Hastie: Squad has 'positive nerves' ahead of Carrick test
Murrayfield Wanderers captain Murray Hastie believes 'getting the little things right' will prove crucial if they are to taste a first final victory for the club since 2005 when they face Carrick in the BT Shield on Saturday.
Wandies face the West Division 1 runners-up and 2016 Shield winners on the main pitch at BT Murrayfield, with the aim of backing up their East Region Division 1 title triumph with another piece of silverware.
Like much of the Wanderers side, Hastie has yet to experience the atmosphere of the national stadium and admits to a few 'positive nerves' ahead of Saturday's final.
“I've always been a believer in: if you're not nervous for these sorts of games, then there's something wrong with you,” Hastie explains.
“I think there will be a little bit of nerves but when we get out there, you've got to enjoy it really.
“It'll be my first time playing on the BT Murrayfield pitch so I'm personally looking forward to it. We went out kicking there the other day and it's a fantastic place to have a run about. Growing up you don't think you're going to get the opportunity to play there so to do that on Saturday will be great.”
Hastie has been one of the stand-out performers for Wandies in a season which has catapulted the club back to the National Leagues. A natural leader who has rallied his side on the pitch throughout an arduous season, the captain makes it clear where the focus now lies.
“This is the one we want [the Shield],” Hastie says. “I think the League campaign is a long shift and we've had some contests in there but getting to Murrayfield and going for the Shield is something we've been wanting all season and the boys are definitely switched on now.”
While he stops short of defining the season by what happens against Carrick in the final, Hastie considers anything but victory on Saturday as a disappointment.
“I would love to win on Saturday. I think if we don't, it'll always be in the back of the mind, even though we can celebrate after the season we've had. It would be the icing on the cake for us to cap off the year with a victory.”
Analysing Wandies' BT East Region Division1 season has been difficult with large disparity between the top and bottom of the table. For Hastie, though, the highlight of the year has come from the tighter encounters, notably against North Berwick, where Wandies had to dig deep at home to come out on top.
“We've had some close games in the League, especially with North Berwick, which I think we needed. The there was the game down in Berwick which gave us a bit of a shock, playing in tough conditions and having to fight back was tough.
“Sometimes I felt we were cruising, and that's no disrespect to the teams we played, it just shows the quality we have in our side this year.”
After a season of superlatives from Wandies, much is uncertain about how the year will end. Hastie though, is sure of one thing.
“It'll be a completely different kettle of fish against Carrick on Saturday!”
Updated 12:22 - 20 Apr 2017 by Michael Clark