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  • Post published:24 July 2023

Winning is what it is all about for Scott Robertson.

The Blues came into the Scottish League Cup as the lowest ranked side in the group and facing Premiership, Championship and League One teams.

Stranraer took plenty of plaudits from their performance against top flight Ross County but, ultimately, lost out on the opening day.

The first win of the campaign came on Saturday against League One Edinburgh City and the player/first team coach told the club website that he still took the same delight in winning as he did in game one for the club.

He said: “Winning is the only reason I play.

“We were talking about it in the physio room today, it is not the only part of football I enjoy but it is the one driving force behind continuing to play really.

‘Robbo’ has been a mainstay of the Stranraer squad over the past ten years

“Winning games and having that feeling of winning games with the boys and in the changing room after the game when you have been up against it.

“We have got injuries just now.

“We have only got 12 fit players and it makes it even better when you know you have, in terms of players, struggled to put a team together, you go and play a team from a league higher up and you go and win the game.

“That is where the buzz comes from – winning games.

“If anybody said that was not the case, they would be lying.

“You don’t play football to go and enjoy the training, you go to football to enjoy winning games.

The first team coach now passes on his experience to the new-look Blues squad

“You still get the same buzz.”

Stranraer round off the group phase of the competition by taking on another League One side tomorrow (Tuesday).

A trip to the New Central Park home of Kelty Hearts presents a chance for Stranraer to make a little piece of history as they look for a first win at the venue.

Robertson, who scored when Stranraer defeated their opposition at Stark’s Park in the Scottish Cup more than two years ago, was looking to build on the first win of the campaign.

He said: “We have won on Saturday and I don’t see why we cannot go and try to put in another decent performance on Tuesday.

“Every game is different but we will be trying to go and win the game.”

Last meeting

Stranraer provide a guard of honour for newly-crowned champions Kelty Hearts

Stranraer provided a guard of honour for Kelty Hearts in the last meeting between the two sides as the visitors had clinched League Two.

Neither team had broken the deadlock before the interval but there would be three unanswered goals after the break. Max Kucheriavyi danced his way beyond three tackles and played in a low cross which Robbie McNab touched home from inside the six-yard box.

The second came when Kallum Higginbotham carved open the Stranraer defence and Thomas Reilly curled the ball beyond Luke Scullion.

Higginbotham hit the underside of the bar before a spectacular lob wrapped up the scoring.

Stranraer: Scullion, Robertson (Brady 84), Burns, Sonkur, Ross, Gallagher (Smith 84), Hilton (Watson 66), McIntosh, Muir (Mullen 87), Walker (Woods 66), Yates.
Not used: Ellis and Downie.

Kelty Hearts: Jamieson, Hill (Cameron 82), Forster, Cardle, Reilly (Black 70), Agyeman (Biabi 70), Higginbotham, Tidser, McNab, Kucheriavyi, Ngwenya.
Not used: Peggie, Clark and Donaldson.

Last five meetings

  • Stranraer 0 Kelty Hearts 3 (McNab, Reilly and Higginbotham) at Stair Park on April 16, 2022
  • Kelty Hearts 3 Stranraer 2 (O’Ware, Barjonas and Austin; Muir and Hilton) at New Central Park on January 29, 2022
  • Stranraer 0 Kelty Hearts 4 (Own goal, Forster and Austin x2) at Stair Park on December 18, 2021
  • Kelty Hearts 1 Stranraer 0 (Austin) at New Central Park on September 25, 2021
  • Kelty Hearts 2 Stranraer 3 (Austin and Higginbotham (Pen); Orr, Robertson and Paton (Pen)) at Stark’s Park on January 9, 2021

Ins and outs


New signing Ben Armour grabbed his first Blues goal on Saturday

Ins: Martin McDonald (Hurlford United), Cammy Williamson (Annan Athletic), Ben Hughes (East Kilbride), James Dolan (Ayr United), Kyle Fleming (Albion Rovers), Tom Orr (Stenhousemuir) and Ben Armour (Forfar Athletic).

Outs: Luke Scullion (Broomhill), Anton Brady (St Cadoc’s), Craig Malcolm (St Cadoc’s), James Hilton (Dumbarton), Ikechi Eze and Luke Watt.

Kelty Hearts

Some of Kelty’s bigger names have moved on this summer

Ins: Botti Biabi (Brechin City), Adam Corbett (Stenhousemuir), Ross Cunningham (Clyde), Kyle Gourlay (Cove Rangers), Craig Johnston (Montrose), Reece Lyon (Greenock Morton), Stefan McCluskey (Forfar Athletic), Lewis Moore (Queen’s Park), Billy Owens (Partick Thistle) and Jamie Walker (Caledonian Braves).

Outs: Alfredo Agyeman (Falkirk), Nathan Austin (East Fife), Jamie Barjonas (Hamilton Academical), Jordon Forster (Tranent), Kallum Higginbotham (Tranent), Dougie Hill (Cowdenbeath), Darren Jamieson (Stenhousemuir), Lewis Martin (Brechin City), Robbie McNab (Cowdenbeath), Reis Peggie (Bonnyrigg Rose), Ross Philp (East Fife), Brodie Strang (Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts), Joe Cardle and Darren Lyon.

Last time out

Stranraer defeated League One side Edinburgh City at the weekend despite being short on players


Lineup v Edinburgh City: McDonald, Robertson, Girvan, Ross, Dolan, Forrest, Fleming, McIntosh, Armour, Orr, Hawkshaw (Hughes 65).
Not used: McKane, Phillips, Agnew and O’Connor.

Kelty Hearts

Lineup v Edinburgh City: Gourlay, Corbett, O’Ware, Thomson, Owens, Daramola, Lyon, McCluskey, Tidser, Johnston (Biabi 74), Cunningham (Moore 65).
Not used: Cameron, Owens, Shearer and Campbell.

Five facts

Scott Robertson is no stranger to Kelty Hearts

1. Scott Robertson is the only Stranraer man to have played in all five of the previous encounters between the two clubs. Meanwhile, four Kelty players – Darren Jamieson, Darren Hill, Michael Tidser and Kallum Higginbotham – all featured in the contests.

2. The five meetings between the two sides have taken place at three different grounds – Stair Park, New Central Park and Stark’s Park.

3. Summer signing Tiwi Daramola has scored three goals in the opening two games for Kelty Hearts. However, he will need to score another 80 to match his tally from last season with Bo’ness Athletic in the East of Scotland Football League Third Division.

4. The first meeting between the two sides saw Stranraer come from two goals down to win 3-2. Scott Robertson, Tom Orr and Ruari Paton found the net in the Scottish Cup clash.

5. Stranraer’s win over Edinburgh City on Saturday was their first in a cup competition – other than games forfeited – since Matty Yates scored the only goal of the game against East Kilbride in July 2021.

Photos: Bill McCandlish