Lawson: We need to keep trophy-winning habit
FORMARTINE United manager Paul Lawson says reaching cup finals is now the minimum expectation at the club.
The Pitmedden men will take part in their fifth such occasion since Lawson took the helm two years ago as they face Fraserburgh tonight in the Aberdeenshire Cup.
These stages are somewhat becoming the fabric of the former Motherwell man's time as boss.
But at a club that now banks on success, Lawson's message was that being in a final becomes worthless if you don't lift the trophy afterwards.
“It's certainly a good habit to be in”, he said.
“When myself and Russell (Anderson, assistant) came in we wanted to be challenging at the top of the league and in cup finals.
“We've done that so far but now we want to keep winning things and Friday is no different, so we want to make sure we get another trophy in the bag.
“I think it's important for what we want to do as a club, being in cup finals, but if you get there you have to win them, it's not about just getting there.
“If you aren't winning it, it counts for nothing.
“We've built a squad that will look to challenge on a number of fronts so this is the first trophy of the season to play for and hopefully it will give us a boost to kick on.
“It will be difficult as Fraserburgh will fancy their chances.”
The 35-year-old hasn't rested on his laurels in terms of his playing personnel and has added to the ranks in recent weeks, with Dan Park, Darryn Kelly and Aaron Norris all joining.
Any notion of Formartine lacking squad depth has now been swiftly dismissed.
Meanwhile opponents Fraserburgh looked an unmovable force at the start of the campaign with a superb winning run that included a shock win at North Lodge Park.
But Mark Cowie's side have yet to taste victory in their last three games as the form guides of these two foes have altered somewhat.
Lawson continued: “I think it is important that we have a strong squad if we want to fight on a number of fronts.
“I think we've got that now, there's competition for places all over the park and that was the aim.
“I'm very pleased with the boys we've taken in along with the boys that were already there.
“We're certainly in a stronger position.”
He added: “I don't know how much that (Fraserburgh's win in August) will go into Friday's game.
“It's a cup final so both teams will be up for it and it is always a difficult game against them.
“That showed with the game earlier in the season, Fraserburgh are a good side and when they got themselves in front in that game they defended well and held onto their lead.
“It will be very difficult but we go in with confidence, the last two games have been really good so hopefully it makes for a decent game.”
A Friday night final is sure to be a hit with the travelling Formartine faithful and Lawson continued: “It's slightly different as it is a Friday night game.
“But in the grand scheme of it we try to treat it as another game against a top side.
“Training won't be too much different than it has been.
“Sometimes you can make a bigger deal out of things and sometimes the players get over-awed by the occasion.
“We treat it as a big game but hopefully with the same attitude we go into every game with.
“I guess the boys will look at it as they get the weekend off, hopefully they get the result and it can be an enjoyable weekend.
“We've had a couple of Friday night games before where there's been a decent crowd, and being at Cove there will be people who turn out as neutrals to come and enjoy the game.
Lawson also conceded that wantaway striker Archie MacPhee may still have a part to play at Formartine.
The 26-year-old last week joined League One side Forfar Athletic on loan until the New Year, after a summer spat had seen him frozen out.
And Lawson said the door hasn't yet closed on the hitman: “We'll have to see how things go.
“He's on loan just now due to the transfer window [being closed], we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.”