Crusaders happy to have a second chance against Livingston in IRN-BRU Cup at Seaview tonight
Crusaders v Livingston, IRN-BRU Cup Fourth Round Replay: Seaview, Tonight, 7.45pm
Michael Dougherty is happy Crusaders have got another shot at Livingston in the IRN-BRU Cup at Seaview tonight.
Stephen Baxter's side lost the original fourth round tie 2-1 but Alan Lithgow played for the visitors when he should have been serving a suspension and a rematch was ordered.
The West Lothian club were also fined £4,000 but they could have been thrown out of the tournament, allowing the Crues to take on Welsh side The New Saints at Seaview in a winnable quarter-final fixture.
Keeper Dougherty, who could feature tonight as Baxter shuffles his pack, says the reunion is another opportunity for those on the fringes of the first team squad to show their class.
"The team had lost the original game and come to terms with that," said the former H&W Welders stopper who didn't feature in the first match.
"It wasn't until weeks later that we heard about the eligibility issue and were prepared to deal with whatever happened. We were a bit unlucky to lose the first game so we are grateful for another go at them.
"I think replaying the game is fair enough as I don't believe it is fair that clubs should be heavily punished if they have made a genuine error.
"In the first game we sustained three injuries to Philip Lowry, Declan Caddell and Howard Beverland and I'm sure the manager will use the squad wisely.
"Seven boys made their debuts in the win over Glentoran in the County Antrim Shield and that is a huge credit to them and their coaches including Gavin Arthur with the under-20s.
"I knew the squad was strong when I joined the club but the strength in depth is really unbelievable and the resurgence of the young lads has been a huge plus."
Meanwhile, for the first time in the Irish League, a coloured winter ball will be used at all NI Football League games, starting this weekend.
The uhlsport Infinity Series: Revolution 3.0 matchball is certainly hard to miss as it is bright fluorescent yellow, with all 12 Danske Bank Premiership clubs - who will use them for the next three months - having their own logo also placed on each of their match balls.