Wednesday 3rd February 2016
NEARLY two years down the line, Paul McGinn still remembers the last time he played in a Scottish Cup tie involving Dumbarton.
Truth be told, it’s difficult for the Dundee defender to forget.
In his mind’s eye, he’s back on the pitch at Pittodrie, meeting Garry Fleming’s cross in injury time and watching his header bounce agonisingly over the bar.
As a result of that chance, and Adam Rooney’s earlier goal, Sons were knocked out 1-0 by Aberdeen at the quarter final stage in March 2014.
Paul signed for Dundee three months later after starring with Dumbarton, and Saturday sees him return to the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium for the first time since.
He’d love to have another crack at the last eight of the William Hill Scottish Cup – but there’s a catch. If he’s to do that, Sons will have to be the ones who suffer.
While Paul is looking forward to his return to Dumbarton, there will be one familiar face missing – that of the club’s chief executive Gilbert Lawrie, who passed away last month.
Paul said: “I’m excited about the game. It will be good to go back to Dumbarton as I’ve good memories of my time there.
“But it will be sad not to see Gilbert, as he was always brilliant with me during my time with the club.
“I know how tough the game will be, as the Dumbarton teams I played in fancied their chances against anybody who came to the ground.
“I have some good friends from those teams who are still with the club, and I know how well they can play, so we will need to be on our toes.
“The Sons players and fans will have good memories of the day at Aberdeen. That late chance still gets to me a bit but overall Dumbarton played really well and ran the Dons close.
“Of course it would be my goal to reach the quarter-finals again on Saturday, but on the other side of the coin, they will also be wanting to achieve that.”
Paul won’t be the only one heading to the Rock mindful of what a difficult task lies in store for Dundee.
Dens Park strike duo Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart have already experienced a Scottish Cup exit at Dumbarton, losing 2-1 with Cowdenbeath in November 2013.
And later that season, Dee keeper Scott Bain picked the ball out of the net four times at the Rock when he was playing for Alloa.
But Paul, who has impressed since his move to Dens Park, insists that every player in a dark blue jersey will be up for the battle ahead.
He added: “Even though the boys haven’t played at Dumbarton for some time, they know how hard it will be. Sometimes the conditions aren’t great and we know it will be difficult.
“Dundee has been a good move for me. Last season we finished top six when I don’t think many fancied us to do that.
“This season it’s maybe been a bit slower but I’ve been pleased with how I’ve played and I’m enjoying it. In a league where everybody’s beating everybody else, we’re aiming for the top six again.”