haddington Athletic, summed up his excitement for the game in two words: “Absolutely buzzing.”

The former Hearts midfielder, who has played and scored in the Scottish Cup, said: “We are totally looking forward to it.

“The work, the effort and the commitment that the club, the committee and the players have put in – even the people that did the floodlights – for us, all that hard work has paid off and hopefully they enjoy it.”

Haddington’s hosts, who are near the top of the Lowland League – two tiers above Hamill’s men – go into the tie as favourites.

However, the Hi Hi have started the season in promising form and sit unbeaten at the top of EOSFL First Division Conference A.

He said: “BSC Glasgow score goals, that’s for sure. They have scored a lot of goals and we need to be aware and prepared.

“We want to go there and do well for ourselves. We should be confident enough to score goals and I always think that no matter who we play against we will create chances.

“This season has been big and we have stopped conceding so many goals as well. It is going to be tough and they are a top side but we will create chances – it is whether we can take them.”

Unfortunately, fans will not be able to attend the historic contest – being held at Alloa Athletic’s Recreation Park – but the Haddington boss was pleased to say it would be recorded for posterity.

He said: “It will be a shame for the fans but we do record our games so it will be there. The club’s very first Scottish Cup tie will be on video and recorded.”

Tranent Juniors will also make their debut in the competition when they travel into the Capital.

Player-manager Calum Elliot has also enjoyed an impressive start to the campaign, with his side top of the EOSFL Premier Division.

He said: “The main reason to come to a place like Tranent is to be involved in these occasions.

“It is something everybody involved with the club is really looking forward to and is excited about.

“The boys are ready to go and raring for the game.”

The former Hearts frontman, who scored in the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen, has been busy watching his opposition and was confident going into the contest.

He challenged his players to get the club into the next round, with a view to fans being able to cheer on their team in a later round.

The manager, who took charge at the start of the season, said: “The local boys and the boys that have been involved for years, it means everything. But it means as much to the boys that are recently signed as well.

“It is important everybody understands what it means, not just to the committee, the management team and the players but to the fans, who would have been desperate to be at that game.”

Jack Lynch, Preston Athletic manager, was pleased to get a home draw.

Continued on Page 45

Coincidentally, the Preston Athletic and Hawick Royal Albert United were due to meet on league business on the same day but that will be rescheduled with the cup clash taking centre stage.

Lynch, who has played in the competition, said: “To be fair, the draws we have had in the last few years have not been too kind to us.

“We have had Linlithgow Rose home and away.

“This year, to get a team in our league and a winnable game is great.”

The East Lothian side have only won one of their opening seven games but were boosted by a cup triumph away to Troon.

Lynch felt luck had not been on his team’s side.

He said: “We have been playing really, really good football and just not getting the breaks or the luck in front of goal.

“We are creating chances and we are playing well.”

Coincidentally, Preston Athletic and Hawick Royal Albert United had been due to meet on league business this Saturday but, with the cup clash taking centre stage, that fixture will be rescheduled.

Meanwhile, Kevin McDonald’s Burgh team face a long journey north for the game at Wick’s Harmsworth Park.

Already, Burgh have won two cups – the Alex Jack Cup and the South and East Cup Winners Shield – to reach the competition and won an end-to-end tie in extra time against Penicuik Athletic in the first preliminary round.

McDonald, who has scored at Hampden Park in the competition, said: “We have been in good form since the start of the season and we have got a big squad. We will be missing Brad Whyte through suspension and he was probably the best player against Penicuik so that is disappointing. Apart from him, we have a strong squad and we are preparing for the game like a professional club.

“We are going up the night before, we are having our pre-match and we are going with everything we have got.

“It will be an exciting day out.”

The Highland League season only got under way at the end of last month, with Wick losing 3-2 to Buckie Thistle on the opening day.

McDonald said neither team would know a massive amount about the other but felt the hosts were favourites due to home advantage.

The Olivebank boss said: “The club has probably never played Wick before and it is something new.

“It is a day out and there is the potential of what could come after it if you get a result.”