PRESTON Athletic head to Stenhousemuir on Boxing Day aiming to repeat the cup shock of 2006 – as three East Lothian sides hope to make it to the second round of the historic competition on Saturday.

The Pennypit side overcame Hawick Royal Albert United last Wednesday evening to reach the first round of the Scottish Cup, alongside Haddington Athletic and Tranent Juniors, who had booked their trips the previous week with victories in the second preliminary round.

However, despite a heroic effort in challenging circumstances, Musselburgh Athletic were unable to make it four East Lothian sides in the first round after going down in extra time to Wick Academy in Caithness on Monday evening after a gruelling six-hour trip.

Saturday now offers the prospect of more Scottish Cup memories being made, with three East Lothian clubs all in first-round action.

In addition to Preston’s clash with Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) League 2 outfit Stenhousemuir, Haddington Athletic take on Formartine United from the Scottish Highland Football League, and Tranent Juniors face off against former SPFL side East Stirlingshire, now flying high in the Lowland League.

Preston’s midweek victory means a trip to Ochilview Park, with the Panners hoping to match the famous 2-0 triumph over Stenny from 14 years ago, when Paul Cowie and Stuart Miller – brother of former Scotland striker Kenny – scored.

Jack Lynch, Preston Athletic manager, acknowledged it would be a tough ask to overcome a Stenhousemuir side who sit three tiers above them in the Scottish football pyramid.

However, he pointed to Preston’s victory over Troon in the Soccer Shop Challenge Cup as proof that cup shocks did happen.

He said: “It is a free hit and nobody is expecting us to do anything.

“We have got a very talented group of players.

“Stenhousemuir will have to let their standards drop but we can definitely cause them problems.”

The midweek result saw Preston come from a goal behind at half-time against their Borders opposition.

Second-half strikes from Joe Murray, Kieran Jack and Ethan Williams turned the game on its head, with the visitors pulling one back to ensure a nervy finish.

The manager stressed that the result was the most important thing but he was pleased with the character shown by the team.

He said: “Our second-half performance was superb, absolutely superb.

“The boys were fantastic and the draw had been made already for the next round and we knew what the carrot was if we got through.”

Lynch described the incentive of knowing a clash with Stenhousemuir awaited the victors as “massive”.

It has been a difficult start to the season, with Lynch’s men carving out plenty of chances but all too often failing to put the ball in the net.

They sit 11th in the East of Scotland Football League First Division Conference B, having found the net just 10 times in their opening eight games.

Seven of their strikes came in a thumping of Eyemouth United, the only team in the division to have scored fewer goals than Preston.

Lynch said: “It is ridiculous.

“We are playing good football but just not taking our chances.

“As a manager, if you are not creating chances and getting beat then you have got a big problem but we are actually creating chances.”

Saturday saw the East Lothian side lose 4-1 away to Burntisland Shipyard

The manager said: “I have not looked at the league table but to see us in that bottom half is ridiculous with how we have been playing.”

Meanwhile, Joe Hamill, Haddington Athletic’s player/manager, will be watching his team’s clash with Formartine at Millfield from the sidelines after he was sent off in the previous round after a 3-2 victory over BSC Glasgow.

He said: “We just found out the other day who we are playing after Formartine beat Turriff United.

“We are looking forward to it and had a training session on Tuesday and will train again before the game.”

The former Hearts midfielder spent the 2013/14 season with the Aberdeenshire side, travelling up by train for games on a Saturday.

He told Courier Sport he “absolutely loved” his time there and said: “The club, the players, the committee – I enjoyed it.

“I have nothing bad to say at all about them, everything was positive.”

Hamill’s side go into the game having not played since their debut Scottish Cup victory over Lowland League title challengers BSC earlier this month.

On Saturday, they had been due to play Thornton Hibs but the game was postponed due to the poor weather.

The player/manager said: “I definitely would have preferred to be playing the game, even though we were short in the squad, with possibly four or five from the starting XI missing.

“Three were definitely going to be out and the other two were 50-50.

“But I would have preferred to be playing for that momentum.”

Meanwhile, Calum Elliot’s Tranent Juniors will be looking to

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knock out a Scottish Lowland Football League side for the second time this campaign.

They eliminated Edinburgh University with a 2-1 victory last time out and Foresters Park will host Scottish Cup football for the first time when East Stirlingshire visit.

The manager said: “Being a Scottish Cup game makes it that bit more special.

“It is going to be tough but the boys are in good form and we will make sure we go in and give a good account of ourselves.

“If we are at our best and they are at their best, it should be a good game.”

Elliot has watched his rivals, who sit fifth in the fifth tier of Scottish football.

The Shire knocked out Inverurie Loco Works 5-0 in the previous round and come into the game on the back of a 2-2 draw with Gala Fairydean Rovers.

Tranent were in action on Saturday, picking up a 3-1 win over Blackburn United to maintain their five point advantage at the top of the East of Scotland Football League Premier Division.