Player- Manager Kevin McDonnell reckons goalkeeper Frank Roy deserves all the plaudits for making breath-taking last-minute saves amid the remarkable Possil YM FC run of three successive Central Scottish Over-35s National Trophy victories, writes Tom Scott.
The Glasgow club, under the guidance of McDonnell and Assistant Derek Rhodden, have lifted the Scottish Cup in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Only the current pandemic has denied them the opportunity of attempting four-in-a-row.
Kevin, who has scored five of their six Cup Final goals, revealed “In the first Final against Eastercraigs, they’ve had two players through on our goal right at the death and somehow Frank has stopped them from scoring, and we have gone on to win the Scottish Cup via penalties.”
“A year later, it’s Cumbernauld Colts FC in the Final, and a sweetly- struck 25-yard volley is heading for the top corner. Frank has made one unbelievable save to keep the ball out and we go to retain the Cup on penalty kicks!”
Two years ago, first-season Hamilton Accies stood between Possil and the hat-trick.
Kevin admitted “Without a doubt that was the hardest one to win We seemed to draw all the top -form teams in the competition – including Eastercraigs (yes,again) and the week before we met them in the Semi-Finals, we lost 4-3 against Corkerhill in the League Cup. It was probably the best thing that could happen to us.”
Hamilton Accies had been defeating just about everyone. They were very good and took a few goals off Corkerhill in the Scottish Cup Semi-Final on the next park adjacent to us at Dalziel, while we went through 1-0 against Eastercraigs.
“I just knew our boys would turn up and perform on the night because it was them (Hamilton), and we won the Cup 3-0 at Broadwood, Cumbernauld.”
Kevin McDonnell was playing in the Possil team just about every other week when Andy Robson (then boss) asked him to take over in 2017.
He said “I wanted somebody on the touchline during games making decisions while I was playing. Derek Rhodden had been struggling with an injury and he assumed the role. He is there most weeks and it’s a good partnership. We have a good spine to the team, and currently have a better-balanced squad.”
“In the Scottish Cup we are a different animal compared to other games. These are guys I played with in Amateur Football. The good thing is with Over-35s Football you don’t switch off the competitive level.”
“That is probably just as well because our lads have gone up against players with plenty of Senior Football experience – ex- Motherwell and Scotland star James McFadden, Stevie Murray. (Kilmarnock), and current SFA Chief Executive Ian Maxwell.”
“For the time being, we are all disappointed football has been stopped. The lads are keeping themselves as fit as they can in their own way, and looking forward to getting back on the park again.”
Photograph kindly provided by Mr Kevin McDonnell