Lesmahagow Juniors sensationally reach Sectional League Cup final!

Lesmahagow manager Robert Irving
Lesmahagow manager Robert Irving

Jubilant Lesmahagow Juniors manager Robert Irving has sensationally led the club to its first Sectional League Cup final since 1994, when he played as 'Gow won the trophy with a 2-1 success over Petershill.

Ironically, the Glasgow side were also Lesmahagow's opponents on Wednesday night at Craighead Park, as the League Two underdogs booked a final appearance against giants Auchinleck Talbot next month by stunning a team three leagues above them with three excellent first half goals by Jonny McStay (2) and Scott Falconer.

"It is the best first half performance I've seen from the 'Gow for years," Robert told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.

"Everything seemed to click for us.

"To be beating a Superleague team 3-0 at half-time isn't what is supposed to happen.

"The boys were brilliant to a man.

"Petershill are a good side but I felt they underestimated us.

"That's what happened in the 1994 final as well when we beat Petershill at the old Kilbowie Park at Clydebank.

"Beating a Glasgow team makes it a bit sweeter. We think the Glasgow teams look down on the 'Gow and think that we're not supposed to beat them.

"That was their attitude in 1994 and that was their attitude again now.

"But we hardly gave them a kick of the ball, especially in the first half. I hardly slept after the match and I'm still celebrating!"

That first half dominance saw 'Gow score their three goals within a devastating five-minute spell.

Kyle Weir's 25th minute corner to the back post was headed across goal by Scott Falconer to Jonny McStay who headed in brilliantly.

And it was 2-0 just two minutes later when Weir's long free-kick from a central position was met by Falconer's unstoppable volley which flew into the Petershill net.

Things got even better for the hosts on the half hour when Stevie Clark sent a fine pass through to McStay who beat a defender and the goalkeeper before tapping into an empty net.

Although Petershill pulled it back to 3-1 with a second half penalty by Ryan Deas, 'Gow deservedly held on to book their final spot against big guns Auchinleck, who are currently sitting second in the West Premiership.

"There is no better team for us to be playing against in a junior final than Auchinleck," Robert added.

"They have been the benchmark for years. We can go an denjoy the occasion.

"Anything is possible but I can assure you Auchinleck will not underestimate us. They are the top dogs and will treat us with the respect we deserve.

"It is a cup final against the best team so I couldn't have asked for more.

"There is no date or venue for the final yet but I think it will be in October."

Robert said that the summer acquisitions of key 'Gow men Falconer and McStay - who both played in Super Division 1 last season - has improved the team massively.

"They are boys who are more than capable of playing at a higher level," he said.

"I'm delighted they have come to Lesmahagow.

"The committee have stood by me and Davie Jackson after the horrendous season we had last year.

"Anything we have wanted to do, they have financed it and we have got players.

"It says a lot for the committee. They are older guys working hard day in, day out.

"This is a big payback for them to look forward to a cup final.

"Winning it as a manager would mean just as much to me as it did winning it as a player.

"We can't just be seen as a good cup team though. Our objective is to get out of this league and we need to pick up three points at Thorniewood this Saturday."