Belfast Telegraph

Struggling Glenavon relishing Highland fling

Formartine Utd v Glenavon, Tunnock's Wafer Challenge Cup: North Lodge Park, Today, 3.00pm

Change of scene: Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton
Change of scene: Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton

By Billy Weir

It says much of Glenavon's current woes that a trip to the wilds of the north of Scotland to a village mainly famous for having a prisoner of war camp is seen as a welcome escape.

That is a tad harsh on the good people of Pitmedden, home of Highland League side Formartine United, who play host to Gary Hamilton's men today (3.00pm) in the third round of the Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup.

Pitmedden, some 16 miles north of Aberdeen, can also boast a beautiful National Trust garden, but this season has been far from a walk in the park for Hamilton.

A 4-0 drubbing by Coleraine last Friday evening sees them languishing in eighth spot in the Danske Bank Premiership table, with only one win from the five league outings to date.

Confidence visibly drained from the players once they conceded a second goal against the Bannsiders and a break from domestic action may have come at just the right time.

"The good thing about that is we travel on Friday as a team, we spend Saturday night as a team and we travel back as a team on Sunday," explained Hamilton.

"You're hoping that a bit of time together for the boys is a positive thing and brings a bit of camaraderie and team spirit.

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"You get beat and you're not back in training until next week and the boys are down, back on the training pitch and away again and you don't get much time to speak to each other, so hopefully next weekend will be a positive.

"It's a nice thing for us because it's a one-off match and you try and win that and hopefully the shackles will come off.

"Hopefully the boys will just go out and play and try and get a result and then bring that back into our league campaign."

Hamilton knows that given the competition in the league this season they cannot afford to fall too far behind and hopes the Scottish sojourn can shake off the shackles.

It won't be easy against a Formartine side who currently sit fifth in the Highland League and in midweek booked their place in the Aberdeenshire Cup final with a win over Scottish Premiership outfit Aberdeen's colts side.

"We have to get back to training again and work harder than you ever have because you can see wee glimpses of (a lack) of confidence at the minute," added Hamilton.

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