THEY are both strikers, share the same surname, and are expected to have key roles in the Macron Scottish Junior Cup quarter-finals, but that is where the similarities end for Darvel’s Allan Mackenzie and Hurlford United’s Marc McKenzie.

Allan, 29, will be looking to reach the penultimate round for a fourth time when the Vale host the visit of East Region hopefuls Broughty Athletic today, having previously reached there with Shotts Bon Accord (twice) and Pollok.

Marc, six years older, will be even more fired up when he gets to face Auchinleck Talbot, knowing time is running out for him to reach his first cup semi-finals. He was expecting to get his chance today, but their match was postponed last night due to a sickness bug in the Auchinleck camp. The delay won’t reduce his desire, though.

“One of the main reasons behind my move to Hurlford just after the start of last season was wanting to be with a team consistently playing in the cup’s latter stages,” said Marc.

“So imagine how I felt when we went all the way to the last four only to agonisingly lose out against Largs Thistle and I couldn’t so much as kick a ball because of being cup-tied in the first round with my previous club Kilwinning Rangers.

“To say it was one of the most frustrating times in my career would be putting it mildly because I’m not the best of spectators and just want to be involved in the action which is why I am all the more determined to go all the way this time out.

“I know only too well that getting past the not insignificant hurdle of the reigning trophy holders Auchinleck in their own backyard is not going to be easy but the fact they are over-whelming favourites to go through means we have nothing to lose.

“Several of the guys in our dressing room, such as Chris Robertson, Richie McKillen and Taz [Paul McKenzie] are still hurting from the manner of their last-gasp defeat by Talbot in the 2018 final and I’d love to help them set the record straight.”

When the match is re-arranged, Marc will be hoping to have some family support, from his wife, Collette, and their five children.

“Collette never misses a game, home or away, and she knows how much it would mean to me to take another step closer to getting my hands on a Junior Cup winners’ medal,” he said.

“Physically, I’m in decent shape for someone of my age and believe I can keep playing for a few more seasons yet.

“It’s hard not to get that bit more excited when you find yourself in the cup’s latter stages. There’s so much talk about the future of the Junior game and if this is my last shot then I want to make the most of it.”

Darvel front man Allan already has a cup medal after playing with Shotts in the 2014 triumph over Auchinleck. However he also has not so happy memories of the Hannah Park side’s semi-final defeat by Linlithgow Rose the following season and emerging as runners-up with Pollok after losing a penalty shoot-out in the 2016 finale against Beith.

“Nobody ever remembers who gets beaten in the quarter-finals so we must try to put Darvel’s name on the Junior map,” Allan said.

“People have said we lack experience with only Jambo McKernon, Darren Miller, Danny Boyle and myself having reached this stage previously but the vast majority of our squad are Scottish Amateur Cup medal winners with Colville Park in recent seasons and I don’t see there being a world of difference in the occasions.

“As ever, the gaffer Mick Kennedy has us well prepared and he has done the necessary homework on Broughty so all that remains is for us as players to perform to our abilities on the day and see where it gets us.

“I said upon arriving here from Bo’ness United in the summer months that this club is geared for success and nothing since has changed my mind because Mick and our club officials ensure that we as players want for nothing and hopefully tomorrow is payback day.”

Word on the team is that Darvel boss Kennedy, resigned to be missing skipper Stephen McDevitt in midfield, will not assign Allan to a deeper role. Instead, he will partner him with David Grant in attack, even though prolific marksman Ross “Archie” McPherson is back in full training and has underlined his recovery from a long-term injury with appearances in friendly outings against Kilwinning Rangers and Glenafton.

Broughty, managed by former Dundee United star Jamie McCunnie, are on a six-game unbeaten run and are boosted by top-scorer Bryan Duell declaring himself fit from a calf muscle problem.