Carluke youth team Milton Rovers 2003s recently enjoyed their very own version of ‘Helicopter Sunday’ as they won the LFDA ‘A’ League for the first time!
Just like Rangers pipping Celtic to the 2005 SPL title thanks to two late Scott McDonald goals for Motherwell against the Hoops, Milton were also crowned champions after recovering from 2-0 down to salvage a 2-2 draw at title rivals Blantyre.
“I have never known as dramatic a finish to a season as that,” said Milton Rovers 2003s head coach Joe McCallum (42).
“At 2-0 down to Blantyre in the second half, it was them who were going to win the league at our expense.
“But the Milton boys showed great character to come back.”
Connor McIntyre’s header from a Thomas McLaughlan corner brought it back to 2-1, before a piece of pure genius from Ben Cochrane earned the Carluke team the 2-2 draw they needed.
After advancing down the wing in the 75th minute, Ben sent an exquisite chip over the Blantyre keeper from 18 yards to secure the title.
“There were a nerve-racking few minutes at the end,” Joe added.
“Blantyre got a corner in the 88th minute and it was heart attack stuff for me watching.
“But thankfully we kept the ball out and the celebrations that night were brilliant as the league win rounded off a great season.”
The ‘A’ League triumph supplemented further Milton 2003s success in this season’s LFDA League Cup final. They also finished runners-up in the LFDA Cup and reached round four of the Scottish Cup and the quarter-finals of the Regional Cup.
“It’s been a phenomenal season,” Joe said.
“We almost won the treble, as we only lost 3-2 to Holytown in the LFDA Cup final.
“We were in total control of that game but didn’t take enough of our chances.
“I think it was a bit of complacency that cost us, as we had been feeling really confident having beaten the same opposition 6-0 in a league match.”
That final, at Carluke’s John Cumming Stadium on May 8, proved to be a different story as Milton were defeated despite goals by McLaughlan and McIntyre.
But there had been a happy ending for Milton 2003s in the aforementioned LFDA League Cup final on April 21, when strikes by McIntyre and Robert McAlonan gave them a 2-0 success over Blantyre at Ravenscraig Indoor Sports Facility in Motherwell.
Milton Rovers thanks their sponsors Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health and Craighead Building Supplies.