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3 of 036 Gordon Smith [3] 84SC H

David Gillies ready to do battle with Andy Webster once again in Scottish Cup

Auchinleck Talbot forward David Gillies is no stranger to football in the raw after spending the bulk of his career in the Ayrshire Juniors.

By Ewing Grahame

But even he was taken aback by the rough treatment he received from Hearts defender Andy Webster during the former’s brief sojourn in the senior game.

Gillies will come face to face with the former Scotland player when the last non-league side in the competition face Hearts at Tynecastle in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday and he’s already flinching at the prospect.

“I’ve played against Andy before when I was with Airdrie United and he’s one of the dirtiest players I’ve ever come up against,” said the 28 year-old, who also had spells with Ayr United and Stenhousemuir.

“He was kicking me off the ball and everything so I’m not looking forward to playing against him again.

“Webster was at Rangers at the time and I think he just took out his frustration on me that day. It was just a bounce game at Murray Park.

“They’d played a European tie the night before so it was for their fringe players but they still put out a strong team – Steven Whittaker, Charlie Adam and Kris Boyd all played.

“Danny Wilson, who was sold to Liverpool, was only 15 but he played that day and, although Webster was a full international, he was the one who looked the part.

“I also played against Celtic in a pre-season friendly at Airdrie. I don’t know what it is about centre-halves but he slapped me in the face.

“Because I came through the Junior ranks I’ve always played with my elbows – you’ve got to protect yourself – so maybe that’s what annoyed them.

“They were the biggest games I’ve played in up until now but, with a full house expected at Tynecastle, this will be the most important.

“However, I don’t think there’s anything that Webster or Marius Zaliukas could do to intimidate me after my experience in the Juniors.

“Last season the Irvine Meadow goalie almost snapped my leg in half just out of badness – and I don’t think they could do much more than that.

“It was an offside goal, I’d put the ball past him and he just stamped on my knee – and he got away without even a booking as well, which was a disgrace.

“The ref just bottled it – he told me during another game some time later that he’d been reprimanded for not taking any action.

“But that put me out for six weeks and I nearly missed the Junior Cup final.”

Gillies has 23 goals to his credit this season and admits to having dreamed about being an unlikely hero for the visitors, who will take around 3,000 fans – more than some SPL clubs – to the capital on Saturday.

“I fancy my chances to score because I tend to score in big games for Auchinleck – I’ve managed to do it in three Junior Cup semi-finals,” he said.

“That depends on me starting, though: I think the manager is planning on using Craig Levein’s tactics and playing nobody up front!”

The financial problems facing the Hearts players have been well documented but Gillies revealed that he’ll be out of pocket by turning out on Saturday. Even so, he believes that the sacrifice he has made is worth it.

“I’m a plumber and I’ve been working in Peterhead for the last month,” he explained. “That’s involved working weekends so I would have had to miss our recent games if they hadn’t been postponed.

“In fact, it’s cost me money to play against Hearts because I had to put in for a holiday in order to get the time off when I could have been earning double time. To be honest, I think I’d have given up my job for the chance to play against them.

“A few of the local boys I was working with are hoping to get Sunday afternoon off to go and watch the Celtic game – and I was hoping we’d draw Peterhead away so I wouldn’t miss any work!

“I’ll be looking to get someone’s jersey as a souvenir because this is an occasion to remember for us. We want to win the Junior Cup every year so that we guarantee ourselves the chance to enter the Scottish Cup and draw one of the big boys.

“We were unlucky the last time because we were paired with Stirling Albion at a time when they were flying but we’re determined to make the most of this chance.”

Taken from

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