JUNIOR football never ceases to amaze ...

and 2014 will go down as yet another case in point.

Who would have thought 12 months ago the Scottish Junior Cup would be taking up residence in the small Ayrshire town of Hurlford, that Pollok would be relegated from the Super Premier Division, or that Troon would have emerged as a force to be reckoned with?

Add to that the many transfer dealings, the coming and going of great managerial characters, and the blight of red cards - particularly in showpiece cup finals - this year will live long in the memory.


THE year gets underway with Rob Roy, Pollok and Largs Thistle vowing to stave off relegation from the Super Premier, with newly- installed Newlandsfield boss Tony McInally - the fourth in six months - insisting the door is open for Davie Hamilton and Brian McGinty to return.

One-time Morton and Stranraer midfielder Kevin Finlayson is put up for sale by Irvine Meadow, for whom Paul Maxwell heads the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Pollok, which moves the Irvine club three points clear of Auchinleck atop the standings.

Beith recovered from 0-2 down to overcome Kilwinning 3-2 and entered 2014 still unbeaten in the Super First Division, while Central First Division leading lights Bellshill sign experienced winger Andy Essler to leave them better prepared for a crunch 13-game title run-in.

Elsewhere on the transfer front, Medda fix up Scott Sally (Albion Rovers) and offload Finlayson to Cumbernauld, Paul Craig is transfer- listed at Beith, Kilsyth snap up Brian "Carrots" Carrigan, while Pollok sign Airdrie goalkeeper Andy Duncan and bring in another Diamonds outcast Jamie Barclay.

The Neilston v Perthshire game is abandoned amid chaotic scenes involving red cards issued to Neilston coach Davie Wilson and Shire trio Derek Cahoon, Ryan Hipson and manager Billy Adams.

There was also uproar at Newlandsfield where Pollok goalkeeper Johnny Murdoch is red-carded for throwing his water bottle at a spectator and is followed inside by team-mate Graham McLaren after he is adjudged to have bitten the nose of Peasy opponent Paul Woods, who also receives his marching orders.

Dedication went unrewarded for Lanark gaffer Brian Johnston, who cuts short a family holiday to New York at his own expense in order to come back for his relegation-threatened side's league match away to Maryhill - only for the game to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.


BENBURB suffer a Scottish Cup exit to a Tony Balfour-inspired Whitletts, who then knock out Yoker to clinch a quarter final clash with Camelon. Medda beat Penicuick, Glenafton eliminate Shotts, Cumnock overcome Kilsyth and Hurlford come good away to Tayport.

Transfers abound with Brian McGinty turning down Lanark in favour of Bellshill, Rob Roy capture goalkeeper Jon Connolly and agree a loan deal with Dumbarton for winger Owen Ronald, while Petershill put frontman Ryan Smillie out on loan to Carluke.

There is sadness at news of the passing of legendary Cambuslang stopper John Dastey, who skippered the Wee Gers to Scottish Cup triumphs in 1961 (v Dunbar) and 1964 (v Johnstone Burgh).

Rob Roy land stopper Martin Brogan from St Roch's and Pollok sell fans' favourite Iain Diack to Linlithgow Rose, but boost playing numbers with the acquisitions of Dumbarton free Josh Horne, Raith Rovers youngster Jamie Watson and, crucially, the former Dundee United striker Davie Winters from Sauchie.


MANAGERIAL moves are sparked by John Fallon quitting as St Roch's boss to be replaced in the short term by former player Joe McColl, who reveals he will be stepping aside for Andy Cameron to take up the reins during the close season.

John Brogan walks away from Yoker, and an even more surprising development is Scott Smith's announcement he is resigning as Petershill co-boss at the end of the season.

One-time Rangers protégé Gordon Dick moves from Wishaw to Cambuslang, Irvine Meadow land defender Andy Brand and winger Willie McLaren, while placed on the open-to-transfer list at Auchinleck is striker Alan McKenzie, a reported target of Pollok, who continue to make coming and going waves by inviting offers for Richie Barr and signing Adam Strachan, who had been training with Blantyre Vics, whose young midfielder James Ronald is ruled out for the season with a leg break.

