It’s almost 20 years since Tony Fraser set foot in Junior football and pretty much all of that time, he has regarded Auchinleck Talbot as the game’s dominant force.

He owns up to not having a good record whenever he and the Ayrshire outfit's paths have crossed: “But I don't know anyone who can say they have," scoffs the 38-year-old who this coming weekend is set to skipper Rutherglen Glencairn when they line up against Talbot in the pick of the Macron Scottish Junior Cup Fifth Round ties.

To win a Cup game at Beechwood Park in front of arguably the most ardent supporting throng in Junior football is a particularly daunting task [as Ayr United will now testify], however midfield veteran Fraser is adamant it is not an impossible one and he is convinced the Ru’Glonians will not be simply making up the numbers down in the Ayrshire heartlands.

“Auchinleck are undoubtedly the benchmark for every other club at this level, but they are not unbeatable and I was on the winning side against them more than once during my time playing with Beith," said Fraser.

“And I also remember a memorable West of Scotland Cup game in my first spell with the Glens [Willie Patterson and Scott Smith were in charge] when we had gone down there with only 12 players yet managed to get a 1-1 draw and take the game to penalty kicks.

“Davie Dickson was not best pleased to be named as our only substitute and Willie wanted to put him on with just minutes remaining so that he could take one of our penalty kicks, but Davie just blanked him and I think we lost the shoot-out 7-5.

“Talbot were everybody’s overwhelming favourites to win that game just as they will be on Saturday, but we gave them a real run for their money back then and I wouldn’t bet against us doing the same again.

“Look, we all know it’s going to be difficult after watching their televised game against Ayr, but the pressure is all on their players and, with nothing to lose, we can go there and enjoy the occasion.

“And the fact this will be the first game this season when we are the ones rated underdogs is a prospect that has everyone looking forward to it.”

Fraser’s near 20 years in the game since stepping up from crack juvenile outfit Tower Hearts has given him an appreciation of Talbot’s strengths.

“I’ve had Stevie White snapping at my heels often enough down through the years to know what he brings to the table, but for me, Talbot’s main man is their manager Tommy Sloan," he continued.

“Towards the end of last season Talbot were supposedly in decline yet he has made them stronger than ever with his ability to pick out gems from lower league clubs and turn them into the special breed that is Talbot players.

“Our side is predominantly young with many of the guys never having faced Talbot previously and it will be a great experience for them to come up against a team of their aggression and physicality.

“There is an obvious need to defend well on the day because they will typically put us under the cosh but we have too many good players not to have spells where Glencairn have the upper hand and if we can just put away any chances that are created then who knows what might happen.”

Fraser's exploits for previous clubs have marked him out as a target for Auchinleck’s baying fans down the years, however he fully expects their scorn to be directed towards team-mate Del Esplin come Saturday afternoon.

“You have to remember that Del was a Cumnock player up until the summer months and his last game for them was a derby against Talbot when he scored one of the goals that stopped them winning the league title," he joked.

Esplin, outstanding in the Glens midfield this season, reckons he will be the subject of more than a few choice insults.

“I probably over-celebrated scoring one of the goals that stopped Talbot being crowned champions, and their supporters won’t forget it, but all their shouts won’t matter a jot to me as I heard it all before playing for Cumnock," said the 27-year-old.

“ Auchinleck are flying right now and looking more formidable than ever so it would help our chances if their players are still partying after beating Ayr United. But you can bet Tucker will have them focused on the job in hand.

“I’ve heard people say [mainly Cumnock folk] they have a lot of luck on their side, but Talbot are a team that never lets up and the fact they continue to do the business year after year is not down to luck."