There was a time when a Scottish Junior Cup tie between Whitburn and Benburb would be classed as a meeting of two of Junior football’s major forces.

No disrespect is intended in saying that particular billing does not apply to Saturday’s third-round clash at Central Park, however the semi-final between the two clubs back in 2000 was that and a lot more, according to former Bens defensive rock Derek Wingate .

At 42 years of age and rarely seen around Junior terracing slopes because of his unwavering commitment to helping run Palace Park Under-13 boys team, Dexi, whose chequered footballing career also included playing stints with Stranraer, Irvine Meadow and Pollok, owned up to having mixed memories of a classic cup contest, won by the East Region outfit on penalty kicks.

He recalled: "It was a very strong Benburb side skippered by Dougie Fontana and packed with top players such as Stevie Swift, Chris McFadyen, Gary McGrotty and Graeme Gaffney so no real surprise that we ended up League champions and also won the League Cup with a Newlandsfield victory over Shettleston.

“And there was no shortage of quality in Whitburn’s ranks with the ex-Hibs defender Calum Milne as their star turn as well as Junior internationalists Andy Hume, Sean Bonnar, Stuart Gilmour and Colin Campbell.

“On the way to the last four , we had taken the scalp of the Cup holders Kilwinning Rangers in an epic Tinto Park replay that if memory serves me right was played on Hogmanay and Whitburn had knocked out a few big names as well so most pundits were predicting the Cup winners would come from our game and that’s exactly how things turned out as Whitburn went on to beat Johnstone Burgh (again on penalty kicks ) who had triumphed in their semi-final against Shotts Bon Accord.”

Govan born and bred Dexi revealed how he battled through the pain barrier to take his place at the heart of Benburb’s rearguard at the Shyberry Stadium.

He said “ I had injured my shoulder playing for Junior Scotland in the Isle of Man just two weeks before the semi-final and a visit to the Southern General Hospital on my return revealed a fracture .

“So on the day of the game when my team mates were being put through a light training session at Tinto Park before going on to a pre-match meal , I was receiving a cortisone injection at Ross Hall Hospital where the Doctor told me I was `off my nut` to think I could play 90 minutes that same night.

“The jag actually did the trick and I proved my fitness and made our starting line-up however the gaffer Jim Sinnett told me afterwards that the way I was running about in trying to protect my arm from an impact injury had me looking like Pele in the film Escape to Victory…and he said it was just a pity I couldn’t have played like him .”

Whitburn scored in the very first minute and another hammer blow to Benburb’s hopes of securing a Final appearance occurred with the dismissal of hothead John Wilkinson however the ten men continued to battle their corner and were rewarded with a late equaliser from midfielder Darren McGee taking the game into extra time.

The stalemate prevailing after a further 30 minutes brought a penalty shoot-out where Whitburn came out on top by a 3-2 scoreline helped by Dexi missing from the spot.

He added ,”I was in pain because the injection was starting to wear off and should never have taken a kick but I had no choice as a lot of the guys didn’t want the responsibility.

“Losing was hard to take in the circumstances and unfortunately I was never to come as near to the Final again .”

Asking the Bens playing legend if he thought his former club might come out on top this time around evoked a thoughtful reply?

He said ,”I always look out for Benburb’s results and still speak to supporters so I know they are top of the Central First Division but are closer to the chasing pack on account of losing two of their last three league games.

“I have only seen them play once this season and I was impressed with the big centreback Andy Wright while Scott Jackson and Ryan McCrone look to have a bit about them as indeed does the big striker Ryan Livingston whom I’m reliably informed is a bit special when he’s in the mood .

“Well I hope he is on Saturday because Whitburn are a club with a great Cup tradition and I fancy they will take a bit of beating on their own patch ?”

Johnstone Burgh and Shotts Bon Accord ,the other semi-finalists from 17 years ago are also in 3rd Round action this weekend with both sides up on Tayside .. the Burgh up against it in facing Lochee United however 2012 Cup winners Shotts may have enough in their locker to overcome Forfar West End .