The disappointment among the Scotland Juniors players as they took the applause of Newlandsfield supporters in the aftermath of Saturday’s 2-1 hard-fought victory over the Isle of Man was palpable.

Chalking up a second win and emerging unbeaten from three Umbro Quadrangular Tournament games should have been a cause of celebration, but the Scots faces were more apposite with those of a beaten side.

And few could blame them because any delight was being muted by word already filtering through that Northern Ireland had beaten the Republic of Ireland 2-1 at nearby McKenna Park to ensure they would take the Umbro trophy honours by the ever so slim margin of a superior plus three goals difference.

Scotland’s footballing history is littered with glorious failure stories and it was no different for the Juniors with the 'if only' regrets that are spawned by these situations coming to the fore as the visibly dejected players trooped away afterwards.

Graham Wilson, scorer of Saturday’s second goal, admitted: "Ultimately, we’ve paid the price for not being able to hold on to our 2-0 lead in the opening game against Northern Ireland.

“And even today we could easily have scored a lot more goals particularly in the first half when we had so much possession and the game was played almost entirely in and around the Isle of Man penalty box.

“It was looking a case of how many when leading 2-0 early in the first half, but the wind was taken out of our sails by conceding a killer goal right on the stroke of half-time and we were just never the same team again.”

Roared on by a near 500crowd, Scotland, with four changes to their starting line-up from Thursday night’s 1-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland, had swarmed all over their Manx opponents from the first blast of portly Referee Declan Troy’s whistle.

Only staunch defensive work and poor final ball deliveries were preventing Scotland turning this early pressure into goals.

However, the breakthrough when it arrived after 18 minutes owed much to a helping hand from Isle of Man goalkeeper Adam Killey, who appeared lamentably slow in getting down to try and prevent an angular 20 yard free kick by Dean Hoskins from finding the net.

Just two minutes later, Scotland had doubled their lead and again Killey was at fault as he rushed off his line to clear a Mark Sideserf through ball but only succeeded in blasting his kick against team-mate Liam Cowin.

The rebound then sat up nicely for Scots striker Wilson, who gleefully rolled the ball into an empty net for 2-0.

The Scots suffered a blow shortly afterwards when stopper Ewan Moyes limped off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Craig Pettigrew.

However, the one-way traffic continued but without further reward though Scots frontman David McKenna should have done better than head high over the crossbar from a Lewis McKenzie cross.

Isle of Man had shown little of an attacking threat yet they halved their deficit in 44 minutes when a Lee Gale corner kick found its way to the criminally unmarked Sean Quaye and the big defender powered a header low past Scotland captain for the day Andy Leishman whose annoyance with his lack of defensive cover was all too obvious.

Undoubtedly buoyed by their goal and with tall midfielder David Bell pulling the strings , Isle of Man showed a lot more pluck and made a better fist of things after the break albeit Scotland continued to hold the upper hand.

The lively Wilson striking woodwork and substitute Keir Milliken rattling the crossbar with a 22-yard shot were as close as Scotland came to adding further scores as they strove in vain to claw back the goals advantage held by Northern Ireland who had likewise been 2-0 ahead against the Republic of Ireland through Warner Mullen and Ryan Campbell strikes before Shane Clarke netted what proved to be no more than a consolation score.

Scotland gaffer Keith Burgess said: “Seven points is normally good enough to win the tournament and to lose out on goals difference is a sickener but all credit to Northern Ireland for their victory.

“It’s hard not to think of what might have been had we held out in that first game and I also felt we were not at our best today but that’s not being critical as I could not have asked any more from the squad of players who have given us everything.

“They have been a marvellous bunch and I cannot speak highly enough of them.”

Meanwhile, proudly flying the flag for Junior football in the William Hill Scottish Cup are Glenafton and Banks O’Dee following second-round triumphs on Saturday .

Joe Andrew netted a brace of goals as the Glens beat Deveronvale 2-0 to clinch a 3rd Round trip to meet Livingston ,currently second top of the Scottish Championship standings,while Banks O’Dee’s 2-0 win over Selkirk has earned a home tie against Ayr United.

WEEKEND RESULTS : Umbro Quadrangular Tournament..Republic of Ireland 1 Northern Ireland 2, Scotland 2 Isle of Man 1.

William Hill Scottish Cup 2nd Round. Deveronvale 0 Glenafton 2, Banks O’Dee 2 Selkirk 0.