Darvel caretaker boss almost subbed matchwinner moments before Scottish Junior Cup winning goal

-Credit: (Image: Ross Mackenzie)
-Credit: (Image: Ross Mackenzie)

Darvel caretaker boss David Winters admits he thought about subbing Graham Wilson moments before the striker bagged the Scottish Junior Cup winning goal.

The former Auchinleck man nodded home the winner with just two minutes remaining to seal the dramatic and historic victory - but he nearly wasn’t on the park.

Winters, who took over as caretaker following Tony McInally’s sacking just a fortnight after their semi-final win over Auchinleck Talbot, confessed he was thinking about making changes but trusted his gut that the Vale would get one more chance to win the game.

And he knew he simply had to leave Wilson on the park in case it came his way.

So it proved as the striker rose at the back post to turn home Ross Caldwell’s inch-perfect delivery and spark jubilant scenes amongst the travelling Darvel fan base.

Winters said: “It was the perfect time to score the winner. I thought in the first half we were very ordinary and not working hard enough off the ball.

“It was a level game but towards the end of the first half I was praying for half-time to get them in and regroup.

At the double Graham Wilson wheels away in delight after netting Darvel's late winner -Credit:SNS Group
At the double Graham Wilson wheels away in delight after netting Darvel's late winner -Credit:SNS Group

“I changed shape. They got the goal which isn’t ideal but we didn’t take the message away and they’ve reacted well to going behind which they’ve done well all season. As soon as the goal went in that was us settled again.”

As for the winner, he added: “That’s Graham Wilson’s whole career. He gets to the back post and nods one in. I was actually thinking about making changes and because he’d already scored, I thought that I needed to keep him on.

“When people get tired towards the end, there’s always one more chance and I felt we could take it and ultimately we did. It was a great bit of composure.”

Winters achieved plenty during his lengthy playing career - but admits this one feels different.

He said: “What you achieve through playing, you’re proud of yourself - but I don’t really feel proud for me. I feel proud for the boys. We’ve been through sticky situations of late but we’ve got them sticking together and felt prepared.

“I believe in that group of players and I said to them throughout the season we could beat anyone.”

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