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Cupar Hearts retain Scottish Amateur Cup at National Stadium

Hampden Park played host to the 2024 Scottish Amateur Cup Final between Garrowhill Thistle and Cupar Hearts on Thursday evening. The sun was beaming in Glasgow’s southside, but Cupar came away the happier side courtesy of a well-earned 3-1 victory.

Captain Iain Boyland opened the scoring just before the break, but Garrowhill hit back not long after the restart, Jamie Thomson nodding home from close range.

The Glasgow side weren’t level for long, though. Experienced campaigner Richie Lawson swept home from the penalty spot before substitute Jamie Meikle sealed back-to-back Amateur Cups for Cupar.

Thistle got things going, and it was they who had the first opportunity, Eli Simpson winning a corner from a header inside the box.

Not long after, Hearts then had a chance. Lawson linked the play well however Cameron Greenhill’s effort was an easy catch for opposition goalkeeper Callum McCauley.

In the game’s infancy, Cupar seemed to enjoy the majority of possession, but Thistle remained stout defensively, limiting their opponents to few chances until the 13th minute.

The ball came across goal and Ross Grant would’ve scored had McCauley not rushed off his line to make a brave yet effective save. The keeper guarded his post well nine minutes later as Lawson looked to capitalise on a stray pass in the Garrowhill backline.

The striker and goalie were enjoying quite the battle by this point, and Lawson tested him once again a few minutes later but McCauley was alert again.

Clearcut chances were admittedly few and far between and ten minutes from the break, the Hearts centre-forward was lively again. This time, he scuffed his effort wide of the post but seconds later, he was presented with yet another opportunity after Lee Sibanda’s lofted ball found him over the top.

One-on-one with the keeper, Lawson tried to slot into the bottom left-right corner but his low shot whisked inches wide of the target.

Amid the chaos of Lawson’s opportunities, Garrowhill’s Craig Lamont pulled up injured. Unfortunately, his cup final ended before the break as he was stretchered off. Replacing him was Paul Thomson.

Because of the injury and length of treatment, eight minutes were added at the end of the first half and three into them, Mark Murphy did well. The midfielder robbed Scott Young in the middle of the park and drove towards goal but his effort flew off target.

This was a warning shot to the Fife side that Thistle, despite being underdogs, could threaten but a few moments before the end of the half, captain Boyland led by example.

The ball fell to the number seven inside the penalty area after a corner and he made no mistake, lashing home to give his side a deserved lead. Seconds later, the half-time whistle sounded with Cupar one ahead.

Cupar’s lead, however, almost evaporated right at the beginning of the second 45. After a well-worked midfield move, Simpson was played through on goal. He finished clinically past Jamie Cowan but the linesman had his flag raised; encouragement for the Ballieston side.

The call to rule the goal out was questionable, but there was nothing wrong with Thomson’s header in the 52nd minute. Unmarked in the box, the attack-minded midfielder nodded home to give his team a memorable moment in the biggest game of their history.

Quick-fire goals were becoming a theme, and Lawson kept up the trend. Moments after Thistle drew level, the referee pointed to the spot. The veteran forward stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way to score a goal he thoroughly deserved putting Cupar back in front.

The holders then could have doubled their money just before the hour. Cameron Greenhill – who was ever-present on the right-hand side – played a beautiful ball across goal. McCauley got a touch on it, but it fell to Kieran brand at the back stick. With the whole goal to aim at, he could only find an empty Hampden seat.

Things were heating up at the national stadium come dusk, and Simpson was sent through on goal. Cowan, though, remained solid, pulling off a smart save to keep his side in front.

The game seemed to cool off after a frantic beginning to the second half, but Lawson did go close with a header which hit the bar. Hendry then made a brilliant block to deny a rebound.

Garrowhill found it hard to get out and with three minutes remaining on the clock, Meikle swept home from close range after the ball broke in the box. An iconic goal, the strike ensured the cup would return to Fife for a second consecutive year.

Five minutes were added at the end, and it was the Cupar fans who loudly roared ‘Champions again, ole ole!’ when the ref blew his whistle for the final time.

Garrowhill Thistle Player of the Match: Lawrence Hendry

A calming presence at the back, central defender Lawrence Hendry was impressive for Garrowhill. Comfortable with the ball, the number four was rarely caught out despite his team conceding thrice.

Cupar Hearts Player of the Match: Richie Lawson

Veteran striker Lawson was a constant threat for Cupar. He gave the Garrowhill backline nightmares and got a deserved goal at a crucial time to put his side back in front from the spot.

Garrowhill Thistle Magic Moment: Thomson Leveller

Although their big day out at Hampden ended in heartbreak, Garrowhill still went home with something to shout about. Indeed, attacking midfielder Jamie Thomson – who was lively throughout – smartly nodded home to score a goal he won’t forget regardless of the end result.

Cupar Hearts Magic Moment: Meikle Sealer

It would have been easy for Cupar to sit in and soak up the pressure, but they continually looked for a goal that would calm their fans’ nerves. Said sought-after strike came moments from time, substitute Greig Meikle sweeping home from inside the box to spark jubilant scenes in the maroon end of Hampden.

Garrowhill Thistle                        

21. Callum McCauley

2. Robbie Latter

3. Ben Shaw

4. Lawrence Hendry

5. Elliot Shanks

6. Craig Lamont

7. Mark Murphy

8. Mitchell Barclay

9. Eli Simpson

10. Jamie Thomson

11. Michael Curran

Substitutions

12. Robert Faulds

14. Paul Thomson

15. Alasdair Macredy

16. Craig Melfan

17. Lee Jack

18. Ross Wilson

19. Jay McFall

Cupar Hearts

1. Jamie Cowan

2. Scott Young

3. Kieran Brand

5. Gavin Moffat

7. Iain Boylan

9. Richie Lawson

12. Cameron Greenhill

15. Liam Kelly

17. Kyle Baker

23. Ross Grant

25. Lee Sibanda

Substitutions

6. Ryan Gray

10. Stevie Harris

11. Jamie Leslie

13. Liam Craig

18. Lewis McGlashan

19. Lachlan Murphy

20. Greig Meikle

21. Tom Lyons

22. Gordon Moffat


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