By Jonathon Reilly

Bathgate Thistle manager Andy Colley is well aware of what is at stake for his players in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup third round tie at home to Oakley United. That is why he is gearing the squad up for what he knows will be a tough afternoon at the Creamery Park as the Jags look to secure a place in the last 32 of the competition.

Though Bathgate ran out 3-0 winners in the sides’ previous meeting in the league at Blairwood Park back in September, Colley will not tolerate any overconfidence inside the home dressing room.

He said: “Oakley are a changed team from when we defeated them at their park earlier in the season and it will be a very tough game.
“Up until last Saturday they could have went third in the league if they won their games in hand.
“It is a good draw for us as we know all about them but, make no mistake, if we take them lightly and don’t apply ourselves professionally we will not progress.”

Bathgate required a replay and a penalty shootout to see off Greenock in the previous round and their boss has been involved in the game long enough to understand results far outweigh performances in the Scottish Cup.

“These one-off games are all about progressing into the next round. I would take the worst performance of the season and progress over playing well and going out,” Colley insisted.

“I really believe we can get into the last 16 if we can get past Oakley as this result will lift the whole club and we will be far stronger when the next round is due to be played.”

Bathgate will be boosted this weekend by the return of Lee Fairley, Stuart McLeod and Hassan Nyang, while Darren MacIsaac has recovered from the knock which forced him off against Dundee Violet.

The Jags have also announced the signings of midfielder Sid Easton and defender Darren Mcintosh from Blackburn United, although Mcintosh is cup-tied and will not be available for selection tomorrow afternoon.