Experienced Bo’ness United defender Will Snowdon only had fond memories of cup finals prior to his arrival at Newtown Park nine years ago.
The Englishman was just starting his career in Scotland when he watched on from the bench at Hampden Park 12 years ago as Livingston recorded their finest success to date – a 2-0 victory over Hibs in the final of the Scottish League Cup, with the Almondvale club having been plunged into administration just a month previously.
With jobs having already gone as a result of the administration process and the future of the club firmly in doubt, it was a glimmer of hope in what was a tough period for the West Lothian side.
“It was a long time ago now, I was just a youngster coming through at that point,” said Snowdon. “I didn’t get involved in the final, I didn’t get off the bench but it was still a good day.
“There was as a bit of turmoil with boys being released and stuff like that. I think we took 9000 fans so not even a fifth of the stadium was Livi fans, the rest was all Hibs. We were obviously massive underdogs at that time, but we got a really good result and it was a really good day.
“We didn’t know whether the club would survive. It was just a crazy time but fortunately the administrators managed to keep the bulk of the squad in place. I definitely remember it fondly, it was a good day for everyone involved at Livingston.”
Since that sunny afternoon in March, Snowdon has found himself on the wrong side of cup final defeats – three in fact since he made the move to Bo’ness after spells with Partick Thistle and Stranraer, with the most recent loss coming in last season’s East of Scotland Cup as the BUs suffered penalty-kick heartache against Hill of Beath.
They bid to go one better tomorrow when they face Premier League champions Dundonald Bluebell at Creamery Park, Bathagte, in what would be their first East of Scotland Cup success for 17 years.
“We want to go one better than last year, it’s been too long since we won a cup at Bo’ness,” said Snowdon. “I’ve been here nine years and we’ve never won one. I think we’ve lost two or three finals on penalties so it’s about time we lifted a cup.
“After the Scottish it’s probably the next biggest so we want to try and do that tomorrow and turn over Dundonald.
“They are obviously going to be on a high coming up next season. They’ll expect to win the game as they’ve been winning all season, so it will be a tough one for us. We just need to play like we know we can and then there’ll be no problem, but it’s a cup final at a neutral park so anything can happen.”
The 33-year-old has played a key role for Bo’ness at his right-back berth since returning from a groin injury in November. He was initially told he was surplus to requirements along with six of his team-mates back in April, but has since signed an extension to his contract.
He feels fit and able to play for a few more years yet, with next season his tenth at Newtown Park. In an age of players moving on every few years or less, it’s rare to see someone with such loyalty to one club.
“I don’t know if I expected to be here this long, but to be at one club for this length of time will be a good achievement,” he continued.
“As long as Bo’ness still want me I’ll continue to play and as long as the legs have got another year or two in them then I’ll continue to hang about.
“I feel fit, I was injured at the start of the season but I’ve played consistently since I came back in. From a fitness perspective I feel fine, it’s just whether my knees will hold up on some of these synthetic pitches.”