Exclusive: Formartine United boss Paul Lawson hoping to follow Brora Rangers example by dumping ex club Motherwell out of Scottish Cup
Former Motherwell midfielder Paul Lawson – manager of Formartine United – will next Saturday attempt to do what fellow Highland League outfit Brora Rangers did to Hearts by sending the Steelmen spinning out of the Scottish Cup.
Lawson, 36, who played 20 games for ’Well between 2013 and 2015, praised Brora’s display in beating the runaway Scottish Championship leaders but reckons it will be a tall order for his troops to follow suit against the Premiership side in the third round clash at North Lodge Park on April 3.
"It’s an incredible result for Brora let’s be honest,” Lawson told the Times and Speaker.
"Up in the north we know how good a side Brora are. If the league hadn’t been curtailed last season they would have romped to the championship.
"They were awarded it but they were streets ahead of a lot of teams at our level.
"They have players who have previously been to Ross County, Inverness so they have got experience.
"But I think the biggest surprise was having the lay-off that we’ve all had and only managing to squeeze in four or five training sessions before the game and yet winning. It probably means that Motherwell will maybe take us a bit more seriously than they would maybe have.
"I think it does make our job a bit harder because Motherwell will be wanting to make sure that doesn’t happen to them.
"From the outside everyone knows they will be massive favourites and probably expected to come to our place and beat us convincingly.
"But I just want to make sure our boys don’t get overrawed by it and they give a good account of themselves, make sure we play well and show what we can do because we have some good players in our team.
"We just want to make sure we can put on a decent show.”
Although Lawson has nothing but good things to say about Motherwell, the ex-midfielder acknowledges that his time at the club was tough to say the least.
The former midfielder, who notably played in both legs of ’Well’s 3-0 aggregate defeat to Russian cracks Kuban Krasnodar in the 2013-14 Europa League, was unfortunate on the fitness front.
"My time at the club is full of regrets on a personal level because I wasn’t able to play many games due to injury,” Lawson said.
"But the club as a whole was fantastic and everyone associated around the club was superb with me.
"I’ve got nothing but good words about the place.
"I didn’t really have a great time there personally but that time at the club was quite a good one.
"League finishes were good and we had European football.
"Joining the club at the time, the excitement was there and the opportunity of playing European football.
"It was an enjoyable night. Although we didn’t get the result we wanted it was a good experience, as was the away tie over there.
"It was just unfortunate we didn’t get the result.”
Lawson, who first joined Formartine as a player in July 2015, became player/manager in September 2017.
The game against Motherwell represents one of the biggest challenges of his time as a gaffer.
"I think ultimately for the players getting a Premier League team is massive,” he added.
"For teams at our level, that is our aim when you enter the Scottish Cup, to get into a position where you are put against a Premier League side.
"I’m sure the Brora-Hearts result certainly gave Motherwell a little shock to say: ‘We need to make sure we’re on our game or we could be punished’.
"But at the same time, it does give our boys a little bit of belief that if we do things the right way and play as well as we can – and you’re hoping Motherwell have an off night – then you never know.
"It’s just a shame that the fans won’t get to see it.
"It’s all very well and good saying: ‘Let’s enjoy the occasion’ but that can take over and then you don’t play in the game and you can end up on the back of a hiding.
"So we want to make sure we approach it the right way. Yes, it’s a great tie for the club etcetera, but it’s a game that we want to impose ourselves on and make sure Motherwell now they’re in for a tough time.”
Lawson also revealed that the condition of Formartine’s pitch is unlikely to provide them with any advantage against the Steelmen.
He added: “We have quite a big park. It’s been brought in recently due to some drainage problems we had over the winter.
“But it’s in good condition. I don’t know if that will probably work against us but it’s one of the better parks in the league.
"We like to get the ball down and play so it’s a good surface for that.
"So I think Motherwell will be pleasantly surprised.”