Penicuik hero Craig Hume glad referee decided not to show red

Penicuik celebrate winning the East of Scotland Cup in their final match as a Junior club. Pic: Ian Georgeson
Penicuik celebrate winning the East of Scotland Cup in their final match as a Junior club. Pic: Ian Georgeson
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Matchwinner Craig Hume admitted he was perhaps lucky to avoid a first-half red card before he went on to get the opener as Penicuik Athletic ended their spell in the Juniors by becoming East of Scotland Cup champions for the first time.

Skipper Hume led by example as he headed in to give Johnny Harvey’s men a second half lead, which they would later add to as striker Aaron Somerville capitalised on a defensive mix-up to make sure two minutes from time.

The centre half was fortunate to remain on the park in the first half after a two-footed lunge on Tranent’s Neil Smeaton, with referee Duncan Smith only flashing a yellow card, much to Hume’s relief.

“It was maybe a wee bit of a two footed tackle but I felt I pulled out of it a wee bit,” said Hume. “There was no malice in it, there was no force behind the tackle – there was no intention to go and hurt anyone.

“The referee might have seen it as a red, but I was lucky to stay on the park. That split second it runs through your head that it could be a red card, but I’m a lucky one and it wasn’t.”

The 31-year-old former East Stirlingshire defender was meant to walk out alongside his son Joey, who was due to be a mascot, but his wife Jill was late in arriving at Prestonfield.

Hume continued: “Maybe it was lucky, because the last time we came and got beat when he was a mascot!

“This is what the club deserve; we’ve worked hard all season. We were unlucky against Newtongrange in another semi-final, so Saturday meant everything to the club to get the East of Scotland – our last ever game in Junior football.

“Our aim will be to get promoted into the Lowland League next season.

“Everyone works so hard, the manager, physio and all the players. To top it off with a cup the hard work has all paid off. I need to say a big personal thank you to Alix [Ronaldson, physio] because I’ve been carrying a few injuries recently and she’s nursed me through the season.”

Things looked to be going the way of cup holders Tranent in the first half, with Penicuik striker Lumbert Kateleza forced to go off with an ankle injury early on.

Neither side were able to test each other’s goalkeeper in an opening period devoid of many clear cut chances.

Penicuik midfielder Callum Connolly had their best chance on the half-hour mark when he got on the end of Scott McCrory-Irving’s free-kick, but his header bounced just wide of the back post.

Tranent’s Kayne Paterson looked to give the Belters an early second-half lead when he was through on goal, but just as he looked set to pull the trigger, Cuikie defender Andy Forbes got in the way to block.

Kenny Fisher then brought Penicuik keeper Kyle Allison into action for the first time, the former Kelty Hearts stopper having to rush back to his line to push over from Fisher’s lobbed attempt from the edge of the box.

Penicuik then warmed the hands of Tranent keeper Douglas Horne, with McCrory-Irving’s free-kick straight at him.

Horne could do nothing to stop Penicuik taking the lead after 63 minutes when Hume’s bullet header crashed into the back of the net from McCrory-Irving’s corner-kick.

Penicuik should have been celebrating again less than ten minutes later, with Somerville’s cross from the right just needing a touch to be poked home, but none of his team-mates could get on the end of it.

The turning point in the match came five minutes from the end with Tranent’s Fisher through on goal, he had to hit the target, but Allison flung out his right hand to make a stunning save.

Tranent would be made to pay for that miss, as three minutes later, Bruce McCrorie’s throw in back to keeper Horne was short, and Somerville nipped in between them to score into the empty net.

Tranent boss Max Christie thought his side were well in the game until they gave away the opener.

He said: “We lost a goal, a header in the middle of our six yard box and then the young lad makes a mistake for the second goal.

“Other than that we were totally comfy. I thought both teams huffed and puffed and it was probably going to be a mistake that done it.

“It’s been a long season. We will go again next season.”

Opposite number Johnny Harvey was delighted to end an impressive campaign with silverware.

He said: “I think we’ve had a great season. Cups in Junior football are hard to come by and getting over the line, I think it rewards the players for all the hard work that they’ve put in all season, and I’m over the moon for them.

“The hardest thing in finals is just winning the game. Performance-wise I could be critical, I don’t think we were quite at our best, but we done enough to win the game. The boys have shown that winning appetite that they have now.”

Tranent Juniors: Horne, Hawkins, Fiddler, Christie, Smeaton, Fisher, Walker, Miller, Devlin (McCrorie), Paterson (Fairnie), McCallum.

Penicuik Athletic: Allison, Forbes, McDonald (Sproule), Hume, Young, Connolly, McCrory-Irving, Jones, Somerville (Sinclair), Kateleza (Sampson), Ponton.