BEITH boss Johnny Millar makes no apology for turning his dream Junior XI into a combined Arthurlie/Glenafton Select.

He strongly maintains the array of former team-mates with whom he tasted twin Scottish Junior Cup victories in the 1990s are among some of the best players ever to play at this level of the game.

His selections were shared to a large extent by his coaches at Bellsdale Park, Stevie Convery and Derek Rhoddan. Con and Deco did step out of his shadow to throw in a few names of their own and make him have second thoughts.

But any doubts vanished as careful deliberations brought The Mighty's manager back to his original picks.


Johnny and Con plumped for former Arthurlie and Junior Scotland No.1 Davie Cormack while Deco could not see past former Beith shot-stopper Keith Ross.

Johnny admitted: "It was close to being a toss-up as Keith was brilliant for me and a huge factor in our Super Premier League title-winning side in 2010.

"However, big Cormack had everything - agility, presence, bravery and he was a great dressing-room character to boot, as most of us who were on the wrong ends of his pranks would testify."


Universal accord was reached for current Dumbarton stopper Mark McLaughlin to fill the No.3 jersey, with Johnny describing him as "a one-man left side" whom every Arthurlie player acknowledged was destined for greater things from the minute he pulled on a sky-blue-and- white striped jersey for the first time.

Deco recalled many great tussles with one-time Pollok adversary Mark McWilliams and favoured him for the right-back berth.

But his arguments counted for nothing with Johnny and Con combining to nominate marauding former Lie team-mate Gavin Duncan.

Johnny said: "Gavin was every bit as effective going forward as he was defensively. I reckon he just gets the nod over Willie Henderson, who was of the same overlapping ilk in my early Junior days."

Striker Con reckoned his hardest times as a player came when facing renowned central defenders Darren Murray (Maryhill), Ian Spittal (Pollok) and Brian Smith (Petershill).

Deco, meanwhile, felt that "tough-as-nails" Neilston stopper Davie Hoy should hold down a place.

However, Johnny could not see past the old Glenafton partnership of Alex Kennedy and Alan Rennie.

He said: "I was blessed to play with some wonderful Arthurlie centre-backs like John Redburn, Pat Cairney, Ged Gardiner and Souness (Stuart Allison).

"But for my money Kennedy tops them all, both as an outstanding ball- winner and as the ultimate inspirational team captain.

"Rennie complemented big Alex so well with his phenomenal pace and fondness for a crunching tackle or two."


Agreement came from all three parties on the inclusion of Scott Archer, though Johnny's decision to field his former team-mate in an unaccustomed right-flank role was dictated by his reasoning: "It's maybe not his best position but I needed to get him in the team."

For the very same reason Deco felt the left-flank spot should go to Brian "Sniffer" McKeown while Johnny owned up to being a great admirer of Maryhill leftie Alan Grant.

But he decided in the end that the Glenafton genius David "Pele" Walker deserved to play, even though he'd sullied their time together at Loch Park by subsequently signing for Pollok.

A clear winner for an engine-room role was the incredibly gifted Martin McGarvey, who Con described as "someone who floated through games and is probably the best Junior player I've seen."

Fierce debate then ensued over who should be Garv's midfield partner.

Auchinleck lionheart Brian Slavin, Maryhill legend Richie McCusker, Gerry Ronald from his time at Kilbirnie Ladeside and ex-Beith skipper Derek McCulloch were all mentioned in despatches.

Johnny finally insisted on his former Arthurlie skipper Davie "Digger" Fulton getting deserved recognition for the integral part he played in the Barrhead side's Scottish Junior Cup-winning year in 1998.


Up front, Deco favoured Brian Carrigan as a "must" pick and felt Beith buzzbomb Kenny McLean could not be left out while Con recalled the targetman qualities of Pat Keogh playing up front in his Maryhill days.

Prolific goalscorers Tony McDonald (Arthurlie) and Norman Montgomery (Glen-afton) as well as the ball- retention qualities of Stevie Quigg were to the fore in Johnny's considerations.

However, he quickly plumped for the pacy and hard-working Convery to figure alongside his Junior Cup-winning team-mate at Glenafton Tom Brown - who famously did the double in going on to win the Scottish Cup with Kilmarnock.

The Beith manager said: "Monty netted almost 50 goals that season but all the credit belongs to Tam as he must have contributed some 40-plus assists.

"He was a Govan boy with no airs or graces and was the epitome of a team player.

"I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the great success Tam enjoyed in the Senior ranks."

So the trio's best-ever Junior XI reads as: Cormack; Duncan, Rennie, Kennedy, McLaughlin; Archer, Fulton, McGarvey, Walker; Brown, Convery. Substitutes: Ross (keeper), Murray, Slavin, Keogh, Montgomery.