The long and winding roadFriday, 22nd Nov 2019
“I`ve seen that road before, It always leads me here” Paul McCartney’s lyrics too true for Kyle Turner.
It feels like every manager describes their next away opponents as a hard place to go but possibly in the Scottish Cup Stranraer tops that list in terms of the logistics and physical geography that has to be embraced.
You have to look back more that ten years to find a league season where visitors won more games at Stair Park than were home wins or draws.
The one Pars player with the best knowledge of what it feels like to play there is 22 year old Kyle Turner who was signed from the League One side in the summer. He revealed:-
“Last year it was always important to make sure that your home form was good. It was pretty good because a lot of boys just don’t like the journey. Two hours in a bus getting there, the park is never good and I think it is all in their head before they get there.
“I have been used to it. I was there for four years, boys were doing it every second week so we knew what to expect. I have done it for so long so it is fine for me.”
Each of Kyle’s home matches for Stranraer involved the routine of travelling from his home in Johnstone just outside Paisley to meet the team bus at Darnley on the south side of Glasgow before enduring the 80 mile journey down the A77:-
“Most of the boys were from Glasgow, only the keeper was from Stranraer and the furthest down was from Monkton in Ayrshire.
“We travelled down and had pre match. It was good, you had plenty of time before the game. We weren’t down there rushing, we were having lunch and could sit about and do what you want to do.
“There a few of our boys who have been down there before. Danny Devine played there with Inverness, Josh Edwards played there in League One, Kevin Nisbet and Euan Murray. They all know what we are in for. As long as we do our work I think we will be fine.”
Kyle’s inside knowledge was nothing more than what could be expected of him. He singled out the likes of Jamie Hammill who played 187 matches for Kilmarnock and 82 for a Hearts, former Par Ryan Thomson who will miss the cup tie due to sustaining an injury against Raith Rovers and Scott Robertson, formerly of Stirling, Partick, Arbroath and Airdrie, who has made 211 appearances for Stranraer:-
“They have a lot of experienced players, boys that have played at Championship level before. They have an experienced team and I know that it will be difficult going down there, the pitch will be heavy it always is so we know what we are going to be in for.
“I played with the majority of them last year who were there” added Kyle who freely admitted that the move from part time to full time football had been a big difference for him:-
“You are training every day. You are playing better teams and with going up a league, it is a better league. It has been tough but I have been getting used to it.”
Kyle has very fond memories of his four seasons at Stranraer and is looking forward to returning there with Dunfermline:-
“It’s a good club, there are good guys at the club and obviously I get on with them really well. It will be good to go back and see them all. The fans liked me so I will be looking forward to going back there.”
Possibly reflecting the home side’s poor recent form, Dunfermline are hot favourites at 7-4 on at the bookies but Kyle warned:-
“It is the Scottish Cup so you need to be on your game. Look at last year Auchinleck Talbot beat Ayr Inited. You know that it is going to be tough, you need to go down there and play to the best you can to win.
“Stranraer beat Arbroath 1-0 in the cup last year and they were top of the league at the time. It’s the Scottish Cup, there is shocks but we are hoping not to be one of them.”
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