This was the year that Whitburn won the Scottish Junior Cup for the first time after two unsuccessful attempts.
As early as round 2, Whitburn's first entry into the cup, having received a bye, some supporters had the feeling that it could be our year. The team had gone to an Ayrshire team's ground and had completely out played them for 85 minutes, only to lose two late goals. The return to Whitburn for the replay was even more emphatic as Whitburn made no mistake, defeating Irvine Meadow 5-0. Traditionally Whitburn through the years have found Ayrshire opposition difficult and they powered through to round 3 easily in the end.
The round three tie against fellow East region team Pumpherston was much postponed due to inclement weather and finally went ahead just after Christmas. The division B side, ironically managed by Lex Shields who had been the Whitburn assistant manager the year before, put up a good show, but ultimately fell to the more skillful Whitburn outfit.
As in the previous round, round 4 brought opponents that Whitburn should beat (at least on paper) - bottom of the Central division team Thorniewood. On the day Whitburn could not get going and had numerous goal attempts which were either saved or were off target. It was then that our optimism turned to disbelief - surely we could beat this young team! Thorniewood to their credit kept playing and could have stolen the game at the death, but for a magnificent save by Burns in the burnie goal. Again no mistake was made at Central park, but it was too close for comfort. Incidentally, the last time that Whitburn made the final, they also struggled against a team that should have caused them no difficulty - Tulliallan, so perhaps that was an omen! As they say, football is a funny game.
Round 5 brought another potentially difficult tie in the shape of Neilston, another Central league team that were going strong at the time and away from home. For an hour Whitburn played extremely well, racking up three goals and coasting. And then, as against Irvine, a collapse, but this time with about a third of the match to go. Neilston stormed back with two goals and Whitburn had to defend well to keep their lead - which they did.
Traditionally Whitburn have fared well against teams from the north and their first home tie of the campaign brought Arbroath to Central park - this looked like the easiest draw of the quarter final - another omen perhaps? As it turned out it proved to be a formality for the team with a relatively straightforward out classing of the northern visitors.
And so to the semi final - most Whitburn fans wanted a showdown with Shotts Bon Accord since the town of Shotts is only around five miles from Whitburn (although the teams play in different leagues). Instead the favourites came out of the hat with Whitburn - Benburb, a young team to be feared and on a good run. With no disrespect to both Shotts and Johnstone Burgh, Whitburn were faced with a potentially difficult tie and some wondered if history would repeat itself - in 1995 we had beaten the strongly fancied Glenafton in the semi only to lose in the final. As it turned out Benburb were good, but the more experienced team won out in the end, although many supporters felt that we defended too deeply. Again a last minute lapse, just as we seemed to have weathered the storm, forced the game into extra time. Level at the end, the game went to penalties - traditionally a difficult area for Whitburn - and we won through! Coincidentally Benburb went on to win the Central League Premier division.
The final was played at Firhill, a ground well known to Calum Milne - another omen? This time Whitburn started as favourites to another Central team in the shape of Johnstone Burgh. Half of Whitburn seemed to be at the game and they were shocked when what looked like a goalkeeping misjudgement saw us go one down. In retrospect and having seen it on the live broadcast, it proved to be a beautifully flighted free kick that a top professional would have been proud of - but surely Burns should have saved it? The final was the most entertaining for years, ebbing and flowing throughout with a fair amount of good football on display. Eventually the game went to penalties (again) with Whitburn once again coming out on top - who said winning the cup was easy? The captain Prior stepped up to deliver the winning kick - a fitting way to win for a proud and brave man who had been in the losing side of 1995.
The scenes in the town that evening showed just how much it means to everyone to have won the cup. The team paraded the cup in an open top bus and the later celebrations resulted in much alcohol being consumed. The whole town was given a lift and we look forward to the defence of the cup.
On a more personal level it was great to see some of the older supporters taste success after following the team since its inception 66 years earlier. In particular one felt for 90 year old Jimmy Ferguson, a stalwart committee man who had supported the team throughout. One also felt sadness for Jim Donald, another long serving committee man who had unfortunately died the year before - he would have been proud of the team's achievement.
The scores and scorers round by round:
|2||2 - 2||Hume, Campbell|
|2 Replay||Irvine Meadow(h)||5 - 0||Gilmour, Hume(3), Taylor|
|3||Pumpherston Juniors(a)||3 - 0||Hume, Gilmour, Taylor|
|4||Thorniewood(a)||0 - 0|
|4 Replay||Thorniewood(h)||4 - 0||Craig, Hume(2), Wilson|
|5||Neilston(a)||3 - 2||Gilmour, Hume(2)|
|Quarter||Arbroath Sporting Club(h)||3 - 1||Hume, Campbell, og|
|Semi||Benburb||1 - 1 (3-2pens)||Campbell|
|Final||Johnstone Burgh||2 - 2 (4-3pens)||Milne, Campbell|
OVD Scottish Cup Final
28 May at Firhill, home of Partick Thistle
Whitburn 2-2 Johnstone Burgh
Whitburn 4-3 on penalties
The squads on the day were
|1||Robert Burns||1||Alan Donahoe|
|2||Bruce Clouston||2||Zander Ryan|
|3||Calum Milne||3||Grant Clark|
|4||Colin L Campbell||4||Lee Martin|
|5||Steve Prior||5||Derek Heaton|
|6||Graeme Landels||6||Stuart Hendren|
|7||Kenny Hannah||7||Johnnie Miller|
|8||Colin J Campbell||8||Colin Lindsay|
|9||Andy Hume||9||Alan Frater|
|10||Sean Bonnar||10||David Brollie|
|11||Stuart Gilmour||11||John McLay|
Whitburn Subs : Taylor, Wilson, Maratea, Craig, Black, Sokoluk, McPhee, Smith, Scott
Johnstone Subs : Sandilands, Stevenson, Fagan, McConnel,Connie, Miller, Fallon, Hunter,Renton, McKim, McKenzie, McGuire
Scottish Junior Cup |