Darvel boss Mick Kennedy acknowledged heightened expectation around his Scottish Cup heroes as they prepare for Monday night’s fifth-round clash against Falkirk at Recreation Park.
The non-league side capture the imagination of the nation with their unlikely but deserved 1-0 home win over cinch Premiership side Aberdeen in the last round.
Kennedy described the fall-out from one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition as “surreal” and “humbling” but he knows many will now believe the West of Scotland Premier Division champions will also topple John McGlynn’s League One Bairns.
Asked if he conceded that in many eyes, expectation levels for this cup tie had changed, he said: “I think so, certainly because obviously we put Aberdeen out in the previous round but we also went up to Montrose and won convincingly 5-2 in the round prior to that, when Montrose were sitting third in the table.
“I think that is a better judge in terms of the opposition we face on Monday.
“There is a lot of pressure on us to get into the next round.
“Nobody really expected us to beat Aberdeen but I am sure people expect us to beat Falkirk.
“But I am fully aware of Falkirk’s qualities and in my own opinion, they are still the favourites.
“I don’t think Aberdeen were disrespectful in any way but I am sure Falkirk will come here fully prepared. I know they have spent a lot of time this week in getting prepared for it.
“I know John is fully focused in trying to get into the next round himself so I think it will be a tougher task, definitely.
“But we have full belief that if we play to our capabilities, we have a good chance of getting into the next round.
“Obviously there has been a lot of attention on us in the last few weeks. It has been a bit surreal and a wee bit humbling for everyone within the group.
“It has been difficult to concentrate on league games but the cup tie is now here so it is full focus on that on Monday.”
Darvel impressed against the Dons with the quality of their football and Kennedy insisted it would be the case of same again against Falkirk, who are second behind Dunfermline in League One.
He said: “The preparations are very similar to the Aberdeen game.
“Most of the time has been spent on our philosophy, on us trying to impose ourselves on the game, all the emphasis has been on us.
“We have not spent a lot of time on stopping Falkirk. It is all about us trying to implement our own style.”