Saturday, 3 February – Falkirk Stadium 

 Falkirk v The New Saints | Saturday – 19:40 (S4C) 

This Saturday, The New Saints will aim to reach the final of the Scottish Challenge Cup for the first time in their history. 

The Scottish Challenge Cup is a competition for Scottish second tier clubs and below, and teams from Wales have been invited to take part since 2016/17. 

The New Saints managed to reach the semi-finals at the first two attempts and lost against St Mirren in the 2016/17 semi-final before losing to Dumbarton at the same stage the following season. 

Connah’s Quay are the only Welsh club to have gone further than the Saints in the competition as the Nomads reached the final in 2018/19 during Andy Morrison’s reign, before losing 3-1 against Ross County. 

This year, the New Saints have defeated Hibernian B, East Fife and Arbroath to reach the semi-finals, where the most successful team in the history of the competition awaits, Falkirk. 

Falkirk, who are top of League One in Scotland (tier 3), have won the Scottish Challenge Cup on four occasions (1993, 1997, 2004, 2012), and have already beaten three Scottish Championship sides (tier 2) to reach the semi-final this season. 

Like The New Saints, Falkirk have been flying during this campaign and have not lost a game all season in League One. 

Craig Harrison will certainly be keen to lead his club to the final, and determined to keep the Saints’ excellent run alive as they dream of their first ever ‘quadruple’. 

The New Saints have gone on a run of 33 games without defeat in all competitions for the first time since 2017, and have won 25 games in a row, breaking 15 points clear of Connah’s Quay at the top of the JD Cymru Premier. 

As well as securing their place in the semi-finals of the Scottish Challenge Cup, the Saints have already lifted the Nathaniel MG Cup, and progressed to the quarter-finals of the JD Welsh Cup. 

This is the Oswestry outift’s best run since August 2016 to February 2017 (31 games without defeat), and during that spell they broke the world record with 27 consecutive wins. 

The Welsh champions will be determined to break that record, and to beat their previous run of 39 competitive games without a loss between August 2014 and April 2015. 

The New Saints won the domestic treble twice in a row between 2014-16 under Craig Harrison, but winning the ‘quadruple’ would be an outstanding achievement for the club. 

In the other semi-final Raith Rovers will face Airdrieonians on Friday night, two teams from the top half of the Scottish Championship, and the final will be held on the weekend of 23-24 March. 

Rhys Llwyd

Author Rhys Llwyd

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