Invercairn United are Scottish Champions after they defeated Greenock side Maukinhill United 2-1 after extra time to lift the Donald McNair Cup in an enthralling game at Links Park, Montrose.
Matthew West’s side showed great character to fight back from a goal down to clinch the trophy in extra time after James Gibb scored a penalty with ten minutes remaining.
The full time whistle sparked wonderful scenes as the Belger players, management and fans alike celebrated together in their momentous win.
The game kicked off in balmy conditions with a raucous Belger fan base providing a thunderous soundtrack.
It was the Greenock side that started strongly, within five minutes the lanky Greene found space at the back post to send a header inches wide to the relief of Invercairn.
The Belgers were struggling to get into the game with nerves playing a part.
Against the run of play Invercairn should have taken the lead on 17 minutes when Liam Reid broke up a Maukinhill attack and quickly played Lumsden clear on the left. The young winger bore down on goal but elected to pass instead of shoot and Lennox got back to clear.
On 31 minutes United came close to breaking the deadlock when Patterson played Whyte in on the edge of the box. The striker twisted Lennox inside out before scuffing an effort off the post.
With the game ticking into first half injury time Maukinhill struck. Bolan’s quick switch of play caught Noble and Walker sleeping and as Greene chased down the ball Walker hauled him back, earning the Bilger full back a yellow and gifting the Greenock side a free kick 22 yards out.
Dolan stepped up to fire a curled effort round the wall which struck the post and Lennox reacted quickest to head home the rebound and give Maukinhill the lead with the last action of the half.
Invercairn came out for the second half buoyed by the noisy crowd and immediately struck back. After pressing Maukinhill back for the opening minutes the Belgers drove forward on the left. Falconer combined with Tait to cross where the ball ended up deflecting into Michael Lumsden’s path and the nippy winger took a touch before smashing a stunning 25-yard drive into the far top corner of Rossiter’s net.
Both sides saw half chances come and go before the referee blew for full time.
The first half of extra time came and went with little incident but the final 15 minutes were action-packed.
A stunning 30 seconds eventually settled the game when on 109 minutes Maukinhill looked to have won it when Bolan’s cross saw Greene turn Cowie inside the box and shoot at goal. Del Testa again superbly blocked only for the ball to drop back to Greene, with only Falconer on the line and the goal gaping, incredibly he shot wide.
Del Testa immediately clipped the goal kick out wide to sub Blair Watson and his 50-yard run from the half way line saw him burn Lennox before being brought crashing to the ground inside the area by Jamieson for a penalty.
James Gibb coolly stepped up to blast past Rossiter and ignite manic celebrations.
The drama was not over and Belgers cause was helped as the opposition’s Gray picked up a second yellow card and was ordered off on 115 minutes.
Incredibly Maukinhill almost snatched an equaliser at the death as they loaded the box and a long ball eventually dropped to sub Harrison and his volley from 16 yards was fingertipped by Del Testa onto the underside of thebar and then desperately hacked clear by Cowie to Invercairn’s great relief.
Referee Garrety blew the final whistle on a frenetic match thereby confirming that it would be Invercairn United’s name that would be etched on the trophy.