Talbot – Four Games From Europe

Auchinleck Talbot (Talbot) made history on Saturday 19th November 2011 as they defeated Vale of Leithen 3-1 in the senior Scottish Cup 3rd round, and qualified for the 4th round for the first time in the club’s history. The question now is would they prefer a big club in next round or a tie that they have a chance of winning?

The journey started as Talbot won the 2010-11 Scottish Junior Cup, a record extending 9th time, by beating Musselburgh 2-1 at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park after extra time, with goals from Mick McCann and Bryan Young. Both these players scored yesterday, along with Keir Milliken, after being a goal down against East of Scotland club, Vale of Leithen. Prior to this, in the 2011-12 Scottish Cup, Talbot have defeated Lossiemouth 2-1 away in the 1st round and then recorded an 8-1 victory over Threave Rovers in the 2nd round, where Talbot’s keeper Andy Leishman even scored. Mick McCann has scored in every round of the cup so far and I’m sure will be dreaming of scoring in the 4th round too.

I’m intrigued as to whether Talbot would rather get a big draw, like Junior rivals Irvine Meadow did in 2009-10, or a tie which they stand a better chance of winning. Irvine Meadow reached the 4th round in the 2009-10 season and drew Hibs, but didn’t disgrace themselves by losing 3-0 at Easter Road. In the same season, Talbot reached the 3rd round, losing 2-1 away to Stirling Albion.

Auchinleck Talbot manager Tommy Sloan knows what he would prefer after being interviewed after yesterday’s game. He spoke to Sunday Mail and said, “I’m sure the committee will want a big team to make a bit of money from the next match. They have been here for a long time and deserve a bit of success but I would much rather land a tie we had a chance of winning. I played for Ayr United,Kilmarnock, Queen of the South and Stranraer so it would be great to face one of those sides. I know the committee would pickAyror Killie – either draw would be massive for us.”

Whatever happens it has been a great run so far and shows that the standard of the Junior game is better than many would think. A tie against an SPL team could mean possible coverage on the TV, and the subsequent income that brings, which would help Talbot enormously and improve the profile of the Junior game. A tie where they have a chance of winning and fans can keep dreaming of European football would be fantastic as they are only four games away from that possibility. They would then need to remake A Shot At Glory.