GALA Fairydean Rovers captain Gareth Rodger is looking forward to his first cup final in a 10-year senior career and he is determined to bring the trophy back to the Borders.

Gala face a strong Linlithgow side who only narrowly missed out on winning the East of Scotland Premier Division title but Rodger believes that if they play to their strengths Rovers are more than capable of lifting silverware.

Gala Fairydean were previously in a final in 2002 and have not lifted a trophy since 1998 although Gala Rovers were consistent trophy winners before the two clubs merged in 2013.

Gareth signed for the club from Stirling Albion and this was his third season although the first two were hampered by Covid.

He told the Border Telegraph: “There is an excitement building around the club ahead of the final. It’s been two weeks since our last game and we were due to have a bounce game at the weekend against the U20s but that was cancelled so we had a training session instead. And there was a definite buzz.

“It’s the biggest game I’ve been involved in for sure and I’m so excited. Linlithgow are a big club that did well in the Juniors and they have had a decent season in the East of Scotland League before they got pipped by Tranent. But it’s not about them.

“We have to focus on ourselves and assert our style of play on them. It would be easy to lose track of the game due to the importance, so we all have to turn up on the day. We proved many times this season that if we play to our capabilities we are more than a match for anyone.”

Border Telegraph: Gala players celebrate goal by Gareth Rodger at CumbernauldGala players celebrate goal by Gareth Rodger at Cumbernauld

In the previous rounds Gala defeated Rosyth (3-1), Tweedmouth Rangers (10-0), Bathgate (2-0), Bonnyrigg Rose ( 5-1), Dundonald Bluebell (2-0), Kinnoull Juniors 4-4(4-3 on pens) to earn their place in the final and Gareth scored one of the penalties.

“That was my first ever penalty” he added: “and thankfully I scored. I know how much it means to everyone associated with the club. Neil Hastings signed me and he was a brilliant coach. We all knew he would go on to a bigger stage but his replacement Jimmy (Martin Scott) is a good character with lots of personality and bundles of experience. The training sessions under him and Stevie (Craig) are always fun and all the guys enjoy them. It’s just unfortunate that he has had some injuries because we have missed his presence on the pitch.

“I’ve played at Penicuik before and it’s a tight little ground to there should be a great atmosphere. Linlithgow will bring a decent crowd and so will we. Unfortunately, my dad won’t make it as he is on holiday but the rest of my family will be there along with a few pals.”

Gareth was appointed captain at the start of the season, taking over from Danny Galbraith. “I was massively proud to have been made captain and it would be tremendous to be able to lift the cup after the final whistle on Sunday and celebrate with the fans.”

As a result of being in the final, Gala will travel to play League One side Kelty Hearts in the semi-final of the City Cup which will be played next season.

Gala Fairydean Rovers are running a free supporters bus to Penicuik this Sunday. Admission prices to the final are £10 adults and £5 concessions.

Due to the final, the clubrooms will be closed this Sunday during the day but will open at 6p.m. if the cup is brought back to Netherdale.