RAITH Rovers kick off a new era 250 miles from home this Saturday.
Grant Murray’s first official match as manager takes the team to Harmsworth Park, home to the most northerly senior football club in Britain, Wick Academy.
The Ramsdens Cup first round tie – the biggest match in the Highland League club’s history – has captured the imagination of the home town, which is ready to turn out in numbers.
Scores of Rovers fans are also expected to make the epic trip north, and Wick Academy secretary Alan Farquhar told the Press: “Everyone in Caithness is talking about the game.
“It’s going to be a special occasion for the club, and the biggest game we’ve ever had in terms of the opposition.
“We’re all realistic about our chances, but we’re all up for it, especially our manager, Davie Kirkwood, being an ex-Raith player.”
The tie is Murray’s first competitive match as Raith boss and he is keen to avoid any embarrassing slip-ups.
“First and foremost you cannot underestimate any team when going into a cup game,” he said.
“We have to be properly prepared, which we will be, and deal with it in a proper professional manner.
“They’ll look upon it as a big game, and we’ll give them the same respect we’d give to any other opposition.
“We’ve got reports on some of their games, and from previous cup ties they’ve been involved in over the years.
“We know most of their squad are based up there, and have been at clubs like Ross County and Inverness.
“We’ve got a detailed portfolio on them, and we’ll examine that before we go up.”
Murray should have the luxury of a full squad to choose from after pulling out of Tuesday’s friendly against Alloa in order to give his players a rest.
“The preseason games have been fantastic but we want to get ourselves in the right mode for the first competitive game,” he said.
“It’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Murray refused to name the trialist who featured as a late substitute against Dundee United on Saturday but admitted that he is unlikely to be in a position to sign any more players.
“We feel as if we’ve got a good competitive squad,” he said.
“There is competition in most areas of the pitch, and we’ve got good versatility with guys who can play in two or three positions.”