FEW if any team managers can ever claim to be higher up the exuberance stakes than seasoned Junior campaigner David Greig.
Win, lose or draw this ever- sprightly character has always tended to proclaim the positives in his various sides' performances, yet even he has been going about with a greater spring in his step than normal since the weekend.
And little wonder after his Blantyre Vics playing charges confounded all the odds and Junior football's punditocracy by dumping last season's beaten finalists Ashfield out of the New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup on a 5-4 penalty- kick shoot-out following a 2-2 regulation-time draw.
And hard not to believe the Castle Park outcome rankles as an even bigger shock that Wishaw's first-round KO of Auchinleck Talbot given Blantyre Vics currently occupy rank-bottom spot in the Central Second Division – making them the lowest-placed club in the entire West Region – whereas Ashfield sit fifth-top of the Super Premier pile.
It will go down as yet another David v Goliath triumph and one made all the more sweeter for this particular David as he and a clutch of his Vics players have relatively fresh memories of being with the St Roch's side narrowly beaten 2-1 by Ashfield in last season's New Coin quarter-finals.
A delighted Greig last night said: "We derived a whole heap of satisfaction from getting the better of Ashfield but not, I daresay, out of any animosity towards Stevie and his players.
"Yes there were a few meaty clashes as you might expect in a very competitive game and we ended up with 10 men playing their nine but the reality is that Stevie McDonald and their Shaun Fraser were sent off for nothing more than squaring up to each other while Gary McCann walked for something said to the referee.
"Taking on a team of Ashfield's quality requires your goalkeeper to perform outstandingly well and we got that and more besides from Paul Burns whose saves at times defied belief and he was a major factor in keeping us in the reckoning when Ashfield threw everything at us.
" It looked like we were going to take the honours in normal time but Tony Chalmers popped up with an equaliser in the seventh minute of injury time to break our hearts and given what had happened I thought we were fated to lose on spot-kicks, but thankfully things went our way."
GREIGY is now urging his players to begin a climb up the standings when third-bottom Royal Albert visit Castle Park this coming Saturday.
He added: "Lack of consistency has been the overriding problem with the players and the display served up against Ashfield is what I am looking for in each and every game from now on.
"A win on Saturday could lift us off bottom spot and if that's not the added motivation we're needing then what is?
Noticeable among other weekend league matches was experienced front man John Paul Boyle netting a debut goal in Kilbirnie Ladeside's 4-0 defeat of Whitletts Vics after he moved from Glenafton to join the Blasties on a loan deal until the end of this season.
Elsewhere on the comings and goings front comes reports of Irvine Meadow signing up midfielder John Neill from Clyde while word has it that a number of clubs have enquired after transfer-listed Ashfield duo Lee McShane and David Mackay.
However, both players are thought to be hoping to stay at Super Premier level.