Ayrshire clubs are to the fore as Glenafton, Irvine Meadow, Hurlford and Camelon qualify for the Junior Cup semi-finals.

Winters nets four goals on his Pollok debut, a 5-4 defeat of Kilbirnie, whose goalkeeper Danny McLeay walks out on the Ayrshire side afterwards and the Blasties learn their full-back Josh Mullin has agreed a deal to join Albion Rovers.


CLYDEBANK run out 3-0 winners to end Auchinleck's 38-game unbeaten league run, but the Ayrshire giants can lay claim to being the only Super Premier side never to be relegated after Pollok are doomed to the Super First Division by a 3-2 reverse against Glenafton.

Blantyre Vics clinch the Central Second Division title with a 2-1 defeat of Vale of Clyde, and the Junior Cup Final is declared an all-Ayrshire affair at Rugby Park after Hurlford overcome Irvine Meadow and Glenafton get the better of Camelon in epic double-header semi-final jousts.

Medda release Scott Sally and are linked with an approach for Richie Barr, but talks flounder, however, there is no hesitation on the part of Kilbirnie skipper Kevin McDonald in agreeing to join arch-rivals Beith, while his former Medda boss Chris Strain takes over the helm at Ardrossan following the surprise resignation of Derek "Freddy" Frye.


THE traditional month for gaffer changes doesn't disappoint as Alan Jack tenders his resignation at Rossvale and Kieron McGuinness is ousted at Thorniewood, where club officials waste no time in appointing Andy Frame.

Paul Kelly is installed as the No.2 at Petershill, whose former player Stevie Mooney calls time on his reign as Greenock manager at the same time as John Doyle and Paddy Flannery assume the reins as co-bosses at Cambuslang after Alan Shields steps down.

Bellshill's shedding of 17 points from a possible 21 allows Neilston and Shettleston to earn promotion from the Central First Division, with the Andy Whiteford-steered Farmers Boys securing top spot with a 2-1 title decider victory over the Town marked by a wonder solo goal from Darren Christie.

Auchinleck retain their Super Premier crown with a 2-1 victory over arch-rivals Cumnock, and there are celebrations at New Southcroft Park where Troon overcome Glencairn 5-0 to claim the Super First title honours.

Irvine Vics finish top of the Ayrshire District pile and raise even more eyebrows by dishing out a 5-0 beating to Blantyre Vics as the Evening Times Champions Cup gets underway.

Tommy Sloan and his Auchinleck charges win the New Coin HoldingsWest of Scotland Cup with a 2-0 success against Troon, and for good measure, Tucker's troops retain their Evening Times crown with an astonishing 7-1 final win over a Neilston side reduced to eight men at Newlandsfield.


DARREN HENDERSON leads Hurlford to a first-ever Scottish Cup win against his former club Glenafton, and Clydebank take hold of the Central League Cup with a 3-0 defeat of Cumbernauld, while Troon beat Hurlford to the Ayrshire Cup.

Queen's Park boss Gus MacPherson mounts a series of signing raids on the Juniors to land Clydebank trio Ross McPherson, Vinnie Berry and Ciaron McElroy, Petershill playmaker Paul Woods, Greenock striker John Carter and the Irvine Meadow midfield pairing of Shaun Fraser and Darren Miller.

Spiders midfielder Michael Keenan moves in the other direction to Meadow Park, where two experienced defenders head for the exit gates - Mark Campbell to sign for Auchinleck and Jamie Darroch is bound for Pollok, where Alan McKenzie comes on board and unwanted frontman Richie Barr departs for Arthurlie.

Tony McInally also brings in Craig Borland (Cumbernauld), Tam Hanlon (Shotts) and goalkeepers Jordan Longmuir and Ross Harkness (Wishaw), but lose out on ex-Bankies midfielder Chris Wilson, who ends his unhappy spell at Linlithgow to rejoin Kilbirnie.