Shropshire Star

The New Saints geared up for big test north of the border

The New Saints and Falkirk, both unbeaten at the top of their leagues, meet in Scotland tomorrow night (7.40pm) with a place in this season’s SPFL Trust Trophy final up for grabs.


Saints make the long trip north of the border leading the JD Cymru Premier League by 15 points.

Falkirk are also enjoying an excellent season and are the unbeaten table-toppers in Scottish League One, the third tier of Scottish football.

A record of 15 wins and seven draws from 22 games has Falkirk – managed by John McGlynn, a former Hearts boss – 11 points clear of second-placed Hamilton Academical.

Saints will go into the clash on the back of lifting the Nathaniel MG Cup courtesy of a 5-1 victory against Swansea City in their last outing.

TNS head coach Craig Harrison, looking ahead to the semi-final at the Falkirk Stadium, knows Saints can expect a tough game.

Both Harrison and his assistant Chris Seargeant have travelled to Scotland in recent weeks to watch Falkirk.

“They’re a big club, especially a big club in that league,” said Harrison. “They’ve spent most of the time in the Championship and even the Scottish Prem, so they’ve got some very, very good players. I was at the game on Saturday and I’ve watched five or six of their games through Wyscout as well.

“Chris Seargeant was at the game with Cove, so we’ve seen them live twice, and they’ve got some very, very good players.

“Both wingers are very good players, a good midfield and they’ve got an experienced pair at centre-half with a couple of young full-backs and a young goalkeeper.

“They’ve got an experienced manager who has managed at some fantastic football clubs and obviously he’s a very good manager.”

Harrison added: “It’s going to be a very, very tough game, we know that. You expect that, the semi-final of any competition, you would expect it’s going to be a tough game.

“Obviously, it will make it a little bit tougher by travelling away from home, but, yes, we’re really looking forward to it.”

Falkirk beat higher division Dundee United 4-2 in the quarter-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy after getting the better of Ayr United and Queen’s Park in the earlier rounds.

Saints have progressed to the last four of the competition by overcoming Hibernian’s B team, East Fife, in a penalty shootout, and Arbroath.

And they will go into the game on a run of 18 consecutive victories, with their unbeaten record making for even prettier reading – 33 games.

The last time Harrison’s team tasted defeat was way back on August 1 in the UEFA Europa Conference League.