Saturday 27th March 2021
THIS time next week, Conner Duthie will be preparing for what he hopes will be the next step.
One hundred and fifteen weeks will have passed since he took the last one.
When he and his new Dumbarton team-mate Morgyn Neill took on Aberdeen – and took them to a replay.
There are a few differences this time around. They won’t be wearing the maroon of Stenhousemuir as they did that day, they’ll be wearing the black and gold of Sons.
There are also no replays this time around – it’s win or lose on the day, with extra time and penalties if necessary.
But perhaps the biggest one is that on January 19, 2019, Conner and Morgyn had supporters in the stadium with them. They won’t this time.
It’s something that Sons’ new midfield signing feels was a big factor, but he’s not ruling out the prospect of shocking the Dons a bit more than two years ago.
Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Conner said: “It’s a huge step for us in that it’s a League One team against a Premiership team, but that won’t be an issue.
“Our main focus will be to get through to the next round, but it’s not just that. It will be a good test for us against a top flight side but it’s nothing the boys can’t handle.
“I was involved at Pittodrie with Morgyn two years ago, and that also was a good test for us to go there.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking, but Stenny’s fans played a big part when there will be no fans in the ground for us this time.
“We will just take it as it comes.”
Before that, Dumbarton face three other challenges in League One, starting with today’s home game against Peterhead.
Conner already has two games under his belt, one as a trialist against Forfar and one as a signed player in Tuesday’s win over Huntly.
He’s a vital part of plans for the weeks ahead, when Dumbarton face a demanding schedule, and it’s a challenge he’s ready to meet.
He added: “Obviously it’s really good for me to come here. I’ve spent a long time out of football but I’m just glad to get back in and get among a good group of players.
“I feel fit, so it’s good to get back on the training field.
“I thought the boys played really well on Tuesday night and it’s great to be through to the next round of the cup. I thought we deserved something out of the Forfar game. It was harsh for our first competitive game back, but there are more games to come.
“These will give us opportunities to do a bit better and stay out of the relegation zone.
“The schedule coming up is going to be a good test for us, starting with Peterhead. They lost to Stenhousemuir on Tuesday night, so with us beating Huntly that can hopefully give us a bit of a stepping stone.
“To be fair, it’s every boy’s dream to keep on playing game after game. I know a few of the boys do like the idea when you are fighting for your place.
“But we’ll just take it day by day, game by game. The manager has already told us everybody will be involved, and we’ll need to stay positive.”