STEVIE AITKEN knew just how much it meant to lead Dumbarton to their first cup final in a century when he saw fans crying after the final whistle blew in the win over Welsh side The New Saints.

The semi-final victory on Saturday evening means that the Sons will now face Inverness for the right to lift the Irn-Bru Cup, and Aitken wants nothing more than to reward his supporters’ loyal backing by winning their first domestic cup competition since lifting the Scottish Cup in the 1892/93 season.

“We had incredible backing down there and you saw after the match just how much this means to all of the people who love this club,” said Aitken.

“It is the first time Dumbarton have been in a cup final in 100 years, and there were more than a few tears about after the final whistle.

“I’m so pleased for the fans, because sometimes in the Championship it can be hard going for them. We’re not going to win every week, so they show great dedication and deserve to enjoy this moment.

“It was a tremendous effort from the players, and it’s no more than they deserve for their hard work and dedication throughout the season.

“We had to produce two moments of outstanding quality to get there against a full-time team remember, who played in Europe at the start of the season.

“It’s an incredible achievement and I’m so pleased for everyone connected with the club.”

Unfortunately for the Sons, their fine form in the Irn-Bru Cup hasn’t been replicated in the league of late, with no wins in the seven matches since beating St Mirren way back on December 2nd.

But Aitken is hoping that a bounce from their cup heroics can bleed into their Championship campaign to help them reel in Falkirk, who are now nine points clear in ninth place.

“We have had a wee wobble of late in the league, and haven’t been helped by injuries and suspensions, but hopefully we can take the feel-good factor from this result into the Championship,” Aitken said.

“The final is great to look forward to, and I would expect that the players will be busting a gut to make sure they are involved in the final down the line.

“But first and foremost, we really need to focus on the task at hand in the league, because it is vital that we get back to winning ways.

“We have lost a bit of ground on those above us in the table, but we have games in hand and we need to make them count.”

The first of those is a home clash against Morton tonight, and Aitken is hoping that the mental positivity his players will be feeling will offset any weary limbs after their mammoth journey back form Wales on Sunday.

“The game against Morton on Tuesday night is the most important game in the season for us because it’s the next one, and it would be great to follow up the result at the weekend with another win in the league,” he said.

“It’s going to be tough, but we will be able to freshen things up, and hopefully the feel-good factor from the win over TNS can help us through it.

“We always know that we are in for a really difficult game against Morton, and we will have to produce a similar performance to the one we had at the weekend if we are going to get the three points.”l