The J Cord Cup final brings together two sides at opposite ends of the Bodycare Complimentary Clinics League table. Carnoustie sit joint top of the table, while St Andrews occupy bottom spot, but recent meetings of the two prove this matchup is far from David vs Goliath.
Ahead of the final, YFS caught up with Carnoustie manager Phil Hope and St Andrews Colts manager Stuart McLaren to find out about their journeys to the final, their previous meetings and their seasons so far.
Here’s what they had to say:
Sunday’s final will be Carnoustie’s third final in three years, and having won one and lost one, they will be determined to repeat last season’s triumph. Manager Phil Hope knows how tough Sunday’s game will be.
He said, “The other teams in our league all have their strengths so reaching a final or being in the top part of the league was never going to be easy, it’s a very tight league and we take nothing for granted.
“Our job was to give the players the right training and preparation for the season so that they would be able to compete.
“This is our third final in three years so perhaps our players will be more used to the event.”
Their route to the final saw them advance past Dundee United SC in the quarter final, before facing rivals Brechin, who they bested in last season’s final. Vincent Edmonds and Brandon Black scored the goals that secured Carnoustie’s place in the final, and Hope was pleased to see his side navigate a tricky tie.
He said, “The match against Brechin was a tough one. We’ve been evenly matched for a few seasons and that was our first win in Brechin for a while.
“It’s always hard to pick out individual players because they worked so hard together as a unit throughout the game to maintain possession and keep the pressure on the opposition.”
Despite both sides occupying different ends of the table, Hope knows that there will be little between the teams on final day. “Our players know better than to take anything for granted, we have won a few games by a single goal and our opponents have lost a few games by a single goal.
“We certainly don’t feel there is a gulf between the two teams.”
Carnoustie took the points when the sides met in the league, but St Andrews came out on top of their Henry Dolan Cup tie, and Hope is aware of the threat St Andrews pose. He said, “Every game we play brings its challenges and St Andrews will provide us with a tough challenge in the final on Sunday.
“We have played them twice away in St Andrews with mixed results, both games were hard fought by both teams and we expect the final to be the same.”
Ones to Watch
Danny Edelston – The Carnoustie goalkeeper boasts the highest number of clean sheets in the league and he and his defensive colleagues are yet to concede a goal in this competition. Having saved a penalty in his last outing against Dryburgh, the Carnoustie stopper is unlikely to be lacking confidence.
Brandon Black – Midfielder Black scored twice in Carnoustie’s cup triumph last season and bagged a brace when these sides met in the league. With seven goals this season, St Andrews will need to be at their best to keep him quiet.
Vincent Edmonds – The striker has netted 14 times this campaign and has formed a formidable partnership with Robbie Tait, who has 13 goals to his name. With four goals in his last three games, Edmonds is in fine form, and will be looking to fire his team to cup glory.
Hope wouldn’t reveal much about his final message to his players, but he did have this to say, “The coaches will do everything to prepare them but when the game starts it’s down to them.
“They are the authors of their own history.”
St Andrews Colts
St Andrews Colts have saved their best form for the cup competitions this season, including knocking Carnoustie out of the Henry Dolan Cup. Their road to the final saw them beat Forfar West End 4-3 before a 4-1 win over Dryburgh in the semi-final. Manager Stuart McLaren said, “I was very satisfied with the boys coming back from 3-0 down to beat Forfar 3-4.
“The win against Dryburgh was possibly the best performance I have seen from the boys this season. The whole squad’s attitudes in the run up to the final have improved.”
St Andrews find themselves propping up the Bodycare Complimentary Clinics League table, but with three of their six defeats coming by a single goal, they will certainly have the belief they can cause an upset.
Manager McLaren said, “I think a lot of people will be expecting Carnoustie to win but I have always felt it doesn’t matter which position teams are in the league when it comes to up games.”
Carnoustie took the points when the sides met in the league, but St Andrews were victorious when the sides met in the Henry Dolan Cup. McLaren holds Sunday’s opponents in high regard.
“Carnoustie are probably one of the best teams we have played this season. I expect a very tough game for the boys and hope both teams turn up for good game.”
While they will go into the match as underdogs, McLaren knows his side can cause an upset, and had this message for his players ahead of the big day.
“Go out and enjoy yourselves, remember to keep your attitude in check and do your best.”
North End Park, Dundee DD3 8HU
Kick Off: 14.30
Prices: Adults: £3.00 OAP/Child: £1.00