Beith Juniors FC: My Site News: Evening Times Article by Jeff Holmes: Millar Salutes Beith cup aces after taming Talbot

Monday, May 25
Evening Times Article by Jeff Holmes: Millar Salutes Beith cup aces after taming Talbot

JOHNNY MILLER today said his battling Beith players deserved their success after landing the New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup with a 2-1 win over Auchinleck Talbot.

Miller, in his first year in the Bellsdale Park hot-seat, reckons it would have been a travesty had they not taken something from an incredible season.

The Bellsdale Park men have been a permanent fixture near the top of the Super Premier league and currently sit second.

Miller said: "The wheels came off our title challenge in the last month or so but, overall, the players have been fantastic this season.

"We've proved that we could hack it against the best. I think had the players not got something for all their efforts it would have been an injustice.

"The irony is we certainly got a rub of the green against Auchinleck and were able to lift the cup."

Miller added: "To beat a team of Talbot's stature was just the icing on the cake because they are probably the best team in junior football at the moment.

"Before the game we asked the players for one last push. The West is a massive competition and second only to the Scottish Cup in terms of importance.

"This is my first season in charge at Beith and I've been absolutely delighted by the attitude and application of the players - they have given me everything. To win a trophy like this is just incredible."

Miller was a big-time player and starred in Scottish Cup Finals, but was quick to draw comparisons with life on the other side of the line.

He said: "It's no less enjoy-able as a manager, but it's a different type of high. As a player, you're far more involved for the actual 90 minutes but all the lead-up to the game and the preparation is something that doesn't really bother you as a player.

"That's why it's probably a more rounded satisfaction you get from winning it as a manager or coach. But when it's all said and done, it's still a trophy in the cabinet - and it just leaves you wanting more!"

King Kenny McLean was the goal hero for Miller's marvels with a stunning winner seven minutes from time. It meant the 24-year-old ex-Morton striker was able to enjoy his first-ever junior trophy.

However, the talented Bellsdale Park side were forced to battle from behind as Talbot raced into a 17th-minute lead.

Brian Young's deep free-kick found Craig Pettigrew in acres of space and the former Ayr United defender bulleted a header past John Wight.

Veteran Derek McCulloch found himself in a similar position moments later but his header, from a John Spence corner, came back off the post.

But they got the equaliser before half-time when McLean was fouled just outside the box. Spence stepped up to take the kick and curled it over the defensive wall and into the back of the net.

It was a double blow for the Scottish Cup finalists as keeper Scott Black, recently re-instated from Stranraer, smashed against the post in his efforts to prevent the goal and was carried off and replaced by Adam Strain.

Former Blackburn striker Andy Reid had a golden opportunity to edge Beith in front but blazed over.

Talbot fans in the Newlands-field crowd were furious in the 70th minute when referee Derek Nicholls waved away decent claims for a penalty.

Gavin Collins appeared to have been shoved in the back by Mark McShane, but the experienced whistler refused to buckle despite vehement claims from several Talbot players.

Talbot turned the screw and deadly David Gillies went close with an effort, which Wight did well to save.

McLean then took centre stage and made sure the cup was heading back to Beith after a gap of 44 years. He collected a pass from Spence and rounded sub keeper Strain before depositing the ball in the empty net.

Talbot then laid siege to the Beith goal and both Brian Slavin and Gillies went agonisingly close. But it was Beith who held on and the scenes of jubilation at the final whistle showed just what it meant to Johnny Miller & Co.

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