Tuesday 20th February 2018

BY the time the Irn Bru Cup final comes around next month, David Smith will have been waiting almost three years.

In his mind’s eye, he’s still in the Hampden dugout having been substituted after playing almost an hour of the 2015 Scottish Cup final.

He still sees Marley Watkins bearing down on goal, Jamie MacDonald saving, and James Vincent sticking the rebound away.

Inverness CT have won the Scottish Cup against David’s Falkirk team. For the right back, it is an opportunity missed.

But now he has the chance to target the Highland club in a final again.

He thought that it couldn’t get any better than reaching the Irn Bru Cup final with Dumbarton on Saturday night.

Within 24 hours, he was given another crack at the team who destroyed his hopes of silverware on that afternoon nearly three years ago.

And it’s an opportunity he intends to grab.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, David said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling – one of the best in football.

“It was a great experience for the fans who made the journey, and what an achievement by the club, reaching its first major final in over 100 years.

“We met the fans in the stadium complex after the match and it was a great feeling. The boys worked really hard and scored two wonder goals to win it.

“Reaching the Scottish Cup final was a massive achievement and one of the highlights of my career. But getting to the final with Dumbarton is up there as well now.

“With the size of the club, and how I’ve enjoyed my time there, it’s one of the best – and hopefully we can now go one better.

“I watched Inverness CT’s semi-final with Crusaders with my family on Sunday, and I was saying when they went ahead how it would be good to get my own back.

“Maybe it’s my time to get the gold medal instead of them.

“We always felt, from the way the gaffer and Ian Durrant did their team talk and prepared for the game, that we could win it.

“We did a bit of shape work on Thursday and we kept a good shape in the first half on Saturday.

“The New Saints came out of the traps flying but we hung on, although we could have done better in the final third.

“Even when they scored we still had a feeling that we would get a goal ourselves and we never gave up.

“What a goal it was by Danny Handling, although Kyle Hutton and Dougie Hill did really well for their parts in it. He has that ability and he showed that.

“We’ve seen free kicks from Dimitris Froxylias before, and for him to come off the bench and win it like that was special.”

Although Sons put in a huge effort on Saturday, David added that there are no fears over fitness levels for tonight’s game with Morton.

Sons can go within six points of Falkirk if they win, with two games in hand and travelling to the Falkirk Stadium on Saturday.

And as a former Bairns player, David is targeting consecutive Saturday celebrations.

He added: “It was amazing to get into the changing room and celebrate – but it’s back to business against Morton tonight.

“They’re a really good side and the manager wasn’t shy in telling us after Saturday’s game that we have an important match this evening.

“The boys will be on a high and we will take it as confidence to hopefully start climbing the table.

“Then it’s a massive game at Falkirk. Between this and the final, it’s exciting times and something I’m glad to be a part of.

“We’ll have a few players coming back – on Saturday we couldn’t fill the bench. The likes of Andy Stirling, Liam Dick and Sam Wardrop are all coming back, which is important as it’s a massive squad game.”

Andy Galloway

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