The most valuable spot kick of Lichties’ gaffer’s career?

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WHEN Arbroath manager Paul Sheerin fired the Lichties into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup with a last minute penalty, little did he know he would be setting his team up for a money-spinning clash with SPL champions Rangers.

The last-gasp goal against Keith on Saturday made sure the Gayfield men were in the hat for Tuesday’s draw and they were rewarded with a tie at home to the Gers.

As soon as the draw was made, preparations began into the logistics of organising such a high profile tie.

And Mr Sheerin admitted that he was absolutely delighted to land one of the Old Firm clubs.

He told HeraldSport: “You always hope you can possibly get one side of the Old Firm in the cup and it is going to be great for the club because we will benefit financially.

“I’m sure the build up to the game will generate a lot of interest in the club but for the players it will give them a chance to pit themselves against the champions of Scotland and show exactly what they are made of on a main stage.

“It’s just a huge boost for everyone and I am delighted with it.”

The win against Keith was the first cup victory in management for the boss after six attempts and now he will be hoping that his losing record has disappeared.

But he added that this fourth round clash with the Ibrox men is more than just another game for the club.

He said: “You might try and amble through a couple of the rounds of the cup but you also have to look at the financial side for the club with this game.

“And that is probably more important in itself with this tie.

“The club hasn’t had a cup run in a while so it is important to earn a bit of money.”

However, as the tie will not be played until the weekend of January 7, the Lichties still have six league games to get out of the way in a tight division where they are still joint top with Cowdenbeath.

And even though Mr Sheerin says it has been an exciting few days, he is determined that his players stay focused.

He explained: “Even though we are delighted, we don’t want the game to be too much of a distraction.

“Of course we will enjoy the week leading up to the tie and the build up.

“But we still have six league games before then and it is vital that we stay focused on the job in hand.

“We have to make sure that we stay as close to Cowdenbeath at the top of the league as possible.”

With the return of the league tomorrow (Saturday) the Lichties will travel to Airdrie United who are riding high after hammering Gala Fairydean 11-0 in the cup on Saturday.

But as the Diamonds have recorded a mixed bag of results so far this season, they are still something of an unknown quantity.

Mr Sheerin said: “They will be quite hard to predict because they scored 11 goals in the cup on Saturday but sometimes they just don’t seem to turn up and play like they should on the day.

“Hopefully we will go about our business in the right manner and we can take something from the game.”

Stuart Malcolm will return to the squad for the fixture after serving a suspension on Saturday but Jordan Elfverson will miss out through an injury sustained in the 3-1 Forfarshire Cup defeat to Dundee United on Tuesday night.

Mr Sheerin could come back into contention as he continues to recover from a knee injury and new loan signing Liam Caddis will also be available after making the switch from St Johnstone.