Thornton Hibs: Disbelief as Craig Gilbert's side are potentially handed three more away draws in cups

Having played away from home in 12 out of 13 cup ties last season, Thornton Hibs’ draw jinx has struck again with the prospect of another three away fixtures in the opening cup competitions of season 2023-24.
Thornton Hibs boss Craig Gilbert is used to being drawn away from home in cup tiesThornton Hibs boss Craig Gilbert is used to being drawn away from home in cup ties
Thornton Hibs boss Craig Gilbert is used to being drawn away from home in cup ties

For Craig Gilbert’s side have been paired at Preston Athletic in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup second round, as well as being handed a trip to Harthill Royal in the King Cup first round, with victory in that tie earning a second round visit to Leith Athletic.

Thornton secretary Graeme Turnbull told the Fife Free Press: “I think we’re going to be changing our name to Thornton Hibs Away!

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"It’s unbelievable. You couldn’t get a bet on us being drawn away from home three times.

"We played Preston Athletic in a King Cup first round tie last season at Preston – a 3-2 Thornton defeat at Pennypit Park on February 25 – and it was a very tight game and a good game to watch. I would anticipate the same again in the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup.

"Preston are in the league above us so it will be a challenge and interesting to see how we get on.”

Referring to the Harthill Royal trip, which will see green-shirted Thornton face a side who predominantly play in red, white and blue, Turnbull added: “Harthill is a very small ground in deepest West Lothian and it will always be a challenging fixture.

"We expect a tough game.

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"If we get through that then we get Leith Athletic away. We played them last year in a cup tie (a 2-0 Thornton win in the Alex Jack Cup second round on August 26) on a Friday night at Meadowbank Stadium and we absolutely gave them a beating.

"So if we manage to get past Harthill then I wouldn’t hold any fears about playing Leith.

"The first one will be the tough one and then if the second one comes our way we’ll take it as it comes.”

The dates of Thornton Hibs’ cup ties in the two competitions had yet to be revealed at time of going to press.

Manager Gilbert will be trying to prepare his side for another campaign in the East of Scotland League second division.

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