Stranraer manager Stephen Aitken believes home advantage could well be a great leveller when Dundee United visit Stair Park in the Scottish Cup’s fifth round.
After setting up the glamour tie against Jackie McNamara’s men in February by knocking Dunfermline out of the competition on Tuesday night, the Blues boss is well aware that United will not exactly fancy a tricky trip down the west coast with a place in the last eight at stake.
The Premiership team will inevitably still be favourites heading into the tie, but Aitken insists that his side will not just be there to make up the numbers.
“I think when you are playing the big, big clubs you have to be at home, first and foremost, to make it better for you,” he told The Courier.
“Obviously it will not be easy but it will be a tighter park to what they maybe have been used to.
“We’ll be the underdogs, and nine times out of 10 we usually are.
“We were probably the underdogs going into the Dunfermline game to be honest.
“So it’ll be like that again when we play United but we’ll give it our best shot.
“It’s something to look forward to, a Premiership team coming down to your own backyard.
“It’s nice and the wee clubs don’t usually get an opportunity to play against them, although what I will say is that, outwith Celtic, Dundee United are probably the hardest team we could have got with what they have been doing recently.
“But our players are on a terrific run and I think the last time we lost was in August, so that’s credit to them.
“Hopefully we can build some momentum and we will look forward to the United game when it comes around.”
Aitken was immensely proud of his players after seeing off Dunfermline at the second attempt on Tuesday, particularly so after his part-timers were forced to travel to Fife on a midweek evening.
The visitors, who initially earned a replay by coming from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Stair Park, ran out comfortable enough 3-1 winners at East End Park in the end.
“Players were trying to get finished work on time, the bus was running late because of that, so taking everything into consideration I thought the players were terrific and deserve everything they get,” he continued.
“Sometimes at 2-1 you wondered if it was going to be roles reversed from the first game and they might score to make it 2-2.
“They were pushing men forward and put us under a lot of pressure but to get the third goal just kills the game off and the time we got it at just made it difficult for Dunfermline to come back.
“It was a difficult night in difficult conditions but I’m just delighted we’re in the next round.
“We’re looking forward to the United game but our focus now has to be on Peterhead in the league on Saturday.
“It’s another long trip for us so we need to rest up and get ready for that.”