Sam Foley has faced up against Manchester United and Mauricio Pochettino down south – but he’s hoping for better with St Mirren.
The experienced midfielder will take to Scottish League Cup action on Saturday night as the Buddies face Aberdeen. He’s no stranger to big games in cup football, having played the likes of Manchester United and Southampton in English competition.
They were great, albeit testing, experiences for Foley as he shared some of his knockout football memories: “I played against Southampton when Mauricio Pochettino was manager there and that sticks in the memory because of how impressed I was with them.
“It was at a time when they were playing some really good football and I remember coming on and I couldn’t get near any of them. And then I was lucky enough to play against Manchester United in the FA Cup when I was at Yeovil, which seems a long long time ago.
“They had been knocked out of the League Cup by MK Dons so they brought a full-strength squad down to Yeovil and it was special playing against some real superstars.
“I was kind of doing a job on Wayne Rooney – well trying to do. He just had an aura about him, he just glided across the pitch. And then Juan Mata came on and he was getting into spaces that water couldn’t fit.
“I really was impressed with him, but they had they had all the stars playing so it was a special night to remember, definitely.”
In Paisley, Foley is often reminded of the 2013 League Cup success. Captained by current boss Jim Goodwin, Foley says the Buddies gaffer doesn’t need to remind them of why their Dons match is big.
“I could throw him under the bus here and say that he talks about all the time but he doesn’t have to,” said Foley. “I don’t know how he has managed it but he’s put his face all over the inside of the stadium so when we’re here, we’re reminded of it.
“So yeah, obviously it’s in the not too distant past that that happened and the manager is always one to say anything’s possible. When it’s 11 versus 11 anything is possible and in 2013 St Mirren proved that was the case and there’s no reason why this group can’t emulate that.
“I wouldn’t rule out the league but I think it’s something that as a football club we can’t compete in. It’s just not a level playing field really when you compare the bigger clubs in the division.
“My experience down in England is always to say you want to draw a big team in the cup because there could be something special. It could be a giant killing.”