Scougall hoping to carry on his rapid rise at United

Stefan Scougall celebrates his goal for Sheffield United in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Hull last April
Stefan Scougall celebrates his goal for Sheffield United in their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Hull last April

He came from playing in front of a handful of fans in Scotland, to scoring at Wembley in front of 71,820 in an FA Cup semi-final, in the space of seven months.

So it is little wonder that Stefan Scougall is aiming to build on a whirlwind 2014 with yet more success in knockout competitions - beginning this year at Queens Park Rangers, who United face in the FA Cup third round tomorrow..

Scougall’s cup commitments began in Livingston’s Ramsdens Cup defeat at Berwick Rangers in front of 460 fans last season, and last April he scored United’s second to put them 2-1 up at half time in their eventual FA Cup semi-final defeat to Hull City.

And the 22-year-old Scot said: “All the boys are looking forward to the test that QPR will bring. Of course we’ve had a couple of good runs in both major cups last year so we’re in the mood to claim another scalp.

“It’s always good, as a player, to get the opportunity to challenge yourself against the best players around, and Premier League players are the best around. It also gives you a good chance to measure yourself against them and see how far you have to go to reach the same leve.

“It’ll be good to go up against someone like Joey Barton, if he plays, because he’s well known. Whoever plays for QPR, though, it’ll be a good challenge - and hopefully one which we will come out on top in.”

United boss Nigel Clough, however, is fully expecting opposite number Harry Redknapp to make changes to his side, who drew 1-1 with 10-man Swansea on New Year’s Day after Wilfried Bony’s last-minute equaliser.

“Harry has done it as much as anyone over his career, resting a lot of supposed ‘first-choice’ players,” Clough said.

“But the sheer strength and size of squads in the Premier League means it’ll never be easy, no matter who they put out. If there’s anything about you as a footballer, and you get the chance to show what you can do in an FA Cup game, then you’ll want to grab it with both hands and prove to the manager that you should be in the team every week, for every game.

“So even if they do rest a few from New Year’s Day, I don’t think it will make it too much easier. And, in some ways, it’ll make it harder because they will be fresh and won’t be feeling heavy legs after playing three games inside a week.”

Clough insisted that his side will travel to Loftus Road without any fear, after establishing a reputation throughout the game as giantkillers.

But the United boss is keen to temper expectations, insisting: “There is no lack of confidence amongst us but we suspect that people are almost expecting us to go down there and cause an upset! We can’t stress enough that it would be a huge upset if we were to get a result down there.

“People think ‘we’ve done it before, we’ll do it again’, but it’s not always as easy as that and it takes a huge amount of things to go in your favour to get a result.”