BLUE TOON TEST NEXT FOR LOONS

haviNG squeezed past Buckie Thistle in the opening round of the Ramsdens Cup on Saturday past, Forfar can now look forward to entertaining first division Greenock Morton in round two in early August (writes Alan Ducat).

But next up for Dick Campbell’s men will be a home tie with third division Peterhead in the opening round of the Scottish Communities League Cup this coming weekend.

Forfar will need to be at their best to get the better of a Blue Toon side that has been spending big in a bid to get out of the third division at the first time of asking.

The cup match on Saturday will mean an early return to Station Park for three ex-Loons, Bary Sellars, Bryan Deasley and Paul Watson, but Forfar will be strengthened for the game by the return of four players who missed out against Buckie Thistle.

Jamie Bishop, who was suspended for the Ramsdens tie, will be available, while Iain Campbell could return from injury. Also available will be Ross Campbell, after his honeymoon, and Michael Bolochoweskyj, who has been on holiday.

Reflecting over the penalty shoot-out victory over last season’s Highland League champions on Saturday past, manager Dick Campbell felt a the tough 120 minutes would stand his players in good stead.

The manager paid credit to the opposition for giving the Loons a stern test, but felt his side deserved to progress in the tourney.

“We have all played games in which we are going in against lower league sides, and all credit to Buckie Thistle who have a good track record in the Highland League,” commented Campbell.

“I felt we started Saturday’s game well enough - having prepared well for it, and had a very early chance.

“We then got in front but lost a sloppy goal. That’s what happens. You give a team a wee glimmer of hope and they dig in and give you problems.

“There’s no doubt we were the better side over the 120 minutes, but, at one-each the game is still alive and all that is needed is for them to take a half chance and we are out of the cup.”

To be fair, for how well they defended, Buckie Thistle rarely looked like threatening at the other end as the game progressed into penalty kicks.

But Forfar struggled, too, when it came to creating clear cut chances - and so it went on to the penalty shoot-out.

“There five good penalty kicks from us and a good save from our young goalkeeper,” added the Forfar manager. “The rules are set out before we start and it’s another way of winning a game. I don’t particularly like it, but there we are.”

Campbell feels the 120 minutes of football so early in the season will pay dividends later on.

“It won’t do our fitness any harm, especially as we have only been back in training for around three weeks.

“And remember, we had two young kids on the bench, purely and simply because the powers that be decided to start the season with two cup ties, in which teams can’t play any trialists.

“However, I am not getting conned into signing one or two other players just because we have a cup tie.

“We were missing four of our squad on Saturday, and they may all be available for the visit of Peterhead on Saturday.”

Following this coming weekend’s cup tie, Forfar will play host to Cowdenbeath in the league curtain-raiser on Saturday, August 6, with Greenock Morton in town on Ramsdens Cup duty the following midweek.