JUNIORS: Largs critics can eat words, says Sandy MacLean

Sandy MacLean has called upon his Largs Thistle players to keep leaving their detractors with egg on their faces.

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Theesel’s gaffer was speaking in the wake of their latest Emirates Cup triumph, Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Irvine Meadow which confounded bookmakers’ odds to set up an intriguing semi-final double header against last season’s runners-up Clydebank.

“That’s us now beaten both reigning East and West Region champions yet a lot of people in the game are still writing off our cup chances,” slammed the former goalkeeper.

“Why that should be the case is beyond me as my players have continually answered any and all questions that are asked of them.

“Yes, I would be one of the first to admit Saturday was almost bereft of any real quality and would have got football stopped, but you won’t find me criticising my players.

“For as long as I can remember, cup quarter-finals are about getting a result rather than turning on the style and if truth be told we have shown ourselves to be the better team over two games and fully deserve to go through.

“I take it as a sign we must be doing something right when Medda boss Chris Strain felt it necessary coming to our place to change from his normal attacking 3-5-2 set up to a more guarded 4-4-2.

“As far as I’m aware the only other time he’s opted for this approach was in visiting Easter Road to play Hibs.”

Sandy went on to joke about him being put under added pressure to steer Largs to victory over last-four opponents Bankies.

He said: “We were in training last night and a couple of club officials made the passing remark that Largs boast a proud record of never having lost a Scottish semi-final.

“It was only later I discovered they’ve only ever been in one when winning the trophy in 1994.”

On the comings and goings front, East Kilbride Thistle have boosted playing resources with the acquisitions of experienced Vale of Clyde striker Derek Anderson as well as ex-Beith signing Jordan Murch of Hillwood Under-21s and local goalkeeper Ryan Mailey.

At Lesmahagow, boss Sandy Robertson’s seven years at the club came to an end when he became the latest managerial casualty of the season following his relegation-threatened side’s 1-0 defeat by fellow basement strugglers Thorniewood United.

Sandy tendered his shock resignation to club officials in the immediate aftermath of the match. However, the blow was softened somewhat by No.2 Robert Irving agreeing to stay on and look after team matters until the end of season.

Meanwhile, Junior followers on the lookout for some midweek action may be attracted along tonight to Ochilview.

Scotland Juniors take on Irn-Bru Division Two side Stenhousemuir (kick-off 7.15pm) as team boss Keith Burgess hones his squad for next month’s Umbro Quadrangular Tournament taking place in Northern Ireland.

  Saturday’s fixtures

(Kick-offs 2pm)

Stagecoach Super Premier Division: Vale of Clyde v Beith, Largs v Arthurlie, Lanark v Auchinleck, Bellshill v Kilbirnie.

Stagecoach Super First: Clydebank v Maybole, Renfrew v Kilsyth, Neilston v East Kilbride, Cumnock v Glencairn.

Stagecoach Central District First Division: Cumbernauld v Perthshire, Shotts v Vale of Leven, Maryhill v Port Glasgow, Lesmahagow v Blantyre Vics.

Stagecoach Central District Second Division: Newmains v Forth, Royal Albert v Yoker, Benburb v Shettleston, St Roch’s v Carluke.

Central League Cup. First round: Rob Roy v Dunipace, Greenock v Pollok, Wishaw v Larkhall, Johnstone Burgh v Ashfield.

New Coin Automatics West of Scotland Cup. Second round: Irvine Vics v Cambuslang.

Ayrshire Cup. First round: Dalry v Kello, Annbank v Whitletts, Darvel v Ardeer, Ardrossan v Craigmark, Hurlford v Irvine Meadow.

Stagecoach Ayrshire District: Muirkirk v Lugar.

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